Thursday, November 4, 2010

An Introduction of Purpose/An Introduction of Players

An Introduction of Purpose/An Introduction of Players

I'm almost 35 years old. In those 35 years I have ever so slowly moved from about 15 miles west of the the eastern most side of South Dakota to about 15 miles east of the western most side of South Dakota and, as I type that, have never felt more depressed in my life. That nugget of Reality slaps me upside the side of my face leaving a trickle of blood where Life's Ring was turned inward just to make sure I was paying attention.

I may be the most ordinary person I know. Aside from a slight gift of observation and a dash of what I find humor, I don't think I have anything that makes me stand out. I can't create things. I don't solve problems. I'm remarkably content in the day to day nuances of my life where they are right now. But that is not to say I haven't lived a little. I, as we say, have seen some shit.

The only thing that's really important to get out of this first post is as I was living my time in college I was smart enough to realize they were the best days of my life. Every day spent with my friends and living the life we were living is still burned into my memory and there's no way I'd be the person I am today without living those days as fully as I lived them. For good or bad.

Now that I'm older and have some perspective, I want to try to figure some stuff out. I want to get in to some debates with old friends and new strangers who happen to come across this and wish to contribute. This blog is going to serve two purposes: 1) To share some old stories of funny or stupid stuff people I knew did and get a laugh out of those stories and 2) To figure out what comes next. 35 is not a fun age. I'm not old yet, but I'm not 23 any more either, living the life and experiencing the moments illustrated in these stories. You aren't either. You have kids, a job, responsibilities, debt, and an entire laundry list of other things that nothing could have prepared you for when you were running around naked and puking in an alleyway behind a bar in the South Dakota Winter 12 years ago.

There are a lot of people that are going to be featured in some way in these stories. Some quite heavily. I'm not going to censor very much so if you fear you are one of these people, you may want to get in touch with me and give me a heads up on what stories you want your name left out of.

Wipf, Krink, Weers, Storm, Pedro, Larz, Fish, Guffy, Roland, and Moose have the most to worry about. Mostly Moose. Sorry man. Your life with us was just too bizarre not to talk about. Just be happy we've gone this long without really and truly going public with it.

A very long time ago, Wipf and I decided that if we were ever to write a book about the adventures of living with Moose we would call that book, “It May Be That Your Entire Purpose in Life is to Serve as a Warning to Others.” I don't think that title works anymore, though. Moose, like most of us, seems content with his life so “warning” seems a bit strong. Despite his time with us, he came out ok. Or maybe it was -because- of his time with us he came out ok. Yeah, I prefer that.

And it's not just Moose Stories we'll feature here. We'll have all the classics from “Stormo's Going to Jail” to “She Had Inverted Nipples”. There will be tales that take our heroes to the Emergency Room on New Year's Eve, for Lock Jaw, and for Unnecessary Anal Probing. You'll know who We 3 Guys are and, for the first time, at some point, I may tell the story of the Fab Four Night.

Let us begin.

I had two sets of room mates going through college. The first house I lived in with others was shared with Wipf and Moose. Wipf was the focal point and leader of the group. Parties at our house were referred to as Parties at Wipf’s. He was the good looking one of the group and the music snob which is really easy to be in Aberdeen, SD, as at the time it had 3 radio stations.

His Christian name is Brian but nicknames came with the territory in our group. The nickname of “Wipf” was not chosen lightly. After test-driving a number of quality and well-thought out names, “Wipf” won out simply because it was the word that best described his personality. And it was his last name.

Moose, however, was not the last name of anybody. Moose earned his nickname.

Moose started out as the guy we needed to occupy another room in order to keep our rent low. He was goofy and a bit of a social outcast but he had a great heart and was very loyal. He was the big sloppy semi-housebroken Golden Retriever of our group. He drank mostly cheap beer and Zima but rarely at the same time.

Our House Parties were a thing of beauty, especially in the days when Wipf, Moose and I lived behind The Zoo. Our home had been a party house for generations before it burned down and we had inherited it through a group of our friends. One person within our group would move out and another would move in. And no disrespect to the parties held by others at that house back in their day, because I don't think most of ours compared favorably in size to those, but we had some barn burners in our day. For us, quality of the party was emphasized over quantity of the party. Wipf and I were smart party people. Moose was along for the ride.

Our rule was simple: Do nothing to draw attention to the Cops. That was it. That meant no parking on the street because you could easily park in the bar parking lot next door. No going outside to smoke. Smokers were instructed to stay in the downstairs entry way. Never turn on the lights. By keeping the lights off and stringing red Christmas lights around in the rooms, you could see while in the house but not in from outside of the house. Music was never a factor because you couldn't hear it outside over the bar music.

We never needed an excuse to have a party at that house, but sometimes life would provide them for us. Some of the best were provided by our friend Dan Stormo. Storm, as we called him, was a force of nature that someone had taken out of the early 1920’s. At the time, you never saw him without a mixed drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other. He was short, skinny, loud, funny, and did not care at all what anyone thought about him. And life had a tendency of putting him in the direct path of some pretty crazy shit which ultimately led to some great reasons to party.

There was the “Stormo's going to Jail” Party. “Stormo's Going To Jail Party Part 2”. The “Stormo’s Lawyer, Sid Strange, Got Storm out of Going to Jail” Party. The “We Love Sid Strange” Party. Every one of them was a good time. But New Years Eve was particularly special.

It was New Year's Eve 1998 and I had just officially moved into the house 2 months earlier. In that window of time I had hosted many parties but this was the first holiday based party, which always meant heavier traffic. Alcohol was flowing between the bar and our house and at one point we had close to 40 drunken people in our apartment and only 1 sober person. This is the story of how Storm found that sober person.

Storm drove up from Sioux Falls alone for this party. Most of his out of town crew were in other ways occupied so he was solo. He pulled up around 8:30 and was drunk by 9:30. You ever see Pulp Fiction? Remember Harvey Keitel's character, The Wolf? The guy who solves problems? Storm's like that character, all business, and a total pro, except the only problem he knows how to solve is how to get less sober.

One other point you'll need to know about Storm if you don't know him already is that he's not a materialistic person. Age has given him the luxury to afford a few more things here and there, but back in the day he was pure basics. He would buy cigarettes, booze, Mt Dew, food, and the occasional article of clothing. There was nothing frivolous. So when he spent his money, he appreciated what he had. That's probably the mindset that got him in the hospital later that evening.

Somewhere between 11 and Midnight, Storm was breaking one of our cardinal rules and was headed outside to smoke. Maybe he was distracted by a girl. Maybe he was fumbling for his smokes. Or maybe he was just that drunk. For whatever reason, Dan missed a step on our porch and started falling. Despite other stories you will hear, he's not that graceful, so when he later told us that he was attempting to twist his body to protect the beer we laughed that much harder for it. As he was rolling to save the glass bottle of beer in his hand, he managed to get it between his arm and the ground. Of those two, guess which has more give? The glass shattered and many, many pieces scattered like cockroaches to light on our pathway. But a few pieces were scared, maybe not fond of the cold soon-to-be January night, and decided to embed themselves into Dan's skin.

Only mildly fazed, Dan returned to the house, thankful no one of importance witnessed his fall from grace. While he did realize his beer was gone, he failed to realize that not the entire bottle was and, as he walked up our stairs, he turned our wall into something out of a horror flick. Our hallway did an amazing imitation of a Slaughterhouse. He left blood all over the wall and floor. Do you know what does a really shitty job of clotting blood? Beer.

Dan opened the door and we all froze. His khaki's were crimson and doing their best imitation of a pre-teen girl caught off guard. And he had no idea.

"Wipf! I need another beer. You'll never guess what just happened."

"Uhm, did you break the last one, Storm?"

"Yeah. I fuckin' fell off your fuckin' front porch and my beer fuckin' shattered."

Dan uses the word "fuck" like little blue men use the word "smurf". Ironically, Storm has been known to be obsessively pursued by an evil warlock as well. Small world.

"Dude" Wipf said, "I think we'd better get you a band-aid or something."

Dan looked down and noticed the killing fields.

Poetic, almost Shakespearean at times, Storm said, "Shit."

So we put a band-aid on Dan which had the same effect of trying to dam the Missouri river by placing a stick in it. The band-aid just washed down his arm and landed on the ever growing red puddle on our floor, the cloth part completely washed in crimson and looking up at us as if to say, “Hey, I tried.” It was sad and alone in its failure. Some of us mocked it.

Someone, most likely our responsible friend Shannon, suggested Dan be taken to the hospital immediately. We stopped the music.

"Everyone" I shouted. "We need to get Storm to the Emergency Room. Is anyone in here sober?"

As one, like something out of a movie, all eyes turned to the back of the living room to our former room mate Chuck and his girlfriend Jess. Jess was our go-to gal on things like this as she rarely ever drank and quite possibly could have been the sweetest person we'd all ever know.

Jess knew her moment had arrived. She kissed Chuck on the cheek and accepted her mission. We wrapped Storm's arm up in an old towel from Moose's room (a danger for Storm in and of itself) and helped him outside to Jess's car, wished her luck, and got back to our party.

Life moved on and the New Year came and went. Around 1:30 the strangers were gone and it was just our group of regulars hanging around when Jess and Storm came back. Dan had his arm wrapped and elevated above head.

"Dan, what's the story?" I asked.

"Well, I can't drink anymore tonight" Dan said. As if on cue, a beer can flew threw the room and landed in Dan's elevated hands. He shrugged, opened it, and took a drink.

"How was the ER, Storm?" Wipf asked.

"Not cool, dude. You know where you don't want to be on New Year's Eve? The fucking ER. The weirdo's come out."

Jess, normally very quiet, chimed in. "Tell them how you kicked the doctor in the face."

Let me tell you the formula to a great Dan Stormo story. Take an every day event, add a pinch of The Unexpected, and pour a generous amount of the Unbelievable. Then you have a Dan Stormo Story. Place a subject in an Arizona field and detonate a Gamma Bomb around him. If that Hulked up subject is still standing, he's Dan Stormo.

"You kicked the doctor in the face?"

"Not on purpose" Dan said sheepishly.

"What happened?"

"They took me back into that big open room with the little sheet curtains in it to look at my arm. There were a couple other patients at first but eventually it was just me. And I fuckin' had a lot to drink tonight, man, so I really had to pee. I asked the doctor if I could go and he said no because they were afraid they would lose me."

"What? How could they lose you?" I asked.

"Yeah, I know. That's what I said. I said I was the only one in here and I was just going to walk 12 feet into the bathroom. The doctor said to me, "what if you don't come back?" which I thought was stupid and I told him if that happens to just come and get me."

"So is that why you kicked him in the face, Dan?" Wipf asked.

"No, I didn't mean to kick him. He was sitting at the edge of the bed thing sewing up my wrist and I was sitting on that bed thing and I fucking had to piss but he wouldn't let me. So I'm sitting there like a fuckin' kid and I'm crossing my legs back and forth and I accidentally kicked him in the face. His glasses went flying across the room."

"Jesus, Stormo. What did he say?"

"Nothing, but he was pissed off! Look at the shitty job he did on my wrist!"

Stormo's stitch is anything but straight. And to this day, whenever he's near a surgeon...his scar burns.

1 comment:

  1. I think this is primarily your problem: " I was living my time in college I was smart enough to realize they were the best days of my life." If you really think it's all downhill after your mid-20s, there really is nothing to look forward to for the many, many long years to come!