Freshman year at UT, I knew a couple of guys who didn’t attend the school, but were on campus everyday. We kind of thought they were weird, didn’t necessarily respect them, but we talked to them, because we found it funny. Interesting. They were mainly there – to just pick up college girls. Guys in their 20s, no job, not in college, just random guys who lived in Austin. What better way to spend their time than on a college campus where 20,000+ girls mostly aged 18-22 are located everyday? It’s actually not a half bad idea when you think about it. Maybe these guys were geniuses.
They got the college experience without paying for college. They made friends, went to parties, slept with college girls. I hung out with one of these guys a couple of times. He even started sitting in on some classes. Just for fun. He wanted to see what they were about. He’d even take notes and even took a couple of tests – writing whatever fake name he wanted on the test. Since he wasn’t enrolled anyway. It didn’t matter. He’d never see his score. It didn’t matter. He took the test just for fun. Just to “see if he could”. I thought he was crazy.
On a campus with 50,000 people, where classes are held in large auditoriums with 300+ people, it’s easy to sneak in. To pretend like you belong when you don’t. These guys would even eat in the dorm cafeteria. The one that costs $2 for an all you can eat buffet if you lived in the dorms, but $6 if you didn’t. I can almost guarantee you they didn’t pay $6. They probably talked somebody with an ID into swiping them in. Maybe they gave them $2 to cover for it. Maybe they even ate for free. Who knows. I’m sure they didn’t pay $6 for dorm food. No way. These guys were too crafty for that.
It was interesting. It is interesting.
I always respected the hustle. The graft of some folks. In some ways I was a lot like that at that age. At least to the point that’d look for the little wins anywhere. Even that same dorm cafeteria. Sometimes I didn’t even pay the $2. It was easy. Just convince the girls that work there to let you in for free. They’ll do it.
The little wins. They felt good.
Sometimes I did it just to feel a win. Sometimes I did it to show off to friends. I already had somewhat of a reputation for being a hustler – so I took it a step further – show up at the movie theater and somehow get a free ticket. Or if not a free ticket, then talk to the guy behind the snack counter and convince him to give you free popcorn or free candy. Convincing the girl at McDonalds to give you a free soda with your sandwich. It’s funny really. How much you can get by just asking. It amused me at the time. I enjoyed my little wins.
All you had to do was wink at the girl behind the counter, “Hey, throw in a free coke for me too…. c’mon, you can do it. Your boss isn’t looking”. The look on her face when you make such a request. A bit of shock. You can tell she doesn’t get asked this question much. Then the quick darting around of her head to check that indeed her boss is not looking. Her own little thrill. Then, she’d scurry back to the drink machine, get me a coke, and hand it over to me ever so coy. Like she gets to be a sneaky spy for the day.
My friends would look at me, “if you can get her to do that, why didn’t you just get her phone number?”
Because, it didn’t even cross my mind. All I wanted was a free coke.
Little wins everywhere. I once convinced a homeless guy to give me money. I think that was the highlight of my “hustling” phase.
Maybe I should’ve been focused on bigger prizes. Maybe I could’ve gone to college for free like those guys I met freshman year did. Sure they didn’t get the degree. But who cares? Degrees aren’t worth anything these days anyway. The best part of college is the experience – and you can get that without paying for it. Just sneak in and pretend you’re supposed to be there. Flirt with the women, befriend the guys, go to the parties, attend the classes, take the tests. Get the whole experience without the debt.
I have no idea what actually happened to those guys. Maybe they kept doing it for years. Maybe they only did for 1 to 2 years. Maybe they did something stupid and got blacklisted by the campus and were never allowed back. Maybe they did something even more stupid and wound up in jail. Who knows.
It doesn’t matter. For that one year -that year I saw them around on campus all the time – they were winning.
It was more than just a little win….
Maybe they were geniuses.
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