Tuff Gong

An enormous waste of time was undertaken tonight. I couldn’t place a classmate from high schools’ name, so out came the Cate School Class of 1992 yearbook. Three hours later, here we are, two cocktails and a torrent of memories to show for it. Besides the usual “holy-shit-was-I-really-that-skinny?” moments and the expected lament over wasted potential, the best part of tripping down old memories were the personal notes, scribed by schoolmates in the last week of my last year in high school, the last time in life when the future was a brilliant and bright unknown, and only people with really good genetics lived past the ripe old age of thirty.

1992 was pre-internet (basically), pre-digital camera and pre-cellphones (except in the case of  Miami Vice). The only trail of memories I have from my relationships back then are these inscriptions that recall stolen moments, inside jokes and the false promise of future camaraderie. The majority of quotes seem to focus on adventures we’d engaged in while in my 1977 green and beat to hell Toyota truck, lovingly named The Avocado. But I thought I’d share some direct quotes, ones to which you might be able to relate.

Typical, if not downright frequent themes:

  • “You could’ve been my friend if you weren’t so violent”
  • “I’m not one known to be a great yearbook signer. But for your sorry ass, I’ll give it a shot”
  • “It’s too bad we weren’t in the same dorm this year. We could’ve tried to relive the days of “The Passion Pit””.
  • “Ever since I ogled you, I had a burning desire to break your sternum.”
  • “I will certainly never forget your creative insults & brutality, and in a sick and twisted way, will miss it.”
  • “I’ll miss your burps, farts & absolute etiquette, you gentleman, you. No wonder Janie loves you. NOT. PISS OFF AND HAVE AN EXCELLENT YEAR.”
  • “I will follow you wherever you go. Wherever you think you hear someone call your name or think you see someone dart behind a corner: it will be me and I will get you. I will miss you, Uli.”
  • “High times to you, Uli.”

And then there were a couple that gave me pause, actually.

  • “You don’t understand how much I missed you this year, you dork.”
  • “I love hearing your stories and laughing at your jokes (except the sexist ones). Do you remember when we were sitting on the bench at Long House and I was upset about some guy? You probably don’t, but you totally changed my mind.”
  • “Thick and thin for four years. Ups and downs. Female after female (for him maybe). Fight after fight, performance after performance, jam after jam, year after year, we’ve been there, together. Music is our bond, and a strong one at that. I’m my brother’s keeper, so whatever mess you get in, we’ll work it out.”
  • “Damn, you’re a f–kin’ hilarious motherf–er!”

The one that has me up at 12:39am?

  • “Keep jamming and please don’t cut yourself short.”

Wherever in this world you are, Matt Ray, I’m trying.

Eighteen years later, and eighteen years of selling, and cutting, myself short, the wisdom of your Jimi Hendrix-soaked scrawls has rung more true than ever.

In whatever new form it takes, it’s time to get back to jamming.