Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Boys of Winter - SIU Reunion 1992

Okay, I know I seem to be getting nostalgic of late, what with posts about old Super Bowl commercials, That Embarrassing 70s Show and Has Beens and whatever, but what it truly is, is an attack of my own Vanity Fair in the fact that I just looked a whole lot damn cuter in those days than I do today. I mean, look at me now. Who wants a cute 52 year-old man? Nobody, that's for sure.

What people do want however, is a chance to page through your old photo album and tell you how cute you used to be, fully well knowing that it will make you feel like positive shit now and thus thus reinforcing their own fragile belief that they look like shit now too, but at least they've got company. The pains we all endure for having been attractive youngsters.

And so with that rather dour introduction I harken you all back to the days of yesteryear - the days when men were men and woman were, well, women. The accompanying photo comes from 17 years ago and was shot on the roof of my wife's and my apartment building, the Belden Stratford, on Lincoln Park West in Chicago. The occasion was the first ever Every-Thirteen-Year college roommate reunion. By whatever serendipity that caused us all to be in the same city at the same time for the first time in thirteen years, we had all planned to go out for a 5-star meal at a first class joint and dressed the part - except for the guy in the middle with the yellow trench coat. I am reminded now, that that was my coat and I had loaned it to him for the shoot because is was just blinding fucking cold outside and it was all I had, aside from what I was wearing.

From left to right, are myself, Tom Kirkhart, Steve Lind and Kevin O. Mooney. You can find us all on Facebook - Kevin has more Facebook friends than the rest of us combined so he's the only nice guy in the lot apparently. Over the course of two years at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Illinois, we all lived in the same flat and shared house duties, cooking and at more than one time, girlfriends - and we all still got along. Feeling fairly sure that none of us will be running for President, pretty much ever, I can also say that there was some marijuana involved. Oh those college boyz. Now professional athletes call it "poor judgement" while being released from their cornflake endorsements.

Tom is currently Chief Marketing Officer at CRM Studios, a video and TV production studio in Fort Worth, Texas. Steve is a National Sales Rep for CBS Outdoor Advertising in Seattle and Kevin is Assistant Professor of Photography at Indiana University as well as running his own studio at Kevin O. Mooney Photography. Along with myself at university we were a self contained advertising agency in our tiny Lewis Park apartment with me handling creative duties as a Graphic Design major, Tom in Radio and Television production, and both Steve and Kevin as Photography majors. Steve and I once threatened to be on the cover of Soldier of Fortune magazine with a shoot we had done for a local businessman, Ricky, who kept and trained attack dogs along with a small hashish trade on the side. Failing to collect the money which Ricky owed to my boss, a sign painter, we escaped with our lives and the negatives, never to see fame in the business of black-ops. Ricky reportedly did a fair amount of jail time later for his turned-out-not-to-be-so-small sideline.

And then there was the time that a lawyer from San Francisco paraded into my office at Student Center Graphics and proclaimed that he needed a bunch of creative advertising guys to run his father, a Democrat, for a high county office - his (the lawyer's) only problem being that he didn't have any money, but would happily pay us in pot, he claimed he had procured for the Jefferson Airplane, to be downgraded that year to Starship. We took that job.

Upon moving into our shared apartment, Steve and Kevin wasted no time in converting the downstairs bathroom into a darkroom with the benefit that Tom and I could look at all the female photography students and aspiring models they had managed to convince to disrobe for the camera in the name of art. Amazing how many girls bought that shit. And then there was the time Tom and I spent an entire afternoon painstakingly drilling holes in the wall, before a huge house party and wiring Steve's room for sound, with a microphone - TV announcer style - placed under Steve's bed, and Tom and I, set up in his room next door with a huge reel-to-reel TEAC tapedeck to record Steve's horribly rehearsed advances to yet another young lady with the line, "Do you wanna come to my room and see my portfolio?" Unfuckingbelievable. The latter tape from the house party that evening, that ended in Steve's room, would provide us all humour for months - squeaking springs and all - nearly as funny as the reverse sound piping we did later to pump the Todd Rundgren song "Can We Still Be Friends" into Tom's room during the absolutely tearful dumping he was giving his latent hippy girlfriend duJour. Her name was Sunshine. Gimme a fucking break.

All this from a disparate bunch of young men just hungry for knowledge and feeding at the trough of academia in the pursuit of the creative arts. The only one of us who never had any bad shit done to him was Kevin. I froze his underwear once along with the other guy's by disguising it as ground beef, soaked and wrapped in aluminum foil, and stacking all of it in the freezer and telling them all that I was storing it for a friend. Dumbshits. They bought this for days while the stench of unwashed Jockeys and the minute-by-minute desire to just piss myself laughing finally brought me to surrender. The boyz had earned this unholy prank after throwing me out the front door in the snow one night - buck-assed naked- and flashing the porchlight on and off for all the neigbors to see, while I danced and froze my skinny little butt off.

Who needs enemys.

The photo and stories today were all inspired by a one Wayne Borg, a friend of ours from the dormitory days who just popped up on FaceBook last week and started dragging up 30 year old muck after that long of an absence. Thank you Wayne. You asshole.

But mostly, thanks to all these boys of winter. A few days ago I was lamenting the fact that my Super Bowl commercial didn't make me rich and famous or some other silly-assed shit and the guy said to me, "But Dave, you've got the stories. You've got great stories". Thanks everyone. The stories come from you. To quote Henry Miller, "Life becomes a spectacle and, if you happen to be an artist, you record the passing show." I just write em' down.

1 comment:

  1. Dave,

    Yes, those were the days... another seventeen years and look at all of us now....

    fun stuff!!!



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