Saturday, June 30, 2007

Number 100

This is my hundredth post, which is prime because this is the forum to talk about what a fucking dumbass I am for missing my friend Sam's wedding party. I can't get across just how awful I feel about this; Milwaukee is a great town, even greater in the summer time. I had a great time in March when I hung out with Sam and Jason after Marquette beat Pitt, and I re-met Sam's fiancee, who was in a Cold War History class I took four or five years ago. Jason's moving out of Milwaukee soon, which means I should take every opportunity to see him there, and how often do you get to celebrate a friend's Marriage? I was even looking forward to seeing the people with compromised values and serious character flaws, who I'd previously told myself I'd never talk to again.

Here's a rundown of my memories of Sam. Hope you're readin' this, buddy:

The summer before our senior year is when I really started to hang out with Sam. He lived in 939, right next door to me. I remember being depressed, sitting in my house, hearing really loud, awful country music coming out of a boombox next door, and seeing Sam, lanky, plastered, reclining in a lawn chair with a gigantic can of beer (coulda been Ice House) with sundry people milling about. Remarked to myself that this guy looks like a jackass.

Song: No Depression by Uncle Tupelo

939 was an interesting place. It housed twelve or thirteen guys, countless kegs, and lord knows how many date rapes. It did not have a sterling reputation, but it was no frat house in that regard. Rather, each house member had his own idiosyncrasies, sociopathic tendencies, drinking problem, sense of humor, inner demons, and charming qualities. They had parties often, but those lost their luster as my own fear of women took root. Even when we didn't have a party there, we started off drinking there. Sometimes we never left. Towards the end of our senior year, and I'm getting ahead of myself, we would set chairs out on the balcony, which was right out of Sam's spacious, creepy room, smoke cigarettes and heckle people walking along the sidewalk. Those are the college experiences more talented people make into movie scenes.

Song: Tentative Decisions by the Talking Heads

Sam and I are very similar even in the ways that we are polar opposites. Jason was kind of the median point between us. Our politics couldn't be farther apart, and we would get into really dumb arguments. Usually, they ended with my making fun of Jesus. Usually, too, he was just trying to irritate me, which is a dangerous trap to fall into when you take yourself very seriously and think you know more than everyone else. It teaches you, if you're smart, to have a sense of humor even in those things you value most. Enough earnestness: I pulled similar irritating ploys myself (telling a pissed-off, certain morbidly upright and plasticine member of our graduating class - hint for the MU people reading: his initials are MW - that his family owed blacks reparations for slavery) but couldn't be laid back enough to take my own medicine. Sam deserves much credit, even in his horribly mistaken political views, for my slowly getting my head out of my ass (Launch date: 2012). Also, we fell for girls too easily. He was a sunny optimistic, I was a fatalist. Guess who was more fun to talk to at these times?

Song: Love Comes In Spurts by Richard Hell and the Voidoids

My cousin Casey was a Freshman when we were seniors. He was a reticent, shy kid, so we had him come out with us one night. Sam was geared towards getting rid of a couch that some douche bag undergrad had left at 939 over the summer and hadn't bothered picking up. He did it the only way he knew how: by gutting it with a hunting knife.

Song: Champion by Professor Murder

Sweet Jesus, I have to laugh about this now. I was head over heels for a girl who had been a very good friend of mine, and told her before she left for a study/internship thing. There was mutual feeling there, but she told me it would never work out for pretty legitimate reasons that I dismissed at the time. Dumb, dumb, dumb romantic that I was, I figured that the more open I was about my feelings, the more she would warm to the idea of a relationship when she got back. Well, when she got back for Christmas, she invited me to hang out with her in her hometown. Things went fine at first, then they didn't. I was sent packing in an Amtrak back to Milwaukee on the second day. I sincerely hope that Sam erased the voicemail I left him asking him to pick me up at the station in Milwaukee. But he was there when I was almost Smithsian in my forlornness. Me, Sam, and Jason saw Lord of the Rings and got drunk. It wasn't long before they were making fun of me again.

Song: A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger by Of Montreal

Fridays and Saturdays visiting Mo at the bar. How I long for those days, of discounted gin and tonics and caucasians. This is a communal memory - we all went out there. The night is always more promising with cheaper booze and townies to ogle.

Song: Trash by the New York Dolls

Driving back from Halloween costume shopping, Jason spots a poor guy crossing the street, says, "What do you think he's gonna be for Halloween?" Sam says, "Hungry."

Song: The Classical by The Fall

Anyway, these are just a few of my memories of Sam, a tribute to a guy whose ADD isn't so bad that he'd get the wrong day to come to Milwaukee to go to a friend's wedding party. I'm so happy for you, Sam, and I'm sorry I wasn't there for you guys last night. We'll tip a few bottles in August, I promise.

Song: Keep the Cosmic Trigger Happy by Super Furry Animals


Blogger Sam said...

Hey Joe- I just got back a week or so ago - that's a really nice post - I'd forgotten about the homeless guy and the couch-gutting - let me know what you're up to - I'm not doing too much for the next few weeks - maybe we can figure something out

8/13/2007 4:01 PM  

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