This One is for Paul

Be safe this New Year’s Eve.

This song and video is purposeful in many reasons.

When 80’s pop songs play in the background of a party, whatever you’re doing causes you stop whatever you’re doing and dance.  This is true for us white folk, who have no rhythm outside of what he (or she) has learned in a college ballroom dancing class.  Alcohol is a catalyst that heightens the experience of dancing to said 80’s New Wave synth tunes; whether the band is from Canada or not, it doesn’t really matter–yes… yes, it does.  Actually, that shouldn’t be said.  The alcohol catalyst applies–but is not limited–to:  the meat heads, the guys who still have the ability (or perceived ability) to continually slam beer-after-beer and the empty mugs that once contained the ambrosia (these guys have tendency to pump their bulbous fists in the air when they rock out); the early 20’s crowd made up of both genders, people with general knowledge of 80’s songs because they simply like to dance and they look songs up on their phones, or they realize that a so-called new 80’s song to them contains samples that can be heard in the latest dance song; and the stereotyped Woo Girls, the women–taken and single–who are on the cusp of their 30’s if they haven’t crossed over yet, the women who do not have kids (yet) and want to hold on to their prime for as long as they can.

Yes, that last sentence–it’s all tongue-in-cheek, mind you–contains a plethora of pop culture references to take in.  The sentence also contains semi-colons, which people tend to forget about.  To make things clear:  I am serious about everyone being able to have a fun time and to play it safe this New Years. I love 80’s songs as guilty pleasures (the experimentally awkward decade of music), and I love Canada.  I have not been to Canada in years, but I’ve briefly met and talked to several Canadians on my travels, and those I’ve met are incredibly nice people.

Woo Girls
Woo Girls

It’s amazing how life pans out.  People, specifically, enter into your life and there is a setting and story to back these encounters up.  Some are one-and-done meetings, some people turn to be acquaintances, and the rest become friends of yours.  Of these friends, the group is again divided for the benefit of the friends who will stick around.

This one friend of mine broke a piece of wood over my back.  It was probably his and my decision to do so, and a bet was probably made.  This result was encouraged by a small group of onlookers standing by, which ended in my arching my back and Paul taking a swing with a piece of wood.

Paul was 16 when I met him, which means I was 20.  He began volunteering at the Museum of Science and Technology, four years after my initiation into the museum.  His entrance was in the midst of big changes with the museum, and these changes included staff and museum dynamic.  We staff used to nag the hell out of the volunteers as their right of passage, but we only did this for the people we thought were worthy and fun.  Yes, we played favorites, but we were never nasty or mean to anyone.  We wanted workers, volunteers especially, to stick around.

When I found out Paul went to West Genesee High School, it was obvious that I wanted this kid under my wing.  As a Genny alumni, along side of another staff member from the WG, someone who we don’t really speak of or two nowadays–hey, it happens when you put yourself into a hole–we wanted Paul to stick to us.  When I found out that Paul was the younger brother of one of my 2001 classmates, it was definitely known that he was good people.  Like any good story, the presence of Good versus Evil came into consideration between the older West Genesee alumni, and I am grateful to have become the White Knight.

The rest is history.

Paul and I at Abbey Road in 2007
Paul and I at Abbey Road in 2007

Our former museum coworker, Liz, suggested the idea to visit Paul when he was studying in England.  At that moment in time, I had never flown before.  As it turned out, this was the best way celebrate a first flight–go abroad.  There was nervousness with my flying, of course, and my white knuckles were shown clearly while I gripped the seat during bouts of turbulence.   This trip, the bar crawl one night especially, stamped the seal down on that life contract.  We had a fun night of talking politics, women, talking to the lovely Johanna who served us pints at Friend At Hand (she could curse so elegantly and the holiest of Catholics wouldn’t blink an eye), and talk about our future.

Not sure if any of the talk came true at this point.  Definitely not at this specific point.

No, this post isn’t in loving memory of the guy–this aspect should have been made clear earlier.  Paul’s still alive and well, but he moved down to Washington D.C. this past Saturday.  He and his girlfriend, Erica, whose been living down there for the last handful of months, will be taking the area by storm, and Carl will be there for the ride.  We did the pack-up on Friday, which included a trip to the Rescue Mission to donate a few pieces of furniture, and this included an in-great-shape sleeper sofa.  There was a television in the truck as well, but we gave that to one of the random people hanging outside of the rescue mission.

Donation.  Love it.  It’s the best way to make a person’s day.

Through the years, he and I have had our traditions.  The weekly Saturday Clark’s Ale House night for the guys turned into a museum staff outing until the pub closed its doors.  Clark’s is reopening in Syracuse in February, and I am most certain he and Erica will be in town for those festivities.  No one outside of Central New York realizes the significance of a Clark’s Ale House roast beef sandwich with New York cheddar and horseradish.  It’s probably up there in the World’s Greatest Sandwich nominees.

Paul and I at Clark's Ale House
Paul and I at Clark’s Ale House

We had our television shows, which included the often-quoted Scrubs.  J.D. and Turk had their Steak Night in the show, and we had our Roast Beef sammy night.  This year, to celebrate the last season of How I Met Your Mother, we designated Monday nights to Manly Mondays.  Our evenings would consist of enjoying a craft beer or two that we’ve never had before while watching the episode, catching up with The League, playing Super Mario Kart and 007 GoldenEye on N64, and wrapping the evening up with watching The Blacklist.  

We’ve decided to Skype on Monday nights now.

I’m just realizing that there are no recent pics of he and I.  Oh, bummer.


Much better.

Men Without Hats song at the beginning of this post is also a Scrubs reference.  There was a temptation to post Erasure’s “A Little Respect,” but I reneged.  The post wasn’t intended to get that weird, and placing that at the beginning would have pushed the limit too quickly, too soon.

That escalated quickly

Paul’s always been a great support system, especially when dealing with my emotional bouts of nonsense and reading into life too deeply.  I can only hope that I’ve done the same for him.  He’s been my dignified rational thinker when I’ve needed one, which has been seemingly  downright necessary the last couple of months.

We’ll meet out at Tusk, Empire or Kitty Hoynes and our conversation will evolve into my delusion heightening to the point where I give up on any sort of hope.  We’d talk about epiphany toilets.  We don’t hit the beer hard–I have to drive–but it’s the conversation and irrational making connections, looking too deeply into everything that gets my gears all lubed up.  Lamenting will happen to turn into loosing all hope, which breeds a new-found unwarranted confidence that goes unheard.


However, as best as things can be put, the creative and writing career path is taking off.  The direction I want to take is known.  Even this morning a few tidbits were shown to me, and a nice little editing opportunity has presented itself when the time will come.

E and P are encouraging me to come visit, which will be swell.  I’ve never been to D.C., which is probably something that should be done before death approaches.  They, along with others, have encouraged my looking into D.C. for permanent residence, but my reluctance is still strong.  It’s been understood that D.C. is filled with good looking, well-dressed people.  It’s been said that I’d fit in.  However, D.C. is filled with politics which is a presumption, I know, but I’d like to distance myself from that field; and I clearly don’t fit in with the good looking model-esque elite, people who dress up all the time.

Right now, I’m sticking with the Chicago and New York debate unless somewhere else presents itself as ideal.


I’ll definitely be checking out D.C. sometime soon, and possibly for the March 31 series finale of How I Met Your Mother.  It’ll be weird not hanging out with Paul on a regular basis, but he’s going to kick ass with his career, and moving is only necessary.  It’s life.  It’s moving on. It’s proving distance doesn’t matter for a friendship.

His moving comes at a perfect time, a fitting time.  Moving, actually and figuratively, is a necessary thing.  I can look at myself in the mirror for once–this has been very difficult the last month and a half–and see my reflection snapping its fingers at me, waving a hand in front of my face.  There are no words to be heard, but the reflection is mouthing Hellooooooooo?

2 thoughts on “This One is for Paul

  1. Rare and tender roast beef. Sharp and local cheddar. Horseradish that’ll burn off your nose hair. Layer all on an awesome roll. That was our Clark’s, Chris. And a reopening on the horizon! Also, I must say at this point, I don’t quite get letting a guy hitting you on the back with a piece of wood, no matter the circumstance. Happy New Year, sir!

    1. Oh, how there is an illusion of a sammy floating in front of me. We’re close to the re-opening, Mark. We can taste it…

      No, it’s not the smartest idea. Luckily, I make smarter non-monetary wagers now. It wasn’t a thick piece of wood. It had a worse break than I did.

      (Yes. That was very cheesy of me to say.)

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Mark. Happy New Year to you, sir!

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