Somewhere between Bell's Palsy and death
Thursday, August 10, 2006
The Slickster

Because the world is small and I never end up knowing who’s going to cross my path, I had the pleasure of talking to a college crush of mine for a story today. He was a rather short-lived crush, at least by my standards (from, like, January to shortly after school let out for the summer), but he was definitely one of the more fun ones—tall, gangly, goofy-looking and a bit younger than me; he was 18 or 19 to my 21? no 22, I would’ve been 22 when we hooked up. He was also the author of one of, if not the only, cartoons we ran in our college rag that wasn’t syndicated, so he ended up spending a crapload of time in the newspaper office with the rest of us misfits. Anyway, my favorite memory* of Slick, as we used to call him, involved the wonder wagon, a fifth of Rumplemintz and a tattoo.

Yeah, I know that has the classic markings of drrrrrrrty, but it wasn’t salacious at all. Seriously.

It was a Wednesday, and Slick, me and another doofus we used to hang out with took off for lunch. We were in my car—the illustrious 1985 Ford Escort Wagon I totalled three different times between 1988 and 1993—and I seem to recall that I was letting Doof do the driving for some reason, or maybe he was driving on the way back because I’d had a few beers at lunch ... Anyway, at some point on the way back, I pointed out to the two of them that I had an unopened bottle of Rumple left over from the Indiana College Press Association weekend from which the paper staff had just returned, and they were all “Sweeeeeeeeet,” so we cracked it open and started swigging.

(I should mention here that this was during the semester I almost drank myself out of college forealz, so that there was an unopened bottle of anything alcoholic in my car is a miracle, especially since ICPA was basically a giant hotel party for college newspaper nerds and my room had the hospitality tub. I didn’t even drink that weekend at all, probably because I was away from home and thus away from my “stress.” Whatever that was at the time.)

So we get back to campus, and Slick decides he needs to have his tat re-inked. I, needing very little in the way of excuses to ditch class, decided I was going to go with because I’d never seen a tat done before, but Doof had Calc or something that he just couldn’t miss (which I wasn’t the least bit upset about because, hello! Crush!). It was just me and Slick and a bottle of Rumple, of which he maybe drank the equivalent of the bottle neck while I pounded the rest. In about an hour. And I lived to tell the tale, without throwing it back up or anything. I remember being in the tat shop and watching the artist hit his tat with purple, of all colors, and going, “Wow. If I weren’t so drunk, I’d be completely freaked out by that.” I also remember stopping at the corner of Ridge and Wisconsin in Hobart and calling the newspaper office from the payphone while Slick threw some gas in the Wonder Wagon’s almost-empty tank. We just drove around all afternoon, talking and laughing about whatever. Of course, when we got back to campus, everyone knew what we were doing because I smelled like a giant candy cane (Tara can attest to this). And then I went out to Wad’s Wonder Wagon and started crying hysterically about something, and I sobered up. The end.

Slick’s a commercial painter now who focuses on high-end remodeling jobs, happily married with three or four daughters. Good for him.

Posted by Broad9:41 PM
It is the job of a good person to be honest. To be self-aware. To deliberately explore the fault lines of your character and try desperately to not inflict suffering in this strange, ghost-ridden world of worked and fabricated objects. Sometimes the jobs of writer and good person coincide. But more often they don’t. There are way more writers in the world than there are good people.

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This explains that large bit of type at the top.

Tagline by Ben F'in Mollin, talking about those times you wake up still drunk from the night before.


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