another Spring is roaring in… and lately I’ve been thinking about our friendship. your comfortable, confident kindness, unveiled by alert but caring eyes twinkling in the bright blue Carolina sunshine. flashing that affable, genuine smile, as always seemingly amused by life’s irony; and like me you seemed sorta’ OK with it. sure, we differed on some of the specifics, but in general there was never any disagreement and little doubt about who we were and who we were talking to. together we were some solid state shit.
You’re fucking dead?
how so, can that be remotely possible, even in a world of infinite possibilities?
it seemed to me that we had an unspoken but real understanding between us; one, that said no matter what happens, it doesn’t make two shits in the bigger picture. i mean… we could deal. though, i’ll be the first to admit that up to then we both had been spoiled by more than a little of ‘just lucky-in- life’. still, i saw myself and you as survivors, even if and when the rest of the world had gone to crash-and-burn.
i’m still puzzled how that must not have been true with you, or something? what was it?
why not just choose life?
i figured that you knew that I felt that you felt that way, too. we both were there in the middle of it alright, and choosing quite well if i may say so. though we never talked about it, i thought we both knew…?? you know, that it’s all bullshit in the end. but, it is what it is.
even so, i still miss you my friend…
but hey… my aim is gettin’ better mutha’ fucka’. too little too late?
the little things are what i miss.
the all-world-cement for-real bond… the authentic kind that brightened me almost daily. so, i’m not sad that you left because to me you haven’t. but, i am more than a little pissed that you’re dead.
i miss those, “i know that you know that i knew that you knew… ya’ know?
Ah-ha… yes. see… i knew it” moments.
an authentic relationship, as rare as they are these days and one that brightened my moments and yours, i think. so… tell me?
“…the grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back,
and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.”
—J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
in my mind’s eye (snoring) i’m laughing-out-loud imagining you being alive today mutha’-fucka’, still jumping at all the latest self-improvement fad(s):
- “hey tommyboy, check out my new quit smoking habit… it’s called vaping. what? you think it’s gay looking and nerdy and i’ll never get laid again? yeah right. just watch while I out-live-and-out-fuck you as the decades roll by. oh wait… you won’t be able to watch me if you’re dead, ha ha ha.”
- days later you’re all, “vaping? me? huh, i don’t think so. it’s just not me… it’s stupid looking. hey, gimme a menthol, cool bean. yeah right. vaping. HA!”
- then i imagine minor attacks of schadenfreude, you just thinking about the almighty “Big Burger Stop”. “just wait and see,” you say. “this is just the honeymoon.” and i’m thinking….“do what? this fuckin’ guy is actually human?”
at your home away from home, your cubby-hole office at SubstationII. it’s 9:45 p.m. on a tuesday night. closing time. everybody else is hustling.
…you pull hard on a fat cigar, then casually display your stare down-cynical-side look, belied by the unintended smile creeping across your face. in a calm repose… feet propped high on your desk, smoke swirling lazily in circles around your face.
you: “que pasa. an Arturo for you as well mi amigo? mucho benito grande too. you like?”
i had turned you on to Arturo Fuentes cigars a couple years before.
me: “oh… you hired that new Spanish chick, huh? she’s hot.”
i question you about the new career/lifestyle of an mutual ex-friend, turned mega-burger-entrepreneur marketing
“… insincerity can be the highest form of flattery”, seemingly his motto.
“i think it’s great, but we (you and me) both know somewhere there’s a tiny fuse lit and it’s heading for… Kaboom”
“it’s not if… but when… tehe. I hope not, but… well, you know. mark it down. it’ll happen”
“but seriously… I’m really proud of them. they’re glued together like a real married couple who hates each other passionately. money can buy an appearance of happiness, tehe. but, the scenery is always gonna be the same, whatever lies you wanna tell. to each his own”
“you know, i could help them make better margins and less effort. not by selling more food but controlling quantities and waste… managing better. but I got a chill when we would talk about the business. you know, I’m pretty good at this stuff. i’m not selling anthing… trying to beat somebody. i could really just help a friend.”
“long term, it’ll never happen. speed and pride: a deadly combination. and him? to say he’s an A personality who acts like he overdosed on speed is redundant… of course he has and that can be a plus. but, some decisions take time and analysis”
“she might do him in or he might do her in, but i doubt it. i think they both realize that nobody else on the planet would put up with either one of ’em, so they ride it out collecting way too much dirt on each other”
“but, honestly tommyboy… you cannot IMAGINE THE IMMENSITY OF THE FUCK I DO NOT GIVE; i’ve got my own problems to worry about. not tryna’ beat nobody here. well OK… maybe trashing your ass in golf does give me a small chubby sometimes” (wry smile).
“what’s mine is yours, and I hope you get some of it whatever it is. whatever it is, if it’s mine it’s yours. just make sure you wash the sheets. and whatever you do, DON’T let the fucking dog out. hahahaha”
“let’s have beer or six later? Chumleys. I’ll meet Oaster the toaster first. Chumleys at 8ish. got meds and cold brew…? cool, a plan? eat my toast. nuttin’ but butta’… butta man,.”
“tommyboy, drive safe. life’s to short for dying young. hey wait, you’re not so young. be careful I say… and hey, you know i’m not kidding. you are getting a bit long in the tooth. hahahaha”
out-what me by decades? huh?
wake-up alarm sounds, i’m feelin’ happy, all warm and fuzzy. I just spent the day with my buddy. then, I realize… that was then, and this is, uh… ouch… NOW?
doug, you’re fucking dead goddammit. WTF?
you’re gonna out-live-and-out-fuck me? dude, i won that bet. dead-or-alive, pay-the-fuck-on-up.
So there it is, my Dougly.
you: always with me if only in mind and/or dreams. but then, what else is there my brother? guess you’re not telling either, huh? well, it seems real enough for me. i woke up feeling happy inside that we spent some time together, had some laughs.
even if only a minute later I remembered that the you’re dead. but, that shit was all too real for me. and this? it was just barely not as much fun, but only after i woke up.
“They say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing
and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name
for the last time.”
yo’ doug. work hard, play harder? never stop believing? right.
well, can’t do those two when you’re fucking dead, dude. I said or you said, or I think i thought I said… no, it was Jimmy Valvano who famously said,
“don’t give up, don’t ever give up,”remember that? never mind.
if you get a chance tell Jim, and Lo Charles i said “hey”. ‘preiche-ate-it.
here’s some a-little-too-late advice:
living is meant to have some fun, love some good folks, deal with some pain. have some good and bad luck. nose dive, dust yourself off and soar. or not. doesn’t fucking matter. fuck up, and get over it. fuck up again. get the fuck over that too.
to live is to be able to say to your best friend as you look him in the eye and nod solemnly, “I figured something out. the reason I curse so much is because… FUCK YOU, you’re dead. but, i forgive you anyway mutha’ fucka’.
On the 2-year anniversary of one fine individual’s very poor and irrevocable decision. ironically, this decision was made by someone I often admired for his unusually good decision making skills.