Tops Never Stops

Before we discovered the gloriousness that is Wegmans we frequented Tops. It has been well noted already that during the Princeton Era Mike and I made at least a daily trek to Tops since it was so close. Another beacon to the hospital white walls of Tops was Matt’s long-time employ at Tops on Delaware.

Matt was one of the first employees to this branch of the Tops franchise. He had an interview in the trailer on the lot while the building was still being constructed. Some relative of Matt was involved so it was an easy position to acquire, not that cart-boy is an excessively hard job to get. Matt started work in Spring. His plan was to work until the first day of snow, and then quit. “Matt doesn’t work in the snow” was his mantra.

Months later the Matt was pushing carts when he was called into the office. The Tops lords had vision enough to see that Matt was more than a cart-boy. He was immediately reassigned to an inside position in the Butcher’s Block. At the close of his shift that day Matt stepped outside and gazed up into the sky. The first snowflakes of the season gently fell upon his brow. The gods had smiled upon our hero. He was not longer a cart boy. But you must pay the gods a price; Matt was still employed at Tops, or in an indirect way Ahol (the parent, and appropriately named, company of Tops).

Speaking of Ahol, the scuttlebutt is that the local mafia allowed Ahol to purchase Tops as long as they maintained control of the Tops Union. This is all hearsay, so if I wake up with the horse head in my dead tomorrow you will know the arm of the Buffalo mafia extends to the West Coast.

On our way to Comstock to waste time, we took great joy in visiting Matt during his work hours. This was particularly true when he was a lowly cart boy. On one of the rare occasions we had Sean with us we made such a trip for supplies. Sean was known for his fearless driving and his habit of stopping at Noco to “fill er up” with whatever change he had in his pocket. I was once a first-hand witness to his purchase of 32 cents worth of fuel. Today that is not enough for them to let you lift the nozzle.

We spoke to Matt on the way into Tops. He had just spent a considerable amount of time in the classic “stack a fuck-load of carts together from all across the parking lot” so he could push them all back at once. His cart-stack lot was near the Tops entrance, and when we returned from purchase of our supplies (Mountain Dew, pretzels, frozen burritos, etc.) we found Matt no where to be found. As we left Sean took the opportunity to drive his car into the cart-stack Matt had painstakingly constructed. He pushed the cart-stack to the far corner of the parking lot. At first he drove at a slow pack, until we saw Matt running at us, at which time Sean sped up. The exceedingly heavy cart-stack was left in the farthest corner. We sped of laughing. At least we gave Matt something to do for the last hour of his shift.

Once inside, Matt quickly rose to the rank of 95% Butcher. What is 95% Butcher? After a year of working primarily in the Butcher’s Block Matt observed that the only difference between an official Butcher and an experienced meat man, like himself, was knowing how to properly cut 5 specific meats. As there 5 meats are expensive, they did not let anyone slice them, nor were they purchased frequently enough for Matt to get enough practice. We all spurred him on to complete his training and have a viable skill. Eventually Matt was able to get in enough practice in two of these elusive meats, so he settled at 97% Butcher. As I conclude this section it strikes me that this post will burn a few of Matt’s bridges.

Matt was a valuable Tops associate for nearly seven years. He quit before hitting the seven year point because that would be when a part-time associate would be granted a 401k. While the rest of us saw this as an obvious fruit to grab, Matt saw this as a sign he had been defeated by the preverbal Man.

Continuing this HR showcase of Tops benefits we come to the period when Tops began selling Tops branded apparel. Tops management required employees to wear this apparel initially, no doubt to spur on the awaiting masses who couldn’t possibly hold back from spending thousands on Tops sweatshirts. The slap in the face was that associates were required to pay for these required textiles. What a joke.

Tops exposed us to several characters, and once again showcased the intelligence of the average person. The most memorable example of this was when Matt related some story of some random activity of our crew. “What does phallic mean?” interjected one of typical Tops zombies. Matt was befuddled that he did not know what phallic was? He now had is shift project. He left the blob with no better knowledge and spent the rest of him shift polling all his co-workers as the meaning of phallic. To his astonishment one one other employee knew the word. During his polling he even received commentary that phallic was not a common word many people would know. Matt left his shift to relate this happenstance to the rest of us. Until this incident we did not know it was possible to NOT know what phallic meant.

Matt mined a number of girlfriends out of seven year stint. I recall one who became a vegetarian because she was fat. Success! She lost weight. Unfortunately she was still not satisfied, so she pushed the envelope even more, and became vegan. This relationship did not last long.

Matt also met the same girl that absconded with Matt and James in the infamous “I’ll never set foot in a gay bar” story that was the first post on this blog.

An experienced Matt sat in the Tops atrium enjoying his mandatory earned break. A frantic woman ran up, “There is a used condom over there!” “Really? Where?” The woman took Matt half-way across the parking lot to what was absolutely confirmed as a under condom, still filled with a “rush of excess fluids.”

Matt concluded his inspection and headed back, but to the dismay of the woman, he did not return with any cleaning equipment. Matt, instead, plopped himself back on the atrium bench. “Aren’t you going to clean that us?” she explained. “Lady, I’m on my break.”

The bulk of Matt’s time at Tops had him stationed in the Butcher’s Block, or as we more affectionately referred to it – the Meat department. Matt divulged two secrets of the Meat department. One; they kept a small Igloo cooler ready to go at someone, ironically usually one of the professional butchers, cut off a finger and was rushed to the hospital, finger piece encased in the Igloo cooler, to have it sewn back on. The success rate was quite high. Two; the Meat department kept an open bowl into which they threw any scraps, be they on the floor or wherever, into this bowl. When the bowl was full, then they ground up the scraps and sold it under the label of “meat”. Funnily enough, years before, during the Goodyear era, I had spied one of these and bought it for the label humor.

Matt enjoyed a time where he was double employed. His second job, the more prestigious one, was the all powerful Mighty Taco on Sheridan and NFB. Mighty Taco gives you a week to study the menu before taking a test. You have to know all menu items, and their component’s with amounts from memory. Matt passed and became a Mighty Taco employee. We gave him a goal of finding out what the beef was, as he felt Mighty Taco was superior to Taco Bell in every aspect, except the beef. Since this was sacrilege we was to solve the mystery now that he had access.

Matt soon grew to dislike the manager. She ruled with an iron fist, holding weekly meetings that Matt was 2 minutes late for once. She fired him for this. Matt suspects that he was really fired because he was telling the other employees how the manager had terrible skills, and was a bitch to boot. He did not notice until too late that she was in the building, and overheard, walking in on his conversation just at the end of Matt’s tirade. He never solved the “Riddle of Beef.”

Like the recent rash of professional athletes that pretend to retire, Matt too had an encore tour at Tops. I made a visit to him once during this tour. He was working the night shift stocking the frozen foods isles. Like the athlete that plays one more season when he should have walked away, it was sad to see Matt, the once lord of part-time associates, reduced to a zero visibility position.

Another of our crowd spent some time employed at Tops, Chester. He gleefully gave us reports as to his rapid rise to the “Express Lane”, giving us tips as to how he became one of these best of the best. He switched sides from making bewildered fun of the Tops cashiers who wore rubber thimbles to wearing one himself.

Having been a Tops associate for such a long time, Matt was well versed with the employee handbook. There was a statute of limitations on anything you did of five years. The exact day the limit was us, he spilled the beans of what he had done to his co-worked in the back of the store, as he was leaving for his shift. It took Matt 2 minutes to walk our the front of the store, and by then the news had traveled faster than his ironically unmeaty legs could carry him. An example of just how efficient the Tops grapevine is.

What was Matt’s hidden crime? Back when he was still a cart-boy he abandoned his post, walked across the street, and saw a movie at the old Super Saver Cinema. When the movie was over he walked back across the street and took his break.

Saving You More?

Special Delivery

The bane of Matt

The bane of Matt

No, this is not about Dan’s ill-fated dive into the movie business. You will have to wait until later to hear that story. This is a different kind of story. This is the story of faint, eerie, and mysterious echos emanating from the far reaches of a dark, misty cave. This is a story of that which pierces a man’s heart like a icy toothpick. This is a story of feelings.

As we have grown and plugged into “normal” life more and more, my friends and I have scattered across the country. Perhaps we are burrowing deep to hide until it is time to explode in world domination! Are any Homeland Security Paranoids listening? While technology has given us a good measure of contact, there is a non-filthy touch that is missing. I choose to satisfy this urge with the vehicle of the U.S. Postal Service, of which I was an employee for a very brief time. Put simply, I send weird shit to people.

This started when the first of us left the motherland. Louis was in Illinois, attending grad school for a subject he selected “just because”. As frequent readers of this blog may remember Princeton was the era before Mike left for the Air Force. He and I shared an apartment, and entertained frequent guests. One day we where overturning all the couch cushions for a reason I cannot recall, but it was a long and difficult process given the three long and elaborate couches we owned. As an aside, we left all three when we snuck out in the middle of the night. I hope they are all safe and well still at Princeton, or at least that big, metal fucker left a dent in the wall or someone’s knee (spellchecker knows “fucker”).

While exploring the couch crevasses we discovered a very smashed brownie. It was luckily still sealed in clear plastic, but there was no labeling of any kind upon the wrapper. Mike and I were nought concerned for how it got there, but what kind of brownie it was. Like a bolt from Valhalla the idea hit us.

“Louis is in grad school for chemistry. He must have access to a lab for analysis!”

With that we grabbed a free USPS Priority envelope, crammed the brownie in there and shipped it off to Louis. We forgot about it shortly thereafter, only reminded when Louis called a few weeks later…

“What is this?”

“A brownie we found in the couch for you to analyze.”

We are still waiting for the report.

Here we reach a time of long pause between “shipments”. I picked up the practice again when I was in Japan, knowing Mike’s affinity for weird foods. I shipped him some freeze-dried squid, and strange shaped Japanese candy. He was very thankful. Whenever I find some odd food idea I grab it for Mike. I have sent him a few things over the last few years.

Another friend of mine always raved about how great Ikea was, and invited me to travel up to Toronto, the closest Ikea to Buffalo. Why do I want to drive 1.5 hours and waste the entire day just to get a couch? It was only years later I visited an Ikea and learned they have all kinds of stuff. Things that would have been vital for me, especially at a cheap price, as a college/just out of college individual. As a result I purposely placed the blame on the very man who tried to introduce me to Ikea. Realistically he is the last person I should take revenge upon, but who said “shipping” is logical. For his actions my revenge took the form of a smashed Ikea fountain drink cup from my first trip to Ikea. That son of a bitch got his.

The next example is a personal shipment. Those familiar with those of this blog well know Louis’s fanatical addiction to Mountain Dew. Because of this, while on a drive to his home in D.C. we left a 2 liter bottle of the Nectar of the Gods on his door step, rang the door bell, and hid around the corner. Moment’s later we heard the door open and the expected “Uh!” I suspect that if we had not then emerged Louis would have cradled his sweet liquor back inside, leaving us for dead.

The camera on your cell phone makes the perfect tool for “shipping” pictures of weird findings to others. I often send pictures to Mike of weird foods that he loves so much. I sometimes buy these to send him, like the tiny, dried fish snack I found in Japan. Weird beer labels also make their way in digital format to Mike. Louis gets pictures of oddly-shaped containers.

When I find these items my wife used to shake her head and call me weird, but she occasionally links a product to a person before I do. The most recent was when Louis was visiting us. Where were in Chinatown, waiting for our Ghost Tour to begin. We wasted the time inspecting the isles of a Chinese trinket shoppe. My wife found a whined up masturbating monkey. No sooner had she pointed this out that she said, “That would be perfect for Dan!” And right she was. A week later I found a comment on this blog as to Dan’s confirmation of receiving this shipment.

I may be forgetting some of the other shipments I have sent over the years. I’m sure my fellow posters will remind me.

Some advice. Do not include any letter, label, or explanation with your shipments. Just smile as you drop them in the mail, and wait to get the inevitable email. You need to link the trinket with the person you send it to. The USPS has free Priority envelopes and boxes to ship your “hello old friend” package. I urge you to stay connected by shipping unannounced items to your friends. I have received threats of being sent shipments in return, but nothing yet. Since I am far more organized than any of my friends I will believe it when I see it. Will this post be the billboard material they needed to follow through?

Only last week did I happen to come across some plastic eyeball glasses, which today have found their way into the mail, addressed for Matt. I am hoping this will scare him out of his hermit state. Why is this a match for Matt? Matt has a fear of any eye being poked. In the past I was taken along to Darien Lake with Matt and his girlfriend, and her friends. I bought a large, inflatable eyeball hammer to torture Matt with. After arming his girlfriend with the information she promptly bought an eyeball keychain, which she used when appropriate. We all have a little Dan in each of us. Anyway, if I hear some response from Matt I will leave a follow up.

Dan sent his own special delivery to a girlfriend many years ago. Back in the time of Goodyear, Dan was in the pickle (not his mom’s pickles) as to what to give as an Xmas gift to his girlfriend of maybe a month. This girl had the proverbial everything. What did she not have? Dan thought of it! A double-ended dildo (why is dildo not in the spell checker?) A nice “gag” gift. Unfortunately for his girlfriend’s shame, and Dan’s relationship, she opened the gift in front of her parents. The next time she saw Dan she walked up to him and poked him in the eye. And such is the origin of the lens in Dan’s glasses that forever fell out.

Dan’s relation to this post is not yet complete. Like the other authors on this blog my writing has improved greatly, but one of the least frequent authors has always possessed a certain skill with the pen. Dan has been drafting elaborate stories well before I ever met him. You have read a scant few of these on this blog, but arguably his greatest tale saw little light. Let me remind you of the Dashwood Society, or was it the Church of Unconscious Revelations (I never know which took responsibility for what as they had the same membership). Whatever group it was, they decided that pornography was the channel of choice for their creative outlets. You see, a group like CUR needs to have a project to focus on at all times, lest they be distracted into apathy and drinking. Within minutes Dan had constructed a marvelous script.

Knock on the door.

House Wife answers. She sees a delivery man holding a package, but no pants.

Delivery Man: “I seem to have forgotten my pants. Do you have any place I can put this?”

Activities ensue.

The project was titled “Special Delivery”, and Dan selflessly volunteered to play Delivery Man. A woman was cast as the House Wife, but when she read the “real” script she left.

“Special Delivery” will never sit beside “Taming of the Shrew” or “The Merchant of Venice” as it should, but you – the loyal reader – will know.

Birthday Berating

There have been may great philosophers in Human history; Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, and now Mooney? Many of Mooney’s exploits have already been documented, but seeing as we have already covered all the major stories, aside from the occasional epiphany, I was struck with the idea of filling in some cracks with a Mooney post. Any who better to fill a breech than Mooney?

I will start with an unfortunate fact that Mooney’s birthday is three days after mine. Most of my life I was able to avoid the obvious elephant suggested by this fact – sharing a birthday party with Mooney. In my opinion, an inconceivable event is to have to share your annual jubilee with anyone, but the gods take this opinion to mock me relentlessly. Aside from sharing a birthday close to Mooney, my grandfather’s birthday is a few days before mine, and to inject more salt on the wound I have a cousin who’s birthday is a day after mine, and another cousin who’s birthday who is two days after mine. Needless to say, long before I met Mooney I was saturated with shared birthday events, which I still feel robbed me of the enjoyment of a birthday. I am not an individual who often needs to be the center of attention, and as such the birthday is a rare occasion where I not only want to be, but I feel is my god-given right, as would apply to anyone else. I would go as far to propose that if you know anyone with a birthday in close proximity to your own, then dump them from your life immediately!

*breathe*

One occasion, sometime after Princeton, Mooney proposed a join birthday party at his place, on the Friday of his birthday. As with many of Mooney’s suggestions, he orated a friendly suggestion, and any response other than an angry NO was taken as an emphatic YES. So it was also on this occasion. Dan had thegawl to tell me to bring the cake and beer?! BRING BEER AND CAKE TO MY OWN BIRTHDAY PARTY!!!! ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR F*CKING MIND! Never was this going to happen, though the entirely of my response was something akin to a grunt as I was too tired to field a Mooney argument.

The night in question I had something else to do, with some other people, I think Chris or Stephanie may have been involved (it was one of those eras where Matt and Stephanie were broken-up). As we eventually made our way over the Mooney’s place for an ordinary party as far as I was concerned, I did bring a 12-pack of beer for the cause, as per normal. I did not arrive at Mooney’s place until after 10pm. Dan was upset at my tardiness, thought I was never informed of a time. His anger was soon replaced with a heightened level of anger when he saw I had ONLY brought a 12-pack and NO CAKE! How dare I! Mooney expected me, with his apparent empathic communication, to bring a keg of beer AND A CAKE!

As Mooney ran off in hysterics to salvage the night, I saw the outside yard was a zombie field of penned-up Humans comprised of “Dan’s Friends”. I skipped no beat, nor wasted no breathe as I entered the yard, made a prompt face-left (or stay there) and entered the house. I knew, as with any party – good or bad, there would be a collection of people in the kitchen. I was correct! Those who arrived with me, and a few real Humans drank my beer, and cajoled in the kitchen. the evening was highlighted when of all people, Mary arrived and gave me a gift and a birthday wish! The others present wished me well, and apologised for not remembering my birthday.

The greatest gift that night was the smug look I gave myself in response to Mooney. Wrapped in a bow would not have made it any better.

With that off my chest we enter the second Mooney tale. It was an era after Princeton, when Matt, Eric, and Ivan lived on the second floor of the typical University Heights house onWinspear . Each Saturday we drank beer and rolled literal dice in the normal gaming ritual. The difference her was Matt had only one semi-functioning working light, which is placed in the farthest corner of the gaming room given it’s absurdly short cord. This lent itself to playing Vampire. Like a good host, Matt often chose to eat as we arrived, thereby leaving us to fend for ourselves in the ritual ordering of food. A gesture that was simply rude.

Going off on a tangent here I remember how Matt’s future wife, Jessica, attended gaming here one night. Strictly forbidden, but as Matt sprung this on us at the last minute we could do nothing but stomp around the room yelling and then proceed as normal. She sat quietly (as ordered) in the corner during gaming, picker her spot, as she shot a blow to Matt at just the correct few times as to push him over the edge into one of his few-but-famous blow ups.

Back on track, one evening Matt informed us gaming would be cut short as the UB Marching Band was having their annual party at his place in a few hours. Matt informed us at the start of gaming and then ran around making invisible arrangements and telling us “I’ll be ready to start gaming in one more minute.” That time never arrived and we bullshitted until the band keg arrived.

The rest of us drank the party keg as soon as it arrived. Since we were friends of those house host (Ivan) we were granted free passage, as the Band changed non-band members $5.

How did this party for the UB Marching Band come to be hosted at Matt’s place when he nor his roommates had any musical talent? Ivan was friends with a band member, and when his friend spoke of the party, and how it needed a place to live, Ivan offered up his place (for the price of free beer for himself and his roommates).

This party story escapes from the seedy underworld of drugs! *GASP* I was inside, siting on the couch, taking to some people who like me did not care to watch the Yankee world series game that was on. My conversation pal left for the restroom and a new buddy took his seat. We engaged in some pleasant commentary on the crowd, and after a moment of silence he abruptly asked is I had any drugs! I had never been approached int his manner before, but I must have looked like a grungy dealer that night, or maybe it was Matt’s piss-poor lamp. Without hesitation I informed him the individual he wanted was Erik, and gave him a strikingly accurate description, sending him on his way in search of heightened states of awareness.

The house quickly filled up with people and Mooney, Rob, myself, and the like moved to the porch. We saw a group of five guys striding down the middle of the street past the house no doubt towards some Main Street bar. Mooney yelled at the crew, causing the rotund leader to halt and look up. Seeing an obvious party in swing he requested an invite. We told him it was $5. They proclaimed to have not money, how they were gonna get anywhere in a bar who knows. I should also mention we were told this was strictly a private band party.

“Come on up!” cried Mooney

“Tell them you are int he band!”

They all disappeared to the side of the house and five minutes later three of the five appear, beer in hand, on the porch with us! We all had a good time mocking the two left back on the ground floor, who had somehow managed to be denied access past the high security. After some time the two drooped their heads and trudged off towards Main Street.

At this time Erik appeared on the porch and spoke of a mysterious man who kept asking him for drugs, not taking no for an answer. Erik had finally ditched the guy by escaping to the porch. We all took the story in.

“I wonder how he knew to ask me?”

“I told him.” (with glee)

Rob, Mooney, and myself erupted in laughter at Erik’s situation, and I personally took joy in one of my occasional moments of Mooney-ness.

It has occurred to men this last story had more to do with Matt and Eric than Mooney, but into every tale a Mooney must ooze.

I continue with a tiny example of Mooney’s philosophy of “The Most Obvious Thing About Them”. To subscribe to this philosophy you simple point out the most obvious thing you see about a person. Be that their fat-ness, smell, what have you. His defense when the inevitable “Mooney!” was the reply (be it by the target, or more commonly a female member of the group) was always the same.

“It was the most obvious thing about her.”

Mooney touted his philosophy often, but the one that is forever stuck in my mind is when I was driving Mooney down Kenmore Ave. past Jacobi’s. Frequent readers of this blog will note, once again, that Mooney in your passenger seat is an open invite to incident. A new law had been passed days before. That being the decree that had feminists shouting from the roof-tops. A woman could walk around top-less, just like a man. Despite much struggle to get this law passed, I have only ever once seen it put into practice, and it to be this day.

As we drove up Kenmore Ave. we spotted a woman with generous proportions. Low and behold she was top-less! As single college men this was not the example we wanted to see, be that as it may I quickly turned my attention back to the road. Mooney, in all his most sincere honesty, could not avert his eyes. What he yelled as we passed her was cruelly the most obvious thing about her.

“PUT A SHIRT ON YOU FAT COW!”

Who am I to say Mr. Mooney has issues.

Monopoly Madison

This is the story of how the original Madison award was stolen.

I do not remember which year it was stolen, but it was Matt who stole it all on his own. His idea was to send ransom notes to Dan, which he did at least once. The first note he demanded $50,000 in cash to be placed in a bag and left in the trash can outside the Amherst Theater on a Friday night. Dan, Brian, and Jeff filled a bag with Monopoly money and had muscle-bound Jeff deliver the bag. They staked out the garbage can all night, but no one appeared. Matt has picked a night and had no intention of showing up.

The rest of the plan was to have the Madison award escape his captors and travel around the world, sending pictures of itself in various places. Matt knew Chet was going to Russia that year so he would pass the Madison to him to take a picture. He would continue to pass the Madison to others who travelled that year, only to have the Madison re-appear the next year at the ceremony.

When Dan first discovered the Madison was stolen, the next day, he barged into my place unannounced and began questioning me. Dan was convinced Chet was the culprit, and when later confronted he put forth no denial. Dan’s top suspect was still Matt, but he seemed uncharacteristically willing to take Matt’s word for it, that he was not involved.

Matt’s plan for the tour of the Madison award was proceeding beautifully. Matt was dating some woman, who’s name I forget, so let’s just call her Gertrude. He left it over at Gertrude’s place so Dan would never find it. Before Matt could pass the Madison over to Chet for it’s trip to Russia, Matt broke up with Gertrude. The next Madison’s rolled around, but Gertrude was still allergic to Matt’s presence, even for an opportunity to throw the golden VHS tape at his head, as if he were scum of the Earth. Gertrude worked for CIT at UB, and was know by Chet, so he was able to retrieve the Madison from Gertrude.

His master plan dissolved, Matt was stuck dumbfound when the next Madisons showcase arrived and nothing was said. By now the Madison theft was all but forgotten and the Madison Academy scrounged together another VHS tape (this was the real difficulty), a can of gold spray paint, and a styrofoam base. A brief mention of the stolen Madison, and a threat to the SOB who stole it was enthusiastic and brief.

By the time the following Madisons rolled around, two years after the theft, Chet had retrieved the original Madison from Gertrude, and it was returned by Matt at the show. A mock beating on stage was given when he produced it form beneath his trench coat upon presenting his award. Dan and Brian mock beat him and ushered him off stage. Myself and a few others rushed into the side room expectant to see a mob berating Matt, but all we found was a calm clotch of friends sharing a smoke. Too much time had passed for their to be any lingering anger.

The original Madison back in place the replacement was returned, to live out it’s days, now useless, on Dan’s book shelf.

How to Save a Life

While this blog has documented many a humorous or bizarre situation which occurred in the Comstock era, there were also occasional moments of high drama. The following tale may lack the raucous humor of some of the other posts (particularly the fictionalized Saving Schultz) but certainly reflects one of the most messed up situations I ever personally witnessed or participated in. It begins with tragedy and ends with a farce. Gather round…

Some time during the time while Matt was dating Mandy, there was a major party planned at Comstock. I do not know who provided the beer ball, who launched it, or when it was. I know only that the night began with Matt informing me that I would have to “keep an eye on him” because he was going to get good and drunk. Since I didn’t drink, this was not an unusual request; I would bring my trusty 3-liter of Mountain Dew and witness the hilarity as everyone else got stumbling drunk. I did not count on the X-factor of the Franks. 

Matt proceeded to go around drinking and chatting up people; I lost interest in following him for a while and socialized with more interesting folks (Matt got boring after a few drinks). At about 1030pm someone ran up to me – I think it was Mandy or Carrie – and says “Quick! You’re sober! Come outside, we need a driver! A girl passed out drunk.” Naturally, I went outside, but I was quite unprepared for this scene. In the center of 8-10 people was a sprawled out very very underage girl, blitzed out of her mind and in fact unconscious. I had never seen her before in my life. Chaos was breaking out everywhere as it seemed she was pretty much unresponsive. Now, any responsible adult would have called 911; but there were none to be found. Certainly such an action would have resulted in a stampede of drinkers exiting the premises and probable arrests for the hosts. So, instead came the standard cry: “GET HER THE HELL OUT OF HERE!”

Big problem. No suitable drivers. Wait, I’m sober. So is Pete O. I want nothing to do with this situation, so I get Matt’s keys and give them to Pete. Quickly, the girl is loaded into the minivan along with Pete, me, and Klausen – it turns out that ‘Niki’ (probably not her name) is 14 and dating this 18/19 year old guy. Why the hell I got into that car I’ll never know. I was certain we would be arrested as we sped off. We had been sent with the instructions to “take her to Patrick’s brother’s house, he is a paramedic”. This did not seem right – I demanded that Pete head to the nearest hospital. Sure, we would be locked up on sight, but neither of us had been drinking and we really had no idea how she got into this state. In my naievete I assumed we would be cleared, and that the house would be cleared out before much damage could be done by the police. In any case, this didn’t look good. Pete drove towards somewhere (I have no idea where he would have taken us), Klausen cradled ‘Niki’ in the passenger seat, and I flipped out in the back seat; he was trying to get her to say something, anything, and it wasn’t happening. I reached forward and touched her neck… I swear I held my hand there and felt no pulse at all. That had to be one of the worst HOLY SHIT moments I have ever experienced.

Suddenly, Klausen got an inspiration. He shook ‘Niki’ violently and yelled in her ear:

“IF YOU DO NOT WAKE UP RIGHT NOW, I WILL TAKE YOU HOME TO YOUR MOTHER!”

I have no idea what kind of f**ked up home life this girl must have had, but the effect was instantaneous. I swear that she sat up instantly and began projectile vomiting. From limp and unresponsive to rigid and puking in 1 second flat. The only thing I can compare this whole thing to was the adrenaline shot scene in Pulp Fiction; and I swear that this happened 2 years before that movie came out. One, two, three… seven times she retched and fouled the front seat of Matt’s car. Gasping and choking, she was clearly revived after this purge. Instantly, Pete turned the car around. There was no way we were getting arrested if she wasn’t dying. It was off to the fabled house of Patrick’s brother, where the care of two EMTs awaited our alcohol-poisoned passenger. We pulled into this house – containing several large strangers that I (again) had never seen in my life – and deposited our cargo, leaving the drunk (and crying incoherently) Klausen there as well. I returned to the back seat, opening the window to relieve the stench of vomit, and felt sweet relief as we drove to the safety of Comstock … or so I thought.

For reasons which I cannot explain or contemplate, some time later I drove with Matt back to the paramedic’s house. I do not know who else came on the trip there, but when I arrived the count of lifeforms was as follows: Me, Matt (completely shit-faced drunk and incapable of conversation), Klausen, ‘Niki’, some other female friend of ‘Niki’, and 3 large burly EMTs including “Pat’s brother”. They asked me to come inside, with car keys, while Matt laid insensate in the minivan. I had a bad feeling about this, and it was soon confirmed. I was informed that ‘Niki’ had continued vomiting while at the house; this was good for her BAC but revealed the source of her inebriation to be the unmistakable fruit of the vine, red wine. Klausen and the other female informant had determined that the only person who had wine at the party was none other than the same Matt now lying in the minivan, awaiting his fate. They demanded street justice be delivered for the crime of providing so much wine to a 14-year old that she nearly died. A trial was convened on the spot and the EMTs gathered to judge. One of them, 250 lbs on a light day, was clearly ready to deliver a beating Matt would not soon forget, if in fact he retained any brain capacity post-concussion. “Patrick’s brother” and I sat across a table: it was clear that if Matt was to avoid a beating then I must act as his attorney.

Boy, is his ass lucky that I don’t drink and was fairly quick with my reasoning. It’s also probably a good thing that Patrick’s brother was not aware that Matt was allegedly boning Patrick’s girlfriend. I began by vouching that I had “been with Matt the entire evening” and had not observed him interacting with ‘Niki’ in any way. Furthermore, I reasoned, how were we to know that he had administered wine to her personally? Could he be held responsible, if he set his wine down and she obtained it? It seemed reasonable, I thought, that the person who brought the 14-year-old to a drinking party bore more moral responsibility for her condition. Fortunately, Klausen was out of earshot as I tried to divert any possible culpability with Schultz, although I did clearly hear his protestations that he was going to “kick Matt’s ass for giving her wine” in the other room. One of the EMTs wisely kept guard between Klausen and the exit door, else Matt would have received a premature sentence of an ass-kicking in the van. Given Matt’s state there was no chance for him to use his legendary quickness to escape a cudgeling. For a full 30 minutes I wrangled verbally with the “prosecution”, using every excuse possible for Niki’s state: Matt may have left the wine on a counter, I saw Matt drinking beer, someone else gave her the wine, maybe more than one person had wine, Matt was never outside while Niki was found there, etc… Finally, it came down to this: the guy said to me “I don’t really know you. Why should I believe you?” I reasoned with him, I was an honor student and a non-drinker. I had no reason to support or condone the provisioning of alcohol to some 14-year-old girl (who I had never met), and I claimed that Matt wouldn’t have done such a thing either. I also reasoned with them that they really weren’t the kind of guys who would be pummeling a reckless drunk, and Klausen would calm down after he sobered up… in any case, it would be best if the whole matter left their property. With a stern warning and a sigh, the accusers relented and I was permitted to depart with Matt’s sorry ass intact. His only punishment was the fact that he had to clean up a vomit-stained van the next day. Other than to acknowledge that I saved him from a beating, we have rarely discussed this for two reasons: one, I doubt he remembers anything; and two, every TV show has told us that a good defense lawyer never asks his client if he is guilty. I might not like the answer. I will stick with my perfect record: 1-0 in the court of street beatdowns.

Good Morning Vietnam

This story is one that suddenly sprung to mind for no apparent reason. It is not as glamorous as my last post, nor related to Mike’s Air Force escapade, but not every event in the lives of our group is an extravaganza of sights, sounds, and pshaw.

It was a summer at Princeton, and Tony helped out at the Buff State radio station. The audience of the station was even lower than normal during the summer. Tony was given the a one hour time slot weekly to fill as he liked. Being a raving fan of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy he found a copy of the radio transcript of the book. His plan was to perform a chapter each week, but he needed voice actors. Naturally he turned to his St. Joe’s roots to enlist myself, Matt, and Dan.

The first night we ran through the first chapter in well under a hour, so to fill the time we offered up a prize of 50 gallon dumbs to whoever could haul them away. The drums were being given away by my employer, they had made the same offer to us, seemed odd, but how else are you gonna fill 30 minutes of dead air? To our surprise we received a number of calls, all wanting more details on the condition and former contents of the drums. One person actually need the drums, and we gave them the address off the air. I anxiously checked the drums each morning on the way into work, but never was a drum taken.

This went on for a few more weeks, and we came to the end of the script new plans were made. Dan enlisted Brian, who was still manager of the Kenmore Books & News porn shop. He borrowed a number of vibrators for the show. That week we played the sound of four vibrators over the air as we turned them on and let them rattled across the table. The most unmistakable was the “Magic Wand”. Callers then guessed which vibrator it was. 100% guessed the Magic Wand. We had no prize, except the sorry 50 gallon drums, but we received a lot of calls.

Over the last few weeks the show devolved into making fun of Matt, which grew boring, and then into Brian and Dan shouting their manifesto, and finally only Brian shouting. By this time we had long since stopped showing up, except poor Tony who was responsible for the time slot and had to show.

Excess Fluids

For some time, I have been berated by the other posters here to put my thoughts down in writing, and I have struggled with a unifying theme. I now give up on that and present you with a few barely related tales for your amusement. Much of the detail may be at Wolf-like accuracy although I am pretty clear on the final story.

Despite our limited means, the group of us (or some combination thereof) often found ourselves eating at restaurants (usually at an ungodly late hour). Naturally, the most common habitats were Perkins, Denny’s, and Mighty Taco. As you may imagine, these excursions were not marked by a sudden improvement in the behavior of the participants, despite the public location. Mostly, we were treated to the usual stares befitting a group of gamers ranting publically about whether a single goblin (summoned into a closet) could slay the entire group with just a short sword. There were one or two times when behavior went well beyond the pale.

One day, for some odd reason, Dan was eating with Aaron and I at Mighty Taco (others may have been present, but forgotten). It was generally agreed that we should not act out too much in Mighty Taco, as we needed the comfort of returning endlessly for more bean burritos and Cherry Coke (consumed by all, except for Aaron with his frequent nacho fixation). Despite this, Dan as usual would not be restrained and insisted upon speaking freely whenever he sat down with us. As I recall, Dan’s philosophy in this matter was that free speech was his *right* and anyone attempting to restrain him would pay the price – to quote Dan, “PUBLIC HUMILIATION!”. On this particular occasion, prompted by Aaron, he began to elaborate (while we ate) upon an alleged experience with fisting:

Aaron: “So what was it like, Dan?”
Dan: “Well, first I got myself slathered in lube up to the wrist. Then, after working up a good lather, I squeezed my hand together and RAMMED IT IN HER ASS!” (shouted)
(At this point, the nearby family was quite startled at this exclamation. I recall looking around sheepishly.)
Aaron: “And then what? How did she react?”
At this point, Dan was in full out acting mode and stated in no uncertain terms:

“Well, you see, first there was a RUSH OF EXCESS FLUIDS THAT POURED OUT!”

This led to full out flight by all parties seated near us. We nearly immediately had half the restaurant to ourselves. This incident stands out in my mind as far more inappropriate than the “In The Brown” proclamations at Tops, and should form a significant part of the legend of Mooney. If anyone asks why he was not at my wedding, they should probably re-read this tale.

Another story which seems to have been forgotten is the tale of Matt and the “guy who only wanted to have a drink with Matt”. Recent speculation on this topic leads me to write it down, and those in the know will smack their foreheads and wonder why they did not embellish upon this tale first. Matt began his college life at ECC City. However, at end of a semester (1st, 2nd, whenever) we asked Matt when he would be ready to move up to UB. He explained that he would be going to ECC North the following semester, because he did not like it at ECC City and as a result was not doing as well as he should. Despite Matt’s other oddities this came as a surprise, because he was known as having a decent Intelligence (but, according to some well-regarded observers, low Wisdom). Knocking it out of the park at ECC City didn’t seem like a big stretch. Further inquiries led to the astonishing result that he had apparently received 4 F’s and a D in his coursework, because halfway through the session he had stopped attending and never went back to finish the courses (I have always wondered about the professor who still awarded a D). However, much more interesting than Matt’s poor decision to not drop the classes was the reason for his sudden avoidance of the place.

As the story goes, Matt was trying to leave one of his classes on the top floor of the ECC City building. However, he encountered a guy (whether street person or classmate was never clarified) who was strung out on drugs – allegedly PCP or something of its ilk. The unnamed, undescribed individual wanted Matt to go across the street for a drink with him. Matt deferred, being below legal age at this point and uninterested in the company of said crazed, stoned individual. However, the junkie would hear nothing of Matt’s denials, and insisted forcefully that Matt accompany him to the bar. In a classic move, Matt proceeded to run down the stairs. Now, as described to me (I have no firsthand knowledge of the place), the City campus building had a stairwell or atrium which was up to 4-5 stories high. Matt fled downstairs to the lobby, while the acid tripper watched him run. At the bottom, Matt made the mistake of looking up at his pursuer. To hear Matt tell the tale, at that very moment his future drinking buddy smiled and leaped right over the railing. One imagines this guy assuming a skydive position, falling in slow motion, grungy clothes flapping, until WHAM! he lands sprawled out in a heap right at Matt’s feet. Seeing someone hurl themselves off a balcony onto a hard floor would be bad enough; as the story goes, however, thanks to the drug-addled state of this daredevil, he immediately stood up and seized the helpless Matt. They proceeded across the street for a drink, after which Matt was released, his paranoia leading him to never return to the site of this shocking incident. I’m pretty sure Matt also got fake throat cancer shortly afterwards, which might have helped prevent the dropping of classes.

Having been scarred for life by the sight of a man leaping from 4 stories and surviving (or 4 steps up the stairs, if you take other people’s version), stricken with swollen glands misdiagnosed as possibly fatal thyroid cancer, and crawling around his house for days with a near-bursting appendix, Matt eventually still recovered to attend ECC North and UB, putting him well in-line with the rest of the group. This was also very convenient for Dan, who was able to obtain an ECC North ID with Matt’s name and info on it, but Dan’s picture. That was a bucket of laughs until Matt got the overdue library notices and figured it all out. Interestingly, Dan was also known to identify himself as “Matt” when he needed an alias for the occasional casual encounter; a tactic which he must have taught to Eliot Spitzer. (For those not in the know, Eliot Spitzer used the alias “George Fox” for his interactions with the escort service; George Fox is a “good friend” of the ex-governor’s in real life. When I read this, I thought immediately of Dan and Matt). I will not reveal the details of those casual encounters here, other than to note that if you are going to hook up with a random chick at a Metallica concert, using an alias is probably best practice.

So, having now seen how Matt became reunited with the rest of the group school-wise (myself excepted), we must turn our attention to a final legendary encounter. One evening, I met up with a fairly large group at Denny’s on Niagara Falls Boulevard. This was a place we knew well – the same place where I recall Matt once emerging from the restroom and stating point-blank to his girlfriend, “No matter how good you are, you will never be as satisfying as a good dump.” Ever the romantic! In any case, the group this night consisted of Matt, Sue (the Boot), Dan, myself, and some additional meat sacks. I have no idea who the meat sacks were and they might even have been people who mattered; but my memory of this night only consists of what transpired between the four named individuals. We were seated in the following pattern:


      Dan  Others..
      ————–
Sue  |
Matt |
      ————–
      Me   Others…

Of course, Sue was with Matt at the time. I do not recall if this was before or after she went from Dan to Matt to Dan or Matt to Dan to Matt or whatever that whole incident was. In any case, Dan, Matt, and I were having some type of deep conversation – most likely about Spelljammer – when we noticed that Matt seemed distracted. Now, Matt did occasionally tend to get a dumbfounded look on his face, but this one seemed like his eyes were glazed over. It was then that I noticed that Sue’s shoulder was moving. Matt’s breathing seemed somewhat affected and I quickly looked away and back at Dan. Dan, no stranger to porn, also detected the tell-tale signs of some “manipulation” going on – under the table and presumably inside Matt’s pants. Here we all were, in a Denny’s, only 2-3 feet away from the too-intimate couple. There was no escape for me either, as I was in a booth. Dan looked at me, shook his head and said in a relatively low voice, “I can’t fucking believe this, man.” For some reason, I picked up the small, white package of liquid coffee creamer at that point. I twirled it in my hands, looked at Dan, looked at Matt, and looked back at Dan. At no point in my life was I more in sync mentally with Dan then at that moment. Instant recognition of my thoughts appeared on my face as Dan said loudly “JUST DO IT, MAN!!!”. I looked again at Matt’s face; he seemed puzzled by the fact that I was holding forth a coffee creamer, since I was drinking Coke.

In a moment of misplaced compassion, I turned back to Dan and said “I just can’t”. Well, one thing I can say is, Dan is a man of action. He immediately seized the creamer from my hands, ripped open the package and proceeded to hurl it into Matt’s chest and lap with perfect aim. The effect was instantaneous; Matt’s eyes widened as the white drops of creamer splashed a line-like pattern up his body, contrasting sharply against his prized black trenchcoat. Before Matt could even object, Dan followed up with a shout:

“SORRY MATT, DID YOU HAVE A LITTLE ACCIDENT!!”

Naturally, the rest of the table which had been oblivious to the situation was now staring at Matt, dripping creamer from his chest, as he said “Dan, what the hell!” Sue seemed to be having quite a laugh over the situation, which only made Matt angrier. I do not recall the exact exchange between Dan and Matt, but it boiled down to the following points:

Dan and I: “What the hell did you expect to happen, doing that right next to us at Denny’s?”
Matt: “This trenchcoat cost $300 and you threw creamer on it!”

Matt refused to even give Dan a ride home, declared him an ex-friend, and stormed out with Sue in tow. Fortunately, I had driven to the restaurant and gave Dan a lift, with much rejoicing on the way home. This part of the story was classic enough as-is, especially if you could have seen the look on Matt’s face. However, the real payoff came a day or two later when we reconciled with Matt. He admitted the humor value of the entire operation, and moved this into the category of legend with the following summary:

“The sad part is, Sue really thought I had finished.”