Search This Blog

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Some Friendships Last A Lifetime 
or happy anniversary old chum

Thirty years ago today, on a steamy July morning I stood in a long line for Freshman orientation at a small city college. I was 19, was recently fired from my job and had enrolled in this particular institute of higher learning as a last resort. I knew no one. I was chatting with the girl in front of me when a short, dark-haired, brown-eyed boy named Dennis chimed in on our conversation.

The three of us hung out together throughout the long wait, the mind-numbing orientation in the auditorium and the flavorless institution provided lunch. Honestly, I don't remember the girl, but the boy...he continually made me laugh. He was witty, wry and full of useless little factoids. I would not forget him.

He became my best friend.

At the end of the day, he drove north back to his hometown, but we wrote to each other several times a week. Actual letters. You remember them? Ink on stationery. Envelopes. Stamps. Time lag between the writing of sender and reading by recipient. The anticipation of what treasure may linger behind the rusty metal flap of the mailbox.

By the time we met up again in September, Dennis was tall enough to look me in the eye. Seriously. He grew like... six inches! His parents must have fed him Miracle Gro or some such thing.

In a matter of minutes, we were inseparable.

We've been through a lot wacky antics...student films, plays, road trips, apartment raids (our doing--not the law's), getting busted sneaking into the theater, trolling through burned out buildings, an ill-conceived vintage clothing craze (translation: old crap from the remains of a closed resale shop)...and much more I've forgotten.

My student film acting career is unmercifully preserved on 16mm & video tape. And, no you can't see it. That painful viewing is reserved for close friends only, on a dark summer eve, preferably on a bender.

My roommates and I used to torture poor Denny by turning off the lights and hiding when he went to the bathroom. We'd jump out at him, scaring the figurative crap out of him. He'd end up flailing and screeching much to our twisted, sadistic delight. Ha Ha! Time and time again, he fell for it. We're old now, so I don't think it's wise to leap out of the darkness at him. That would be an awkward 911 call.

Operator: 911. What is your emergency?
Me: Ummm...our friend is passed out.
Operator: How did this happen?
Me: Uh..yeah, funny story. When he went to the bathroom, we sort of hid from him and then jumped out of the dark, yelling tribal screams. His eyes kinda rolled back in his head and he.. crumpled to the floor. (nervous chuckle)
Operator: *silence* What the f*ck is wrong with you people?

See what I mean. Awkward.

Throughout our long history, we supported each other through several misguided relationships, including one ill-fated attempt of our own. Fortunately, we managed to remain the best of friends. No small feat there. We even survived the challenge of distance--Los Angeles and more recently New Zealand. I'm happy to report he and his lovely family are planted a mere mile away.

Through it all Dennis has remained my confidant, my sounding board, my defender, my supporter... my best friend. Always accepting. Never passing judgement. Having Dennis in my life has been a blessing. And not just because he's the only one of my buds sweet enough to come over to my apartment late at night to bake a cake for me to take to my temp job the next morning, all because I was too drunk to function.

He has filled my life with unconditional joy and elan and love and laughter.

And he does silly-ass shit like this in public. How could I not love his company?

Thirty years...

That sounds like such a looooong time. Hell, that's longer than most marriages. But with the right people in your life, years shoot by faster than a gang banger on a drive-by...only with a lot less bloodshed.

So here's to you my long-time compadre. May we be blessed to share thirty more circles around the sun.

I love you, man.

No comments: