Friday, September 04, 2009

I Don’t Want to Sound Like A Queer or Nothing...

I find it astonishing how fast time can move when you are just going about your everyday life. One minute you're an 18 year old guy moving into your freshman dorm; looking around to see who you want to eat lunch with each day. Then the next thing you know, a lunch here and there has turned into half a lifetime of friendship so close it is really brotherhood minus the DNA match.

I moved into my dorm on September 5th of 1994, fifteen years ago today. Once all the parents had cleared out, all the guys from my floor went to dinner together, as one big group. I had experienced this dynamic during the two years I had spent at an all boys boarding high school. I knew that the large group would get smaller and smaller by the day, until it ultimately devolved into cliques of varying sizes. A whole lot of those guys didn't know that, however, and on that first night some of them were exclaiming how we'd all be friends for life. While some of us would, others quickly fell by the wayside.

When there are 60 guys on a floor it's hard to single out the ones you think you may want to hang out with, so you look for little clues. Like, perhaps, a common interest. So when I saw a guy who liked the same baseball team I did, and then found out that he came from an area where some of my family lived, that was as good a start as any. That's why XL and I started talking, but it's not why we became friends. Ultimately, it was an easy back and forth along with complementary personalities that made us good friends. Eventually, but not at first. It started with the Baltimore Orioles, The Eastern Shore of Maryland and a debauched night at a frat party.

Fifteen years ago it was XL that was a non-drinker and the greazy one who regularly reached double figure beer counts. So on the third night we were on campus that large group went out and I got positively shit faced, which lead to some trouble. The DJ was playing the L.A. Style song "James Brown is Dead" and I took exception to this proclamation. Words were exchanged, and after a while, punches were exchanged. I was quite literally thrown out of the frat house. XL had seen it all, and upon recognizing me as the guy from his floor with the Orioles hat, he helped me back to the dorm.

The next day he came by to check on me, which was a real stand up thing to do. The show "How I Met Your Mother" talks a lot about the bro-code, and this was going above and beyond. As the weeks went by, XL talked me into going to the radio station with him, which lead to me changing my major to Communications. As the first semester came to an end, and I got the chance to move out of the dorm and move in with some older guys, I offered my room to XL so he could get away from his crazy roommate.

By the time freshman year was over, we were good friends. By the time college ended I counted him as my best friend. In the subsequent years the guy who helped out a drunken fellow O's fan has become the second most important person in my life. All the road trips and the things we've done together started on that day, 15 years ago today. I'm sure glad I was wearing my Orioles hat, or else I might have missed out on the best friend a guy can ask for. Although he always calls middle:


XL said...

It's amazing how fast 15 years has gone by. What is more amazing is I still have those shoes that I'm wearing in the first picture with Wolfer's truck!

I know that we have both benefited from each others friendship and over the last 15 years we've each had our share of ups and downs. I think Bud Lite summed it up best a few years back with their ad campaign "I Love You Man!!" because I do.

What is probably the most amazing statistic of our friendship is that we actually talk to each other usually multiple times daily even though we live more than two hours away.

Heidi Champa said...

I just can't get over the picture. Jon's boots are precious, and your hair is so crazy!!