Fluffy Blog elects not to play pinata this week:
It was the summer after I graduated from high school, the world was at my feet, and between June of ’89 and July of ’90 the nine of us were inseparable. Quite literally our group formed one night in the Mullet Man’s cul-de-sac. I had never met half these guys before and I was sure I’d be treated like an interloper. See, Mullet had gone to a Lutheran prep school with these guys and had grown up around them. Mullet, the enigmatic Lurch, and I had formed a fast friendship in class at Bear Creek High and they were anxious to introduce me to the boys. So we met at Mullet’s house in preparation for a Friday night out. My apprehension was abated when Marky Mark shook my hand, tossed me a beer, and made me feel as if I’d been part of the group all along. It was like slipping on an old pair of comfortable shoes. What happened that night was a true cosmic convergence. It was perfect.
Our trip to South Padre Island for spring break in ’90 was one of those mythical road trips that have become a right of passage for every American male. We all piled into Q-Tip’s green & white ’65 Ford F100 pickup, Leonardo’s ’88 Nissan pickup, and my girl friend’s Jeep Wrangler. We left on Thursday night and got to our hotel around 6 p.m. on Friday. The drive took us through west Texas, which incidentally is like driving through the bowels of Hell, and we were praying Tip’s POS would hold together until we got to South Padre. One memorable night we went to this bar (I think it was Tequila Frogs but don’t quote me) and mainlined tequila (ever after pronounced ta-kill-ya) for a few hours. Afterwards Tip, Mullet Man, Hop-along, Hollywood, and I broke out the golf clubs and played midnight nude golf on the beach. Marky Mark, the Whiner, Lurch, and Leonardo headed back to the hotel to sleep of their bender. Once we got bored with smacking around a golf ball we went exploring and found a golf cart that belonged to one of the hotels. Being the drunk and butt naked dumbasses we were we decided to abscond with our new mode of transportation and drove around for a while. Somehow we found a pier and proceeded to drive the cart into the water. Laughing and flailing we scrambled back to shore, put our now soaking wet clothes back on, and stumbled back to our hotel. Somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico is a golf cart with our names on it.
There were those nights spent playing Risk and shooting the s**t until the wee hours of the morning. Poker night in Leonardo’s garage was always something we looked forward to. We’d get our paychecks on a Friday afternoon, cash them, and assemble at Leo’s and play poker until dawn. Lurch showed up to vainly try to recoup past losses, Mullet Man loved the pizza we got from Beau Jo’s, and Tip always started the peanut war. Lurch threw parties that were legendary. These were the type of party where you sleep where you fall and his back yard always looked like the Jonestown Massacre. Hollywood would host impromptu pool tournaments that usually degenerated into a giant smack talking festival. Mullet’s mom always cooked the bomb ass dinner for us and the look on his father’s face was priceless as the nine of us ate him out of house & home. He was always found later in front of the TV muttering something about how we all had hollow legs to be able to eat that much that quickly.
Marky Mark and Q-Tip grew up to become fire fighters and will always have my undying respect. Marky Mark has three daughters while Tip’s first kid was born about a year and a half ago. Mullet Man is still a serial monogamist and went into the real estate business with his dad. Funny, I always thought he hated the man. Lurch is now pulling down a mid six-figure salary at Charles Schwab. Leo lives in Fort Collins and works for Hewlett-Packard. The Whiner is an investment consultant and does some estate planning. Hop-along does part-time modeling, or so he says, and God only knows what else. Hollywood is married, has a kid, and works for Invesco.
My most vivid memory of these guys was July 2, 1990. We had all gathered at Mullet Man’s for a barbecue and beer. It was your average low scale get together with us and the women folk. Nothing significant happened…other than it was our last night together.
The next night, July 3, I was driving to Lake Granby to meet up with the boys for a night at some cabin and 4th of July golf tournament the next day. It was raining cats & dogs and visibility was crap. I rounded this bend on Berthoud Pass and came up on a gas tanker that was backing across the road with no running lights on or signal flairs. I had no time to stop and my Honda Civic T-boned the tool box underneath the tank. I broke my neck and have been in a wheel chair ever since. I was nineteen.
I haven’t seen Mullet, Leonardo, Hop-along, or the Whiner since Marky Mark’s wedding in ’91. Q-tip and I try to go to at least one Bronco game a year and I saw Hollywood about five years ago. I ran into Lurch at our ten year high school reunion.
I’m not trying to preach about friendship or to teach some kind of all encompassing universal truth. This also isn’t meant to be some cheap, not-so-subtle tug at the heart strings or a heavy-handed plea for sympathy. This post is simply a tribute in a very public forum to youth and eight old friends. Gentlemen, wherever you are let me say thank you and take care.