Monday, September 1, 2008

You Can't Spell Reunion Without 'U' Part Two

As I mentioned before, there were a couple of very emotional moments for me at the reunion. The most emotional of all was when I finally got to see my best friend from the 'floor' days walk across the room to say hello. Chris Martin. He was the guy I had most of my fun days and nights with. Almost every good time memory involved him and quite a few sad moments as well. Seeing him for the first time in god knows how long was quite an experience. I definately have man love for the guy. The Chris I knew was a stick of a guy who looked like he needed a good meal...haha
Seeing him now, in a more 'filled out' form was a fucking shock. He looked good...just bigger.
We stood around laughing for the longest time and when we teamed up with Rick Walker the evening became hilarious. Seriously, I laughed so hard and so long that I was sore from cheeks to ribs! We were standing in a crowd of 'how are ya doings' when Radar came along. We made him retell one of the best and funniest stories ever told. This, by the way, could only happen to Ralph. It was the cottage cheese rape story and if I was a slightly bigger asshole I would tell you every detail. OK...I'll give you a hint. It involved Radar, who we all know was about as big as a bug back in his 'floor' days, and a blind date he had with a charming girl who outweighed him by possibly 300 pounds. Because Ralph would die, and maybe kill me in the process, I have to stop there. But just think about the ingredients...Radar, a 450 pound blind date, (man) date rape and cottage cheese. Yeah, it is as funny as you can imagine, and then some. be young and stupid again.
Since it has been some months since my first post and the subsequent complaints from some wronged? parties to my writing, I feel less enthusiastic about this whole process. For one thing, my friend John Bickerton died June 12th. John's dying, while no surprise, was an eye opener. It makes me very aware of how old and fucked we are all getting. It also made me aware of how many of us are dead now. It made me aware of the lifetime of lives that have evolved since the floor closed so many years ago.  Something that was a bit disconcerting to me were the discussions I had with several people about John's illness and his limited chances of survival. It seemed like 'some' of the people really didn't give a shit. This was a direct result of the calous nature of the business we were in. The same business that would generate countless flaming astronaut jokes within minutes of the Challenger space shuttle disaster in, I believe, 1983. At the time I thought the jokes were funny. I guess I'm just not as big an asshole as I used to be. I am still burned by the Bickerton thoughtlessness expressed by some people. Maybe I should have expected it and been less offended. Maybe I should have punched them in the mouth!

One of the most meaningful and poignant moments for me came when I spoke to Rick Peirog about the passing of his very good friend and companion, Kim Bueller. Kim was a great guy and died way too early in life. I was shocked when I heard about his passing. Kim died many years ago and I just heard about it this spring while contacting friends about this reunion.
Rick was so devistated, even after the passing of all these years. It reminded me of my own feelings about Steve Gilbert.  Rick told me how difficult it became to normalize the everyday events his family shared with Kim's. They did everything together. Now, even the weekend barbecues which were so family and common place became uneven and vaguely uncomfortable for all concerned. That is what the death of someone close can do.  Rick was hurt and is still hurting. This is a measure of a good man who will forever feel robbed of the friendship of another good man. This is why I always liked Rick. 

The rest of the night was filled with alot of nice moments with people that I shared a significant part of my life with. Seeing the changes in them, their physical features, their emotional damage, their change from eternal hope to a sense of acceptance of what will never be, their lost youth for take no prisioners aging, their life of the party for discounted alcholism. This is the final chapter of our lives and not everyone has a happy ending. I guess those of us who made it this far, who find happiness where and when we can, whose drug dependences have changed from recreational to required pharmacudical, whose idea of a good time is closer to a nap than an all nighter.  We have changed so much. We have changed so little.  As the death roll continues to grow and the life expectancy continues to shorten, I hope that we can take advantage of the time we have left and make the effort to get together on a more regular basis.

My night got really good when we went to the bar after the reunion and I finally got to see and talk to some people in a less restrictive atmosphere. I had such a good time with Chris, Melanie, Owen Ritchie, Rick Walker, Mark Grimes and his beautiful wife and daughter and everyone else. At the end of it all when good people were falling down drunk and puking in the corners, I was still having a really good time. Rick Walker, Chris Martin and I drove home and we laughed harder and longer than any of us have in a very long time. We remembered so many great moments and stupid indiscretions and it was all so great. I have no doubt that Rick, Chris and I will get together with some of our other close friends from the floor in the future. We just have so much to share from when we were great and life was good to all of us. I wish I had seen Bickerton and Stevie Gilbert and Mark Haughton and Kim Bueller and Jack Dunbar, Lorne Fallon, Jimmy Ackers and so many other good people that are with us no more. I wish that I had seen Billy Walsh, Pier Doninni, Larry Hoes, Kelly Gilbert, John Newell, Don Bainbridge, Richard MacKay, Boyd, Mike Bond, Jack Max, Frank Pike, Ian (round), Scott Zufelt and Maria, Scott Cook, Chris Cook, Danny Moran, Mike Binns, Mike from Montreal, that blond postie that was friends with Dorie, Nancy Westcott, Jim Mc Gann, Jim McGann jr., Jill, my former friend and wannabe benefit associate, and so many more who are with us but wern't at the reunion for any number of reasons.
I guess this seems a little maudlin and overly gloomy and I guess it might be.
I could have written nothing but happy  thoughts and fun time stories. Unfortunately that wouldn't be very realistic or true to the life we lived and are still living.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              


Deborah Knight said...

It touches my heart that you were so affected by John's passing. And I'm sorry that there were others who really didn't care when told the news. Over the years I've learned that people tend to feel about us the way we feel about them; John must have liked you very much!

Yes...we all knew he could be arrogant and pushy and prone to excess. But he could also be brave, kind, generous, funny, thoughtful -- and always, always unpredictable.

We were actually quite surprised that so many people from the trading floor attended his funeral. He'd been very sick for a very long time, and he didn't want people to see him looking so badly, so he pretty much kept to himself for the past few years. We were so thankful to see his old friends and colleagues. Some -- like David Knight -- made extraordinary efforts to be at his funeral .

I want you to know that the last line of your blog about John's death really resonated with the family. It was the nicest thing anyone could have written about him, and he would have appreciated it.

John was a lot of things. But he was never, never boring.

I hope your life is rich and full and that you have many happy memories of your days on the floor with guys like John, Bainie, Jimmy Ackers...and the whole crazy gang.

Best regards,
(John's sister)

Harmony Bickerton said...

Thank You so much for writing this. It's been a few years since John passed away but I will NEVER forget my Uncle John and what he meant to me. John didn't have the easiest childhood, perhaps why he was a little jagged in adulthood. I'll never forget the trips he took me on or the back to school clothes he bought me. (A big deal for a kid who didn't really have much) John was tough like nails on the outside but really did have a heart of gold on the inside. As John's only niece and daughter to his younger brother, Thank You! I needed to read this and remember my Uncle "Mad Dog". I'll forever miss him!