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“The Night of Insanity”

By on October 27th, 2016 in Football, Memories 13 Comments »

Source: The Auburn Villager (file photo)

Greetings, fellow citizens of the Loveliest Village! In a previous article

, I bemoaned the demolition of the Caroline Draughon Village Extension (also known as “New CDV”). The removal of New CDV represented the loss of a significant Auburn landmark for me—it was my dorm for my freshman year at Auburn, and really was my first ever home away from home. Several of you readers reflected on the memories generated by your own living places at Auburn, both on- and off-campus. On my part, a lot of memories occurred in the one academic year I lived in the Extension, none quite as vivid as what happened within the first few weeks of my coming to the Plains.

As I said in my earlier article, I lived a pretty conservative and sheltered existence (for which I am VERY grateful to my parents for providing) before I went away to college. So, the occurrences of that one night in the fall of 1983 were a real eye opener and have pretty much stayed with me all this time (although they might have been pedestrian compared to the college experiences of many of you readers out there).

Simply put, one temperate evening in late September/early October, the power went out in the whole New CDV complex. It may have even been out on our whole side of campus. In any case, since there wasn’t anything one could accomplish inside our apartments in the dark, all us residents let out a “woo-hoo” and dragged the kitchen chairs out our front doors to the balcony breezeways for an evening of drinking games and visiting with the folks next door.

Out came the boom boxes, blasting great Eighties’ selections like Quiet Riot’s “Come on Feel the Noize” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” as loud as their batteries could power them. People were loudly singing along, and everyone was aggressively contemplating Auburn’s expected success on the gridiron that upcoming weekend. Basically, one giant block party spontaneously broke out throughout New CDV. All this activity was unusual in my world but certainly not shocking.

Then came the bottle rockets. At first, they were shot straight up with their loud whistles and blazing tails tearing way up through the darkened night sky. Pretty soon, though, the folks living at two ends of our courtyard mutually agreed to engage in a bottle-rocket war. I was surprised anyone would voluntarily put themselves in the way of flying arrows of flame in this way, so this was starting to seem a little crazy to me, but I could still go with it.

The only light was from a few emergency lamps, and the night did not have much of a moon—well, there wasn’t much of a moon in the sky, but all of a sudden there were plenty of moons, except these all came with sneakers and headbands as a gang of whooping-and-hollering streakers came rumbling from the men’s side of the complex. A few minutes later, a series of squeals came from the women’s end of the complex as the distaff side decided that they were not to be upstaged by the boys, and a running herd of young ladies proceeded to “let it all hang out” (albeit in near-total darkness). As appreciative as I was of these gentlewomen’s gesture, I now had to say to myself that things were getting a little out of hand.

The night continued to roll on in the same raucous manner until the lights finally came back on, and we all went back inside to our equally loud stereo systems and perhaps a little bit of study time. As I noted, this might be tame compared to other experiences in your lives, and I certainly have seen much stranger things as I have made my way through this incredibly insane world. Nonetheless, at that particular time in my life, I had never imagined I would be observing such things first-hand. Those events made a very deep impression in my mind, and I collected all of them under the sobriquet of The Night of Insanity.

Being the budding musician and songr that I was (in my own mind), I set about composing a fitting paean to the night’s events. I took inspiration from the band, The Police, and the vibe of Sting’s voice on their hit “King of Pain” resonated with me on this evening. Thus, I penned this epic (or half-epic, as I never went past the first verse and chorus):

“The Night of Insanity”

I see the dark

The fullness of nothing

It all comes together

The night of insanity

Light, light and life

Tearing up the night

It all comes apart

The night of insanity

Run, run, run

Run up to the sun

Time has finally come

The night of insanity

Fly, fly, fly

Fly up to the sky

Flaming torches high

The night of insanity


In fact, here is a video of me performing this oeuvre (for the first time in over 30 years):

I just think it is a shame that a physical place that holds memories like these is no longer present in our own space and time—it’s a good thing that our actual memories can live on past their physical reminders.

I guess this was more of a reflection on myself than it was on the actual events, so I’m sure all of you have much more entertaining stories you could tell about your experiences at Auburn (or wherever else you went to school)—so, let’s have them!

Michael Val

(Who is no longer surprised—but can still be shocked—by what goes on in the world these days.)


  1. KungFuPanda9 KungFuPanda9 says:

    5/4 time, a cut above

    • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

      …..I'm too rhythm-challenged to do 5/4 or 7/4! Most complicated time thing I ever wrote was a tune that alternated every measure, 6/8, then 3/4. (1 and and 2 and and / 1 and 2 and 3 and… and so on. All eighth notes had the same time value, it was just a matter of where the accent was.)

      …..I've participated in bottle-rocket wars, too. We used pieces of tent-pole with dirt shoved in one end. You'd perch the rocket on the open end of the tube, light it, shake it down into the tube, then point at your target.

      …..I had a whole bundle of those rockets in my front pocket one time, pointed down into the pocket. I'm not sure how it happened, but they got lit. I guess a stray spark dropped onto one of the fuses. Suddenly my pocket was on fire, and those things started going off! I frantically ran around, trying to swat the burning, exploding mess out of my pocket! I got some nice blisters and a ruined pair of shorts out of that episode!

      …..This is why I don't go ballistic when an Auburn football player gets into the news for doing something stupid. I was that age when the above incident happened!

      • mvhcpa says:

        Kung fu, yes, thanks for noticing that unusual time signature! I didn’t quite get it right in the video until the second half of the verse, though.

      • mvhcpa says:

        Acid, I listened to a lot of Rush in my sophomore year in HS when I carpooled with a guy with a red Beetle containing a hellacious stereo system–that helped out when I was putting this together! MVH

        • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

          …..I really didn’t get into the rock till I was at Auburn. Birmingham radio stations wouldn’t play the hard stuff. The Eagles’ “Life in the Fast Lane” was about as metal as they would get.

          …..Besides, I carpooled with 4 girls. While that had its own benefits (!), they were into Donna Summer, Barry Manilow, and that sort of thing.

  2. ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

    I was long gone from New CDV when that occurred but we ALL heard about it. ’83 was my last year and I was living off campus. I like the tune, though, and I have some memories of my own. Not sure I need to share some of those!



  3. Randyc37 Randyc37 says:

    A nice read that does bring back some memories. I lived in the village after I got married in 1976. I had a furnished apartment for $65 a month. My place was right across from the former Kappa Sigma fraternity house. The residents in my building were often invited to the fraternity parties and cook outs. We would always chip in and contribute.

    • mvhcpa says:

      Thank you for your nice comments. I always wondered why they called New CDV an “extension” of original CDV–unless they just wanted to emphasize they were apartments rather than straight-up dorms.

  4. easyedwin easyedwin says:

    Yeah. I lived in the “Castle” on Thach and Gay. Sadly, it was razed 3 weeks ago. I began living over one of the Castle garages and graduated to the main Castle building. Our first puppy was born there. Dr. Waters was one of our neighbors.

  5. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    ……I suppose that my first Auburn residence, Dorm-7 in the quad will still be there when I’m gone. My mother lived there in the early 1950s, and I did as well, in the late 1970s. Room 208, on a back corner.

    ……My other two residences were Windsor Hall on West Mag., and finally Eagles West, next door. Apartment U-11, near the back of the complex. My roommate had an essay about the German U-11 U-boat, hung on the wall. Both of those buildings still stand and are occupied, at least the last time I walked by there, on this past spring’s A-Day.