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Next Wave

       There is an old saying, out with the old and in with the new that really has no application here, but I will utter nonetheless. Over the course of reporting on the plethora of misremembered doings over these past pages, it has occurred to me that a sizable contingent of folks have been mentioned far less than their fair share, and must be given due time. Where the Clan Frank has taken up significant time and digital storage with their silly adventures and ne’er-do-well undertakings, those who filled the vacuum after their departure were a much classier lot, if of course anyone in our association can be given that distinction. Be that as it may, they did prove to be significantly longer lasting and far less destructive.           

       Before we introduce this group and before they are built up as some sort of paragons in your feeble imagination, it is best to once again recount the severance with Clan Frank that opened up this new age to exploration. The death knell, of course, was the attempted break in and my squashing of their right to party that summer’s day in ’93.  After that things never quite reverted back to the wild splendor of wanton partying. A good thing, and key I feel to our collective survival and freedom as it was only a matter of time before someone was killed or arrested. Carrie, bless her, was the first to publicly point out that I had the beginnings of a bald spot forming in my lustrous thick mane of hair. To this day I hold her partially to blame for the subsequent spread that now occupies almost 80 percent of my cratered dome. It made letting go all the easier.           

       Things were finalized once Carrie decided to enlist in the Army; a fate I sneered at, feeling entrance into the armed forces was for the rabble. History has a talent for highlighting with great gusto each and every time I must wearily eat my words once again. Engaged to our very own Mooney, she departed for boot camp and the thrilling life of a ground pounder where I assume she still exists, albeit hopefully raised to considerable rank. I recall seeing her only once after that, upon her return from boot camp, looking very much the same, but gussied up in full dress uniform. She made great show of her ability to execute crisp facing movements and timed marching; a skill I was never quite able to pick up in my own adventure a few years later down the line. Unfortunately the distance provided too much of a barrier for the romance to continue, especially when Mooney lacked a set of wheels or unlimited funds for air travel. It is also my guess that she fell victim to the same condition as most women in the military. In an environment of 10 men to every 1 woman, even the homeliest of young women is treated like the belle of the ball or a buck naked, hot to trot Ann Hathaway. I’m not saying Mooney couldn’t live up to competition against hundreds of buff army guys hot for a piece of tail, but I certainly seem to be implying it.            

       Dan was never one to let heartbreak slow him down more than a few hours, and it wasn’t long before he was back on the horse again. It seemed that there was a string of dimly remembered women he brought by with enticing monikers like “Psycho Carrie” and whatnot. As so delicately stated elsewhere, the defining characteristic of the majority of these women was that they tended to drink up to the point of yorking in our cookware. Further details regarding the disbursement of said women after is a hotly contested topic and will be decided elsewhere, even if my version is the official one.           

       One fine day I arrived home to quite a surprise. It appeared to me as though the mailman arrived and bore a striking resemblance to the Cowardly Lion. Dan and a somewhat familiar looking woman also emerged from the unusual conveyance and joined us inside. The mail truck driving hair bag was of course none other than the famous Rob Leftwich. The familiar looking brunette was Mary Serio. It took me some time before I could place where I knew her from, such is my facial recognition talent, and eventually she did me the service of reminding me. Some years prior I had been in hot pursuit of a tall leggy blonde named Joanne Zemszal whom I worked with in food service. Where in my impression things were progressing steadily toward full blown romance, in her mind I was already firmly entrenched in the ‘like a brother’ file. My first experience, by the way, with that line that is so dear to all men. Many theories abound as to why that was, but Mary had her own impression.           

        On one of the many occasions in that summer of ’92 that Joanne and I got together, we ‘doubled’ with her friend and her friend’s boyfriend. Be that as it was, I think I can be forgiven my impression of the situation. Who brings their brother to double with another couple? The complete lack of physical progression in the relationship may have been a dead giveaway to a sharper man, but I simply attributed it to a genteel coyness on her part. On this occasion I drove, having borrowed my father’s boat of a Caprice Classic, and the four of us headed out to a nice night of dinner and a movie. Again, something real couples tend to do, but don’t mind me, I’m not bitter, just vindictive. Vindictiveness, however, was not the root cause of the true reason the evening was so memorable; just lousy driving on my part.

       Upon emerging from the movies, we found that some douche bag had parked extremely close to the passenger side of the car, making it necessary for me to get in and back up to let in Joanne. I did so, directly over her foot. She was quite gracious about it that night, and I forgot completely about it, never attributing the mistake for being the reason behind the sudden and steep decrease in time spent together for the remainder of the summer. Mary, of course was the friend we doubled with, and she took delight in the occasion of our reunion to recount the story. In her version, being privy to Joanne’s more forthright views on the matter, it was revealed that she had been quite miffed about the occurrence.  Perhaps not the catalyst that drove her back into the arms of the boyfriend she had been complaining to me about, but possibly one of the many reasons I was not on the guest list of that wedding.

       To this day I’m not completely sure how this new little group became enmeshed with ours. Just as Schultz brought in the Franks and Clausen from ECC City campus, I think Dan discovered this group at the far more prestigious ECC North.  As I understand it, all were connected through attendance of Sweethome HS and consisted of Mary Serio, Rob Leftwich, Char Lipkus, Ian Chrystal, and that strange dude Craig with the white hair and beard. There actually may be no connection whatsoever, but the sum of them appeared almost simultaneously on our doorstep and thus to my understanding are all part of one big happy group.

       Mary, as I mentioned, I had met before and it was not long before she and Dan became an item. For all of us who knew Carrie and the lot that followed her, Mary was a significant trade up for Dan at a time when the smart money had him reduced to courting transvestite hookers before the years end. Where there was a significant overall skepticism that there must be something wrong with her, she proved in time to be a sweet and enjoyable person. The box office success of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ allowed for a willful suspension of disbelief that she was able to overlook things like cum milkshakes and gorilla masked porn endeavors and dig him for his rakish charm. In any case, she was easy on the eyes and never broke in or threw up in my house, and in that way made herself welcome. Her staying power was also impressive, as of all the women mentioned herein, she demonstrated the ability to put up with the lot of us for the longest by far.

       Rob was an easy going character and overall cool cat who so happened to resemble the love child of the cowardly lion and the lead singer of Metallica back in the good old days before they jacked you up for stealing their music. His other distinguishing feature of course was the wildly popular mail truck. On a few rare occasions I was treated to a ride in the precarious mail bag seat on the left hand side. Early on I hoped for an ally; someone who would resist the siren call of the GURPS mafia and be willing to attempt to meet women on Sat night instead of mimic whimsical fairy folk prancing about the realms of imagination. Alas, he fell in with them right quick. They claim to be born as such, but fundamentalist geeks such as I know that it’s a choice that through prayer and frequent beatings can leave their wicked hearts. I know, having had a few ten sided dice thrown in my past, but with the healing power of Superman, was able to keep sin away. Anyway, disappointed as I was, I was able to forgive him anyway. I mean the guy had a mail truck!

       There are probably dozens of Rob stories I am completely unaware of, although he was a pretty innocuous guy, so who knows. It was always enjoyable on those Sat night when we were able to extricate the gamers from the Keebler Elf try to have some fun on the Elmwood strip sipping Guinness at Bullfeathers or Coles. On those nights we could generally find Rob holding down the counter at the We Never Close. True to their word, they never did, despite the many times Rob found himself staring down the barrel of a Saturday night special and handing over the hard won proceeds from the sales of smokes and Corn Nuts. You had to admire his tenacity for hanging in there for so long, even if he wasn’t shot as many times as Apu. Some years later he traded up for a job at the Zoo, where aside from the occasional freeing of lorikeets, the customer base proved considerably less threatening. I never really knew what happened to the mail truck and assume it died an uninspired death, perhaps perched up on blocks in front of a trailer.            

       The rest of this group I never knew terribly well. Although I’m tempted to come up with inspiring tales of courageous and nefarious deeds, my ears are still ringing with the howls of outrage from previous ventures similar in nature. Ian I knew only as the French looking fellow, jauntily bedecked in trademark beret (unlike Brian who was savagely bedecked as such), and deeply in cahoots with the gamer crowd. He assumed the role of Mary’s boyfriend once she and Dan suffered a mutual break up. A surprisingly risky breach in the common etiquette of not dating a friend’s ex, but mitigated I think by the existence of a common acquaintanceship prior to Dan entering the picture. In any event, it proved to be a smooth transition with impressive lasting power until, as I understand it, very recently.           

       Char I met only a few times, and not even completely sure if she had any type of deep association with the rest. Unlike Mary she kept a greater distance from the doings of the Mooney-polar end of the circle and was more associated with the Thies-centric sphere of influence. This was during the period when Aaron had pledged Dan’s destruction for such outrages as the milkshake and quasi cult formation. Not that this stopped congenial association for the mutual sake of gaming, but during the increasingly rare times that no dungeon master was present, venomous tirades were spewed as regular as Old Faithful. As such, Char never got sucked into the full depravity of our world, having come after the period of grand unity.           

       Finally there is Craig. He I’m truly not sure of the association and remember only for a few distinguishing traits. He may have been a MOH and not a Sweetpea at all, but nevertheless, I have to cram him in somewhere. He resembled a miniature version of Rob at least to the point where I had the two confused for a period (likely a direct cause of my mild Prosopagnosia). The annoying quality about him is that he immediately fell into the same role as Social Disease Joe Saad. Alone with my thoughts cruising down the North Campus spine or drifting through the plaza, out of nowhere, there was Craig. To my endless delight, he never really had anywhere to be and was always going in my direction. Any great pains I took to avoid or shake him were completely ineffectual. Worse yet, and unlike Joe Saad, introducing him to others was completely useless in mitigating the effects! While it was possible he could only be transmitted sexually, unlike casually as with Joe, I was not willing to explore that option.           

       His other distinguishing characteristic, as reported by Dan anyway, was that he considered himself to be akin to an Adonis. Everyone who heard this found it surprising. Now, don’t think I’m knocking Rob here, as the points of resemblance were really related to the glasses, long hair and beard. Craig had whitish hair and the strapping build of Schultz. That amount of hair on such a small space gave the appearance of Cousin It with a blond hooker dye job. Dan once related a story in which he, Craig and some others took a trip to Canada. Waiting at the border in line to cross, some women began flirting with them. Craig, certain it was aimed directly at him, begged to be let out of the car to join the women in theirs. I have full confidence that this virgin fool had expectations of a grand orgy, probably right there on the side of the road. Dan, or whoever, out of some unexpected sense of decency or kindness refused him exit, leaving him to pout miserably for the rest of the trip. I can’t help but think this would have made a much better story had things gone the other way.           

       In sum, this next wave added value to our fracturing group, perhaps providing some much needed glue through the bitterness of the Mooney-Thies wars and Thies-Wolf ‘lights on or off’ television watching battles. I believe one of them is also responsible for contributing the snazzy zebra couch that appeared one day at Comstock and was recognized as the least dated and most structurally sound piece of furniture in the room. We can only hope that the silent lurkers who feel their ears burning with this telling sound out.


5 Responses

  1. Craig Markowitz was a friend of Brain’s from high school. We hung around a lot back in the day, before he became an occupational therapist.

  2. Until reading this I had forgotten the Social Disease, Joe Saad. As I recall I was blamed for inflicting him on someone at some point, although I cannot understand why I would be singled out in this way.
    In addition, I must say that the Franks and associates were far too young to be attending ECC City. They were either dropouts or Kenmore East students. I can’t imagine how Matt encountered them.

  3. Nice one. I have been working on a post about Rob and I will post it soon.

    Wolf, you need to tell us some of the Ar Force stories here also. On your mention of not being able to master march, I recall a story of “Thank god for ?” Master grapes eh Louis?

    Not that we did this on purpose, but shortly after you left for the military we did spend a lot of time hanging out and drinking at Rob’s place on Elmwood, often making the long walk across the street to J.P. Bullfeathers, after drinking up a 12-pack while watching Matt/Rob play Resident Evil. Matt was an exercise in boredom that made us all beg for Rob. As much as Matt’s style of play was a methodical march of efficiency (I once watch him take 20 minutes to line up two zombies so he could take then both out with a single shot), Rob’s play was highly comical (“AHH! Naked Zombies!”).

    Rob was once held up at 3AM and promptly called the owner to inform him, “We just got robbed. I want a raise.”

  4. I don’t think he coined the ‘social disease’ term, but it was Jeff Siuda who bitterly complained of the introduction. What I forgot to mention, and would have been a good inclusion, is that I introduced him to Joanne. This probably did more to kill my chances than the foot smashing incident.

    I thought about posting some AF stories, but I want to get the rest of the Comstock and Princeton ones out there first. Not many more to go for me at all. The last will be titled ‘Wild Blue Yonder’ and will be the transition point for me.

    The 100th post is next. I think it is necessary that it is a Comstock post as opposed to any other type given the title of the blog. I suggest we each come up with an idea and have a collective vote over who gets the honor rather than have everyone scramble to put something out there, as I was admittedly inclined to do.

  5. The common etiquette of not dating a friend’s ex was not so common in those days, apparently. In fact, this makes a minimum of 3 occurrences of swapping, or as described by a person who I will not name, “dumpster diving for my trash”.

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