On the sixth day of Gheorghemas
Big Gheorghe gave to me
Six Simpler Memories
Five shows to binge watch on TV
Four Random Thoughts
Three Punk Rock Playlists
Two Digits Throughout History
And the debut of Mac McFis-ty
It's a cliche to wish for simpler times, to lament the complexity that comes with prosperity, family, college savings, and increased responsibility. Cliche, but I'm feeling it this holiday season. 2016, in a final salvo of perfectly gratuitous knife-twisting, refuses to go quietly into that good night. On top of a year-end grind of planning and preparation for a significant organizational change on January 1, our largest prospect dropped a Request for Proposal (RFP) on December 14 with a due date of January 6. And don't bother asking for an extension, because we really need to make an award as soon as possible.
I can't tell which stress-induced discomfort is worse, the constant nausea or the headaches.
So I was happy to drift away for a minute or two earlier this week. Whitney's tribute to one of the Gheorghiest people of all-time took me back to a simpler era, when the Magnificent Seven seemed like a good idea - and not a recipe for a week-long hangover. I've got guffaw-inducing memories (and some hazy spots) from those events. And for the sixth day of Gheorghemas, here are a half-dozen other things from that era that still make me smile.
As most of the audience knows, I spent much of my twenties living with Whitney, Clarence, and our friend Spoid, among a few others. We were young, dumb, relatively broke, and really lazy, and our diets testified (and contributed to the broke part). I don't have the exact figures, but I estimate that 43% of our meals consisted of delivery from Arlington's legendary Lost Dog Cafe. Another significant portion came from the 7-11 down the street. And when we tired of those things, there was always this:
That right there's a Hot Diggity Dogger, Clark. I think Whitney got that for Christmas, or maybe gave it to me as a gift. But I can still taste the perfectly toasted rolls and roasted hot dogs that genius invention delivered me on the regular.
Dumb & Dumber
Whitney and I saw the Farrelly Brothers' opus on a Tuesday evening one winter (last Friday was the 22nd anniversary of its release). To this day, I've never laughed harder in a theater. The fact that I was half-drunk certainly contributed to my enjoyment of the film, but never did a cinematic moment so fully align with my personal funnybone. Obviously, we bought it as soon as it was available on video. Over the roughly two more years we lived together, I estimate that we watched all or part of it 150 times. You may think that sounds preposterous. I think it might be low.
You da Man
If we didn't come home drunk and put on Lloyd and Harry, then we put on this video:
Little did we know that the producers would become some of our best internet friends. Poor Jim McIlvaine.
Wednesday Morning Coming Down
If 43% of our meals came from Lost Dog, then at least 14% of our dinners came from Cowboy Cafe. The one on Lee Highway. We're not jerks.
The reason Whitney and I were drunk on a Tuesday night while at the movies was because we started at Cowboy, where half-price burger night made us regulars, and being regulars begat no-price pitchers night. Again, estimating conservatively, I'd bet that I was still drunk at work on at least 20 Wednesday mornings in 1994. And the community that we developed at that little dive bar (which numbered close to 20 people at its zenith, complete with weekly e-magazine) was like a dipshit Cheers without the cameras. Whitney and I will be attending the wedding of one of our Cowboy compadres in Mexico this May, likely sans partners. I say we try to relive some of the good ol' days.
Chris Damon from the Damons
We saw a bunch of music during our salad days. (Ain't that a misnomer.) Some of it kinda runs together, if I'm being honest. Seeing Pearl Jam close out the second day of the Tibetan Freedom Festival at RFK doesn't, though. Nor does starting the conga line at a They Might Be Giants show so we could move from the back of the venue to the front. Bad form, that. Bygones.
It was a moment at a different TMBG show at the old Radio Music Hall (now the 9:30 Club) that makes me laugh to this day. Spoid drove us to the show, which gave Whitney and I ample opportunity to prepare ourselves, pharmaceutically speaking. We made it into the building, but weren't capable of doing much more than holding ourselves upright for the first few songs of the opening act. An act with which none of us was familiar. As Whit and I slowly regained focus, Spoid figured it out.
"It's Chris Damon. From the Damons."
"Oh. Do you mean Chris Stamey? From the dB's?"
The fact that that memory seared its way through the haze of that evening and sticks still nearly 25 years later is a testament to both the vagaries of the human memory and the number of times that Whitney and I repeated it in a stoned fit of giggles.
Odds, Ends, and Ephemera
Man, I've enjoyed this. I can feel my mood lifting. Thanks, Gheorghies!
I could go on for a while, too. There were epic Wiffle Ball games in the backyard of our nearly-perfect rental house in North Arlington. Bachelor parties at the same place, a few of which devolved in ways we didn't necessarily see coming. (It's not what you think. Unless you're thinking about 15 morons trying to crowd into a very small bathroom to watch a stripper take a shower.)
There were multiple Sunday night parties on the eve of Monday holidays, which paradoxically
endeared us to the older neighbors on either side of us. The lesson: tell your neighbors when you're planning to be assholes, and don't do it too often. House parties at Evan's place just a short drive away I remember our 'bananas for everyone' rule when one of us hooked up. We didn't have bananas all that often. I recall not being able to use our indoor plumbing for a week during a wicked cold snap - we pissed outside and we took our other 'business' to the Wendy's up the road a bit. We boycotted that Wendy's for some reason that's been lost to time.
There were lazy Sundays with groups of friends watching sports, and the winning ways of the early Angry Men. Whitney got a concussion playing football on frozen tundra, then skipped the hospital to drink at a wedding. In retrospect, that might've had lasting consequences.
I took my then-girlfriend to the aforementioned 7-11 for ham and cheese rollups on our first Valentine's Day. And she still married me.
I'm lucky she did. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss that time in my life, when I was essentially responsibility-free, and my job was easy enough that I could fake my way through it - even when I was basically still drunk.
I wonder if that job's still open.