Chapter 14: A Wisco Wedding Part 1

The private drive was long and winding with trees and brush draped over its paved surface. Each of us looked around in wonder under the protection of the Benz, wandering deeper and deeper down the road of the unknown, a path that grew denser and darker the further we drove. Minutes passed and questions over our progress rose, for the path had no guarantee of sanctuary, if there was ever an end in existence. We continued however, having faith in Beth’s directions, hoping they wouldn’t turn us into another horror story statistic.

As quickly as we had been encompassed by darkness, a bright light overcame our despair, one sourced from the sky, a friendly presence that was thought to have departed long ago. A great, acre-long lawn surrounded a mansion, and beyond it laid home to a lake hidden just within the limits of Muskeego, WI, the backdrop for Beth and Blake’s wedding. We parked the car near a basketball court and made our way through the grand residence in search of our soon-to-be-wed friends, passing through an expansive deck area consisting of a large gathering of adults, swimming pool, and a custom built table with a gas fed fire pit in the center, the solid flame rising from an even spread of black pebbles similar to the fire pit seen at the Surly Brewery.

Through the mansion we went, passing a state of the art kitchen and the mansion’s foyer that housed a giant crystal chandelier, making our way down to the basement where an arcade machine and full-sized wet bar lay, a welcoming home for our hefty procurement of booze. With beers in hand, we made the trek through the vast lawn and down towards a group of bikini clad babes and topless hunks sitting at the edge of a dock, accompanied by a set of wave runners, a jet boat, and a water trampoline shining under the golden rays of summer. Our faith in Beth had been rewarded. As it turned out, her family was loaded.

“What’s up guys?” greeted a dripping wet Blake having just come off a fresh ride on the wave runner. “Beth and everybody else are hanging out on the dock. C’mon back and take the waver runners for a spin!” We took the first part of his advice and made our advance onto the dock to reunite with Beth, whose eyes grew with delight upon our arrival.

“Oh my God! Zack! Bill! And… oh… Gretch…” welcomed Beth, eventually making her way over with hugs.

“HEY!” said Anna who was sunbathing on the dock, her voice heightened, being that we had just snuck up on her. “Sorry that my butt’s all sticking out.”

“Oh that’s ok. I don’t really mind,” I replied. It was true. For some reason, I actually didn’t mind at all!

“What’s up Coti? Whoa, Maggie! What’s goin’ on? Hey dude’s, my name’s Zack…” I made the obligatory rounds that are required upon one’s arrival, saying hello to some familiar faces and introducing myself to some unfamiliar ones. There was Coti, a member of the wedding party and certified babe, and Maggie the maid of honor, who was also a babe; in fact, one that’s considered to be among the most respected from the Lewis-Clark Valley! And honestly, I don’t think anybody has ever had a single bad thing to say about her, ever! Not even from Gretch (and that’s really saying something)! I can’t even remember how many times I’ve asked Gretch to stop talking trash behind Meagan Mills’ back (a subject matter that’s really been upsetting me as of late, and I really wish she’d stop). And don’t even think about getting her started on the subject of Ben Woodward unless you have a couple of punch cards you’re trying to get rid of…

There was Wes, who turned out to be a pretty awesome dude, and Sean who really liked to party, and who also knew my sister somehow, of whom was later able to convince him to slap me in the face (not cool Emily). There were peeps from Minnesota, visitors from Idaho, and a couple of natives of Wisconsin, everybody from all around our favorite states!

And then… there was Billy…

Billy was a groomsman, an admirable position at any wedding, and our acquaint relationship seemed to start off on good footing… that is, until I used “Kanye West” and “Musical Genius” in the same sentence. Tension immediately came to a head at the mention of the rappers name, and it didn’t let up as I expanded on his cultural significance and the idea that he was the artist of our generation. The sullen look on his face and the sour tone of his voice gave me the impression that his disagreement on the issue was quite ostensible. Unfortunately, it was to be a prolonged feud, lasting all throughout the wedding weekend, much longer than anticipated.

“Holy Mol—Kassie, I haven’t seen you in ages! I didn’t know you were going to be here!” I said, rushing across the deck to greet her. Any debate involving Kanye’s generational influence could wait, as I was much too eager to catch up.

“Hey, how the heck are ya?” she asked. “I moved back to Wisconsin… I’m a farmer now!”

“No way! Wisconsin? That’s like, my favorite state! So what kind of farmer are you? Dairy and stuff?”

“Actually, organic.”

“Hey, that’s pretty cool. I can dig that!” Through my peripherals, I noticed Bill rolling his eyes. The reason, I couldn’t say. Maybe he had something against farm girls, who knows? It was no matter, for I was able to ignore it for the time being.

Kassie and I conversed for a while longer, talking about the organic farm and hitting up the important Wisconsin issues of the day, a subject matter that always led to the current state of affairs surrounding the Green Bay Packers. “Yea, I gotta make my way out to a game at Lambeau this year. It’d be really awesome if I could make it out to their home opener and watch them exact revenge on the Seattle Shi—“

“Me and Gretch are going out on a wave runner,” interrupted Bill. “You wanna take the other one out?” His question seemed to come out of nowhere, but the wave runners did look enticing, and I’m never one to say no to a friend.

“You’ll have to excuse me Kassie, but we’ll have to catch up a little later,” I regretfully told her, for fun was calling my name. I jumped up, grabbed a life jacket, and hopped on the wave runner opposite of the two siblings.

“I thought you said you hated organic food?” asked Bill, sending a little sassiness my direction.

“I don’t know, I’ve been thinking about it, and really, it’s not all that bad. Heck, it may even be good for me in the end!”

“Yea, I’m sure,” he replied, shaking his head while starting the wave runner. I did the same, unsure why he was being so sassy, but then again, if I had to ride on a wave runner with Gretch, I guess I’d be a little sassy too (I mean, talk about a boring ride…). The motors gave a nice kick and we blasted off across the lake, our wakes breaking the shine off the water from the setting July sun.

Something had gone awry, the observation coming after a couple cruises around the lake, where I had been preoccupied with performing all sorts of cool waver runner tricks for everybody: cookies, driving between boats and jumping off their wake—the whole bit! It looked as though Bill and Gretch were stalled in the middle of the lake. “You guys alright?” I asked from a distance, as I was rightfully concerned. I focused in on Gretch, who seemed to have this stupid grin growing across her face. “Strange… Why would she be grinning if they’re stalled—what the?” Two closed fists shot towards my direction, followed by a raised middle finger on each one. “Flipping me off—are you kidding me?”

Bill suddenly gunned the throttle, and a dumbfounded look of panic was released, sending Gretch’s brush of disrespect to an abrupt end. With her eyes wide, jaw opened, and arms a flailing, her ill-mannered gesture had turned into a disgraceful attempt to combat a sudden acceleration, one that would ultimately prevent her from staying dry. Serves her right!

I whipped my wave runner around to scope the scene. “You guys need some help—oops!” The curving motion of my wave runner’s sent a giant wave right into Gretch’s face. “Gee, didn’t mean to splash ya, heheh. C’mon Bill, let’s ditch this lame pool part and shoot some hoops! Look out Gretch—whoops, not again, heheh…”

***

“What’s wrong?” asked Maggie upon our return from the basketball court. It was a slow and hesitant walk across the dock, my lowered head a dead giveaway of gloom—a precursor to the humiliation that was about to be on full display…

The court was smoldering, for Bill and I couldn’t help but sink in shot after shot, unable to miss a single basket even if we tried—and it was supposed to be an easy in. “Alley Oop,” I cried out to Bill standing at the apex of the three-point line. I took a couple of lunges forward, gaining momentum as to meet his pass midway in the air. His trajectory was high… too high. With all my might, using every muscle in my leg, from the calf all the way up to the gluteus maximus, I lifted off the ground. Every effort used to project my body into the air seemed to be constricted by my water soaked, skinny jeans. But suddenly, there was freedom, a full body spread as an orange sphere fell into the palm of my hand. My legs scissored and I thrust the ball back into the air, watching it settle into the basket before my return to the ground—success.

“Bill, did you see that—“ I paused as my hand brushed past my leg, feeling a gap between the continuity of jean fabric. I tilted my head slowly towards the problem area. “Oh… no…”

I spread my left leg, exposing the giant gash in my favorite pair of cut-offs, a special pair that had honorably served through two tours of the Sasquatch Music Festival. It had been the second favorite pair of pants that I had ripped in recent years, the first also from playing basketball at a wedding, coincidentally.

Gretch immediately released a giant giggle, a nearly perfect rendition of the kid brother in the Christmas Story after he sees Ralphie in the bunny suit. “Shut up Getch,” I snarled, but it was no use. Her uncontrollable laugh continued to reverberate across the lake, no matter if it were as equally embarrassing as my exposed undies. The shame however, was not universally felt.

“It’s ok,” said Kassie. “You’re in Wisconsin. Nobody really cares about that kind of stuff.” It was a voice I could trust, being that it came from one who was well versed with the culture and customs of the land. “Besides, you’ll forget all about it by the time you eat a few burgers and brats.”

“Hey, we had burgers and brats yesterday!” Bill and I looked at each other like we had just scored a date with a Victoria’s Secret Model, even against Gretch’s foolish giggling that was still going strong. “Well what are we waiting for?” I said, sensing the seductive aroma of beef product through my nostrils.

IMG_1556

Beth, the bride to be and I chillin’.  Go Pack Go!

***

“You know, this isn’t the first time I’ve ripped my pants playing basketball within a day of a wedding,” I explained to the group sitting around the table with the fire pit in the middle, each of us in satisfaction with an influx of burger and brat inside our stomachs. “I ripped a nice pair of leather pants sinking in a lay in against Collin Morlock during a game of one-on-one right after Jill’s wedding!”

“So why were you playing basketball in leather pants?” I knew the question would come up. It always does every time I tell the story (something I’m starting to find quite annoying as a matter of fact).

“I was just wearing them at the time, I don’t know! Ever since I saw that 2Chainz video with Kanye wearing them, I’ve always wanted a pair of my own, and so when Collin and Joey Carter asked me to play basketball out of the blue one day, I—“

“Kanye!?!?” burst a voice out of nowhere, its rapid response catching me off guard. I looked straight across from me to its source. It was Billy, and he was giving me the ol’ stare down. Not again.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t lie. The guy’s a musical genius. There’s no other way to put it.”

“No he’s not—are you crazy?”

“Dude… My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is the single greatest album since Thriller, and Yeezus??? That album will literally blow your mind.” The intake of information was so enormous and mind-blowing, that he was literally rendered speechless, much like the first time I had read an Ayn Rand novel. Before he had a chance to speak again however, I took a different approach.

“Hey, everybody has their different takes on style, and that’s ok. You don’t have to like him, and I can respect that. But you can’t deny that the man’s an artist. There’s nobody else like him out there, just sayin’.”

Billy wasn’t amused, and the Kanye insults continued to fly, and of course, I continued to defend. “…Oh yea, well what about the Cold War Kids? Do you like them,” he asked. I hadn’t heard that band’s name in a long time, so his choice to use them as an example caught me a little of guard. Regardless of their current popularity though, anything short of a favorable answer would end in catastrophe. Lucky for us (although not a huge fan), I had nothing against the Cold War Kids.

“…I can rock with them,” I said back to him with a nod of agreement, not the exact answer he was looking for, but enough of an answer to ease the tension. “I’ve been to a concert or two of theirs, and they put on a good show. And I kind of like that one song about the hospital beds!” He sent me back a nod of approval. “Good, we’re making progress,” I thought to myself. “Just keep this going, and don’t say anything stupid...“

“Of course, he’s no Kanye West,” I said with a shrug of the shoulders and a turn of the head. “But hey, nobody’s perfect…” Whoops—slip of the tongue!

There was no over-reaction to his order, no rising of his voice, just another cold, hard stare to press his softly spoken command. “You can leave…” The rest of the table joined in on an awkward silence, each with a shiver of unease shooting through there cold spines, as if they had sensed the rotten smell of death brewing in the air. I could see it in his eyes, the morose state of his face—he was serious, and there were no witty anecdotes to save me, not even one involving Gretch. I hadn’t the slightest clue of how I was going to get out of this one with my pride intact—

“Can I tell a fairy tale?” asked a soft voice at the end of the table. All eyes redirected towards it—a little girl with golden, curly hair holding a staff with a clubbed end that was twice her size.

“Why, I’d love to hear a story,” said Anna while she helped the little girl up onto a high stool, taking her rightful position as head of the table. For the moment, it seemed as though our feud had fallen into suspension, for neither Billy nor I had the gall to deny this adorable little girl from telling her story, thank God. With our undivided attention, she clasped the clubbed end of the staff and began the telling of her epic tale.

“Once upon a time, there was a princess, and she was very pretty. And she had a pony. One day, she met a prince, and then the prince asked her to marry her and she said yes. The prince and the princess got married and moved into a big castle with a beautiful garden and they lived happily ever after. The end.”

The story was met with thunderous applause, all of it well deserved. I feared however, that it meant the standoff between Billy and I was to resume. It certainly wasn’t out of the picture for Billy to garnish enough support behind him, for he was a groomsmen after all, and Kanye West isn’t always the most popular figure among certain crowds. I mean, neither was Jesus, but that didn’t stop him from being right. “Would you like to hear another story?” asked the soft-spoken little angel. How could we say no?

“Once upon a time, there was a pretty princess, and she lived in a pretty castle with lots of horses. One day a prince came to the castle and asked her…”

The stories went on and the day grew dim, and by nightfall our little princess had tuckered out, her final departure requiring the assistance of her parents—our signal that it was also time for us to conclude the day’s festivities, for the real party was just around the horizon, and believe me, we needed all the rest we could get. “Does somebody want to drive my car back to the hotel?” I asked, knowing I probably could’ve driven myself, but not wanting to take any chances since alcohol consumption was involved. Hey, we made it this far; ain’t no way I’m screwin’ this thing up now!

“Don yu eve werr bout it! I’ll drive bak to us the hotell…” slurred Gretch while stumbling towards the car.

“Thanks, Gretch, but I don’t know if that’s such a—“

“I don’t mind driving you guys,” said a voice from behind. “I haven’t had anything to drink all day.” I turned around to discover it was Kassie, thank God. “Anna will drive your car to the Holiday Inn where we’re staying since I’ll have to drive my car back there anyway. We’ll switch cars, and I’ll take you to the La Quinta where you can check in. We go up to the room, drop off the bags, change, then we drive back to our hotel to hot tub before calling it a night.” It was a full proof plan, and I liked it… I liked it a lot!

***

“Hey, this is one of my favorite David Bowie songs,” said Kassie as we pulled out of the Holiday Inn parking lot. The horn intro of “Young Americans” marked the beginning of a lengthy journey back to our hotel due to its non-intuitive location and the complex of roundabouts that sent us in multiple wrong directions.

“Hey, it’s one of my favorite’s too,” I said, my voice growing with excitement. “You should’ve seen me at karaoke the other night,” I went on, naturally leading into a brief recount of our road trip. Bill and Gretch remained relatively silent throughout the car ride. I guess they weren’t up for a little conversation, which I found odd. Usually I’m doing everything in my power to get those two to shut up!

“Where are you guys going after the wedding?” she asked.

“Those two are flying to Montana, and me… I—I have may have some family, but… gee, I guess I don’t quite know yet…”

“Well, if needed, there’s always room at the organic farm. Just let me know if you need a place to stay.”

“Yea, you know, I’ve always had this fantasy about living on a farm…” I wasn’t lying when I said it either. I must’ve seen it in a movie one time, an old farm hunk and his old farm wife sitting on a bench swing at the end of the day, thinking about life and looking upon its sustenance during a sunset, giving thanks to God for the gifts that have been provided… you know, that kind of stuff. So I was pretty eager to grasp the whole organic farm experience if it indeed came into place.

We drove through the parking lot of a dilapidated strip mall, the once hopeful source of commercial capitalism nearly dwindled down to a ghostly remains. The heart of the strip mall, a 90’s Movieplex, served as its constant source of beating life, and even that was nearing an inevitable doom. “Are you sure we’re going the right way?” asked Kassie.

“That’s what Google Maps says. Follow this road a little farther maybe, passed this Applebee’s.”

A quarter mile later we rounded a corner to find the La Quinta Inn and Suites shinning in all of its neon glory, tucked into a corner next to the highway overpass. It was no Holiday Inn, but then again, it was no Motel 6 either—something we could live with. “Let’s check in and get this party started!”

***

“Room 421. Take a left and go down the hall. The elevator is to your right,” said the receptionist while handing us our keys.

“Thank you miss,” I replied. “You ready guys? Elevator’s this way I think.”

“Maybe we all should just take the stairs,” said Bill. I twerked my head and narrowed my eyebrows, a natural reaction to such a silly comment.

“Why would we take the stairs when we can just—“ Bill notioned over to an unsuspecting Gretch using an exaggerated tilt of the head and an obviated wink.

“You know, after what happened in Des Moines and all…”

“What do you mean Des Moines? I don’t remember anything—“ I took a quick look at Gretch, unable to control my grin. “OH YEA—uh, I mean, yea… I hear ya. Yes, I agree, let’s take the stairs. Me first!” I took running start to the staircase. “Oops, forgot my suitcase. Look out guys—“ I turned back. There, Kassie stood next to my suitcase with the same look of confusion I had given Bill a moment ago. “…You know, on second thought, maybe we should just take the elevator…” Bill stood in shock, his body positioned in a way that suggested he was using everything in his power not to strangle me. There was a strange vibration coming from his red-hot face, staring me down with a pair of eyes glowing with fury, acting like he had been delivered the ultimate betrayal, that a sacred vow of brotherhood had been broken between us… that he was staring at the reincarnation of Judas… “What?”

After dropping off our suitcases and making a quick change into my Speedo, we were back on the road, navigating through the maze of parking lots and roundabouts that separated the La Quinta from the Holiday Inn where Wes and Sean were out front waiting for our arrival. “What’s up guys?”

“The pool’s closed,” said Wes with a look of regret, sincerely bummed out and unable to fully lift his eyes from the ground. We felt his pain, for the same feeling of disappointment came over us as we drove past the dimly lit poolroom. His statement only confirmed that our hypothesis was correct. “…But we can still party…”

Wes led us up to the 4th floor and knocked on his door—no answer. He knocked again. “Don’t you have a key?” asked Gretch.

“Yea, but for some reason, it’s not working…” replied Wes, the knocks now turning to fist bangs with his lower lip tucked under his front teeth to gain leverage. “Wait a minute… this might not be our room…”

“Maybe we should bail,” whispered Kassie. I couldn’t help but agree, for the situation had devolved into every man for himself. We booked it down the hall, through the elevator and then to her and Maggie’s room, where I plopped on the couch with a giant sigh of relief—the coast was clear.

“Oh man, get this… so we came back and met up with Wes and Sean, and they were all ‘let’s go to my room and party,’ only it wasn’t his room, so we booked it, and I don’t know what happened to those guys, but Bill and Gre—wait… what happened to Bill and Gretch?” I whipped out my phone and texted Bill, my thumbs twitching across the screen in a frantic fashion.

“Is everything ok?” asked Maggie.

“Theoretically yes, I mean… I think Bill will be fine,” I said while dialing his number, my patience reaching its threshold after not receiving an immediate text back. His number went straight to voicemail. “I mean, we traveled all the way across this country together, so what’s a little time apart? But Gretch… she’s in this strange city all alone, and I just don’t want to see her… I just hope she doesn’t… I guess I’m just a little worried about her, that’s all…” I paused, noticing I was surrounded by a slew of funny looks. “I mean, it’s not that I’m ‘worried’ worried—no, I’m not worried about—Well maybe—It’s just… I’m worried about her because I’m worried about me, ok? Look, if she’s out there getting in trouble and stuff, I’m automatically guilty by association, and I can’t have that! No way, not in Wisconsin… I just need to find them, that’s all I’m trying to say, and if I don’t—“

“Well how about we give her a call?” suggested Maggie in a clear and calm manner. Her wealth of common sense continues to astound me to this day.

“Ok, yes, let’s give her a call.” And just like that, Maggie found her number and gave her a call. I continued. “All I’m trying to say is that I have a reputation to uphold, and it’s my responsibility to make sure it stays intact. Therefore, I have to keep her in check, no matter what; you know what I’m saying? I won’t let her—“

“Her phone must have died, but it sounded like they were going to get some food last time I talked to them. Don’t they have an Applebee’s around here or something?”

“…Applebee’s??? Dear God… I’ve gotta go…”

***

The door opened with a slow creep before I slouched into our room at the La Quinta, expended of all energy for one day. It had been an hour since I’d seen their faces, searching high and low between the Holiday Inn and the La Quinta, including each of the hotels themselves, Applebee’s, and a couple unintentional trips around the roundabouts. Bill stood opposite of me, neither one of us uttering a word; his pissed off look a mirror image of mine. We walked passed each other and to our beds to act as a pair of dead corpses; no direct eye contact was given. Gretch shuffled over and turned off the lights without our input. Apparently, she was in a bad mood as well. A mutual agreement was met that we were to pass out that night with nothing less than a grumpy mood.

Bill clicked the roof of his mouth with his tongue like any annoying, pretentious speaker does, before making an annoying, pretentious statement; a very unprecedented move at the time, but I was all ears. “Did you have fun making out with the farm girl?”

That was it. He had pulled the last straw, and I wasn’t in the mood to take his facetious attitude. “Are you kidding me? Are you freaking kidding me?” I smacked him across the body with my pillow. “POP!”

“You do this every time… Every time!”

“Yea, well you deserve it. Every time!” I took another swing. “CRACK!” Bill began to chuckle. “Oh, you think that’s funny, do you? BAM, SMACK, BOOM!”

I beat him into the bed as an Alabama man would his children, using any excuse to give his kids an old-fashioned belt whippin’ after coming home in his drunken stupor. “What do you have against farm girls, huh? POP!” Gretch lay there like a slug—it was her only defense.

The beatings continued and the turning point, the fine line between a child’s laugh and his desperate cry had been reached… and surpassed. Bill lay in his bed howling in pain after each blow, unable to utter the word “stop” between his gasps for air and his constant screams of pain. I however, could not distinguish such a moment, for my mind had been too far obfuscated with anger to understand the meanings of right and wrong. The darkness further muddled my head, until there was nothing but my animal instinct, commanding me to pound Bill into a jelly of disgrace, a sorry excuse for a man, all so I could hear him beg for my everlasting, omnipotent mercy—only to tell him “No” after his submission and proceed with another round of blows, much more merciless than before.

Yea, I whipped him, so? I whipped him good! I popped him, and I beat him to feed my satisfaction, one that was no longer understood, one that could never be fulfilled, the fierce contact between his body and the swinging pillow only providing a glimmer of false hope, just enough to deliver the next blow, and the next… and the next…

They say by the time I was over, I could no longer lift my arms for I had swung so hard and so repeatedly. I had blacked out with rage, to which my body eventually shut down, forcing itself back into bed with a subconscious thought in limbo, a wonder if the actions taken were ground for terminating a friendship. I could only pray that the pain delivered to Bill’s body was enough to shut off the brain receptacles that retain memory. It was our only hope, and we still had a full day until the wedding…

God help us all…

Broventures in Tulum

Saturday, February 21st, 2014, 1:15 PM

Man, I can’t believe it’s here! I’ve been waiting for this moment, ever since we got the news over Christmas! And after hitting up the gym 5 times a week for the last 2 months, I’m ready. I’m finally doing it, baby, Spring Break! And get this, I’ve already had two Rum and Cokes, and we haven’t even taken off yet! Man, First Class is awesome, mom and dad really hooked it up, and so are my washboard abs! Sorry, I know I shouldn’t brag, but I can’t help it. All those protein shakes were totally worth it!

Oh, they’re doing that safety presentation thing. Damn, the flight attendant looks hot right now… That’s right girl, show me how you inflate that life vest—hold up, she’s coming over, looking right at me. I think she’s checkin’ me out… Let me give her the nod, ok, here we go, “What’s up? How you do— oh, my com—until when? Yea, I can—geez, sorry—uh, yes mam.” Ok, I guess they’re making me put my computer away for a little bit. No worries, I’ll be back. Spring Break Cancun, here I come!

 

Saturday, February 21st, 3:00 PM

Dude, First Class seriously hooks you up fat! A full meal, movies and everything! And the funny thing is, my poor little sister is stuck sitting in coach. Sucks to be her! I can’t wait to brag about how many free drinks I’m getting! Oh, speaking of drinks, hold up… “Oh miss, can I get a… yea, what was that one you gave me earlier, a shardinay or something? Yea perfect!” This old broad keeps coming around and filling my glass with wine whenever it’s empty. I’m not really a fan of the stuff, it doesn’t quite go down smooth like a nice, cold Keystone Light, so I’m just kind of shooting them down as fast as I can. Hey, as long it gets me drunk and it’s free! That’s my motto.

I think we’re staying at this resort, called the Tulum I think. My sister sent me some pictures and the place looks hella rad! Beachside, like 5 or 6 rooms all together, cabana style villa. I can’t imagine the babes I’m gonna be able to bring back and party with. I’ll let mom and dad take the upstairs. They’re old timers anyway, they’ll be in bed by 9. Not me though. I’m gonna party all night and sleep all day.  That’s my motto.

“Oh yea, can I try the rose kind? Yea, the pink stuff, thanks.” Let me down this real quick… whoa, there we go. This wine stuff gets you a little loopy… Where was I? Oh yea, first thing’s first, I’m hitting up the beach and the pool. They’ll be crawling with bikini babes, and babes who like to party. And then shots. Yagerbombs, cherry bombs, vodka Redbull, Tequilla Shots, Jello Shots, Body Shots, Vod— “Oh yea, get me a shot of that red stuff… Cool, thanks.”   I’m going hard, 24/7. YOLO! That’s my motto.

I bet MTV’s gonna be down there too! They always come down for Spring Break, and they have the best rappers, always. I’m talkin’ Pitbull, Mac Miller, Macklemore… those guys get me really pumped! I’ll find out where they’re partying too, it’ll just be like that one movie, Spring Breakers, where those chicks go out to all of those ragers and meet that one du

 

Saturday February 21st, 9:30 PM

Man, I don’t know what happened. I was kicking it with all of these old farts in First Class, pounding wine shots and what not, and the next thing I know, we’re here! Oh well, heheh.

Anyways, we’re taking a shuttle to our first hotel right now, the Courtyard Marriott. The driver looks like a pretty cool guy, like he knows what’s up. “So where’s the best clubs around here? You know, the biggest place to party and stuff? Hello…” Well, apparently the driver isn’t much for conversation. It’s like he can’t hear me or knows what I’m saying. Oh well, at least he’s letting me drink a beer on the way. Man, this is the life, just like those “Find Your Beach” commercials. I can finally relate.

“Hey, what do they take around here? Dollars? Yes, no, anybody?” Whatever, I’ll just give him a dollar or something for driving. They like that kind of stuff.

Well, this is it! Tomorrow’s the start of a full week of partying at the Tulum!

 

Sunday February 22nd, 9:00 AM

Down in the hotel lobby, waiting for my sister and her husband, Derek. I guess they’re gonna drive us to this Tulum place. Man, I’m pumped and ready to go! I can’t wait to get on the beach and— oh, here she comes right now. Does she see me, ok cool, she’s walking towards us, and she’s got a smile on her face… must be glad to see me. Ok, she’s got a really big smile on her face… That’s weird. I know I haven’t seen her in like a year, but it keeps on getting bigger. What the heck?

“What’s up Meathead Rob Lowe,” is the first thing that comes out of her mouth.  I actually don’t know what to say, I… I’m beyond words. I think that’s the nicest thing she’s ever said to me…

 

Sunday February 22nd, 10:30 AM

For some reason, we’re going to Costco right now, who the hell knows why? I didn’t even know they had them down here, but regardless, it seems really unnecessary, for I’m just ready to go down to the pool to start drinkin’. It’s actually starting to kind of piss me off a little bit, but whatever. We’ll do what THEY want to do. While I’m here, I might as well stock up on some supplies.

 

Sunday February 22nd, 10:35 AM

I grab beer, tequila, Red Bull, and Doritos… the basics. All ready to go. Where did my sister’s go?

 

Sunday, February 22nd, 11:15 AM

“Yea, what about it? Because I want it, that’s why—What’s it to you!?” Great, now both my sisters are having a fit over this stuff, I don’t know what the big deal is. It’s not like I’m giving them crap about their wine and cheese and olives and more wine and other crap, let alone the fact that it took them an hour to get like 5 things. God, they won’t stop arguing and telling me to listen, saying there’s not enough room in the car or whatever. It’s not like we needed any of this stuff in the first place? Come on!

And out of all the things, what they’re most pissed off about are the Doritos! Something about not eating authentic Mexican food… I forget exactly what all they were saying, I wasn’t really paying attention, but they keep screaming at me to put them back. We’ve literally been going back and forth for the last 5 minute about the damn Doritos now, and it’s starting to cause a scene. All these people are looking at us like we’re crazy and—Whatever, it’s not even worth it anymore. I’m over it. They win.

 

Sunday, February 22nd, 11:18 AM

I can’t do it. Don’t care. I want it, I like it, screw it, I’m getting the Doritos.

 

Sunday February 22nd, 1:00 PM

Um, why are we driving away from Cancun? The hotel shouldn’t be way the hell out here. I’m trying to ask, but sister keeps on going off about how this rental car place screwed her our of a Jeep Wrangler. I mean, what’s the deal with this Jeep Wrangler anyway, and why does she have to have it?

 

Sunday, February 22nd, 1:10 PM

Seriously, she won’t shut up about the damn Jeep! It’s like her life is completely ruined over the fact that she can’t drive around and look cool. News flash: Who Freaking Cares! You have a car, get over it! My God, if I have to hear about that stupid car one more time, my head’s going to explode! Meanwhile, we’re still going in the wrong direction and the way she keeps on blabbering, we aren’t turning around anytime soon.

 

Sunday February 22nd, 2:00 PM

Well this just sucks. All to my glorious surprise, Tulum isn’t a hotel, it’s a town, nowhere near Cancun. It’s so nice of them to tell me this now. And worst off, the fact that I didn’t know is apparently hilarious to everybody. What a bunch of BS, and frankly, this really pisses me off. So yea, I got her to stop talking about the damn Jeep, but who cares? I just gave them a new thing to talk about. That and that stupid show about Girls.

 

Sunday February 22nd, 3:00 PM

We’re driving through this Tulum place, which isn’t even a town, but a village made out of sticks and straw in the middle of a jungle. And would it kill them to make the roads just a little wider? It’s not like they don’t have the real estate. The last thing we need to do is get in a crash with a smuggled bag of Doritos in the back.

There ain’t much for partying either, and every babe I’ve seen so far has some boner walking along side. I guess it’s better than nothing, but still, I ain’t digging it. Wait, now what’s goin… Ok, so we’ve just passed the town, and we’re starting to drive on this sketchy dirt road. What are we doing?

 

Sunday February 22nd, 3:15 PM

So we’ve been on this long dirt road towards the middle of nowhere, with a bunch of tropical trees on each side. How long do we have to drive till we get to this place? And what’s with all these “topes” anyway, Spanish for either “Bump” or “Pain in the Ass.” They’re everywhere! That’s like 4 in a row now that we’ve bottomed out on. Maybe if my sister wasn’t driving like a madman, then—Uh oh, here we go again… Ok, that’s good, let’s just take this nice and slow. We’ll get over and… Ohhhhh… Well, there goes the bottom of the car, she’s gonna have a good time explaining that one to the rental car place… and there she goes again about the stupid Jeep Wrangler… Great. Just great…

 

Sunday February 22nd, 3:30 PM

Ok we finally make it to our house, and good thing too, because I gotta take a dump. It’s a cool looking place, I’ll admit. Too bad it’s in the middle of Bum F*** Egypt. How am I supposed to pick up any chicks all the way out here?

 

Sunday, February 22nd, 3:35 PM

“So, you’re telling me I don’t put the toilet paper in the toilet, but in the trash? What’s the point? That’s completely disgusting…”

 

Sunday, February 22nd, 3:36 PM

So, their toilets can’t handle TP, and neither can anyplace else around here, at least that’s what the husband and wife who are the caretakers of the place supposedly said, according to my sister. So it looks like we put our used TP in the trash from here on. This is freaking ridiculous.

 

Sunday, February 22nd, 6:00 PM

Mom and dad pull in. They’re all in a good mood, happy to be here. Good for them. My mom asks me if I’m excited. I respond accordingly.

“Yes, I am so excited to be all the away out here, away from everything, with no TV, nobody else around, and nothing to do but spend an entire week with my family. This is going to be SUCH a great vacation…” She smiles gives me a giant hug, and tells me she’s excited too. My dad looks back in pride. From what I gather, neither of them understand the concept of sarcasm. I need a drink. Or two…

 

Monday, February 23rd, 10:00 AM

Time to check out the beach, I mean, as long as it’s right there, and its private, then why not? It looks pretty nice, at least so far, except for these piles of seaweed that are everywhere. Doesn’t bother me though, I’ll just walk through it and—UGGHHAA, God, I think a squid just grabbed my foot or Octopus or… Oh, just the seaweed. No big deal, it’s just so slimy and everything. It threw me off, freaked me out a little bit. I’m good. Really, I am.

 

Monday, February 23rd, 10:02 AM

Ok, lets try again. Everything’s good, and I ain’t a wus. Just start with the ankles… good. And down to the knees… that’s right, now—AHHH forget it. I’m out.

 

Monday, February 23rd, 9:00 PM

Spent the afternoon in town shopping with my mom and sisters, while my dad and Derek went to the grocery store. So, I pretty much did absolutely nothing until dinner. Really, the only awesome thing that happened was there was this topless babe walking on the beach near town, but I was standing there with my mom, so I had to pretend I didn’t see her. In fact, except for a quick glance, I didn’t see her! Just my luck.

I did grab some more Tequila though, we’re just about out back at the house. I needed it, too, especially now. That Costco stuff went quick

I know I shouldn’t, but it’s been a long day, and that waiter took his sweet time with the bill too. I’m just gonna take a quick little swig—DAMNIT! Freaking Topes! Tequila everywhere! I swear to God, Topes piss me off!

 

Monday, February 23rd, 9:07 PM

Ughz. You know, this dirt road is kind of creepy at night, with all the jungle trees and all. It feels like some guerillas are all hanging out on the sides, watching us drive by. And any second now, some cartel guy is going to pop out of nowhere and take us all out. How much you want to bet that after we get around this corner there’s going to—

JESUS CHRIST! Holy Mary… My God. Sweet Jesus. Holy Crap. What in God’s name!…

 

Monday, February23rd, 9:08 PM

Yea, so we almost died. Head on collision. Barely missed it. That bastard was out of control. I’ve never heard so many dirty words come out of my family’s mouth at once. Good thing I got all that… Never mind, tequila’s all over the floor.

This sucks.

 

Tuesday, February 24th, 9:00 AM

Since there’s no gym here, I might as well run on the beach to keep my tone, just in case. Also, I need to clear my mind. Mom and dad were all worked up about me spilling liquor all over the car. Something about drinking and driving in Mexico can get you in trouble. It was an accident for Christ sakes, big deal? I wasn’t even driving, and they probably do that stuff all the time around here!

 

Tuesday, February 24th, 9:15 AM

Dude, running in the sand sucks. I just keep sinking, unless I run on the buttloads of dried seaweed all over the place. What’s with all this seaweed anyways? Out of all the places, all the world’s seaweed just happens to show up right here, on the exact day we decide to come.

Oh, there’s another house on the beach. I wonder if there’s any other babes around? Ah, doesn’t look like it, at least not right now. I’ll check it out later.

 

Tuesday, February 24th, 9:30 AM

So as it turns out, right after I passed that house, this rabid dog started chasing after me. The little turd wouldn’t stop either, followed me for like a half mile, I nearly passed the hell out I ran so hard in the sand. Pissin’ me off. I can’t get back now, unless I run passed that thing, which I don’t really want to deal with right now. It probably has rabies or something dumb like that. The road can’t be too far away, maybe I’ll just cut through a little jungle here.

 

Tuesday, February 24th, 9:40 AM

It’s just been one giant mistake after another now hasn’t it? The road’s way farther out than it should be, leaving me stuck in the middle of the jungle. I swear some critter is going to jump out and attack me. Every time I step on a dry leaf it’s like they’re rustlin’ around, plottin’ and schemin’ on the low. Or it’ll be something stupid, like stepping on a big old snake or having a spider bite me. Or what if I happen to stumble upon a drug ring camp out in the forest here? How the hell do I explain myself out of that one?

That stupid ass dog. I’m about ready to turn back and whoop it’s ass.

 

Tuesday, February 24th, 7:00 PM

Good news, I made it out of the jungle alive, and I didn’t have to beat up any dogs. Bad news, my mom insists we stay in tonight and play this stupid game called “The Settlers of Catan,” and I’m almost all out of booze. I’ve played it before with them, and I know exactly what’s going to happen. I’m going to win, and everybody’s going to get all butthurt about the whole thing and start crying. It literally happens every time we play.

The thing is, it wouldn’t be such a bad game if everybody didn’t have to spend 5 minutes on their turn figuring out what they were going to do. It’s like “Gee, maybe you could’ve thought about that when the person before you was taking 5 minutes?”

 

Tuesday, February 24th, 7:05 PM

Just found out that this is Derek’s first time ever playing. Awesome. He’s gonna take his sweet time because he doesn’t know what he’s doing, and then he’s going to do something stupid and screw me out of winning, I just know it.

 

Tuesday, February 24th, 8:15 PM

Guess what. Derek just built a road that leads to nowhere right in front of me, and pretty much just screwed me out of winning. I’m honestly on the verge of losing my crap right now.

 

Tuesday, February 24th, 8:45 PM

Oh, my God. This game is taking FOR-E-VER!!!

 

Tuesday, February 24th, 9:00 PM

Game’s over, and now I have to deal with my little sister parading around like she’s the Queen of Catan. Yea, congratulations, you won your first game. You had a newbie screw everybody except you, and then you happen to have all your settlements on 4’s, which got rolled like 5 times in a row. Yea, you should be really proud of that, and the way you’re acting too. What a waste of two hours, and a giant load of BS. This game pisses me off. And I barely got anything for dinner tonight too. At least I still have my… what the. Ah Hell no— “WHO THE HELL ATE ALL MY DORITIOS?!?!”

 

Wednesday, February 25th, 11:00 PM

Nobody ever ponied up to eating my Doritos, surprise surprise. Anyway, today was kind of boring. We went to these ancient ruins, which was just a cluster of tourists running around aimlessly. The place wasn’t even that cool, but they managed to squeeze 5 bucks out of me, and everybody else who went there. And then there was this girl who was trying to do handstands and get her picture taken by the ruins, except she didn’t know how to do a handstand, so she just kept trying over and over again, right in front of everybody. It was freaking ridiculous! She was like 20 years old too, which I didn’t know people still did handstands at that age, unless they’re kind of kinky, which I don’t think she was, because she didn’t know how to do a handstand. But yea, everybody’s trying to be all nice and polite not to get in her way, and its taking like 10 minutes, so finally they—wait, what the hell is that over—

“OH F*** THAT!!!”

 

Wednesday, February 25th, 11:02 PM

A giant ass rat just walked into my room. I swear to God if there’s one thing I hate, it’s rats. Looks like I just woke everybody up too. My sister’s are running in freaking out, and now my parent’s, and, hold up… “No, it’s ok mom. Yes, it’s gone now… a rat. I said a rat. No, not a cat, a rat. A big ol’ rat… Yes mom, I’m fine… Yes, I’m sure it was a rat… It was really big… Don’t worry—ok I’ll shut all the doors before I go to bed…”

 

Wednesday, February 25th, 11:04 PM

I can’t believe I dropped the F bomb in front of my mom… I’m a horrible person…

 

Thursday, February 26th, 2:00 AM

So as it turns out, it wasn’t a rat, it was this thing called a lemur according to my little sister, who probably ate half of my Doritos, and still won’t confess, but that’s beside the point. That bastard was huge! And now everybody’s all freaked out, so they shut and locked all the doors, which sucks, because I gotta take a whiz now, and I can’t get to the bathroom without knocking on the door and waking everybody up. “Well, why is the bathroom door locked, and why can’t you get in?” you ask. Well, it’s because the villa we’re staying at is weird, and I don’t want to explain it cause it’ll take too long, so it is what it is, ok! Long story short, I’m taking a whiz on the beach.

 

Thursday, February 26th, 2:03 AM

Wow, I never noticed how well you can see the stars from out here. It’s actually quite spectacular. There are so many of them, 10’s of 1000’s. Maybe even millions! I can pretty much see any constellation out here. Look, there’s the big dipper right there! Oh, and over there, that has to be… Well, um…

 

Thursday February 26th, 2:05 AM

Gee, as it turns out, that’s the only constellation I know, heheh. Whatever, the stars aren’t even that cool. I’m done peeing anyways.

 

Thursday, February 26th, 5:00 PM

So, today we’re supposed to have this giant fish dinner that the caretakers made for us, and we’re all going to eat it together and it’s supposed to be really good. Heck, I even got a glimpse of the fish, and even I approve. This thing’s a pretty big deal to them. They even brought their daughter over too, and while she might be a nice girl, well, um… let’s just say, she’s not really my type to put it nicely.

 

Thursday, February 26th, 7:00 PM

I’m chowin’ down on this fish. Man, this thing is good. It’s got onions, and peppers, and hot sauce… I’m really going to town!

My older sister’s talking to these people in Spanish, and my mom’s talking to them in English like they understand everything single word she’s saying. They’re all laughing and stuff, and all I’m doing is eating. These are some big old fish!

 

Thursday, February 26th, 7:10 PM

Now they’re all pointing at me, and keep saying my name. My sister keeps on saying “ci.” It means yes, I know that, I’m not an idiot for God sakes. And they keep using this word, “matrimonio.” I don’t know what that means, matrimonio. But anyway, my sister just keeps on saying “ci” and the dad keeps laughing and has this big old smile on his face. They’re looking at me now like they’re questioning me. What did I do? All I’m doing is eating some freaking fish and now suddenly I’m the “Bell of the Ball!” And why does this girl keep staring at me? She won’t stop, and she keeps smiling. This is freaking me out man. “Yea, whatever, ci ci.” I just want to eat the fish.

 

Thursday, February 26th, 7:11 PM

Now what? They’re all screaming, hooting and hollering, getting all happy. The dad, the wife, they’re all just ecstatic all of a sudden. Was it something I said? Oh great, this girl’s staring even harder at me. And smiling…

I don’t like this at all.

 

Thursday, February 26th, 8:00 PM

I ate a whole entire fish. I’m done. I’m never eating… ever, again.

 

Thursday, February 26th, 8:10 PM

The caretakers are leaving for the night, but the dad gives me this big hug and says something like “Mi familia.” Yea, familiar with what? I never found out, he just hugged me again and then left. And their daughter waved one of those creepy finger rolling waves on her way out too. I’m just glad that’s all over. What a weird night. Man, I’m stuffed.

 

Friday, February 27th, 1:30 AM

Oh my God. I can’t believe it happen. This is awful.  It was inevitable. Montezuma’s Revenge has finally struck. Ugh, I feel like Hell.  It was the damn fish. It had to be. Oh God. Just a… Ahhh help me Jesus, it hurts so bad. I can’t stop.  It just keeps… UGHZ.  I woke my sister’s up too. I had to. No. Other. Choice. Door was locked. I had to go. Why is this happening?  Oh, I hate lemurs so much right now.  And fish, and—oh no, here it goes!  No…

 

Friday, February 27th, 2:30 AM

Not again!!!

 

Friday, February 27th, 3:00 AM

This is bad. This is so bad. It’s even worse than I’d imagined. Worse than Ben Woodward and the Toilet Bowl Massacre… No, nothing’s worse than that. But this is still bad. Wait… Yea, never mind, this is way worse…

 

Friday, February 27th, 3:45 AM

I have literally destroyed the toilet. As in, this thing is no longer recognizable, every square inch of it. I can’t even describe the abomination that was created. I am honestly disgusted at myself, and my body. It’s a travesty to the human race. It’s so disgusting and ugly, I’m not even proud of it. It’s horrific.  God, I think this could even be illegal, and all I can do is sit in shame over this monstrosity, and pray for forgiveness. God help me. God forgive me…

 

Friday, February 27th 4:00 AM

Please God let this be it. This is the worst. I really hope I can pinch it off and just sleep now, cause I don’t know how much more I can take. Oh, you got to be kidding me. What’s wrong with the toilet now? It’s not even flushing. Why won’t it… the toilet paper… I didn’t put it in the trash like they… Oh, F my life…

 

Friday, February 27th 1:00 PM

Well, I’m pretty much out of commission for the rest of the day. The rest of them went to a nearby beach, one without seaweed. Whoop de freaking do. It was nice of them to ditch me like this. I’d never do such a thing, but that’s just me.

So I decided to do a little reading, an activity that’s light on the stomach. They have a couple books here to read, even this one from this dude, Ernest Hemmingway. I’ve heard a couple of the smart and nerdy babes in class talk about how he’s so romantic and stuff. You know, the one’s that act all smart because they know literature and everything. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to get acquainted with my old friend Ernest, and his book, “The Sun Also Rises.” Besides, there’s something about a girl in smart looking glasses that kind of turns me on…

 

Friday, February 27th, 1:10 PM

Screw that, this book sucks, just a bunch of drunken A-holes. It ain’t even worth it. What a pile of garbage. What a waste of my freaking time…

 

Saturday, February 28th, 10:00 AM

It’s our last day in Tulum. If anything, I might as well run to this bridge we pass on the way to town and take a picture of the ocean from there. Those types of pics get at least 15 or 20 likes on Instagram every time, guaranteed, half of which are from babes, and probably a couple extra since it’s in a foreign country. It’s totally worth it. I figure this, I can get some exercise, get a picture, and maybe meet some more babes while I’m over there too. Kill two birds with one stone, that’s my motto.

 

Saturday, February 28th, 10:30 AM

Oh, what in the hell? Yea, I’m at the bridge. I’m also stuck in a damn monsoon. Right when I got here, it came down, right out of nowhere, Forest Gump, Vietnam style. It’s like I’m that EPA butthole on Ghostbusters when they blow up the Marshmallow Man and all that white goop dumps all over him. I know exactly how he feels. So much for that Instagram pic, and my phone. And here’s to a 2 more miles of running in the pounding rain.

I said it once, and I’ll say it again. F. My. Life!!! That’s my motto.

 

Saturday, February 28th, 11:00 AM

Yea, go ahead and keep laughing, you heartless souls. I’m so glad my siblings think all of my suffering’s hilarious. Maybe I should stick them outside for an hour and see how they like it…

 

Saturday, February 28th, 7:00 PM

Well, it’s done raining, and it’s our last night in Tulum and we’re at dinner. Everybody is kind of in a bummer mood. I for one am glad we’re leaving tomorrow, because frankly, I’ve had enough of this place for one week. And now everybody’s bummer mood is kind of putting me in a bummer mood.

 

Saturday, February 28th, 7:05 PM

The waiter comes by, kind of a weird dude, taking our orders telling us about all the nice stuff they have. “Just get me the steak, and a couple beers, and some shots.” I’m getting tanked tonight. I don’t even care anymore.

 

Saturday, February 28th, 8:00 PM

I had hella beers and shots, and ate a steak, and I’m not even drunk. Well, whatever, I’ll be home tomorrow anyway, so who cares. I’ll get drunk then.

 

Saturday, February 28th, 8:03 PM

Well here comes the waiter again. Great, now what does he want?

“Thank you very, very much. Say, I have question. Do you play American Futball?”

“Who me? Well what do you mean, I have before and all…”

“Like, uh, what you say, profesonale?

“Oh Pro Football, in the NFL. No, but thank you, that’s awfully nice of you to say so…”

“Oh man. You look like profesonale. You look like one man, very handsome. Throws American Futball.”

“Um, you mean the quarterback?”

“Ah yes, quarter back. What his name? Roger, I think. Wears color of green. Play by water. What you call it, Bay?”

“You mean Aaron Rodgers?”

“Ahh yes, Aaron Rodger. My favorite. Fantastic at Futball. You remind me of Aaron Rodger.”

“Well, uh, gee, I don’t know what to… thank you… I mean, I can see where there’s a connection, but… just, wow, that’s just… wow!”

 

Saturday, February 28th, 8:05 PM

I am literally at a loss of words right now, as in I don’t know what to say. That was one of the nicest things anybody’s ever said to me… Oh my God. Dude, I… I think I’m gonna cry…

 

Saturday, February 28h, 8:10 PM

Say what you want about the Mexicans, but they sure are an honest bunch of people. Nice people too. I don’t think I’ve ever been treated with as much respect as I have here. What a great little town. Truly heaven on Earth…

 

Sunday, March 1st, 7:00 AM

Well, on our way to the airport now, and just went over our last Topes, at least for a while anyway. They’re really not so bad, once you get used to them. My sister may disagree, she’s still yelling over them and the Jeep Wrangler, but I can’t be too hard on her. I just don’t think she has the same sense of culture as I do.

And you know, Tulum isn’t such a bad place if you think about it. Sure it’s not for everybody, but that’s ok. I guess it just takes a certain person to like this type of stuff. A type of person who’s cultured, willing to try new things, somebody who has a sophisticated sense of appreciation for the world. Somebody like me…

I don’t how keen my family is about coming back, but that’s ok. I just don’t think they were able to connect to the people like I did, that waiter last night being the perfect example.  Man Aaron Rodgers…  I just can’t believe it.  I still feel like a million bucks!

Maybe someday, they’ll learn to appreciate the finer things and people of the world, like me. Hell, I feel like this whole experience has changed my life! I don’t know exactly what happened either. Last night, well, that was just amazing…

Oh well, until next time. They can enjoy places like Cancun. You know where you can find me.

-Grizzly Chadams

Jay

 There are very few moments in my life where I have been literally left at a loss of words.  No matter how much I try to think and decipher some explanation of why things happen the way they do, nothing comes out.  Two weeks ago, during what seemed to be just an ordinary Saturday spent at the bar with a couple friends, that feeling snuck up and smacked me like a 2×4 to the face.  It was on that that first day in March, when we learned that our great friend, a friend who we considered our brother, Jordan Webber, was taken from us.

 

I sat for hours trying to put words onto paper, but all I could do was look at a blank screen.  I just couldn’t find any sort of clarity in this situation.  I even ran 9 miles in the pouring rain in an attempt to clear my mind, but no matter what or how hard I tried, nothing seemed to work.  I was in utter shock and disbelief that he was gone, just like that.

 

How was I supposed to find some understanding in all of this?  It was supposed to be another typical Saturday night, where I had just finished working on a silly blog post about my screenplay I had finally completed, and was on my way to celebrate my friend’s birthday.  Even coming home from work that afternoon, a thought passed through my mind.  “What if I just got smacked by a car and that was it for me?”  It was a thought I quickly dismissed as highly improbable.  Jay passing away however, that was one of the furthest things from my mind.

 

That next week was a bit of a struggle for me, as I’m sure was the case for many others, especially as I tried to find the correct words to write so I could properly pay tribute to our fallen comrade.  The meaning of life was on my mind constantly, what Jay’s life meant to us, and what I was meant to do with mine, let alone trying to wrap my head around the fact that I would never be able to see him ever again.  The following weekend however, after spending a week in Boise with some close friends of his, it started to become apparent what his time on this Earth represented, and what I would write.

 

It was the summer of 2002 when I had my first encounter with Jay.  We were part of a church group on our way to Whitefish, Montana to help a local Presbyterian Church lead a vacation bible school program, one of which my pastor had pressured me into volunteering.  I was pretty sore about the whole thing, for Pastor Tom was very adamant about me coming along, giving me the impression that I would be going to hell if I didn’t.  Therefore, I reluctantly agreed and prepared myself for a week of pure torture and agony.

 

It was about an hour into the trip, and I was just sitting by myself near the front of the 16-passenger Congo-Pres church van minding my own business, probably listening to one of my many burned mix CD’s.  I was thinking about the usual mid-day pit stop in Kellogg, Idaho, looking forward to the moment when I could indulge myself in the ecstasy of devouring a Quarter Pounder with Cheese when I heard the sound of chuckling coming from the back.  I turned around to find out what the commotion was; a group of young teenagers by the names of Collin, Nate, Nick and Tay were fixated on this 14-year-old kid with wavy blond hair.  They huddled around, totally drawn into a story being told with expert precision, which included a signature brush of the hair and explosive hand motions.  This kid was a natural, knowing the correct times to pause, when to emphasize, and how to use simple body gestures to propel the story into new and exciting directions.  I resisted at first, but it didn’t take me long until I became intrigued as well.

 

“My dad took a puff of the Cuban and handed it right over to me, ‘POOF’ (he was never shy about using sound effects, a common Jay storytelling trademark) and said ‘This is disgusting, here you go Jordan.’”

 

“Who the hell is this kid?” I thought to myself.  “Is he really talking about smoking a cigar on a church trip, while Pastor Tom is driving, sitting next to his kids?  Let alone a Cuban!”  I could just see Pastor Tom stopping each of us individually later into the trip to have that uncomfortable conversation; the one where they have to tell you they’re concerned about you spending time with your friend that’s a trouble maker and what you’re supposed to do if they start acting up (the correct answer was always tattle), such as throwing around some swears or dabbling in some hard drugs.  In fact, I was dreading it horribly, for it was the same type of lecture I’d get from my mother whenever I’d spend the night at Austin Moody’s house.  What can I say?  I get a little anxious about confrontational situations.  I really do.

 

I nervously looked back to see if I could get a glance at Pastor Tom’s demeanor through my peripherals.  I slowly positioned my head where I could look at him without it looking like I was looking at him, if that makes sense.  Looking through the rearview mirror of the car, I saw a slightly tilted profile view of Pastor Tom chuckling in his seat with a huge smile on his face.  I was in total disbelief!  I could never get away with anything like that, and even if I did, my parents would find out somehow or another, resulting in one of those “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed,” types of talks.  I quickly dismissed the thought as he continued with the story, for within a minute, he had the whole van gut-rolling as he went forth into a wild tangent.

 

The Cuban Cigar incident was only the tip of the iceberg, for that trip was filled with many more episodes that included rockin’ out to Styx with Pastor Tom, exploring Glacier National Park and seeing a grizzly bear (Which Pastor Tom was so excited about, he based his next sermon off of), and this stupid Organ with a pre-recorded track that him, Tay and Nate Jasper kept turning on full blast when the rest of us were trying to take a nap.  I remember four times in a row, I was on the verge of taking that plunge into a perfect sleep, when a “BUM, BA DA DUM DUM” would ring through the room over and over again followed by a bunch of giggling and thumps from the three of them running away.  God that pissed me off.

 

Sometime near the end of that trip however, Jay turned to us all and said, “You know, I wouldn’t mind staying another week.”  I believe he said it during an excursion through town, sometime between the incident where we tricked Tay into using the bathroom of this local bar to confirm a rumor that it was plastered with pictures of naked girls (it was) and going into a store where we bought fireworks from this girl with hairy pits, nearly making Jay throw up in his mouth.  No matter the time he said it though, the important thing is that we unanimously agreed.  That Whitefish trip actually turned about to be one of the best trips I’d ever gone on, despite my initial doubts, and little did I know that a measly story about a kid smoking a Cuban with his pops would spark a friendship with one of the most fun and good-natured people I’d ever meet, and in turn spur more tales equally as epic as the ones we had just created in Whitefish.  I lost count of how many times Whitefish got brought up during a conversation over a drink at the bar, on a drive from Lewiston to Moscow, or while we were hanging out at his apartment.  Maybe Pastor Tom had this grand plan set in motion all along for me to meet and befriend Jay?  He always had the tendency of plottin’ and schemin’ on the low like that.

 

A few years later he started to attend the University of Idaho, where it didn’t take long for Jay’s presence to be known throughout the campus.  Between the years of 2006 and 2011, you were bound to have an encounter with Jay, whether it was between class, at his job at the Kibbie Dome, at the bar, or a house party, for better or worse.  It was here where his personality fully blossomed, and when the weekend arrived, we would gather around with delight whenever he’d walk through the door.  After joining in a boisterous song and dance to get pumped up for the night (usually to classic groups such as “Men at Work),” innocent bystanders were warned by our waning voices traveling about the town, your night would not be dull.

 

I always got a kick out of how many people he could convince that he was a heroin addict after he showed them a punctured skin mark on his arm from a recent trip to the blood donation center.  “I just shot up a few hours ago, stuck the needle right in my arm, ‘POOF,’ Pulp Fiction style!”  A wide-eyed look mixed with a wringing sensation of fear was the typical natural response.

 

There was even a string of months where he started rocking a necklace with a cross and convinced a quarter of the student population that he was a member of the Irish Republican Army.  “I just set up a couple of car bombs next to the SUB,” which was followed by a few laughs from the poor souls he was telling.  “I’m not laughin’,” he would then say with a straight face.  That got them shuttin’ up real quick.  I think he told that story so much that he eventually convinced himself that he actually was a member, but it could’ve been that he simply enjoyed the combination of Guinness, Irish Whiskey and Bailey’s instead.

 

And then there was the infamous Cinco, Bill, Tay and Jay’s apartment located on Taylor Street next to a big field that separated the street from U of I’s Greek Row.  How do you describe a place like Cinco, and how do you serve its justice for the people who lived there and helped create the legendary establishment?  The answer is, you can’t, but I’m going to try anyway.

 

Every weekend, we would all converge to that vortex of calamity where Jay would invite us into his home.  There we would plan our strategy to attack the town, usually with the help of our two favorite weapons, Keystone Light and Montego Bay at our arsenal.  It seemed like it was at least twice a month we would find some new way to piss off his downstairs neighbor, the one who apparently “ran” the city of Moscow while living in his piece of crap apartment.  If something broke, Jay would run over and break it some more, leaving the culprit at ease of his crime.  If someone was too loud, Jay would become louder so they wouldn’t get the blame.  And one way or another, after we blanketed the citizenry of Moscow with shear terror, we always found ourselves back where we started.  Cinco.

 

And they never complained once about me passing out on the couch after a night on the town, which I took advantage of many a time.  Once on a cold and dreary day in October after everyone had retired to their chambers from a typical Saturday night, Jimmy Dawson and I were left in the living room between a couch, a TV, and a newly acquired Xbox 360.  “Let’s play a couple rounds of Halo before we hit the hay,” I suggested, in which he foolishly agreed.  A few rounds turned into a few more and a few more, at least I think.  I mean, it was a bit of a blur after we started playing.  What I do remember however, was at some point during the night, Jay came out of his room to grab some water and bumped the trashcan over, sending its contents scattered across the floor.  He ignored it and went back inside his room, but not before tipping over a mini-fridge in the process.  Now that I think about it, he may have pushed it over, or even thrown it, I can’t quite recall exactly, but the important thing is, it ended up on the ground.  By the end of that night, the floor was totally covered in clothes, trash, beer cans, and bits and pieces of leftover food; and when I say covered, I mean every square inch of carpet.  That floor could not be seen with the naked eye.  Only a few seconds was awarded from us to observe the wreckage.

 

Suddenly, a jolt of energy rushed through Jimmy’s nervous system.  He jumped out of his seat, for a pivotal revelation had just struck him.  “Dude, it’s 6 in the morning, we better stop playing and go to bed!”  Man that kid can be a buzz kill sometimes, but I guess he had a point.  We started to shut it down, and then it hit me.

 

“Wait… it’s daylight savings time.  We still have another hour to play!”

 

4 hours later, Bill came out of his bedroom, totally petrified at the madness that was laid out before him.  “Oh.  My.  God…” were the only words that he could muster as he stared at two zombies, skin pale as a vampire’s with bloodshot eyes looking back at him in an apartment that mimicked a war zone.  He slowly retreated back into his room.  No sudden movements.  That was the last time we saw Bill that weekend.

 

And that was just one meager sliver of the stories that came out of that place.  There are literally thousands of other stories that are on the same level or above, such as the time where Kim Hoppe was locked in the bathroom, sick and scared out of her mind, until Jay and Jess Sanden busted down the door into a thousand pieces just to save her.  Or when Collin Morlock accidently pushed a chair over the balcony and onto his downstairs neighbor’s car, the same one who “ran” the city of Moscow.  I don’t know how Jay talked himself out of that one.  Ask any one of us that were around during that period of time, and each of us would have our own unique story that would equal the one told by our peers.  That place will always have a soft spot deep in our hearts, no matter how disgusting it became.  I hope that sinkhole in the middle of the living room will remain for generations, as a monument for Cinco’s existence.

 

The day after a hard night of partying on the town, when our minds were clear from the toxins we had consumed and our stomachs (somewhat) settled, Jay and I somehow always found ourselves at Wheatberries, the local Moscow bakery trying to piece together what exactly happened the night before, the trouble we narrowly averted, and which person Mike threatened to beat the crap out of.  After a while, it seemed as if walking to Wheatberries and discussing the events of the night prior (or at least the parts we remembered) became our unofficial weekend tradition.

 

And whenever I think about Jay, the very first thought that pops in my head is sharing a Panini at brunch while conversing over a range of topics, sometimes getting rather deep with our knowledge and thoughts on life.  It’s funny how I look back and realize a favorite memory of somebody doesn’t have to be an outrageous stunt they pulled, but rather a simple and unscripted moment of companionship that brought a little contentment into our lives.  It was during those times when our friendship really developed and we got to know each other on a personal level, and I found out first hand how down to Earth, witty, and honest Jay really was, and how lucky I was to call him my friend.

 

There was even one time where Brian Gill and I joined him for brunch at Casa de Lopez, the popular Moscow Mexican joint smack dab in the middle of Main Street.  The waitress came out, took one look at us, and immediately turned back inside.  A minute later, she showed up with three full 64-ounce pitchers in her hands for each of us.  No words needed to be said.  It was that kind of night.

 

If one of us were in trouble, or had screwed the pooch big time, Jay would be one of the first one’s there to take care of us, whether we were in the right or wrong.  If a friend went to jail, he’d be waiting there, money in hand to bail them out (That actually happened once, not to me, but no need to get into details at this time).  If there were signs of hooliganism that could potentially lead to a hefty citation, he’d show up the next day ready to cover up the evidence.  There was never any hesitation inside of him when the opportunity came about to help a friend.  Once, during a classic Northwest snowstorm, he climbed halfway out of the car window and spent almost an hour brushing off the oncoming snow from the windshield so Mike Gibson could have a few more angles of visibility while driving across Snowqualmie pass; and all so they could meet me for a Seahawks game the next day (Mike Holmgren’s last home game to be exact).  It was just after 2 AM when they finally reached my house, when nearly 2 feet of snow had been dumped on the city of Seattle.  They were the second to last car to make it across the pass that night before the Washington Department of Transportation shut it down.

 

This last summer, what seemed to be out of nowhere, a thought popped into my head.  “Hey, I need to go visit Mike and Jay in Boise for the 4th of July.”  I may never know exactly what supernatural powers were at work that compelled me to go, but it had been ages since I’d seen them, and it would be my first time ever visiting Boise after 20 years of living just west of the Idaho border.  Now that I look back, I’m so glad that I was able to make that trip, even if I didn’t fully appreciate or understand it at the time.  I mean, being reacquainted with that signature 110-degree Idaho summer heat wasn’t exactly the best first impression of Boise (and to think I missed that about Idaho?).  Sleeping out in Mike and Jay’s shed that evening turned out not to be a very good idea either.  They both felt pretty bad the next morning when I left the hotbox looking as if I had just taken a dip in the lake.  Jay immediately sacrificed his bed for the rest of my stay so that I could sleep in comfort and wouldn’t let me change his mind otherwise, no matter how much I protested.

 

A couple of days later, the 4th of July had arrived, and the night before, in our typical fashion, Mike and I had stayed up a little too late, reuniting with old friends, meeting some new ones, and sharing stories of the past, Jay’s antics being the main theme for most of them.  And during that time, we might have had a couple of drinks, but whatever.  I woke up that day a little dazed, but ready to do my patriotic duty and celebrate our nation’s birthday.  Mike on the other hand was a different story.  He was totally passed out, with little hope of ever regaining consciousness.

 

Now anybody who knows Mike understands how much he likes to take advantage of his sleep, but it was now 4 in the afternoon, and Mike was still sound asleep, with no sign of waking up, not even for the end of the world!  Now me, I don’t like to disturb somebody while they’re deep in a slumber, let alone barge into their room when the door’s closed.  But this was the 4th of July of Christ Sakes, and there was over $150 of primetime fireworks bundled up in that room!  Something had to be done.  I was not going to let a bunch of illegal fireworks along with my favorite holiday go to waste.

 

Jay first scouted out the situation, providing me a thorough brief of the fireworks’ location inside the fortress that was Mike’s room.  It was up to me now to complete the rest of the mission without disturbing Mike of his much needed rest.  I cracked the door open to scope out the area myself.  All that was visible was Mike sprawled out on top of the bed in nothing but his underpants.  I barely lasted a second before I shut the door and retreated to my post.

 

“Jay, I’m scared, I don’t want to do this,” I pleaded with him.  “What if I wake him up?  He’s gonna kill me!”

 

“Those are your fireworks, man.  Go get em’,” he said back.  He had a point.  This was my task, and mine alone to see through.  I needed to man up, walk in that room, claim what was rightfully mine, and then simply walk out.  Easy.

 

Attempt number two:  I opened the door and took a step.  I tried to ignore Mike and shoot straight for the fireworks…  I turned my head.  I couldn’t take my eyes off him…  I froze.  Visions of Mike ripping me apart clouded my head.  Waking up with a cold dead stare straight through my trembling skull, fuming with a raging fury right before the kill.  I panicked, and fled the scene, yet again.

 

“I can’t do it Jay, I just can’t do it!  The fireworks are gone.  Forever!”

 

“Don’t be such a sissy!” he shot back.  “Walk in there, get your damn fireworks, and walk right out.  That’s all you need to do.”  This was my final shot, or it was so long 4th of July.  So I regained my composure, took a deep breath and creaked the door open, stepping back inside enemy territory to reclaim my prize.

 

I tiptoed through his room, careful not to make a single noise.  My heart raced, beating faster than a cheetah, every slight rustle intensifying the state of terror, but I pressed forward.  My eyes were locked into the target.  Nothing could stop me now.

 

After an agonizing minute of sneaking around, I had finally reached the fireworks.  Grab them too quick, and you run the risk of making too much noise.  Too slow, and your hands start to get sweaty, causing the bag to fall from your hand, making even more noise.  I had to wait for the opportune moment to make my move.  Another sound of rustling echoed through the room.  This was it; now or never.

 

I snatched the stash from his floor.  Due to the sheer number of fireworks in my possession, carrying them out with precision turned out to be quite difficult, especially when you’re trying to avoid waking a sleeping giant.  But nevertheless, I already began my task.  No turning back now.

 

I was half way out of the room, my palms becoming more and more clammy with each step I took, but still doing everything I could to retreat from the room with ease.  A bag started to slip from my hand.  I repositioned my grip, but not before a bag smacked against the bed frame.  Violent shifting came from the bed, and I held my breath not to make another sound.  Pressure was building throughout my body, my face turning beat red.  I was almost out of there, but I couldn’t quite hold it in.  It was too intense.  I had to release…  I…  I…

 

I snickered.

 

“WHAT THE $@&#!!!!”  That scream bellowed through the house as I booked it out of there like a bat out of Hell.  I bolted passed Jay and Meredith.  Mike followed closely in hot pursuit in nothing but his undies.  This was a life and death situation, or at least I was in danger of a severe ass beating.

 

I reached the front door, fireworks in hand before dropping into the fetal position while giggling my brains out, somehow finding humor in the fact that I was going to get the crap kicked out of me.  I assumed the position to receive the pounding, for it didn’t much matter to me at this point.  He cocked back for a massive blow, the first of many of its kind.  But then he took a good look at me, sitting there, completely helpless and innocent looking.  A sudden wave of compassion miraculously struck through his enraged body.  There was no way he could knock my lights out, at least not here, not now.  He came down with his right with maximum velocity, but stopped short of my shoulder.  He gave me a love tap and shook his head, with a little bit of a chuckle afterwards.  I’ll remember that day for years to come, and praise God for sparing me of a brutal clobbering.

 

I left Mike and Jay that summer thankful for the time I got to spend with them, but also with the knowledge that it may be a long time before we ever get to see each other again.  As we grow older, we often have to leave our comfort zones and embark on our own journeys.  For many of us, that meant leaving Moscow, away from our friends and family to live our lives as we were called upon, breaking away from the flock that had steered us for so many years.  But a few months after the firework incident on a pleasantly cool mid-November evening in the Lewis-Clark valley, after what may have been years since some of us left that stretch of land in Idaho commonly known as the panhandle, we all reunited under one roof to celebrate the marriage of our friends Jill and Brian Gill.  And celebrate we did.  We laughed and danced (quite foolishly at times) the night away as we congratulated Jill and Brian on their newly formed union.  Although it had been years since some of us had seen each other, it seemed like it had only been yesterday since we were in each other’s presence.

 

That night really sticks out to me, especially after having one of my many conversations with Mike after Jay’s passing.  He mentioned how Jay was much more than a friend to us, that he was our brother, who we had laughed, fought, cried, celebrated, and grew close with throughout our lives and especially our careers as college students.  At a time where we struggle to find our independence, identity, and grasp of adulthood, having people like Jay in our lives proved to be essential in making it out in one piece.  That’s what made that night so special, and that group of people gathered together so remarkable.  Over the last six years, we had grown up together, had experienced so much and shared so many different emotions, that we were more than just a group of friends who knew how to have a good time.  We were a family.  One of which was so unique and unbelievably amazing, that no matter how far and wide you traveled, it would be impossible to find a group of people that could replicate, or even come close to what we had in that small town of Idaho, where I consider it both a blessing and a miracle that we all happened to converge on that part of the world during that short window of time; a window of time that I would never trade anything in the world, a sentiment that all of us would not hesitate to share.

 

Jay was central to that, and without him, I don’t think we would have had the same experience and built the same relationships as we did during those years in Moscow.  Jill and Brian’s wedding was the last time most of us got to see him, but perhaps the first that we saw him as a mature adult, grown into a man with purpose and resolve.  In a way, that evening summarized the last six years we spent together, the end of an era, one that Jay was instrumental in creating, and one that I will forever be grateful that I could be a part of.

 

I think it had to be the weekend after his death, with many of his close friends together paying our respects, when I really started to realize what Jay’s life meant to us.  For hours, we gathered around his kitchen and shared are favorite stories of Jay, each one just as funny and outrageous as the last.  We couldn’t stop.  Throughout that whole weekend, Jay stories kept popping up, and even as emotional as that weekend was, Jay was still making us laugh, as if his spirit was still present and working through each of us to bring us comfort in a time of suffering.

 

And for the very first time, it became abundantly clear to me how one person’s simple presence can be such a tremendous influence on one’s life.  Whether we were out and about on a Friday, or sitting down having a heart to heart, Jay’s presence always brought us joy, and the fact that we could share so many heartfelt memories of him and not even scratch the surface of what is the massive mountain of Jay stories alone brings testament of how incredibly special that man really was.  Not only to us as a whole, but to each of us individually.  He loved all of us like we were his brother, and touched us all in his own distinct way.  Ways that we could never forget and will positively impact us for as long as we live.

 

And if we stop and think every now and then, we realize that we all have people like Jay in our lives.  People whose presence makes life worth living.  It could be a family member, a significant other, kids, a spiritual leader, or a great friend; just them being in our lives motivates us to get up and make an impact on the world.  Even the amazing people I have met during my life that I rarely get to see, or may never see ever again, the fact that they exist, fighting the good fight for what they believe brings me inspiration.  Those are the type of people that mean the world to us, and make it a livable place.  With each word I write, every important choice I make, I will think of think of them and whether they would be proud, whether they would be honored, and whether it would bring me a step closer to being the great person Jay was, so maybe someday I can make a difference in people’s lives the same way he made that difference in ours.

 

It’s times like these, as we mourn for the loss of one of our brothers, we need to be surrounded by those types of people, and become that type of person when the duty calls.  We feel hopeless during these occasions when tragedy strikes us, especially when it creeps up on us so unfairly.  And most of the time, I, as I’m sure is the case with many of us, don’t ever have the words to explain.  We have trouble finding the right thing to say that will bring consolation to such a dire situation, or haven’t the slightest idea of how to respond to grief.  But by merely being that loving presence in each other’s lives sends a stronger message than any combination of words could ever deliver.

 

The simplest of actions, a hug, visit, or just being present so a close friend can look you in the eye can make a world of difference.  It gives them a mutual understanding that you’re in this together.  That you will struggle, cry on each other’s shoulders, and grieve as you try to find the answers of why things are the way they are.  But in the end, for as long as it takes, you will be by their side, through the good times and the bad, to pick them up when they’re down, to stand by them when it seems the whole world is against them, to be that special presence in their life that makes life worth living.  To be the type of person that Jay was to us.

 

For a long time, I will struggle with the reasons why Jay was taken from us at such an early age.  I may never know that reason, but I will be always grateful for having the privilege of calling Jay my friend, for the type of person he was, the lessons we learned together, and the wonderful memories he has engrained in our minds.  Memories that bring warmth to our hearts, such as the times he would yell “GO HOME, GO TO BED,” to the intoxicated hooligans causing a ruckus around the U of I campus, or having a deep conversation while listening to a good jam in the car, ranging from critically acclaimed artists like the Notorious B.I.G., the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, or Weezer’s “My Name is Jonas” (A song we practiced extensively and mastered on guitar hero), so that whenever I think of him, I begin to laugh instead of cry.  His presence in this world and the mark he left on it will forever be remembered and celebrated, especially through the hearts of his friends.  His spirit will survive through each one of us, and we will do our best to keep that spirit alive, to bring his excitement and joy to all the new faces we will encounter in our lifetime.  The way Jay would want us to.

 

It breaks my heart that we have to say goodbye, but I have this strong feeling that this is not the end, that there will be a day that you will greet me once more with a giant hug and a celebratory shot, the same exact way you did whenever I’d step through the door at Cinco after a long and arduous week of anticipation.  We may have to wait a little longer this time, but when that time comes, we will party harder than we ever could have imagined during our prime in Moscow…  We’ll throw the ultimate Boy’s Club Prom.

 

Until we are reunited once again, may your soul be at peace, and may you watch over us until the time has come where we are together once again.

 

I will see you again, Jordan.  Our friend.  Our brother.

 

But not yet…

 

Image

Jay + Friends.  One of my favorite pictures with him.

 

The Mammogram… and the current state of our healthcare system

Healthcare.  It’s been on everybody’s mind lately.  People are worried sick about it.  “Am I going to lose my health coverage?  Is the website working yet?  Will I have to same type of coverage as the elite members of this country such as the president, senators, and Kanye West?”  All are legitimate questions, without clear answers, answers that have torn apart friends, family, and parts of this country as a whole.  Along with these answers comes the blame game, with our problems always being somebody else’s fault.

The truth is, these issues have been apparent for quite some time… years even…  well, I at least have known of them for a while now.  I could’ve sent a warning to my friends much earlier, but hesitated.  I was acting on selfishness and cowardness when I should’ve thought of others and how my story, no matter how embarrassing it may be, could have prepared them for the future.  Well, better late than never, and who knows?  It may still save a few souls here and there, even though my silence has cost many all ready a great deal of pain.  You only have one life to live, and you must do what you can with what you got to make it count.  That’s my motto.

It all happened a couple years ago during a Christmas party in an old apartment in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle.  There was a holiday theme, and all in attendance were mingling about in the appropriate attire to match the occasion, sharing with each other the spirit of the Christmas season.  For some reason, I had my shirt off (which baffles me to this day, for I rarely rip off my shirt during any party or likewise occasion, ever), and after talking to somebody for an extended period of time, they noticed something unusual with my chest.  One breast was bigger than the other.  This was something I had known ever since my teenage years, and didn’t think too much of it.  “So, one of my boobs is bigger than the other.  Who cares!?”  But as the news spread around the party about my abnormality, worry and panic set in.

“Oh let me just see it,” one girl asked.  I didn’t mind.  She was probably a babe, so I let her feel for herself the non-symmetrical phenomenon that was my boobs.  “Oh my gosh, it’s true!” she exclaimed as she caught the attention of others, drawing them into close quarters with my naked chest.  “Let me see,” asked one.  “I don’t believe it, I wanna feel,” said another.  Before I knew it, a dozen people from both sexes were crowded around me in an attempt to examine the build up of unusual tissue around my left nipple, all of which began touching and feeling it at their own free will!  I don’t mind if a few hot babes grab them here and there, especially since I was eager for a chance to show off my newly sculpted pectoral muscles.  But it was getting to the point where things were starting to get uncomfortable.  To some, it could’ve been classified as sexual harassment, although I couldn’t bring myself to make that accusation.  After all, every one that touched both of my boobs seemed genuinely concerned for my health, and was only grabbing them for medical reasons.  So I just stood there in an inept position as I watched the reaction of people, one after another in shock as the squeezed each nipple, realizing the irregularity of my body.

“You really should get that checked out,” one suggested, followed by nods of approval.  Enough people agreed, and counseled me in their own personal way.  I forget who was all involved in the decision that night, but I know it wasn’t Ben Woodward.  He usually has some pretty good sense about these things.  In fact, I don’t really remember much of Ben during the whole party, which leads me to believe that he was actually being really cool about the situation and in general.  However, his coolness wasn’t enough to convince me from doing something about my condition, so the next week, I made an appointment to visit a doctor and clear up whatever defective generation of tissue build up there may be inside my body, if there was any issue at all, which I highly doubted.

I entered the doctor’s office with a slight agitation, and the nurse reminding me of my weight insecurity wasn’t helping the situation.  What was this build up of tissue in my left breast?  Will I need surgery?  Chemo?  I was just beginning my life, and life was good.  This is the last thing I need at a time like this!  But better to take care of these things now rather than later, when they could be much worse…  That’s my motto.

The doctor entered and did his regular examinations before proceeding to copping a feel, which I guess I allowed in an indirect way.  He squeezed, and massaged, and rubbed, and felt all around my chest as I stood there in anticipation of his diagnosis.  He had a look of puzzlement on his face that was impossible to determine whether it was a sign of hope or doom.  So I waited, heart pounding for several minutes for his decision.

“Well, my professional opinion is it’s just some build up of residual tissue.  I don’t see any signs of a tumor or-“

“Great news doc!  I agree with the diagnosis, and gee, look at the time.  Gotta go.  It’s been a pleasure-“

“BUT…”  One of most disappointing phrases a man may ever hear.  I looked back with concern, halfway out the door.  I wasn’t going to like the next words out of his mouth.  “I’m going to have to refer you for an ultrasound.”

“You gotta be kidding me,” I thought to myself.  It killed me inside, but I had to respect the man’s recommendation and his years of study and practice.

I informed my boss the next day at our group meeting that I had to schedule another appointment.  “I have to go in for some testing tomorrow,” I told the group.  I was immediately shot with an array of strange looks, and immediately realized I had uttered one of those phrases that came out the worst way possible and wished I could take back.  I sensed what they were thinking, but I didn’t know what would be more embarrassing; letting them think I have an STD, or telling them the nature of my impending risk of breast cancer, and the fact that I’m getting an ultrasound.

I kept my mouth shut.  My professional relationship with my Catholic coworker has suffered ever since.

So again I found myself inside a hospital waiting room, checking into my ultrasound appointment, lingering in agony until the moment my name is called.  I needed something to get my mind off the procedure, fast.  It was stressing me out big time!  On the counter I rifled through a barrage of magazines geared towards woman’s health issue.  There were the usual “Shape,” “Woman’s Health,” and “Bridal Monthly,” and “Pregnancy” magazines, but then something else caught my eye.  “So you’re having a baby,” and the many other health pamphlets scattered around the office table.  For a moment, I forgot all about my procedure and became intrigued about the subtle details of pregnancy.  I learned that it’s normal to feel sick and make multiple trips to the bathroom during the early stages of pregnancy, and how one may experience unusual spikes in their appetite.  The real eye opener was the section that begins with the woman’s water breaking and going down the list of steps involved in birthing the baby.  I was a bit disgusted at the level of detail portrayed in the pamphlet, yet at the same time, it was at a level of interest that kept me reading, wanting more, just like the show “Keeping with the Kardashians.”  I was sucked in with horror, yet amazement.  I needed to know what happened next, deeper and deeper into the vile depths of this pamphlet, each section more-

“Excuse me sir, we’re ready for your ultrasound.”  I looked up to a waiting room full of women, all eyes fixated on me, wondering why the hell I was nose deep into this pregnancy pamphlet and getting an ultrasound.  I slowly set the pamphlet down and cautiously made my way out of the room, as if it were a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” me being vastly outnumbered by the crowd of women watching my every move.  Any sense of panic or sudden movement would turn the room into a frenzy in which there would be little chance of survival.

The room mimicked that of an alien probing station, a circular space with a large table in the middle for the specimen to lie, and a long and skinny mechanical eye with the ability to examine any part of the body it pleased.   “Take off your shirt and lay on the table,” the nurse instructed.  I wasn’t really thrilled about taking my shirt off, even with my transitioning chiseled body, so the nurse probably wasn’t that much of a babe.  Regardless of my thoughts, I did what I was told.  I had to do what I could to understand the fate of my left breast, and allowed the nurse to splatter a blob of gel with the consistency grape jelly all over my chest.  This substance was rather warm, making the situation even more uncomfortable than it needed to be, and for several more minutes of unnecessary medical exploitation she took the metal probe and pressed it against my body, moving it all around the general area of my breast with a film of gel in-between looking for the best view of tissue on the large screen hovering above us.  By the way she was taking her sweet time moving the probe all over my delicate body slathered with medicinal oil, I could tell she really enjoyed her job.

“I can’t see anything wrong with your breast.”

“What a relief,” I thought to myself.  Christmas was just around the corner and my worries were behind me.  Sensing my probing was over and done with, I cleaned the warm goop off of my body and put my clothes back on as the nurse finished up her paper work.

“I’m going to refer for a mammogram.  Please go to the 9th floor and hand them this referral.”

“Whoa…  WHAT!”  She didn’t even hit me with a misleading and disappointing “But.”  She went straight for the throat.  I didn’t even get a chance to strike back, or even think!  But you know, I guess better safe than sorry…  That’s my motto.  And so I gathered what was left of my shattered and dwindling dignity, crept past the preying bird-like women in the waiting room, and made my way to the next stop on my breast cancer journey; the equivalent of Level 8 on Super Mario Brothers 3.

“Excuse me mam, I’m here for an appointment.”  I set the referral note on the desk.

“All right, what are we doing today?” she asked, her face glued to the computer screen.

“Um, I’m here for a mammogram,” I politely responded in a soft voice, avoiding any unnecessary attention.  The last thing I needed was another ultrasound incident.  I waited a few long seconds, where I sensed an extreme case of ADD with the receptionist, as she kept typing away on her computer, forgetting that she had responded to me mere moments before.

“I’m sorry, what was that hun?”

Again, I responded with quiet hesitancy.  “A mammogram mam.  I’m here to get a mammogram.”  My patience was running thin at this point, but again, I replied with gentle poise.  I wouldn’t let them break me, no matter how bad of humiliation I may suffer.

But she kept on keeping on with her typing, and again my answer was ignored.  Whatever was on that computer screen was much more interesting than me, a major blow to my ego.  I mean, what administrative bull crap could be on that computer that is much more compelling than my presence?  It was kind of making me mad!  I kept my cool though, for there’s no need to draw attention to oneself during these types of situations.  That’s my motto.

“I’m sorry, one more time sir?”

“A MAMOGRAM, MAM.  A FREAKING MAM-O-GRAM!  I NEED TO CHECK TO SEE IF I HAVE BREAST CANCER, AS STATED ON THE REFERRAL NOTE I GAVE YOU!!  WHY THE HELL ELSE WOULD I BE HERE?!?!”

They say every man has his breaking point, and I had just hit mine.  I had caught the attention of the entire room now.  I was like Tupac, all eyes on me; everything I had tried to avoid…  Oops.

“Well why didn’t you just say so sir?  Please have a seat and we’ll call your name whenever you’re ready.”

I did as she told me, making awkward eye contact with everybody in the waiting room.  I had to give them the nod of acknowledgment, letting them know that they were all right, and I knew I was in the right place.  I’m not quite sure why we do that when we’re placed in stiff situations, but it’s something we all do.  I didn’t dare look at any magazines or pamphlets this time, even though there was plenty to read on the subject of a woman’s breast.  I was very tempted, but refrained, and just waited with a steady fortitude along with the other woman in the room for my breast test.  There was no way I was making that mistake twice.

After an excruciating fifteen-minute wait, I was called in for the exam.  The nurse ripped off my shirt and grabbed the hunk of flesh that comprised of my enlarged left breast, pulling it onto the bottom glass portion of the machine and setting the top portion in place.

“Ok, I think we’re all ready,” she stated, which was great news for me.  The sooner I could get this procedure done and over with, the sooner I can get out of this discomforted sitting position, out of the hospital, and on with Christmas.  The machine started, and the procedure pressed on and on…  Literally.  It pressed on my boob, and didn’t stop.

“Mam, I think this is good enough,” I stated, voice raising with concern.  I had no idea if it was good enough or not as far as the breast screening process goes, but all I knew is that it hurt like hell, and I was done with this mammogram as far as I was concerned.

“Just about one more minute,” She responded.

“Ah hell no!”  At the rate this is going, there’s not going to be any breast left to examine!  This was far enough, time I draw the line.  So I pulled out… or at least I tried.  The machine had a killer clamp on my boob, and the harder I pulled, the more it pressed and resisted.  The friction between the two glass slabs and my breast was too great to overcome.  I was left in agonizing pain with only two outcomes.  Either the nurse would show an ounce of mercy and let up on the examination, or my left boob would pop like a zit, squeezing puss all over the machine, and probably alleviating my breast cancer worries for the near future.

I scream out loud, but the machine that had turned my breast into a pancake took the breathe out of me.  All that came out was a quiet and exaggerated “Eep.”  For a moment, I was surprised and a little impressed at the amount of surface area in my breast that had been created by the machine.  The amazement was short lived unfortunately by the fact that my boob was on the verge of explosion at any second.  My heart raced, and I could barely hold on.  My face turning a pale blue, heavy breathing, body going faint.  This was the end.  If only there was another way…  If I could take back-

“All done!”  The machine lifted and my breast slowly formed back into shape like a dashpot.  I began to regain consciousness at a rapid pace.  A Christmas miracle.  “The results look good! No signs of cancerous cells or tumors.”

“Oh gee, like I didn’t see that one coming,” I thought to myself, although my demeanor was that of liberation, for that meant no more testing for me.  I was off Scott-free!

“Now we’d like you to come back in three years for another check-up so we can ensure-”

“No way.  Nuh uh.  Not gonna happen.  I’m done…  I. AM. DONE!”

“But sir, we really recommend-”

“Nope! I ain’t putting up with that bull crap again.  No more check-ups, screenings, weird jelly, ultrasounds, and/or mammograms for me!  Screw you guys, I’m going home!!!”

What a complete and utter nightmare.  I swear those nurses were putting me through unnecessary torture just for their amusement.  I can just picture them colluding amongst themselves on how to screw me over and make me go through hell on Earth just to point out the obvious.  “Hey, here comes this one dude, let’s make him go through all the bull crap we have to go through just because we can, haha.”  Whatever.

A wise man once said, “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”  One thing’s for sure.   I learned my lesson, that I’m never getting a mammogram…  EVER Again!

That’s my motto.

Merry Xmas,

-Grizzly Chadams