Wednesday, April 2, 2014

let's talk about our Heath Ledger party.

Once upon a time in college, I lived in a junky house on Third Street in Morris, Minnesota. There were five of us living in that mold-infested house, and all five of us were in band. (Three of us were in concert band, and all five of us were in jazz band. NERDS.)

This was my junior year: 2007 – 2008. In the fall semester, we’d hosted a fair amount of parties: that’s what college houses are for, right? Since all five of us were in jazz band, we became the default Jazz House. That meant it was our job to host the after parties for each jazz concert/dance, and we accepted our responsibility with pride.

However, there were only three jazz concerts and three jazz dances throughout the school year, and what kind of sorry excuse for a college house would we have been if we only hosted six parties from August to May?

So we filled in the weekends with theme parties. I’m not talking your simple costume party (though we did host some excellent Halloween parties). Our themes were always a bit bizarre, but we never had any complaints. We had an “I Heart New York” party, which was just an excuse for us to wear the “I Heart New York” shirts that our roommate Sara had brought us.
We had a wine and cheese party, where we ate fancy Danish cheese and drank cheap wine. We had a candy party, where we bought tons of questionable (read: cheap) candy and served it up to our guests.
Chocolate cherry flavored Hershey's kisses, perhaps?
We had a Dinosaur Fantasy party, to which there was no real point – but three of us had dinosaur t-shirts, so that was that.
Here's my dino shirt: courtesy of WalMart.
There is one theme party, though, that trumped all the theme parties we’d had or would have. That, my friends, was our Heath Ledger party.

It was January 2008. We had just returned to school after winter break, and the first weekend of the spring semester called for a party. (Obviously.) However, Sara and I (the usual theme-choosers) were at a loss as to what our party’s theme should be. We were still debating when we heard the news: Heath Ledger had died. Maybe we’re bad people, but our initial reaction was “THERE’S OUR THEME!” followed by “Aww, Heath Ledger!”

But we had a slight problem. The concert band had scheduled a retreat during that first weekend. (WTF?) The concert band always had a “band bonding weekend” in late September where everybody went to a retreat and played games and a whole lot of music and had inappropriate conversations, but this was the first time they’d done one in January. I had quit concert band in spring 2007, but I rejoined in time for spring semester 2008 – but since I had joined a little last-minute, I used that as an excuse to snake out of the band retreat. (Also, did I want to pay $75 to go to a lodge and play my clarinet for two days? NO.)

However, many of our concert band friends still had to go. Our solution? We’d toast them at the party and have a good time all the same.

The next step in our Heath Ledger party planning was to gather supplies. Sara and I bought out the grocery store’s supply of Heath bars, and we rented a copy of Brokeback Mountain. We hauled out our colorful Sharpies and decorated Heath Ledger t-shirts.

I still have mine, and it's as awesome
today as it was in 2008.
Our party was AMAZING. We handed out our Heath bars and kept Brokeback Mountain on a loop. We made a Heath Ledger poster that all the party-goers signed, and we drank many toasts to Heath Ledger and our poor unfortunate friends at band camp. 
And you know what? It was the best theme party ever.

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