I’m only worth $2.75

The evening began innocently enough. Sitting in The Northerner‘s office talking to the other editors, I decided that perhaps covering the Date Night auction hosted by the coed KKPsi band fraternity would be worthwhile.
Little did I know that this event would draw me in past the point of no return in reporting.

I arrived in the band room about 7 p.m., camera in hand, every eye on me.

“The person behind the table must be the one in charge,” I thought to myself.

So I approached a red-haired woman, who appeared slightly distracted by last-minute preoccupations.

“Hi, I’m Vern, a reporter with The Northerner. I would like to watch your event, get some photos and write a story about it.”

Instantly, she seemed relieved and told me her name was Katharine Tokosh, a junior and co-coordinator of the Date Night auction. She called over a girl — my next interviewee — whom Tokosh said was the other coordinator. After testing my pen to make sure it had some ink in it, I found it was dead. As I was riffling through my equipment for a working pen, I looked up to find a young woman standing near me. The young lady introduced herself as Stephanie Lang, a senior. We sat down to conduct the preliminary interview and I began rattling off the conventional interview questions — who, what, why, how. Right from the get-go I knew that this was going to be more than I had bargained for.

Lang said that KKPsi would be auctioning off 11 guys, five girls and one of the guys will be auctioned off in drag. The fraternity would also be raffling off 11 prizes ranging from wacky toys to gift cards to help offset the expense of the date. By this time, I was thinking that the cast of American Pie had come to NKU, although some of my suspicions were abated when Lang told me the whole thing was just in good fun.

“Most of the auctionees are single and a lot (of bidders) are going to bid on others as jokes,” Lang told me.

But the biggest question was still not answered and burned in my mind: “Do you think any romances will come out of this?” I finally asked Lang.

“I’m going to go with probably not, but you never know,” Lang said. “There is always a chance.”

I’m used to being asked questions when interviewing someone, but the question that came out of Lang’s mouth floored me: “Are you going to bid on anyone?”

In my mind I was saying, “I would love to, yes,” but what came out of my mouth, what had to come out, was “No. I’m a reporter. I have to maintain my objectivity.”

Brian Theis, the master of ceremonies and auctioneer, dressed sharply in a suit and tie, took the podium and started the bids at $5. Most individuals sold for close to that sum. When Lang was placed on the auction block, I thought: “Heck, I’ve got 10 bucks in my pocket, why not. It’s for a good cause and I’ll just have the bookie bid for me.”

But before I could even turn to Matt Keeler, who was running the books, and tell him to bid up to $10 for me, a voice resounded, “$30 and a melted Twix,” from the other side of the room.

Before the bidding was over, Lang had sold for $50 and a melted Twix bar. The bidding continued until “Bostina” (Jon Bradner, dolled up in drag) was on the block. This was obviously the moment many of the audience members had been waiting for. Bostina’s profile included: “While in the wild, Bostina was raised by a moose named Sharrell. Her only friends were two small ducklings, and a flight-less bumble bee.” Bostina also enjoyed all types of wrestling and hydrochloric acid cocktails.

Bostina fetched a hefty sum of $20 for the fraternity. KKPsi decided to auction off audience members as well. Before I knew what was happening, Lang and Tokosh had surrounded me, and I was tossed onto the auction block. After giving my introduction and eliciting a few laughs from the crowd, Theis began the bid at $5.

The first bid wasn’t placed until Theis lowered the bid to $2. After a short bidding war between Tokosh and Lang (if you can consider increments of a quarter or less to be a war), I fetched a paltry $2.75 by Tokosh. Although my spirits slightly dampened by bringing in the second lowest sum for the evening, I was comforted to know that I had helped KKPsi pay for their regional convention and help the band in general.

KKPsi organizers said they netted approximately $214 for the band with the evening’s activities and hope to do it again next year. At the conclusion of the show I exchanged information with Tokosh and Lang — Tokosh for coffee; Lang for helping me in identifying people in the pic- tures I took. Love may not have been found on the auction block as it was in a famous country song or American Pie, but rarely have I attended an event where a smile never left my face.

And by the way, I was recently informed that three couples have decided to go on a second date.

Editorial by Vern Hockney