Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The prodigal friend.

I checked my email Sunday night and saw a header in my junk mail file that said “NAME from My Space has a message from you!” and I said I don’t know any Name. I’m going to delete this right now! but I didn’t. I decided to read it in the morning.

If you are a woman member with Myspace you periodically receive unsolicited emails that are essentially solicitations. These guys are cyberjohns. They send the same email to just about every woman’s name they run across and hope they get a bite. Delete!delete!delete!

Well, this time it wasn’t just some yahoo wannabe john. I knew the yahoo! It was my old friend Name under a different Name. I hadn’t heard from Name in a long time and the last time I heard about him at all was when he was on the front page of my local paper for getting arrested for being a one man crime wave through my home town. He was being real dumb. Which made me sad because I had known Name since childhood and it hurt me to see him like that. Not just in jail, but in jail because he was just so damned stupid. He wasn’t a stupid guy. He was my friend Name damn it! He was smart and funny and the first of my guy friends to have his voice change.

By the time we were in high school more than Names voice had changed. Name changed. One day in the hallway he gave me a drink from a can of soda and it wasn’t soda. I graduated, Name didn’t. And then sometime after high school, Name was a name in the headlines.

More time passed and life went on and a lot of friends from my childhood disappeared from my radar. We all grew up and out and left our childhood homes and moved to on our own homes. And it was all right, it’s what you are supposed to do. I still thought about Name every once in a while. I had thought about him a lot while I was in college and around a lot of gay men. I wondered if he would be friends with my new friends. And I wondered if he was alive. It was a bad time in history to be a young gay man.

Really, if it wasn’t for Name I might not have made it through college at all. In sixth grade, Name taught me to cuss. It’s a little known fact that you can get course credit in most theatre degree programs for the ability to correctly conjugate the word Fuck... If you can’t do this on stage without blushing, you wash out of any serious theatre program in the country. Honest to Gawd, and later, if you are looking for a job in theatre and can’t think of at least eight different variations of it on demand, you can forget about working in big time professional theatre.

Even more time passed. and I left my hometown all together and I packed up my childhood and stored it away. And this was okay, it’s what you do. Years past and I went back for my reunion and saw a lot of my old childhood friends but I didn’t see Name and no one had heard anything about him. It had been a long time.

And then Sunday night I got an email from Name and he’s alive and mostly recovered from his case of stupid, it turns out he's a bitter end Hillary person. But has a real life and he’s doing great and he’s happy and I’m just kind of thrilled.

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