Eightball and Thundercloud's RANT

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Our Little Rant by Eightball & Thundercloud
From InfoAve Premium Issue #119 - January 27, 2006
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Good Friends

The first thing I remember about him was that he was tall and he had funny hair. He was 15 and I was the ripe old age of 17. The reason I met him at all was because we were in the process of becoming the next "Beatles". There was no doubt in our minds; we were going to the top and all it would take was some time until our wonderful talents were discovered by the world.

He had this wiry sort of hair that I compared to a Brillo pad; a rusty one. He didn't play guitar then but he was destined to be our bass player regardless. Another quirk about him, besides the fact that he was tall for his age and had funny hair, was that he was left-handed. The first thing I imagined then was we had found our very own Paul McCartney; though it was hard to picture him as McCartney with his hair like it was. I was sure a few layers of Dippity-Do could get it all straightened out.

Another thing I remember about him was that he and his best friend at the time had an ice boat. That fascinated me. If you don't know what an ice boat is, I'll try to explain. It's sort of like a sailboat on skis. If you took a banana and stuck two toothpicks in the front and two in the back and attached little runners to the end of each toothpick, then stuck a big sail on top, you'd have a pretty good idea of what an ice boat looks like. Not all ice boats were yellow though.

I can remember them taking me down to the "foot of McKewn Street" (that's what they called it) where they kept their ice boat, and showing me this gawky, dangerous looking contraption that they had built. I'm the sort of fellow that can't build anything, so I was totally fascinated that this thing actually worked (or so they said). And even more impressed that they actually built something.

When they told me that their ice boat could hit 90 MPH on the ice, I shuddered. For even though I was at the immortal age of 17 at the time, I didn't think I was immortal enough to survive an outing on their ice boat, especially not considering my choice of "captains". I admired their ice boat from a distance, I might have sat on it once and imagined gliding over the ice on Sandusky Bay - but I never did take a ride.

He and I became close friends as our rock band became locally popular. Most of the adults at the time looked at us like we were aliens. They probably imagined us doing all sorts of wild, shameless deeds. But, alas, we'd have disappointed them. On nights we weren't performing he and I would go to the local bowling alley and play pool. On other wild nights we'd go back to his house and watch TV. Sometimes, we even watched TV with his dad, who I affectionately called "Chief". Yes, we were wild in those days. Woo Hoo! Some of this wildness has lasted even to this day. I still watch TV - but I don't play pool much.

As things turned out, the world didn't need another "Beatles" and our dreams of being rock stars faded with a heavy dose of reality tossed in. College, girlfriends, marriage, and jobs all got in the way and the band, once a beautiful dream, came to an end.

My friend and I drifted apart after that. He went his way and I went mine. We were both married by then and our common interests once woven close by experiences in the rock band unraveled. We barely kept in touch.

Days and weeks turned into months and years. And years into decades. Over the last five or six years though we've become close again. And, I think we're closer now than we were all those years ago. We talk each weekend and share our experiences and rarely discussed are the days that made us friends in the first place. I'm glad these two good friends decided to stay in touch.

He now lives about 900 miles away from me. He'd fussy - he'd argue that it's only 876 miles. He's like that. A stickler for details. Whereas I'm an "approximately" type of guy, he's a precise type of guy. We're opposites.

When he came up for Christmas this past year, he walked into my "new" office for the first time and was aghast. He didn't have to say anything. I knew. But, he did say something like, "if only the people who read your newsletters could see your office". Yeah. Yeah! I thought. And, I was inclined to say, "I think they'd like my office, it's homey. It's the office of a regular guy", but I didn't. I just chided him on his neurotic desire for neatness!

He didn't have a camera with him anyway (and I was not about to let him borrow mine). And, if he had had a camera, I'm sure he'd have found a way to "leak" pictures of my office out on the Internet and then try to convince me that I should show them to you. You might say I was lucky. And, then again, I might say you were all luckier! You can be thankful that pictures of my office in shambles are something you'll never have to see.

Then, the other day I was thinking what a great treasure having a lifelong friend is. It's rare, I imagine. Not everyone has a lifelong friend that sails with you on the sea of life from childhood on. It's something I cherish for many reasons: Sometimes, it's nice to have a friend who has been with you since childhood because that way you can kind of check to see if your memories are real or if they're something you just dreamed up. Call it a reality check for aging brains. And, sometimes it's nice to have someone outside of your own family to share the good and bad with - someone you can tell things to a good friend that you would never tell anyone else. And I know that no matter what stupid thing I've done along the way, he'll not think anything less of me for it.

We talk for a couple hours every weekend and I look forward to it. I think he does too. We seldom discuss anything serious. Most of the time we solve the world's problem in the first twenty minutes and move on to other things, like sports, politics, or conjecturing about the nature of the universe. We don't always agree. In fact a lot of the time we disagree. Just because he's usually wrong does not mean I like him any less. I don't mind setting him straight -  that's what friends are for. We'll see how good of friends we are after he reads this :-) .

I'm sure you have a friend that you haven't talked to in a long time. One that you've been meaning to call or write. What better time than right now to get in touch with a good friend?

Good friends are a treasure, rare and wonderful. Don't let good friends slip away from you.

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