Toga Party 1989 pg 1
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In 1989 I threw a Toga Party that turned out to be a complete fiasco. For one Saturday Night in time we all decided to become Romans at the Party titled "The SSQQ Night of Decadence".

It became a night I will never forget. Most of the time here at the studio we talk the talk, but skip the walk. Unfortunately this was one Party that actually lived up to its billing.

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I have always been partial to the Romans. As a kid, I loved to read about Julius Caesar and the Roman Empire. It wasn't until I saw "Ben Hur" and "Spartacus" that I realized that maybe the Romans weren't so glamorous after all. But why let a little bit of ancient cruelty spoil a good clean night of debauchery ?

I took two years of Latin in the 8th and 9th grade, an event I consider to be one of the biggest wastes of time in my entire childhood. It was part of the classical training expected to be endured at a college prep school. Humph. My time would have been better spent in auto mechanics or even typing. At least then I might acquire a skill that could actually prove useful later in life. But no, Latin was mandatory.

Nevertheless, I took it as an incredible omen in early 1989 when for the first and only time in my adult life those two wasted years of Latin actually came in handy. Yes, for one brief, fabulous moment in time my extensive training in Latin gave me an edge that was priceless. Hail Caesar !!

I had stopped at a gas station on the corner of Richmond and Montrose to fill up my car. As I stood there at the pump, this sharp-looking sports car came squealing into the station maybe 10 mph faster than necessary, then braked to a sudden stop. Out of the car came a long-legged, long-haired young Texas beauty with tight jeans and lots of attitude. She apparently needed gas too.

I noticed that the back of her interesting Tee Shirt read, "The Weiss College Nights of Decadence". Hmm. Catchy title. I was intrigued. I became even more intrigued when the young lady turned around to give me a clear glimpse of the front of her T-Shirt. Now mind you, I was only looking for literary purposes. She realized I was staring at her and returned my gaze with an imperious look of disdain.

The Rice Coed threw down the Gauntlet: Look if you Dare!!  She proudly threw back her hair, stood up to her full height, stuck out her chest, and made eye contact with the haughtiest "doth this vermin dareth to gaze upon me ?"-look imaginable. In other words, I was not worthy.

Now I had already decided that she was a Rice University coed. Now not all Rice Coeds are quite as sassy as this particular lady, but I was sure she was from Rice. For one thing, I had been on the Rice Campus enough times to know that Weiss College was one of the dorms. Plus the Rice Parking Sticker on her windshield supported my assessment. Accepting the Challenge, I studied the writing on her T-Shirt.

Emblazoned across her chest were Caesar's immortal words, "Vidi Vice Veni". Except that something was wrong. That wasn't "exactly" how Caesar had said it. His words as you probably know were "Veni Vidi Vici", i.e. "I Came, I Saw, I Conquered". This girl was up to something.

So I carefully translated Caesar's original words of "Veni Vidi Vici" into their new meaning. As a grin of recognition spread across my face, simultaneously a look of horror crossed the coed's face. She realized I actually understood what her Tee-Shirt meant and ruined her smug little game. Up till now she had been traipsing across Houston wearing her nasty in-joke of forbidden words with complete impunity.  She thought she could go anywhere she wanted and no one would have a clue what her shirt said. 'Uh oh. He Knows !'  was written on her face. As I realized what she had been up to, I smiled more broadly. Now her expression changed to one of embarrassment. She turned bright red. I was thoroughly pleased. Hail Caesar !

Now suddenly I had the upper hand. Did I do the chivalrous thing ?  Hell, no, I rubbed it in !!

"Nice T-Shirt !!  Did you earn it or was it a gift ?"  That earned me a well-deserved look of disgust. I wanted to pursue the conversation and maybe talk a little Latin to her... "Hey, Baby, Amor Vincit Omnia (Love Conquers All)" but it was quickly obvious that I was a "Persona Non Grata (Beat It, Creep)". She turned her back and avoided any further eye contact. So I uttered the immortal words, "Vade Pulchra Puella" (Hasta La Vista, Baby) and left.

As I drove down the road, I was inspired. SSQQ should have a Toga Party !!  Why not ?  It was an age when things were a little less uptight at the studio. The Administration was younger in those days (i.e., me) and open to occasional silliness. I mean, how could the studio that invented the incredible Sleazy Bar Whip Party and the Western Honky-Tonk Party turn its back on a little old Toga Party ?

Do you believe in Karma, the Hindu concept of "What Goes Around Come Around" ?  Little did I ever suspect my gas station idea would backfire so badly.

My first move was to borrow the "Night of Decadence" title from Weiss College. It was after all a very cool title.

I of course never suspected anyone would take me seriously. Wrong.

The evening started pleasantly enough. People began to stroll in resplendent in their togas. Some people looked like they had done this before. For example, Michele Keating, the tall lady in the picture, looks like she just stepped out from a scene in "Spartacus". And Steve Racey has a sneer worthy of a Roman Senator. But Mimi, the innocent-looking one on the right, turned out to be a Brutus in disguise. She was a real killer. Et tu, Mimi ? 

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The dancing started. It turned out Togas were good for Western Dancing and Whip. I was having a great time, thrilled by all the smiles and laughter.

Naturally I played "Louie, Louie". Most people whipped to it, but a few tried to Polka as well. Bacchanalia had not yet reared its ugly face.

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There was of course some typical Roman Frivolity. For example, in the picture Mark Matthews is seen tossing his girlfriend Melissa (?? I am not sure of her name) onto his shoulders.

In general, everyone was having a good time. So what on earth went wrong ?   What caused the mysterious Decline and Fall of the SSQQ Night of Decadence ? 

In words of one syllabe : Wine !!

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And the Wine led to:  Decadence !

And the Decadence led to :
My Nervous Breakdown.

If you wish to continue this sordid tale, click  The Orgy Pit


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