The Droogs

A lot of people seem to meet their lifelong friends in college. I don't think I have any friends from college days. However, I know many people from high school, including my oldest friends. We all went to TC Williams High School, in Alexandria, Virginia. TCW was made famous by "Remember the Titans," which deals with events at TC when I was a student there (as far as I know, no one plays Mark Hinton in the movie).

Six of us gravitated towards each other. We called ourselves the Droogs, after Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange, which several of us read before the movie came out (two Droogies were also studying Russian in high school and knew that Droog is Russian for friend). We weren't really into ultra-violence, as Burgess's Droogs were. We were into Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention (including the Florescent Leach and Eddie), pizza & Blossom Time, Super-8 film, bicycles and, as grist for our mill, popular culture.

John Merck Robert Coontz Gue Fred Reiner Steve O'Neill David Smithka The Droogs are:

  1. Robert Coontz
  2. John Merck
  3. Steve O'Neill
  4. Fred Reiner
  5. David Smithka
  6. me

Were you guys Nerds?

It's hard to imagine, but in those days nerds did not rule the earth -- no one wanted to be a nerd then. We were intellectuals trapped in man-child bodies.

Which Droog is dead?

That would be David Smithka.

Which one was Gue?

That's me, also Captain Dart, channeller of Um die Ecke, and Mike Hilton in those days. While I was searching for myself, I kept finding new names.

6 friends in front of my houseWhy isn't (insert name here) a Droog?

I don't know. I was there when it happened and even I can't remember some of the details of the coming together. Why did we adopt a group identity? We had ritual (Aztec dance) and science (hypertime) and even myth (people of Alice & people of Mike). We had a greeting and a handshake. Thank god we didn't have costumes or a logo.

Why these six? I don't think we were any more creative than the other students at TC -- we just had great synergy.

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revised Monday May 19, 2003 3:22 PM