Staff Ding Dong
It’s just about 2am, and the oppressive summer air was giving me as much trouble as my acrophobia was while I climbed the steps of Keating’s forbidden bell tower. I really hadn’t even climbed all too far yet before my fear kicked in, so I tried to distract myself by reliving the moment we got in. But, then, my subconscious reminded me that it was shitting itself over this supposed height drama and told me to focus on not making the statistically improbable move of tumbling to my death. Maybe I’d think about the break-in once I was safe and at the tower’s oh-so desired summit…
Fortunately, I soon got a break from my irrational fear. One of my partners in crime, who I’ll call Bill, had turned into the first floor of the bell tower. None of us had expected there to be anything in this campus monument other than just stairs, more stairs and maybe some grand room furnished with a bell and accompanying hunchback. The soft, orange glow from the old lights above faded from Bill’s bare back as he entered a boiler room. One fear was then traded out for another. This first room was veritably creepy, nearly lightless, and damp. As our compadre, who was asked to be called, “Beppo”, recorded the scene on Snapchat, I couldn’t help but think we’d all soon end up in a snuff film. We quickly left, and continued to shuffle, shirtless and sweating, up the rusted steps.
Bill’s face lit up as he turned into the second room. An unpainted, crude foyer was marked by a welcoming etching: “this is the real pigeon room”. Past this simple entrance was Fordham’s hidden Hall of Fame. The Hall was painted completely in white, had slim, old-ass windows on each side and a very shallow closet. I scanned the room, reading all of the signatures of triumphant Keating scalers like “Big Dick Nick” of ‘15 and “Donnie T” of ‘65. No one from the “No Homo” Era dared to leave their John Hancock’s in the closet, so we naturally made sure to make it into a shrine for a great shrine for Fordham’s bravest, leaving tokens of our youth there.
After a while, we realized that lingering in the Hall of Fame bordered on being sacrilegious, and continued with our ascent. The next room we entered was perhaps the most bizarre: a large vat was placed at its center, which we figured was the actual bell. Shrugging, we turned back to the stairs and pressed on.
Finally, we’d reached what everyone dreamed of as the quintessential Bell Tower experience. A mechanical monster spun four spokes, which all, themselves, turned clocks on each face of the tower. Large windows gave perfect views of the Fordham grounds, and a bare, spiral staircase led to the true summit. Although my acrophobia was now howling at me, I dragged my body along with me as I marched in concert with Beppo and Bill to the tippy top. After using a spare ladder to get on top of the room housing the staircase, you could look around yourself and see the starry sky meet the cityscape, forming a glittering dome around the Fordham grounds which splayed out around you. Of course, I was too horrified to actually stand up, and physically saw none of this, but the Snapchat’s looked cool. As I hopped off the room and entered into the fetal position, I remembered how I got in… and that I wasn’t going to tell anyone, even anonymously on The Paper.