April 20, 2006

What About Joe?

I've known Joe since I was sixteen years old. Maybe I don't really know him any more, as I haven't seen or spoken to him in well over five years, could even be closer to ten. But if I were to see him today, I bet we could pick up right where we left off and it would seem like not a day had passed since we saw each other last.

I put Joe in the category of being a good guy, but he's really, really dysfunctional. It's all his parents' fault, of course. They were pretty hard on him, and he did his best to rebel and prove his point, whatever the point-of-the-week was. The mother I knew him to have was really his stepmother. I thought evil stepmothers existed only in fairy tales until I met Joe's. His real mom, to whom he referred as "Mom-mom," lived in another state. I didn't get to meet her until Joe's wedding day. She seemed pretty cool, but I'll bet she was a hell-raiser in her day. Joe's dad was a raving alcoholic/porn addict.

Thinking of Joe's dad reminds me of the time a girlfriend of mine and I decided to toilet paper Joe's house. I had never done such a thing in my life, but figured it was high time to get started on my life of crime. I was a sophomore in high school, after all. We went to the store and bought loads of TP and headed over to Joe's house in my friend's 20-year-old Mercury Marquis in the still of the night. Quietly we began our work, throwing the rolls of toilet paper up into the trees. We were doing a pretty good job of it when all of the sudden the back door flung open and Joe's dad shouted, "who's out there?!" We hid behind the biggest tree trunk we could find, laughing so hard, trying not to pee our pants. We knew he'd find us simply for the fact that we were making so much noise. Instead hearing his big footsteps walking toward the tree we were hiding behind, we heard gunshots. The god-damn lunatic was going to kill us. There we were, Kegeling as hard as we could to prevent peeing our pants, out of fear now, shouting over the gunshots, "It's us! Don't shoot us!" Can you imagine, a couple of nerdy, skinny high school girls being shot at by their friend's screaming drunk dad? When we peeked out from behind the tree, we saw him standing there laughing at us. Then he invited us in for a beer.

Apparently Joe saw us from his bedroom window and told his dad what we were doing. His dad claimed, as we were chugging those beers, adding to the already full bladders we had so carefully kept intact, that he was shooting blanks. Many, many years later when I attended Joe's wedding, his dad took one look at me and started laughing just as he had that night gunshots rang through that dark and quiet neighborhood. "I always knew you were a good kid, cuz you knew how to take a joke." Crazy bastard.

Joe is a recurring theme in my head, if not my life in general. I haven't seen him in quite a while, but I don't think I've seen the last of him. I dream about him once in a while, which can only mean he's either dead and speaking to me from beyond the grave, or he's sending me telepathic messages. So Joe, if you're reading this, drop me a line. I'm pretty sure you're back in Minnesota and you looked up that tramp of an ex-girlfriend of yours. She's divorced, you're divorced, and you were both the easiest thing for each other, so what am I to assume? I won't judge you too much for getting back with her. You might be an addict for gambling, drinking, and Football Head's delicious goodies, but don't forget me, the one who risked her life trying to impress you with a little toilet paper.

No comments: