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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Save me…f- the whales

        As I was walking Tucker this evening, after his first escape episode, I realized how fragile our connections can be. He, like any of us, can be gone in an instant. So having no other good idea for a blog, I concocted a bunch of random images to piece together in some semblance of a point directed story. It centers on a long tossed out t-shirt and an old friend Brother Rob. (Bro Ro) I used to have a t-shirt that said simply “F-ck the whales SAVE ME.” Bro Ro was the reason I had this shirt. He was and is a part of what I used to be and who I am now. As I drive to the lakeshore every day recently, I reminisce the not so distant past.

Using my mind’s eye mind melding USB cable I have recreated this shirt in all its glory…

     Another of my friends, coincidently a friend of Bro Ro, Cindy, a grad of EKHS, and a work associate at a long ago job, had a video of her granddaughter riding a bike for the first time. It was pretty damn cool, to be able to watch a benchmark occur, thanks to this newfangled interweb thingy.
     A year ago, I would not even had an inkling of what Cindy was up to. I may have seen her at the next reunion. I may not have, but I do not have to worry, I can connect with her and so many others on daily basis. It is very life affirming. And if I want to, I can connect  in my bathrobe. 'cuz know ones sees me....yet....With or with out slippers. Even commando. (fighting visual) Or with my pants on backwards… Right Cindy? (I still giggle about that one)
     I normally do not watch videos, because the dinolaptop I use is so f’ed that I usually fall asleep long before the video is watchable. If I do get the damn thing to load the video, and it doesn’t freeze up and give me an error message, and I do not lapse into a compucoma, I am usually entertained.
     Life passes so quickly, we really need to hold on to everything we can, *hold on loosely, but don’t let go.* I started thinking of the (not too) distant past. Most of which I had, unfortunately, held on too loosely. Life has a way of taking care of your malaise, by introducing new friends and relationships, when you are remiss in keeping your connections close.
     I had resisted the FB thing for so long. I dug in my heels and scoffed at those that had become one with what I had considered the FaceBorg. However, being an applause junkie and needing an audience I relented.
     After a few months of cybersifting thru the maze that is FB, the epiphanyball started knockin’ my noggin with a very important fact. The world is interconnected. Humans are a social animal. The human race is a social network and we all want to be heard. The interweb thingy gives us all a voice. Yes, oh yes it does.
     Way back when, shortly after matriculating from EKHS, and long before I had any real vision of anything other than finding a girlfriend and making just enough cabbage to party and be a slackaround, I attended a couple of months of higher education at what was then GRCC.
     I was enrolled for the whole semester, but that was a bit more of a commitment than I really wanted. It interfered terribly with the things I loved most; chasing women and drinking. Something had to give. Much to my fathers (God rest his soul) dismay being care free and uninspired won out.
     However, before I actually dropped out of college for the first time, around 19, I met a guy that could have been my older brother. Enter Bro Ro albeit, motivated and educated but brother none the less. Rob was a salesman, and I was as VP of the Conservation Club, (hence the ad for Save the Polar Bears) in charge of fundraising .As fate would have it I too am a salesman of sorts. I am not very polished and not very suave, but I can be entertaining and great at parroting. As the Outlaw Jose Wales once said, *A man has got to know his limitations*. 
Bro Ro                                                                

Bro Bru

      The CC received a percentage of the item we sold for Rob’s company, and since I liked shooting the shit more than actually attending class, I was at the booth as many hours as I could possibly justify without looking like I had a man crush.

  Rumor has it that Rob made money to finance his various entities by painting the addresses on the curbs in EGR…. While this curb (pictured above) is not very legible, it was a long time ago…it may be proof of this rumor…

  I sold fauxglasses for him, out of my parent’s basement; while he was out in Cali, making more money, doing something that I think was a real job, but who knows. I went to art fairs and sold *Surf Shirts* that I *made by hand* *wink, wink* It was cool until I got booted from the Trenton Art Fair, for *Not Making Them By Hand!!!* Seriously? You must be joking. I have been kicked out of a lot of places, but an art fair?
     As time went on I actually got a real job at Farrell's Icecream Parlour and I had to, because my parents for some reason thought that I should not live at home and I should support myself. Hey, I was 19 or 20 after all, and that meant that I should stop mooching. This really put a damper on my party time…Bummer dude…
     We became friends. We have friends that are friends. He was instrumental in my being *Mildly Famous* by orchestrating the Street Music Scene in Saugatuck. I owe much of my *nearly famous* years to Bro Ro. He introduced me to Roger, the Tie-dye guy, so I had a place to land in Key West, when I eventually wandered down there for a couple of winters.
     I continued to work selling t-shirts, but reality and the Farrell’s job forbade me from doing this full time, but I worked at the biggest, baddest, coolest art fair in the world *The Ann Arbor Art Fair.* selling fauxglasses, surf shirts, and T-shirts. And trying to pick up chicks, get free beers and be the guy that I could not be the other 51 weeks a year.
     Occasionally we would sell the shirt off our back. Like some testosterone laden badge of honor, we actually gave the selling of a sweaty, stinky shirt a place of honor. I gotta say I would do the same today…Jus’ Sayin’…
     We became brothers. We told every one were brothers. It was a great gig. I got a once a year, a working vacation filled with late nights, early mornings and LOTS of Tequila. So much so that one year I got kicked out of a restaurant. The particulars are dim, margarita induced, visages of laughter and lunacy. Like I said kicked out of a lot of places, but a restaurant is a much better place to get booted than the Trenton Art Fair.
     To be fair, booted is not really the correct term, banned is more like it. Undaunted I snuck in the following year for the post party, and was recognized as the *guy who ate with his face*. (It was a bet and I won, but jalapeño in your ear is not a good thing.) and *the turtle breaker* I did break the ceramic turtle during a drunken speech, but I did glue it together and return it the following year. Returning the turtle (they did not even know it was gone) helped lift the ban, but so did the salesmanship of Rob. And the amount of money we were about to spend…
    I attended his wedding in up state New York, near Watkins Glen. I am not a big wedding ceremony guy, but that was the most awesome wedding I have attended. (Well, save my own wedding in a Pal’s Diner, taped by channel 8, shown on TV, wearing tie-dye that was more cool and awesome).the setting was like something from a movie, complete with a real, natural, waterfall in the background and Bro Ro in top hat, tux and tails. However, I think he was wearing Teva sandals….
     I drove to Upstate NY. I went thru Canada. I had to throw away my favorite bowl, because it would probably not go thru customs very well. Shortly after tossing the bowl, I also kind of drove thru customs and nearly got kicked out of Canada, for not stopping at the proper stopping area. That would be a bit bigger if not better than getting booted from Trenton. It was late at night and I was respectful and apologetic, so they let me go on my merry way. Right after checking the guitar case where mere minutes earlier I had stashed my fav bowl. Whew!!!
    BTW there are LOTS of farms in Canada. I stopped for the night off the highway in one of them. To be clear, I did so intentionally, not by accident, or reckless driving. I thought it was a dirt road, but it was a driveway. A long one. In the morning I realized it was not a dirt road and the rumble of the farmer on a tractor, was my alarm. They get up way too early. I really wonder what he thought about the long-haired guy sleeping in a car in his driveway.
     The trip should have taken roughly 10 hours drive time. It took me 19 hours of driving and it took me to see the skyline of Toronto. I guess I missed a turn or two. And I did stop in Niagara Falls long enough to see the awesome grandeur that is there and to pee ‘cuz all that water…*Sheila* would have had a cow….jus sayin….
     I did not pack a dress shirt. I was gonna wear my f-ck the whales shirt, as it was a come as you are affair, but that seemed, even to me, a bit classless. So I had to buy one. Coincidently, it is the purple shirt that I am wearing in my profile pic, at the Obama victory party. I may have been over-served at that affair.
    Bro Ro is a lot of things that I am not. I respect him. He is a great friend and like a big brother, looked out for me, which like a little borther, I mostly ignored...He has a stick-to-itiveness that I lack on many levels. That does not mean I cannot be tenacious, I can, but for the right things that is easy. My five year plan is often get thru the next couple hours, smoke some cigarettes and kill some bad guys. Maybe pop a top, or quaff a Crown and Coke. Mostly, it is to make it thru the day without pissing to many people off. Small successes…
     The years slid past, I remarried, and I moved from the lake shore. And Like many families, we lost touch. Life happens while we are doing something else. He has kids, and I think I have seen them once. MY BAD. I miss the holiday week end parties at his house and playing volley ball. I miss the fifteen game losing streak that I was on. Yeah RIIIGHT! It may have been longer I do not know. I really kind of suck at volleyball…
    FB may not change the world in large ways. It may not solve the world of problems caused by a bludgeoning population of wackjobs and zealots. However, it helps us all connect in meaningful way in an age of so many connections that are meaningless. It helps us connect with what was once real and was once the story of our lives. Not just every five years for a reunion, not just once in a while when you are driving thru the *town where you used to live*
    The shirt should have read, “F-ck the Whales SAVE US!! We all have a story and we are all connected, not just by the interweb thingy. The only saving our mortal life is our connection to the others in our lives. Celebrate life. Celebrate the highs and the lows. Share. To soon it will be over. The past fades, too fast if we let it, the present is only an instant, and the future is unknown but should be shard with the ones we love...
Just another day in paradise


  1. I am always learning something new about you in these posts, Bruce. Did you work at Farrell's Ice Cream parlor, or are you referring to a different Farrell's?

  2. absolutly...i am kind of mildly amazing as well as mildly famous...heheehe

    i am working on a blog about it tentatively called Dr fountain...

    strange that so many of my friends, like Mondoux, worked there as well... a ton of my FB friends from high school also were Farrellites...

    i went to the Farrell's in Redford once just before it closed to get some syrup...

  3. i do remember that shirt, quite fondly.

    volleyball is a lot harder than it seems at first glance.

  4. that shirt was awesome, and volley ball is very difficult...

  5. Really enjoyed this post.
    Great message said in your usual way. I love the purple shirt


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