Its worth noting that two of my other good buddies--Mikey and Shawn--also have birthdays today and tomorrow, respectively, but I'll see them on Wednesday, give them the cards I bought them, and probably will leave them notes on Facebook with my birthday sentiments.
But I thought this time for Wookiee, I would give you, the reader, some insight into why I love this big lug. Actually, many of you won't get many of the references listed here, though each has a story behind it.
So, in no particular order, here are 38 memories I have of Wookiee, my best mate Wookiee, one for each year of his hairy life.
1) Fruit Wheels Twin Packs. His cereal of choice.
2) Eating at Denny's once per month. Its like... our man date or something.
3) I was trying to use up a roll of film (remember the days before they were digital) and I walked into Wookiee's room and said, "Okay! Show me mad!" And he did. "Okay! Show me happy!" And he did" I took a pic with each emotion... flirty... serious... fun... and when I said, "Sexy", this pic is what he gave me. Check out those pants.
4) The fact that, as big as he is, I found him one night curled up in the corner of that same bed you see here, playing video games. His reason? He saw a mouse. I left. I came back around 3am, four hours later. He was in the same position, telling me, "Dude, I ain't getting up til I know that mouse is dead, or daylight hits."
5) For some reason, Wookiee and I liked to perform the 50s classic song "Little Darlin'". Well, he would lip-sync and I would play the spoons. And I would not just play the spoons, I would also drum them on anything within reach, which usually meant Wookiee's head was fair game. One night, our buddy Barrow was spending the night on our floor, and our antics had him laughing so hard he could barely breathe. He literally opened the front door and hung halfway down the steps to get some fresh air. It was classic.
6) His mom and dad are are awesome... they are really, really good people.
7) His wife Gina is also a great person, helping him produce his spawn, Austin.... and his other spawn, Abby Grace. Good job, Wookiee.
8) He's been a part of at least half of my moves from one place to another. Somehow, we finagled him into moving our big Sony Trinitron from The Apartment to The Deuce... and he helped me move from our first apartment to The Cabana. And when I say helped, many times I mean he's moving heavy stuff and I'm supervising. That's the way it should be.
9) He used to drive a Trans-Am T-Top. He is 6'9, so its understandable that you couldn't sit behind him in the backseat. He had the seat pushed all the way back. I'm pretty sure his head stuck out of the top of the T-Top itself.
10) Wrestlemania. He, Big Tom and myself attended last year's Wrestlemania in Atlanta, an experience I'll never forget, and one of the top four coolest things of all of 2011.
11) He took me to see Troy play Central Michigan in the GMAC Bowl in Mobile. It was my first overtime bowl game (Troy lost in 2 OTs), it was crack ninja cold out there, and our seats were eh. But Gina, the wife, had given him two tickets to the game, and he called me up to go.
12) He booked us a room at the La Quinta. Not the Marriott next door, or the Hampton Inn on the other side, but the La Quinta Inn. It was, however, within walking distance of... you guessed it, a Denny's.
13) We dated the same girl at the same time, he as a freshman in college, me as a senior in high school. It was absolute hilarity when we discovered this fact some years later. I'm serious--we laughed for an hour.
14) Our Halloween party at the Thomas Circle apartment. He went as "Fulaytar Vader"
15) In our Three Notch Street rented house, we shared a huge bedroom, complete with a wall gas heater. When The Wench, his chick at the time, broke up with him, he skipped all of his classes for like, two weeks, sleeping in the room alot. As a result, our gas bill was over $175. As a broke college student having to pay for half of this, I had no idea what to do, until he told me he was going to pay all of it because he felt like he was responsible for it being so high. This is the kind of guy Wook-Fu is. (she cheated on him, but they got back together soon after)
16) A year or so later, at our next apartment in Thomas Circle, I get a tap on my window at like, 6 in the morning on a Saturday. I open the window and see... its The Wench. "Can I talk to Chris?" I rolled out of bed, opened the door, and let her in, then went back to bed. About two hours later, Wookiee opens my bedroom door and says, "I just broke up with The Wench." Awake now, I said, "Dude, what happened? Are you okay?" He nodded and said, "She cheated on me again. I just said, 'Get out, The Wench'. I'm cool. Want to go get some breakfast?" And we did. He might have even bought. And he was fine.
17) A teacher, he got a job after graduation in the humming metropolis of Hazelhurst, Georgia. On the morning he was moving, he had all his crap in a U-Haul, ready to go. We had breakfast at Julia's in a hotel nearby, and then he said a somewhat tearful goodbye. It was sad to see him go. But I'll always remember the sadness of seeing my best friend leave for however long it would be.
18) Troy State versus Missouri. His bachelor party, as a bunch of us bought this ticket to see the 17th ranked Tigers come to Troy, anchored by Heisman hopeful Brad Smith. Then in an unbelievable night, we watched Troy handily beat Missouri, knock them out of the rankings, kill Smith's Heisman chances and then become the 24th ranked team in the country the next week. What a night.
19) Exploring the USS Alabama with Wookiee. Both of us have connections to the military, so it was great doing something like that with someone who understands it. If only I hadn't lost all the pictures. Whoops.
21) The 1996 Olympics. Yes, The Wench was there, as was the upstairs neighbor, Smokey Steve, but we actually got to see the second incarnation of The Dream Team play--Jordan, Robinson, Barkley and more. And, of course, we were almost blowed up by the bomb in the park. That was fun.
22) The hilarious sight of him, in only his boxer shorts, leaving our apartment and walking up the hill to the parking lot to get the morning paper. There are somethings you just can't un-see.
23) One day, I'm reclining in my bed watching TV, and he sticks his head out of the bathroom. Then we have this exchange...
Wookiee: Uh, d$... can I ask you a question?
Me: Sure. Whaddup?
Wookiee: When you are in the shower... does the curtain ever... well, does the shower curtain ever attack you?
Me: Uh... sometimes.
Wookiee: Okay, just wondering.
Then he disappears back into the bathroom. And I cracked up. And 17 years later, I just laughed out loud thinking about that conversation.
24) He was the best man in my wedding, and I in his. Wouldn't have had it any other way. He was petrified he would lose the ring, and more petrified of the bride's reaction if it happened.
25) He knows how to break it down. Like a big, hairy clown. (and though it looks like pants, I am totally wearing jorts in this picture)
26) During the Deuce Days, he lived at The Deuce for two summers in a row, and it was awesome watching him immediately integrate amongst all the friends I had here, and become just a part of the group. He actually had a portable closet he kept in our dining room with all of his close. And sometimes, because he would get so annoyed with Tommy and Drew playing Tetris until the wee hours of the morning (especially when Wookiee is trying to sleep on the couch), he would hide Tetris. And THAT was hilarious.
27) I wrecked my car on the third Saturday in October of 1996. Fell asleep at the wheel of my old Buick on the way back to Samson, ran off the road and into a telephone pole. Head snapped forward, face hit the steering wheel, and it caught me in that space between my upper lip and my nose. Blood spatter on the windshield, and I was lucky I didn't break my nose entirely. Had stitches from one nostril to the next, and three feet of thin gauze in each nostril. And I was without a vehicle. And Wookiee, graciously if not begrudgingly, gave up the Alabama/Tennessee game to drive an hour south to Samson, pick me up and take me back.
28) Many of my favorite catchphrases somehow lead back to him. We went rock climbing with Michael Brunson and a few other friends one day, north of Birmingham. And when the rock climber guy in charge strapped on the harness to Wookiee, it was fastened around his mid-section. Before the V-shaped harness was pulled tight, the rock climber guy in charge gave caution to Wookiee for any necessary... well, adjustments. He said, "You may want to make sure and keep 'Sparky' in the 'V'" And "Sparky in the V" is a phrase that elicits loud laughs even now.
29) So, in the Three Notch House, in our shared bedroom, we both woke up on a Saturday morning around the same time. Neither of us wanted to get up, so we both went back to sleep. Around 11, we both woke up again. And then both went back to sleep. By 1 or so, we had agreed upon a contest... whoever gets up first, loses. About 515p, I won, when Wookiee had to get up and use the restroom.
30) Also in that bedroom, also when we are both laying in our beds, refusing to get up, we are watching TV... it might have been the same day as the sleeping contest, who knows... and the former President Bush is on TV. The annoucer is saying something political, with a "something something something something George Bush something something." And randomly, Wookiee pipes up, saying "Yeeesss George Bush". After I finished rolling in laugher something like 20 minutes later, I wiped my eyes and knew I had something. And the "Yes" catchphrase caught on big during The Deuce Days. Its not used as much now, but you'll still hear it from me, or Mikey or one of the guys from time to time. Yeeeesss Wookiee.
31) We are riding in the car with a friend of ours, some tiny little vehicle we were stuffed into--me in the backseat because Wookiee couldn't fit... anyway, at the time, Jann Arden had a big hit on her hands with the song "Insensitive", which came on the radio. I actually really like that song, and was singing along. Apparently none of us knew the second verse, though, because it was all quiet in the car when Jann Arden sang, "How do you numb the skin... after the warmest touch... how do you slow your blood... after the body rush...", to which Wookiee breaks the silence by saying, "Yeeesss body rush." I lost it.
33) We are all sitting around The Deuce one day, plotting on how to get the downstairs neighbors to move out, so we could rent that apartment as well, putting a firemans pole between the two apartments. I, who worked for a radio station at the time, said, "I'll broadcast subliminal messages that they need to leave!" Mikey, working at a bank, said, "I'll screw up their finances and force them into bankruptcy!" Shawn, who worked for the phone company at the time, said, "I'll tap their phones and black mail them!" Tommy, working in interweb stuff, said, "I can plant viruses in their computers!"
Not to be outdone, of course, Wookiee, a teacher, yells, "And I'll make their kids stupid!" I lost it.
34) The Great Rib Eat-Off. Tony Roma's, when they were open, offered "endless ribs" for $20 or something like that... Mikey, Big Tom, Wookiee and I went to Tony Roma's to participate in this feast of gluttony. Well, actually, Big Tom got something else, and I think I went the burger route... but Mikey and Wookiee went at it. And they ate, and ate, and requested more, and ate and ate and ate. All in all, they ate 50 ribs. Each. Between the two of them, they devoured 100 ribs. The lead cook came out to meet them and tell them that they went through an entire case of ribs, plus 4. The other patrons watched in
|This is the actual napkin from that day at Tony Roma's. I dug it from the upstairs back bedroom, which is|
full of random Deuce memorabilia that I've somehow been able to keep... who knows if this will make
it back upstairs.
35) While typing this, its fitting that my 21st favorite movie of all time, "Major League" is on TV... like myself, Wookiee is a huge sports nut, and a sports movie nut too--he shares my love of "Major League"...
just a bit outside... going somewhere, meat? about 90 feet... and for the Indians, that's one run on, let's see...one hit? That's all we got? One goshdarn hit? [Monty: You can't say "goshdarn" on the air!] Don't worry; nobody's listening anyway... up your butt, Jobu... hey bartender, Jobu needs a refill!... personally, I think we got hosed on that call... I can't find it, to heck with it!... this guy threw at his own kid in a father/son game... forget about the curveball, Ricky! Give him the heater!
...but he also has a big hankerin' for "Mystery, Alaska", something I will admit I've never seen. That's a bad friend on my part. Hold on...
...I just added it to my Netflix queue, 7th on the list, in between the remake of "Fright Night" and Disc 3 of Everwood's first season.
Anyway, Wookiee has an almost obsessive love of the Chicago Cubbies, the Boston Celtics and I believe the Dallas Cowboys. Being a Orioles/Spurs & Magic/Broncos fan, we always had something talk about--especially when it came to college football.
Though we love the line, now that we are married, Heywood's line "How's your wife and my kid?" doesn't work as well anymore. Sad.
36) You can't help but love a guy who does this to a swimming pool... our buddy Drew called it a "complete phenomena of water displacement."
37) At our very first DeuceFest, on June 20th of 2000, we had a karaoke machine... too good to pass up, Wookiee joins the father figure of the group, Mikey's dad Mr. Ken on "stage" to sing a rousing rendition of "My Way". It was quite a hoot. And a holler.
38) I became a Christ Follower in January of 1995. He became a Christ Follower a week later, led by the same guy, Reggie MacAllister. It was thrilling to relate our testimonies to each other, and share in such important spiritual matters as our eternal futures.
And one to grow on...
39) He's my best friend. Wookiee truly is. We've known each other since September of 1993, been friends since April of 1994, and he is my brother in Christ and my best mate.
Happy Birthday, Wookiee. Hope I made you proud with this dedicated post, though I'm sure there is something vital that I'm forgetting... Next stop... FORTY!! Well, 39, but FORTY sounds so much more dramatic.