Do You Ever Listen To Yourselves Talk?

This first appeared in the Platte County Landmark on December 5, 2017.

There are ironies in life that don’t get enough attention. Kansas City is known as the city of fountains, but the climate doesn’t allow them to run four months out of the year. The fact that the man who proclaimed “LOCK HER UP” at the Republican National Convention is, himself, guilty of a felony against the United States. The irony that Alanis Morissette’s song about irony doesn’t actually contain examples of irony – raining on your wedding day isn’t irony, it’s a coincidence.

Circa –redacted– Let’s just say this was a long, long time ago.

But my favorite irony is that I enjoy talking about nearly everything about my life on Twitter and my best friend has no social media footprint whatsoever. What on earth would bring the two of us together?

Well, the story began <redacted> years ago in high school. Wheezy was a year older than I was (he still is, to be clear) and would frequently be my ride on the weekends and on Taco Bell runs. During these drives, the topics of conversation would consist of arguing about whether Caddyshack or Three Amigos was a funnier movie. (Spoiler alert: It’s Caddyshack.) And about what was a more bitchin’ set of rims for a truck. (This was more his conversation that I begrudgingly listened to.)

If there were recordings of our conversations they would be discombobulated, wandering, and also great examples of knowing nothing and yet knowing everything at the same time. The core irony of youth. One time, my father was driving the two of us somewhere, which meant 20 minutes of him having to listen to the two of us talk about David Letterman, or Robert Townsend movies, or how cool we looked in our marching band costumes. With only minutes left in the drive, my father had had it – he turned around 3/4 of the way to the back seat keeping only slight peripheral vision on the road and exclaimed, “DO YOU EVER LISTEN TO YOURSELVES TALK?”

For the next <redacted> years, the face to face conversations between us evolved to phone conversations as we both started families. Once we gained employment, our conversations evolved into sharing emails and jokes and then later to instant messages and texts.

But his privacy online has been paramount. His quips and jokes aren’t for a large audience, they are just for close friends. They are old school in the way I’d imagine folks talked in olden times. To that end, his most recent communication wasn’t a proclamation on Facebook or a tweet or an Instagram post – it was simply a text message saying, “Call me.”

The phone call that followed included words like “doctor,” and “discomfort,” and “MRI,” and “chemotherapy,” and the one that left a ringing in my ear, “cancer.”

The next several days and the phone calls that followed were reflecting upon those conversations we had <redacted> years ago. We talked about the days we would record David Letterman then watch it at each other’s houses after school in what would later be done by DVR’s. We talked about the funniest movie of all time being either Zoolander or The Big Lebowski. And we talked about  being yelled at by my dad because of our inane banter.

After his surgery next week, I am confident that our conversations will continue for <redacted> years to come. I am confident that Caddyshack and not those other garbage movies will remain the greatest comedy of all time. And I am confident that our sexiness in band uniforms will continue to remain next-level.

The irony of it is that I am the type of person who would immediately send my best wishes to him out on Facebook or Twitter. But this will be a private conversation – not one to be shared outside of a phone call. Or maybe just a newspaper column. Get well soon, buddy.

Update: My buddy had his surgery and the results show he’s got a little more work to do. There is nobody, NOBODY, more equipped for this challenge. And even though it’s going to SUCK, he knows he has his friends surrounding and supporting him all the way.

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