Today's guest blogger is my friend and neighbor Gullible Gabe with this short story for my amusement.
I'll never forget my college days. Those days of fun, frivolity and freedom are burned into my memory. I think I went to the University of Michigan "at some point" in the 80's.
By the way, I should tell you that I use unexpected "quotation marks" in my writing because I use them in real life by making "air quotes" with the middle and pointer fingers of "both hands" while I'm speaking. I've found some people "don't like this" but my life is full of emphasis, and old habits "die hard."
Chapter 1 - Freshman Year
I still remember move-in day my freshman year like it was yesterday. My parents paid extra for me to have a single dorm room because of my propensity to talk incessantly with a various collection of what they called, "imaginary friends." This habit of mine got me beat up continuously during my elementary, middle school and high school years, and I regularly sported black eyes and stll suffer from post-concussion syndrome... But I have long forgiven my teachers for these beatings (and am still email pen pals with Mrs Thurmond, who is still serving her 20-year sentence in a women's penitentiary for "shiving me" with a sharpened protractor in 1st grade).
I stood there on the curb watching my parents drive off and remember thinking, "I sure hope dad gets those tires checked because none of the other parent's cars seem to squeal off that way." I also remember wondering how I was going to get my futon and luggage up to the 10th floor.
I spent that first night shivering on the futon, still on the curb where pops had left it. Later that day, some nice upper-classmen dismantled my futon. They said it was a screwdriver-free campus, but managed to take my futon apart posthaste with a few "swift kicks." I thanked these gentlemen and I spent the rest of that first full day carrying the pieces up to my room.
So there I was, all settled in and drinking a Grape Nehi and unpacking my erector set, when those nice young men from earlier stopped by for an official welcome. It was during this visit when they explained they were there on behalf of the University Lieutenant and "Dean of the Dorms". Apparently, the incoming freshman class was much bigger than was anticipated and that I would have to share my room with another incoming freshman.
Well, since this directive was coming directly from the "Dean of the Dorms" via these student volunteers, "who was I" to argue? So they brought him in and sat him on the futon. The students left, closing the door behind them, but I could hear them laughing all the way down the hall. They sure seemed to "exude joy" by performing good deeds!
So that was how I met my roommate and best friend for those next four years. At first, he didn't say much, and I could tell he was nervous because he wasn't bending at the waist to sit, rather he was "planking the futon" and staring vacantly at the ceiling.
He eventually opened up, but not before I had finished that 6-pack of "sodas" those nice young boys had left behind for me. I asked him his name, and he finally answered, "Tasty Tyrone."
"LISTEN," I said. "I was born and raised in the bible-belt, and NO MALE I ever knew had a name like THAT. We don't even USE offensive names like that, so I'll beg your pardon, but I will simply call you 'Tasty'. Let's just forget you ever even said that other name."
Tasty and I became fast friends. I would fill him with helium from absconded from the science lab, tie him to my book bag back pack and parade him around campus. I would hear the ladies say things like, "Oooh my, look at those washboard abs," or, "Wow, what a sexy smile and an eye-catching full package." Other comments are too risqué to mention here, but Tasty never seemed to get jealous of the affections I would receive. He may have been an inflatable doll, but he certainly did not have an inflated ego!
I sometimes think of my friend Tasty, usually when I am filling my low tires at the free air pump at the local gas station, and wonder how he's doing. The last I saw him was on graduation day, as he floated away in his cap and gown after someone cut our tether. I will always remember our witty repartee and a palaver of incessant verbal confabulation.
An old classmate said they saw him last in the late 80's on the streets of Chicago and "apprenticing under" a community organizer. What a sad and tragic end to such a promising windbag, for nothing of any substance ever came from a professional street pamphleteer.
Stopping For Gas - I had pulled to the pump, the pump was starting, put the spout in the tank, squeezed the handle, and heard the screech of tires. The convenience store I st...
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