Previous installments: Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22. Also check out the official Livin' Large FAQ, Cast List, Flow Chart 1.0, and Flow Chart 2.0.

Author's note: The end is near! Only two or three more Livin' Large stories left. Just in case you've been wondering. Also, sorry about accidentally including the Thanksgiving picture from Part 22. That's what cut-and-paste can do when you're not careful.

The last three weeks of the semester went by in extreme fast forward. There were papers to finish, homework to complete, pre-exams to take, and actual final exams to prepare for. In addition to the standard college student responsibilities, I had to fulfill extra class requirements for the Honors Program and select a professor to work with during the second semester as part of the Dean's Freshman Scholar program (which was a scholarship program that was paying part of my tuition). Oh, and of course there was work -- both at the food service and for the school paper -- and my final APO initiation.

Speaking of which: my pledge parents, Tiffany and Carolyn, invited my and Susan’s moms (our fathers were MIA) to attend the ceremony. Apparently, that was pretty standard procedure, even though parents didn't normally attend. And Susan's mom didn't...but mine did. She was the only parent there that night. As an adult, I can recognize her attendance for the sweet and loving gesture it was. As an 18-year-old guy hanging out with a girl he was crushing on, it was more than a wee bit embarrassing. And, in typical motherly fashion, she cheered just a little too enthusiastically when my name was called, bored everyone at our table with stories about my childhood, and pronounced afterward that every girl in the immediate vicinity obviously had a crush on me. Ah, moms. You’ve gotta love ‘em.

At the post-ceremony party -- which, fortunately, my mom did not attend -- Tiffany and Carolyn gave me a white, long-sleeved APO t-shirt. (They gave Susan one that was identical, except that it was dark blue.) Of course, someone spilled red punch on my new shirt during party, staining it beyond repair. (As a college freshman, my method of getting out a stain was to cram the stained item into a washing machine along with everything else that was dirty...which was pretty much everything else I owned. Not an effective method.)

I should also mention that I was covering ext shifts at the food service to boost my Christmas fund. After all, I had a girlfriend now, and I needed to buy her the official clichéd "first Christmas with a new girlfriend" gift. And that wasn't going to be cheap.

During those three weeks, Mat and I barely saw each other, and we rarely (if ever) spoke on those rare occasions when our paths crossed. There was no specific event I can point to, but we had crossed the friendship Rubicon. A quiet hostility had developed on both sides. My skin crawled when he was around, and based on his behavior, I'm guessing he felt the same way. When he wasn't home in the evening, I would hope with all my psychological might that he was getting drunk enough to walk in front of a bus on his way home. Or fall into giant wood chipper. Or whatever. I just couldn't stand the guy any longer. I wanted to be done with him.

However, it didn't look like that was going to happen. Even though we were ignoring each other to the best of our abilities, I still overheard enough of his phone conversations to discover he'd scored well enough on the SAT to regain his NCAA eligibility. So much for him getting kicked off the team and out of school. And since the dorm manager had been disinclined to acquiesce to my room change request, we were stuck together indefinitely.

In the meantime, there was a significant development in my family life. My mom and sister had been estranged for the past five years, which, by extension, meant that my sister and I had also been estranged. (It was one of those "you're either with me or against me" deals, and the tendency is to side with the person who provides somewhere to live.) During the half-decade separation, my sister had gotten married, moved to Kentucky and had a child. I knew these few facts only because my grandparents gave me occasional updates, probably in the hopes that the knowledge would lead to some sort of reconciliation.

Now, maybe it was empty nest syndrome, maybe it was the fact that my great grandmother had passed away earlier in the year, or maybe it was a little of both, but my mom decided it was time to mend fences with my sister. Which, naturally, meant I had to do it too. My mom kept bugging me to call my sister immediately (if not sooner) despite my insistence that I was too busy to deal with tearful reunions at the moment. This led to a phone conversation that went something like this:

Me: “Hey, Kristi.”

Her: “Hey.”

Me: "So, how have you been?"

Her: "Oh, you know. Fine."

Me: "Right. And, uh, what's up?"

Her: "Married, have a daughter, living in Lexington. You?"

Me: "Going to college."

Her: "That's...nice."

Me: "Yeah. So, uh, talk to you later?"

Her: "Sounds good. Bye."

Oh well. At least it was mercifully brief.

As the time for final exams crawled ever closer, I started to seriously stress out. I had a full 18 credit hour course load plus Honors requirements, which meant I had a lot to prepare for. Plus, since I was still pretty new to the whole college thing, I hadn't quite refined the art of selective studying. If I was given a 200-page reading assignment, I thought that meant I had to read and memorize those 200 pages. Ludicrous, I know, but that's just how I approached my studies at the time.

Mat, on the other hand, approached his studies by avoiding them. Once the SAT situation was behind him, he entered Full-time Party Mode. He was, as far as I could tell, drinking more and staying out later than ever. It was nothing for him to show up at three, four, or even five in the morning. It's possible, maybe even probable, that Mat was enjoying an extended celebration for passing the SAT. I mean, he really had dodged a bullet. Actually, he'd been dodging bullets all semester. I’m convinced that a non-athlete would have been shipped back home by that time, but Mat was still livin’ large. Hell, he probably felt invincible by that point.

So here were two roommates, one who was (needlessly) stressing beyond his pressure threshold and one who just didn’t give a shit. It wasn’t a good combination.

This situation came to a head the night before my first exam. I had spent several hours studying before finally going to bed sometime after 1 a.m. After a couple restless hours worth of sleep, I was awakened by Mat coming into the room with a couple of his football buddies. They were drunk and rowdy, which also meant loud and disruptive.

Obviously, there was no way I could sleep through the chaos. At first, I told myself I’d wait five minutes for them to do whatever they were doing and clear out. However, I didn’t last 30 seconds. After almost a full semester of putting up with Mat’s late-night shenanigans, I was ready to erupt…especially since I had an exam the next morning. I had worked too hard to have this ape and his idiot friends ruin my GPA with their irresponsible and careless behavior.

"That's it!" I screamed, jumping out of bed. "That's fucking it!"

The room fell dead silent. The three of them stared at me.

"I have an exam first thing tomorrow morning," I said. "So you guys either need to shut the hell up or leave!"

Mat took one menacing step forward and growled, "Do you wanna be a bloody smear on the wall?"

Now, I'm not a coward, but I am a realist. And given the circumstances -- my seven-foot, 300-pound, apparently untouchable roommate and two huge football players versus me -- I couldn't see any fight ending well for me. Sure, the ensuing lawsuit could make me rich (assuming I survived) and get him kicked out of school, but I didn't really feel like absorbing the brutal beating they looked ready to dish out.

So, to Mat's query, I said, "No."

Then I plopped back down on my bed, covered my head with a pillow, and tried to pretend I was somewhere else. Anywhere else.

On the bright side, my near-bloody-smear-on-the-wall experience must have killed the mood, because the three of them left a few minutes later. I guess, like Falstaff said, discretion really is the better part of valor.

The next four days passed. I kicked butt on all my exams. I saw Mat maybe two or three times after he'd threatened to bloody smearize me. We didn't speak or acknowledge each other. For my part, I never even looked at him directly. When the semester ended, I went home. I never found out how he spent his Christmas break.

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Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Bawful, can you (or give me permission to) edit the "Previous Installments" section to just read: "Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,...." because it is sorta ruining the aesthetic look

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I've definitely watched too much TV. I actually thought that after you erupted, Mat would actually feel bad for being such an ass and, maybe not apologize, but at least leave you in peace so you could get some sleep.

Anyway, what a jerk!

Blogger Japes said...
Wow Bawful, pretty gutsy move there pissing off 3 giants. I probably would've asked them to nicely quiet down, which probably meant that they would've ignored me.

Anonymous Stephen Hawking said...
Did you at least put a stamp on this because you really mailed it in

Anonymous Anonymous said...
>>> Author's note: The end is near! Only two or three more Livin' Large stories left. Just in case you've been wondering

Thank FUcking god.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
AnacondaHL -- Do it.

bluefromhere -- Alas, there will be no happy ending with Mat.

Japes -- Well, to that point, asking nicely hadn't accomplished anything, so I tried a new tactic. Which, as it happened, also failed miserably.

Stephen Hawking -- Shouldn't you be, like, doing physics or something? Believe it or not, the brevity of this chapter was intentional. It was supposed to convey that this particular period of the semester was a blur of studying and little else.

Anonymous -- Ah, another satisfied customer.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Here's hoping little Mat and Aimee get it ON during Christmas break...

Blogger Dooj said...
I've enjoyed the living large series but I enjoy even more the regular basketbawful.

Thanks for writing the blog in any case.

P.S. I'm actually surprised you calmed down. I'd probably have rushed in and immediately regretted it.

Blogger chris said...
I hope Mat didn't spend his Christmas break "painting" some walls in red, just as he suggested he would do to you...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Only two or three more?!
The ending better be good or at least finish everything off and not leave me wondering

Blogger Michael Hsu said...
I agree I'm a bit saddened that the worsties from the year was shortened because of livin large. I would have enjoyed some draft talk, summer league, trades, and predictions like "I knew team XXX would be a play-off team." You know if you say the Lakers will win the championship they are instantly stat cursed.

Blogger HoopBlah said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Wow! The Big Mat-Little Matt showdown was an unexpected turn in an otherwise less-than-satisfying installment.
I admire your chutzpah in standing up to the guy, who seems nearly devoid of any recognizable humanity. Your confrontation seems particularly impressive to one who earlier thought you wanted to be a toady to Big Mat.
On a different note, I have found myself wondering how many of the principals in this story may have read your entries, and how they reacted?
After earlier imagining Big Mat being angry, or maybe laughing at the earlier shenanigans of his life, I now imagine him saying "Matt Who?" as I can't imagine him being interested enough in another human being to actually make any meaningful connection.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Michael Hsu -- The Worsties aren't over. There will be three or four more Worsties installments in the weeks leading up to the regular season.

Anonymous Wormboy said...
Given Mat's apparent history, intellect and study habits, his getting an SAT score suitable to keep him on the team is a fairly pathetic reflection of the NCAA's token academic requirements for college sports.

Puts a whole new spin on "student athlete," doesn't it?

Blogger Japes said...
WTF? What's with all the complaints? I think people easily forget that there's little to write about in the offseason. Livin Large was a nice way to introduce new (but equally addictive) content to this blog during the summer. I for one thought they were awesome!

Keep up the good work Matt, we're looking forward to the rest of the worsties and more Bawfulness for the upcoming season.

Blogger chris said...
Japes: You know what? I really like both "regular Bawful" and "LL Bawful" all the time and hope for a mix of both tones and styles as the season goes on, and into the far future.

Besides, even the stories about life in the Association need to be told in that tangential, verbose fashion that Matholomew has provided so graciously for us. :D

Blogger Japes said...
@chris: I agree. I enjoy regular bawful (of daily NBA games) as well as LL bawful and they seem to have a good balance. I remember the well written post the first time Matt wrote about Aimee's dad and his brutal basketball lessons.

There's definitely something to be said about adding some human elements to basketbawful that we can relate to.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with you on all the complaining. there's no need for that.

why don't all of the complainers just ask for their money back and take your business somewhere else?

Blogger the differential said...
If you don't like LL, just STFU... otherwise, you may end up as a bloody smear...

LL rules.

But I am looking forward to the worsties.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
To this day, I'm a little disappointed that Bawful didn't push Mat into a fight. Not that I want to see (either in the past or present) Bawful get "smeared," but a fight would have resolved some of the roommie issues quickly.

Of course, what probably would have happened is that Bawful would have moved, and then we wouldn't have become bromates. I retract the above statement.

At any rate, eff Mat. Now and forever.

Anonymous Anderson At Large said...
A friend clued me to the Livin' Large segments, and I've enjoyed tuning in. I don't know what the worsties or "regular bawful" posts entail, but I'm a basketball fanatic so I'll keep reading, and will surely interject to dispute any claims to the effect that the Lakers won't catch up to the Celtics championship tally in 2011 (by beating the Lebron-led, Jay-Z-Asst-Coached Brooklyn Nets, no less).

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I agree with the complainers. Enough of this "Livin' Large" nonsense and get back to telling me who had a trillion or a Mario last night! Save this stuff for when there aren't games going on! I'm just sayin'.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
These stories are great, and I have a lot of sympathy for you (roomed with a football player as freshman). But it seems to me that, at least at 18, you had as far to go to become a good guy (which you obviously have) as Big Mat did.

Blogger Marc said...
what?!? Dude, lil matt was a typical 18 year old. He didn't have "far to go" to become a good guy.

eff big mat.

Blogger chris said...
Wild Yams: Yeah! Matholomew and the rest of the crew are also clearly ignoring a summer full of "Great Moments in Inbouding." Gee.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Also, where is today's daily Kobe Worst Of update? I wanna know how he tortured Luke Walton yesterday!

Not happy.

Blogger Cortez said...
"Alas, there will be no happy ending with Mat."

Unintended sexual reference. least I hope it was unintended.

...not that there is anything wrong with that!

"Enough of this "Livin' Large" nonsense..."

Here, here!

Blogger Mintz... said...
"...disinclined to acquiesce to my room change request"

Love the Pirates reference. :D

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Yams - I totally miss it too. I'm guessing he probably did a double take at practice when he saw the Son of Walton there. "Why are you here? I thought they cut you? Oh wait, that was that loser Sun Yue. But if they cut him, why did they leave you?..." Then he proceeded to play Stop-Making-Me-Hit-You while asking Luke how many rings he had.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Yeah, this livin' large thing started out pretty entertaining. Then, it quickly turned into some geek re-inventing his freshman year at school to try to make himself feel better about what a tool he was/is. He was a door-checking campus security putz who hung out with a bunch of D&D fruits. Now, he wants people to believe that all the women secretly loved him, and he eventually had his way with whomever he wished while his fellow nerds stroke his ego (along with other things, I'm sure). This "BadDave" and whoever else is supposed to be his friends are just as clueless as Matt. Seriously, only someone who THINKS they are remotely cool would call themself "BadDave." I can just see the conversation that ended with this nickname:

Matt and Dave sitting in the Fish Bowl at the local pub their senior year at school. It's 7:30 in the evening, and they are by themselves watching the freshmen co-eds walk by, wondering why everyone looks at them and turns away giggling. Being buzzed after their 2nd Zima, Matt and Dave start to reminisce;

Matt..."Hey Dave, man. You remember that one time down at the cafeteria when you unscrewed the salt shaker, and then you left it that way after we left?"

Dave..."Yeah, man! I thought for sure someone would figure out is was me, and then I would end up in front of the deans to see if I would be kicked out of school, or not."

Matt..."Yeah, dude. That was bad! You are bad. I'm gonna have to call you Bad Dave from now on."

Dave..."Oh man! No way!"

Matt..."But the chicks will dig it."

Dave..."You sure?"

Matt..."Of course I'm sure. I'm in the honors program."

Dave..."Then Bad Dave it is."

Matt..."Cool! Now, we better get out of here before those guys kick us out of their seats, again."

What a couple of douchebags!

Anyway...thanks for 3 or 4 good episodes. Let us know in the last episodes how that mean 6'3" inside game worked for you against your pathetic friends at the 3rd floor of the co-rec, while the real ballers played downstairs. Wiley always did have the biggest dorks on campus.


Anonymous Anonymous said...
Inbetween Thanksgiving break to Christmas break, was Mat still bringing back girls and hooking up while you were in the room like in the beginning of the year?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
so was it aimee's dad who played you in 1 vs 1 full court, or was it susan. or someone else?

Blogger said...
you should get Mat to guestpost

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I earlier described this installment as "less than satisfying". However, that is a backhanded compliment to how entertaining this series has been.
I had never read "basketbawful" and will not be likely to read it much as I am not a huge NBA fan (more college). So if my comment seemed overly demanding of the series I retract it.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I also would love to know some of the details of reaction from the characters in this story. And a "where are they now?" segment as a follow-up would be great.

Anonymous Andrew said...
For people who might be upset, remember that ONE of the Livin Large segments has to be the weakest one. Or the shortest one. Or the one with the least Mat, most dialogue, or whichever. And it's probably best to drag out the shocking stuff first, to get people to pay attention. I would not have, without all that.

Also, we can't expect every entry to have the shock value of just knowing something like this actually transpired. Being a fan of Large Midwestern University, let's just say I remember Mat's career in basketball and felt it was sad he never really seemed to adjust to the US. Heh heh.

I think if writing is more than good enough, at some point you better stop trying to rank it. Livin Large has been that way for me. It's helped me laugh a bit better at a lot of diverse stuff. From how I was with girls, to noisy roommates and neighbors, to realizing you are probably lionizing your favorite team even when you think you're not.

Blogger said...
You stayed in Wiley?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
hey f*** the complainers. Next thing they'll be saying you jumped the shark. Stop whining and go somewhere else. Move on to the next semester I say!!

Anonymous dxj said...
contrary to some of the other commenters, i think livin' large is probably the best thing you've ever written and my reaction upon reading that there were only a few installments was a loud, wailing noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.....

Anonymous Barry said...
Found a gallery where our big friend is giving a basketball clinic..

I for one still thoroughly enjoy reading these installments.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Where is the next installment? Bottom line is you yanks are strange sorts but this is a good read! Reads to me like it could be a good shout for a college type film! Get the next installments put up you bell and can someone give us the link so I can see this big mother hubbard?! Cheers.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I just finished reading all 23 installments. I will have to say that this took me down memory lane as I was also attending the same school at the same time. I ran into Mat a couple of times and I am suprised you never mentioned how messed up his teeth were. I mean he was one ugly dude!

I too was a co-rec junkie. I was wandering if the Joe you refered to was a slim 6-2 red head who seemed to live in the co-rec? I balled with him many times.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Where is the rest of the story? I dont see anything past 23

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Im dying to read the rest of the story. Please help me.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
It's 4am And I spent the last 3 hours reading this series. Ill be damned if there isn't a part 24 livin' large.