MC, Day 4: Pump up the Jam

dance party 1

OK, anyone who has read any or all of my Five-Day Music Challenge posts is going to scratch their head about this one. I’m scratching my head as I type it. Yes, this is updownflight writing this.

It’s 1989. I had just graduated from a small private school in rural Pennsylvania, from a class of only 25 students. It is the first day at freshman orientation at New Jersey’s largest state university, with tens of thousands of students. Big school, and to me, a big city. Yeh, I’ve been known to drink underage, and you know I absolutely love to dance. It’s the first night, and I follow my new roommate and her friends to the main campus from the all girls’ campus. The mission is, to party!

frat houseWalking down the very notorious frat house row, we already hear the booming noises from the side walk. Someone picked the loudest of them all, and we walked straight in. The door was constantly opening, so there was no need to knock.

beer in plastic cup

We slithered through a sea of bodies all jumping up and down with arms up in the air. There was a foul smell of extra cheap beer. Later I would learn it was Busch beer, a fact I’d use when deciding which beers to avoid in the future. Before I knew it, a plastic cup full of that swill was shoved into my hand.

I was already having a little bit of a sensory overload, so I decided to drink the swill in order to calm myself. What in the heck was this music? And before there could be any answer, it responded:

Pump up the jam, pump it up
While you feet are stompin’
And the jam is pumpin’
Look at here the crowd is jumpin’
Pump it up a little more
Get the party going on the dance floor
I don’t want a place to stay
Get your booty on the floor tonight
Make my day
I don’t want a place to stay
Get your booty on the floor tonight
Make my day
“ “
“ “
“ “
“ “

I put down my cup on some ledge, and decided to join in. What else could I do, but jump and pump.


As the music changed, some guy approached me. He said “Where’s your beer?” and then proceeded to hit on me. I was already up against the ledge, so grabbed my cup. The chat was pretty much nonsense, as I recall. The whole scenario drove me to gulp half the swill down in one fell swoop. Yuck! Another song started. This one even stranger!

Groove is in the heart


I was dancing with this dude, whose name I didn’t yet know. He did a rather peculiar dance. I moved energetically in as cool of a fashion as possible, laughing at him to myself and the scene going on around me. Time seemed to race with the music. Songs passed. Before I knew it, something was not right. At all!

Without any care to find my new roommate, I moved towards the front door. I recall touching the inside wall of the house (to stabilize myself) and thinking it was covered with Vaseline. When I got out of the house, I sat on the porch steps alone with a few guys nearby.

“Are you alright?” one asked me, with concern in his voice.

“I don’t know”, I mumbled.

I then stood up and said, “I’m going back to my dorm”.

“Where do you stay?” he asked.

I told him, and then I must have looked scared and said “I don’t know how to get back there! To my dorm. OMG! Can you help me?”

Elvis in freaky look
Elvis Presley?

Without hesitation, he stood up. He introduced himself to me, and then I asked him to repeat it. I repeated what I heard the second time, but it didn’t come out right. I eventually told him his name sounded like “Elvis Presley”, so I said I’d call him that. He laughed.

I followed “Elvis Presley”. Right behind him. I felt it important to concentrate on his head, because the only other thing I could see was the yellow line on the road; a line he seemed to be walking down perfectly. Nothing else appeared to the right or left, above or behind. I heard him talking, but couldn’t make out what he said. It was like the mother talking in the Charlie Brown cartoons.  “Whaaa, whaa, whaa.”, so I just said nothing. Everything around me seemed surreal.


Thank God! I see the campus buses, I thought. He led me to one and I stepped up trustingly. When I saw the bus driver, I asked “Does this go to Douglass?”

The bus driver said “Yes”, so I told him my dorm name and practically begged him to tell me when we’ve reached it. I told him “You must tell me! I don’t know where I am.” To that, he agreed reassuringly. I then realized, despite my cloudy thinking, that I had made a timely exit from the party. I was going to be alright.

On the bus drive back to my quiet campus (the university has many), I saw this gorgeous blond guy. I remember staring at him for a while, feeling he represented safety in my mind. Then I yelled out to him, for the whole bus to hear, “Hello! You’re such a beautiful looking man!”

The handsome blond guy smiled and thanked me, knowing I meant him, and that I was surely drunk. He then turned away, and I sat thinking about him.

A few minutes later, the bus driver yelled “This is your dorm, young lady!”

I then got up and walked to the bus exit, thanking the driver profusely, excited to see the building I remembered. Luckily my room was even right next to the bus stop. I went in, unlocked my room door, and went straight to bed.

The next day I talked to people about my experience. They were all convinced that someone had spiked my beer with some drug. With what, I’ll never know.

I hope you will also visit my other Music Challenge posts:

5-Day Music Challenge, Day 1: Jazz music of all sorts

5-Day Music Challenge, Day 2: I can dance to anything

5-Day Music Challenge, Day 3: Surprise song playing in my head

5-Day Music Challenge, Day 5: Beethoven’s flight of ideas

Thanks go to Robert Matthew Goldstein of Art by Rob Goldstein for nominating me for the Five-Day Music challenge.









19 thoughts on “MC, Day 4: Pump up the Jam

  1. RZA April 13, 2017 / 6:52 pm

    What a story, I liked the writing as well, pulled me right in. I am thinking, as you wrote you moved as cool as possible, how our child spontaneity in movement gets spoiled somewhere along the way, being replaced by shame and low self-esteem. I got inspired by your dance challenge and just had a quick dance, to the music of “Caboclo nao tem caminho para caminhar”. They sing about how the caboclo (indigenous native am. mixed with european) people don’t have a path to walk, under the leaves of trees nor on top of them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • updownflight April 13, 2017 / 7:11 pm

      RZA, thank you so much for your kind comment. I got curious and am listening to “Caboclo nao tem caminho para caminhar” right now. I can see having a great time dancing to this. I’m already imagining how I would move to it. Thanks for explaining the meaning behind the song, too.

      I do want to say that in general, I’m a pretty “free” dancer. I’m not usually held back by any shame or feelings of embarrassment. Even to this day. My confidence stems from my ballet days, which I’ve written about on my blog a few times.

      When I wrote that I moved as cool as possible to the Pump Up Your Jam I guess I was just trying to feel it out a bit. I wasn’t altogether taken with the music, but still loved to move and be part of what was a very new environment for me. Since it was my first night at university, I guess I was a bit nervous. Certainly that story I tell could have turned out much much worse. I was lucky, but that didn’t stop me from going out and dancing, and drinking too much in the future. But in the future, I had friends around me that really kept track of each other (and me).


      • RZA April 13, 2017 / 9:58 pm

        It’s true it was dangerous and it was a good thing such nice people were around you at that time too, not taking advantage of your condition. I never was much of a dancer, but I quite enjoy it now with my girlfriend, to the rhythm of samba and other brazilian music, glad you like it too

        Liked by 1 person

      • updownflight April 13, 2017 / 10:46 pm

        I’m glad you enjoy dance with your girlfriend. Samba and Brazilian music is quite wonderful to dance with someone you’re in love with (or lust for). I’ve taken Latin dance in the past, myself. Take care.


  2. Sheryl April 18, 2017 / 9:49 pm

    “We slithered through a sea of bodies” This is super fantastic and visually appealing. This is a great insight into the reactions of being drugged. Definitely sounds like you were targeted. A lucky escape that ended well. It’s funny how one can recall oddities like a Vaseline feeling covered wall. I love reading stories like this as they give me an insight into how others experience situations. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight April 18, 2017 / 9:59 pm

      Thank you so much, Sheryl! I really mean it when I say that it means a lot hearing that from you. Since reading your posts I have regarded your blog as a great source of writing tips.

      I remember that day exactly how I wrote it, despite being 26 years ago. Well, maybe the beer wasn’t Busch beer, but it was still swill. I’m not 100% sure that both songs played that exact day, but I know I danced to both during my freshman year.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sheryl April 20, 2017 / 11:03 am

        That is why many stories include the tag “Based on a true story” An experience like this makes a great story whether it’s just the bones of a larger one, the individual arc of a character or, like this, a stand alone short. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • updownflight April 20, 2017 / 1:11 pm

        Sheryl, thank you for suggesting the tag “Based on a true story”. I’ll use that when it is applicable.

        I have a working memoir. I’m not sure if I will ever finish it, though. I have so many stories in my mind that I could write thousands of pages. I think stories like my Pump up the Jam would probably not make my memoir, but I enjoyed including it here as a post on WordPress.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. John Snow October 26, 2017 / 1:58 pm

    I called it unforgettable and happy moments of your life…It’s real!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. D. A. M. Steelman November 8, 2017 / 3:55 pm

    I’m glad you made it back okay… this happened to me once at a bar… Like you, I left my drink unattended and the guy was thrilled to help me outside, but he wanted to take me somewhere else. Luckily, things went my way instead of his.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. updownflight September 26, 2018 / 10:08 pm

    Reblogged this on Bird Flight and commented:

    Have you been watching the news? If so, there’s been a lot of talk about women being victimized at drunken parties in high school and college. I’m not a judge, and I’m not part of a jury regarding the person(s) in the news, but I can tell you that I know such victimizations do indeed happen, and a lot. I’m reblogging my story below from a long time ago. I was extremely lucky! Many girls/women (and sometimes the occasional guy) aren’t so lucky.


  6. lifelessons September 27, 2018 / 1:10 am

    I’ve had a couple of lucky near escapes as well. When you’ve had them yourself, you know it can happen. One I reported and the man went to jail. The other I was convinced by a friend not to report and I’ve always wondered if he went on to abduct and kill other women. I’ll never know…So glad your story ended well. And that hopefully it prevented a similar event later on .

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight September 27, 2018 / 1:07 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Judy. I’m so glad your experiences weren’t even worse, and that’s good that one was jailed. I, too, hope the other guy stopped victimizing people or finally learned his lesson, in the most appropriate way.

      Liked by 1 person

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