Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Friend Who Did Me A Favor

This is a short blog post but it says something about a guy we loved and lost. This is the edited version of an original letter I sent to Brad Cleghorn about his brother, Steve, who was my friend and we lost 34 years ago on this day.

I met Steve when I was in junior high school. Throughout our lives he was always a pain in my ass. He would pants me in gym, knock me against lockers when I was walking down the hall and do anything he could to make me crazy. 

In my sophomore year of high school I ran for student council treasurer and he constantlysaid to me, "You won't win." Despite that I did. The next year I ran for president. 

I sat next to Steve in math class. He kept poking me with pencils and pushing my stuff off of my desk. During the hard campaign, where I was struggling against some people who were stong and a bit more popular than me, he kept saying to me every day, "You are not going to win." That pissed me off. I tried harder and harder, and I actually won. 

When I went to math class the day after it as announced, he shook my hand and said to me, "Congratulations. I knew you could do it." I was surprised. I said, "I don't understand this, Steve." He smiled that wicked smile of his and said, "I voted for you and told everyone I know to vote for you too." I asked, "Why?" He said, "Because you are my friend, a nice guy, and best person to do this." I asked, "Then why have you been such an asshole to me?" He said, "I have known you a long time. When someone tells you that you can't do something, you get angry, then you try twice as hard to do it, to show people up, and you always do it. I wanted you to have this and so I decided that if I couldn't help you in any other better way, then I would be the person who pissed you off." 

We were really good friends after that. When we tragically lost him that summer, I was thunderstruck. It shouldn't have happened to such a young man who had just started in life.

Today I'm working around the house and remembering things about a really good guy who left us too soon. He was the first of our crowd and I think it was something we thought about and started the realization that despite our youth and vitality, we were not invincible or immortal. Mostly, we were just sad because we lost our friend.  Everlasting peace to you, Steve, and thanks.