Monday, October 18, 2004

No more youth! :)

My folks got back from the Carolinas yesterday and came into the city to pick up Mike (our dog) this evening. They brought me a 1.14 L bottle of Capt. Morgan spiced rum in payment for looking after the little living room-wrecking bugger (along with a small camera tripod and two nice red pictures of William Lyon McKenzie King... that's 2x$50=$100 to you non-Canadians). So this evening I'm into the rum.

Right now I'm listening to 88 Lines About 44 Women by The Nails. Just before I started university in 1987, I stayed over with my friend Dave in Hamilton, and I copied this song from him (along with The Police album Ghost In the Machine). I remember listening to it while riding the bus to school and wandering around campus those years. I was young. Okay, I was hideously fat and wasn't getting laid, but still... I was young. The world was full of infinite promise, there were few real pressures on me, I was a writing machine, I had hair (on my head, not just on my back, ears, and ass). It was a lame time to be young, I admit. AIDS emerged the very second I sprouted pubic hair; the recession was in full bloom, and there was no Internet so porn was strictly work-up-the-guts-and-buy-it-at-the-corner-store or steal it from the barber shop. Still. It was a fucking excellent time to be young. Aside from world wars, when isn't?

Now the whole spiced rum thing works like this... I have a friend, a Scottish immigrant, named Alan. He was a friend at the very end of high school, but became like a brother to me in the years that followed (put it this way: he was the only other person, besides maybe my Dad, whose lap my cat Jenny would seek). In fact, he rescued me from chronic unemployement in 1999 when he offered me a job working in an Ericssson warehouse he managed, God bless him. In a practical sense, he's the best friend I've ever had. We've kind of lost touch lately because he's married and has a kid... you know the drill. But back in the 90s, we used to spend a lot of weekends down in my parents' basement (AKA my bedroom/sittting room) watching movies, getting pissed, and eating wayyyyyyyyyyyy too much pizza. What a fucking awesome time we had. If I croak tomorrow, at least I had those moments. Alan's one of the funniest people I've ever known (along with Dave, the guy I got the song I mentioned from... he's incredibly sarcastic, but in a nice way). Anyway, one day, we wanted to get drunk, and I raided my parents' liquor cabinet... they were pretty easy-going about this, once I was legal, anyway. There was a bottle of Captain Morgan's spiced rum left over from egg nog Christmases Past. Alan was dubious, but he went with it. I created a monster. Alan's since then become quite a fan of Captain Morgan's spiced rum, to the point that I started gagging on the stuff. We'd hop in the car and drive waaaaayy out to Hopedale Mall (where there was also an LCBO outlet with spiced rum) in Oakville to buy pizza, panzerottis, and garlic bread at Gino's Pizza... for my money, the best pizza in North America. It was about half an hour west of where we lived, and there were closer outlets, but Al insisted on going there because he's a sentimentalist who believes in observing the forms, you know? Picture us, overweight, unshaven, late 20s, in suburban Toronto basement, half drunk on spiced rum and Coca-Cola, pizza-fed, watching Planes, Trains, and Automobiles and laughing at the goings-on and our own commentary. Man. It was sweet. It was so sweet. It was just the soft fringes of Heaven, a couple of middle class honky kids enjoying life a little more than our due.

I haven't seen Al in about a year now. There's nothing bad between us. It's just that we live about forty miles apart, and he's married and has a kid. That's life. No regrets, and more power to the guy. He's probably the best dad in the universe, you know? Ahhh, but I miss those days. Sure I do! But at least I had them. And I can hold them in my mind and coddle them, and smell the pizza, and taste that gawdawful spiced rum I'm drinking as I write this.

God, you took away Jody. But you gave me Jody in the first place. And you gave me Alan, and our weekends, and a friend who got me out of that basement and gave me back my dignity in the shipping department of a warehouse in suburban Toronto. I'm grateful for the kindness you've shown me in the beautiful people you've introduced to my life. Help me remember the good times. I don't know how long I'll have. But I've known some sweet, sweet times. Gentle, casual, simple friendship. And I am grateful.

Deborah was a Catholic girl; she held out to the bitter end
Carla was a different type; she's the one who put it in.
Mary was a black girl; and I was afraid of a girl like that
Susan painted pictures sitting down like the Buddah sat...

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