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Monday, July 21, 2008

Comfortably Numbed

June 29, 2008
Spooner, WI

Tom: You know, why didn’t you just get 2-4packs of Chicken McNuggets? Isn’t that cheaper?
Nic: yeah it usually is but not here. The Chicken McNuggets here aren’t on the dollar menu for some stupid reason.

Tom: oh really?
Nic: yeah, apparently.

The past weekend I’ve been trying to keep myself busy. I’ve been trying to keep my mind from wandering and reminiscing. I woke up on Sunday and I thought for sure that it was a dream. I nearly convinced myself that I just had a one of those strange nightmares that make you hold your head and wonder what that was all about.

I open my drawer to find a clean shirt to wear and I blindly take the first one that my hand finds. It’s my Roger Waters’ In the Flesh tour t-shirt from the 2000 tour when we (myself, Marc, and Nic) attended. At that point I need to sit down and compose myself. I then put on some music from my computer to lighten my mood and on comes a tune from Sarah McLachlan. Usually Sarah McLachlan is sad enough but Nic was nearly in love with Ms. McLachlan ten years ago whenever he saw a video on TV. I just can’t seem to think of anything else.

At this point I need to take a leak. I again try to lift myself up with the tired old question, “What’s the best nation in the world?” I then give a smile and think to myself, ‘urination’. However somewhere, I hear Nic’s ghostly voice saying another popular answer with, “Insemination?”

The first time I met Nic, I went over to Marc’s house when I was in 3rd grade. I threw a basketball at Nic's head and he retaliated by hitting me repeatedly with a hockey stick. It was really scary since he was three years older than me and I really threw that ball pretty hard. Since then we’ve been battling back and forth through more comedic, peaceful ways.

My parents still recognize him as being Marc’s brother, the alter boy. They still refer to him as the alter boy even when he’s been at least 18 from breaking the bread. I remember running across the church just so I would be in his line for communion. When I finally reached Nic he would roll his eyes and sigh.
“*sigh* oh no, body of Christ…”

“amen. amen-amen-amen-amen-ame--"
“pfff okay, gosh hehe.”

When I was a freshmen in high school, Nic was a senior. He would see me digging in my locker and tell his big, football playing friend to scare the crap out of me. The big friend would slam my locker shut and lightly push me into the locker. I wasn’t very scared because I could see Nic giggling behind him so I would often look up to the guy and say “huhuh, do you want a coupon?” which would break whatever fake tension was there and make us all laugh a bit. I always felt really good about being a freshman and joking around with seniors.

I know in high school he would carry around a card of David Gilmour in his wallet. He even sang “On the Turning Away” when he was in choir. I remember being curious and I borrowed “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” from him and I’ve been forever addicted to Pink Floyd ever since. I remember after that Roger Waters concert listening to Pink Floyd in his new apartment. He was especially fond of "Comfortably Numb" and we would compare different versions and give explicit contentions for why our favorite version was best.

It was always great to mention the famous version which included Van Morrison singing Gilmour’s parts. Nic hates….hated Van Morrison. We always get into musical wars which would always end up with both of us either running away or hitting each other. I would sing Moondance and he would respond with Loverboy’s Turn Me Loose.

After we were tired out with our personal musical distastes, we would move on to raunchier topics. I remember for about six months whenever I would see Nic he would greet me with,
“So, how was sexual intercourse with your mom?” and he would laugh at my nauseated face as I gave him a sickly frown told him to shut up. Finally one day I responded with,
“Sexual relations with my mother were really good. You should’ve seen it…” and I would go into complete explicit detail until he was the one doubled over wearing the frown.
“Okay, okay, I’ll stop. Good god that’s disgusting!”

It’s also ironic to know that the most popular comment this week has been that “it comes through in waves”. I know I’ve certainly felt that decided uncomfortable numbness in that there’s so many things that make me think of him that it’s so hard to take a simple drive, walk, and nap without trying to not think of him and all the good time we had. It feels so disingenuous to try and think of something else but it’s painful to know that we have to use past tense whenever we mention Nic now.

Nic was the first person to ask me if I took a dump in my shorts after I finished the marathon. Nic was my main competition in the illustrious White Castle eating contest. I remember playing football when he broke his collarbone. I came back to the house when I saw him sitting on a chair, four feet in front of the tv, holding his collar bone. He was watching Beavis and Butthead trying not to laugh because it hurt so much,
“hahahahah oww oww oww! oh crap! Behhahahahha oww crap!”

It’s bad on so many levels. Other than the obvious, seeing most of your friends in so much sadness and pain makes you want to do anything to make the feelings stop. I called up all my friends and made sure that I was there for them if they needed anything. After I hung up the phone I was wondering if I was the one that needed the most help because I always looked up to Nic. Nic was Marc’s cool older brother who was the human resource for music information. I always thought he was amazingly talented in music and art in general. He designed our 2nd grade yearbook cover and from that point on I felt he could’ve done anything with his drawings. Certain catch phrases like, ‘superfluous tubuoles’ and ‘mighty tighty whities’ will forever be linked to him in my mind.

Nic was the person who I would constantly refer to as “Bob Wells” in this blog. I referred to him as “Bob Wells” because he bought an authentic Bob Wells Twins jersey. Wells was a horrible set-up man for the Twins in 2000 and 2001 and certainly one of the last players that anyone should buy a jersey bearing his name. I still sit back and laugh about that. Only Nic would have me remember a struggling bullpen has-been like Bob Wells. He was there for Milwaukee and KC when we budged in front of little kids and ran the bases. He drove us to the Black Hills and Yellow stone on two separate occasions. He was there when we were very tired and loopy from a ten hour car ride coming from the Black Hills when we acted like buffalos having intercourse. He was there when we were watching Apollo 13 at the drive-in when we were in our parkas on that brisk October night. We had to roll the windows down in order to keep the windows from fogging up with our own breath.

I’ve been battling the sadness for a couple days now and I don’t know what I need. I’m going to be alright but I just need a little time. I’m dreading the wake and funeral because there’s still a piece of me that wants to believe that I’m going to wake up soon. I find it most difficult trying to explain to people about my/our loss. I waited until yesterday to call up my Mom because I honestly didn’t know if I had the strength to tell her without breaking down. Like Justin (Hog) was telling me, “We should be in our 70’s doing this, not in our 20’s”.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I shouldn’t necessarily feel so sad about losing Nic. I guess I just feel completely blessed that he was a large part of my life and gave me so much to laugh about. There so much that reminds me of him and it’s hard to imagine a world where he isn’t there giving sarcastic remarks while eating out of a bowl on that couch saying,“That’s too bad. Ah well, what are ya gonna do ya know?”

My last moments with Nic involved me acting like I was passing a large stuffed teddy bear through my colon and losing to him in poker. The last conversation I had with him involved chicken McNuggets which started this entry. I’ve been thinking if that was really the way I wanted our last conversation to end up. To be perfectly honest, it is. When a friendship starts out with beating one up with a hockey stick, I think it’s more than appropriate that it should end with a topic like Chicken McNuggets.



What a wonderful night for a Moondance...


1 comment:

Jenni Whelan said...

Tom,
I have never laughed and cried so hard at one time as reading this blog. We are all fantastically lucky to have had Nic in our lives. I know you spent a lot more time with Nic than I did ,I just feel so crappy and sad right now,I can only imagen what your going through. The only words of comfort that I can offer right now is that you bet Nic would want it no other way than to have you blogging about him and Mcnuggets right now, surely he is looking down with his smirk and a glimmer in his eye laughing. God Bless
Love Jenni