Where to begin? Whew, take a week off and the shucking pile just gets higher, blogoysters. I have work to do but also a sacred duty to fulfill for my three dedicated (or is it dessicated?) followers. So, though my suitcase remains packed still and laundry is unwashed, billing is yet another pile, emails await responses, voice mails too… I slog on and blog on with Tales of Brave Ulysses pouring out of my generic office speakers as acid reflux threatens my lower esophagus. I will shuck on, searching for the teal blue pearl of blog lore. Keep on shucking, bruthas and sistas. Somewhere in the pile of life’s oysters is that one micro-treasure waiting for you to find her. Pearls, I think, are female. Don’t you agree? Of course you do. Men don’t wear pearls. Yet the hideous oyster that births the pearl is at best a-sexual. I mean, there does not seem to be any jiggification possible between crustaceous shellfish. It’s just too crusty to even think about. Someone school me here. Where is a marine biologist when you need one?
Stuff goes a-wandering or gets lost, which is not a bad thing all the time. Good stories come from such migrations, I think. I mean, take Ulysses for example. Come on, if he hadn’t run off to the city of Troy, why would we name a dismal U.S. president for him in the 19th century? His Greek name was Odysseus, and certainly all my erudite blogafficinados know an odyssey when they see one. It’s a Honda mini van and a long intrepid journey with no guarantee of safe return. And the adjective odacyious has no definition in Dictionary. com, but fear not: If you repeat foolishness long enough, it becomes doctrine. Just trust me and keep on shuckin’.
Anyway, I was thinking about such things recently and about my old friend Mark Craver. We went to Hayfield High School together and were supposed to graduate in 1974 because our senior rings said that on them. Both of ours were aquamarine stones because our birthdays were hours apart. Anyway, (my second anyway in this paragraph if you don’t count the one in this parenthetical offset (… and why are you counting? Huh?)), I graduated a year early and went off on an intrepid journey, aka odyssey, to Merry Old England to see my former girlfriend in the pre-internet and pre-personal computers era. (See, I didn’t know that she was my former girlfriend until I got there and saw the proverbial writing on the wall.) I’m not saying that we could have broken up 4o years later on her Facebook wall, but most likely it would have gone down like that…
“I’m like not as into you as like you’re into me, and I have like a line of cute boys at my door, so like we’re so done like mold on burnt toast. Unfriend. PFA. Persona non grata.”
So in 1973 I flew the big aeroplane to Heathrow Airport outside of London and took a couple of buses and taxis to Bury St. Edmunds to be near my former honey bee over the holidays. I was as welcome as the flu in the church nursery. Awkward does not quite cover it. In any event as I settled into the Dickensian Angel Hotel, I washed my hands over an old sink and went to bed, leaving my high school ring on the bathroom shelf. I never saw it again. But shed no tears, my friend.
About 25 years later a letter from England arrived at my alma mater. It was the late 1990’s as I recall. My buddy Mark was teaching English at our shared alma mater, and that almost matters. The principal read this letter regarding a 1974 Hayfield High School ring with an aquamarine stone. This savvy guy recalled that Mark had graduated in 1974, so he called Craver in.
“Hey, didn’t you graduate in ’74?”
“Sure, so did about 600 other folks.”
“Well this guy says the ring has the initials BFS carved in the band.”
“Oh, that’s Burrito Special’s ring. His middle name is Frank.”
“Okay, well, we got that cleared up.”
“You want me to call Burrito?”
“Actually, the guy in England doesn’t seem interested in reuniting the ring with the rightful owner. He just wants to know where it originated, I think. You know those Limeys.”
“Well, okay. I guess we’ll just keep the ironic wrapper and the Boinking Brit can have the candy bar.”
“Um, oh yeah, I forgot that you were a poet.”
So later that year or the next I was told this story from my majestic friend. We had a good chuckle, and that’s what matters. More than some silly ring, I heard my friend’s voice ring in my ear again. I did not know then that I’d lose Mark in just a few years. Now the chuckle is all that’s left of the story we chuckled over, as I exit my bedroom and whisper “Love you, Crave” to the dark room, it’s a hollow consolation to look at his books and the bookmark with his life dates beneath a whale. He loved Moby Dick, folks. “Argh, the white whale blows thar off the bow!!”
― Herman Melville, Moby Dick