Wednesday, June 29, 2016

"No Tears For BHS"

That is what Lance wrote in my yearbook. Right below the rubber stamped blue ink that read, "_____, have a great summer - Lance." The fact that he had actually taken the time to write something beyond his oh-so-clever rubber stamp was a tribute to me. Lance was a senior, after all, and was off to the Colorado School of Mines in the Fall. He wasn't looking back. I thought that was so cool.
Not that Lance fit the standard issue definition of "cool" back in 1979.He was a lanky, bespectacled goof  of a snare drummer who had risen to the ranks of our high school band's drum line through sheer tenacity and patience. As a junior, I was already taking notes about how to find this path, but I would do it from my position as next year's section leader of the sousaphones. Cool in high school band was calibrated differently than the rest of the world. Section leader or snare line carried a certain weight that could not be comprehended outside the band room.
But Lance was cool in my book before that. He was the guy who went to see Halloween in its first week of release and then proceeded to do a shot-by-shot retelling of that seminal slasher film for anyone who would sit still for it. I sat down with a friend of mine and listened, rapt. This is the guy who turned would be my locker partner as a senior, and much more.We went to see that movie for ourselves on Lance's recommendation, and it was the beginning of what became a lifelong connection. His girlfriend became mine, through a series of high school drama and intrigue that never managed to destroy my friendship. Years later, when I was a groomsman at my locker partner's wedding, it became obvious that a great many of us had paired off, with the notable exception of the girl that he had dated after I had taken up with that first girlfriend. We had all been friends, having shared the experience of marching band, and kept in touch but it seemed that there might be something missing. Like the fact that we had all been friends for lo those many years and never dated. This is how I hooked up with another one of my very good friend's ex-girlfriends. This one became my wife. For me, this was all in keeping with the much discussed stricture stating that band geeks were not allowed to date outside their species. My wife was a cymbal player. On the drum line.
Lance would have been so proud.

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