Tuesday, October 26, 2010

36 Years Ago Today

I met my best friend.

Not my soul mate, well maybe, but in a different way, although I suppose he is one of the only people I actually could live with. But a best friend. Chris Patrick's 10th birthday party (Happy birthday, Chris!). 4th grade. Cary, North Carolina. Briarcliff Elementary School.

Thirty-six years ago today. Thirty-six years ago today. Fuck. Thirty-six years ago today.

I remember, he asked me to hang out at his house and watch movies later that week - we only lived down the street from each other. He had just moved to NC from Georgia, his Dad had gotten a job at the now conglomerated Burroughs-Wellcome in the Research Triangle, Durham.

His family - Linda, Cary, Shannon and Ashley - became my surrogate family, as I spent as much or more time there as I did at my own house. They adopted me and I happily adopted them.

I taught Shannon and Ashley how to fold pizza even though they laughed at my 'monster feet' (still have them, albeit a little rougher and more monster-like). Linda used to order us canisters of Charles' Chips - pretzels and barbecue potato chips - which we would devour in the afternoons and evenings after school. Linda could cook her ass off, just like my Mom, and I still have some of her recipes.

Cary would entertain us/scare us with his garage turned into a drive-in - a dual 35mm theater, where we would thread up "The Alamo", "Thunderball" and our favorite of all time and the holy grail, "Where Eagles Dare."

And then there was the Halloween Roger Corman Vincent Price-era marathon - "The Pit and the Pendulum", "Tales of Terror" and "The Black Cat". And a butt-load of Charles' Chips and Coca Cola.

We built forts, hated girls and made movies. Yep, made movies. Our parents encouraged it, and I hope they remember that - it informed who we are today. You can see it in my photos and you can hear it in his writing. 8mm 50ft. reels, exposed sequentially (in camera) dropped off at the K-Mart Fotomat on Maynard Road and picked up a week later and strung through projectors and editing bays.

Even though we've headed our separate ways, we've always had the same sensibility, more or less, about film, music, pop culture, and the people we've grown to admire, love and spend time with.

Toby, you mean the world to me. So do Jennifer and Presley and your family. You know that. I'm proud to have you in my life. I know we've put each other through some bad times, but that's what friends are for - especially best friends.

I love you. And that pretty much sums it up.

Some of my favorite memories:
- Walking those stupid dogs for middle school money and tying them up to a tree while we did other stuff
- Every Halloween monster movie marathon that we ever stayed up all night watching
- The Tom Verlaine show at Tramps that you came to NYC just to see with me
- The Doylestown Princeton Record Exchange excursions
- The 'Jaws' conference call
- Presley releasing a balloon for my Grandmother
- Seeing X with Presley and Lauren at The Cat's Cradle and Billy Zoom kneeling down and playing to her, Presley, all of 7 years old, and her 'fan girl' phone call from the car after the show to Mom at 1:00am

And too many others to possibly mention or remember.

Let's make more. We've got time...ok, buddy? Thanks for emailing me today and reminding me.

I'm lucky to have a best friend.

Cover Star: Me and Toby, Texas, 1980 - 16 years old. We were reading Hunter S. Thompson and were listening to this:
Headlining Band: KC

James M. Graham, Website
James M. Graham, Tumblr
James M. Graham, Monograph

1 comment:

Toby Roan said...

Boy, that was certainly not deserved.

That JAWS call was one of the best times I ever had. Period. Totally stupid and a big fat blast. We need to do that again. FREEBIE AND THE BEAN? BIG LEBOWSKI? FRENCH CONNECTION?

You forgot the Ackermansion. I've got goosebumps just thinking about it.

Love you, too.