Growing up, Dad always said I'd make lifetime friends in college. As I approach 40, those words are true. This seems to prove just as true each passing week. If you polled anyone in our college "group"-I'm sure they would echo that sentiment.
We did some nutty things back "in the day"-some to be told-some that should be just as well locked in our pea-brains for the next several years. Things such as messing with occupied parked cars, painting dead bodies on the sidewalks, phone calls to college officials, calls tipping the campus cops about a fake panty raid in the middle of the night (just so we can secretly watch and snicker at campus security trying to "stake out" the impending crime).
The funny stuff from college seems to come back to me at the strangest of times. For example, when I visit Darrel and the girls, I'm sometimes requested to tell a bedtime story. Like good sales professionals, Abby and Carly give me some leading questions and suggestions as topics for my story. Typically it goes something like this: Tell us when you and Daddy were in college, and they hid cheese in your bed, and you didn't find it for a few days. Or, tell us when you and Daddy were in college and Daddy was taking a shower, and you and Mark put shaving cream on his head. The premise is that they know the story, and have already told me the story. Now I am forced to embellish. That's where it gets fun.
To some back at OCC, we were probably a strange bunch, but I always had this feeling that everyone else not in our "group" was missing out. By this time this group was well mixed with both guys and girls. We were (and still are) tight. Instead of the 3 Amigos, Darrel, Mark, and I referred to ourselves as "GRF". This was short for George, Ralph, and Fred. Then along came Barry. It didn't seem right for someone in this inner sanctum not to be represented in our acronym. Like the Constitution-we somehow amended this "GRF" nickname to "GARF". This was the biggest stretch of improv in history. It stands for George (G), And Barry (A), Ralph (R), Fred (F). Folks, Nothing Else Worked! There are others that we consider of equal standing-that could be part of that "A" in GARF. This includes Jana, Leslie, John and Todd to name a few. The point is that for 20 years we have remained tight, and always seem to see each other at least once a year-no matter how many timezones we happened to be living in. We also talk with each other with regularity. As we get older, we sometimes actually talk about our regularity. Well, come to think of it-we did that back then as well (painstakingly and cheerfully graphic details). Ahh..the priviledge of being a guy with a love of all things bathroom.
Darrel will always be part of my life. We now are in-laws. We have to keep each other entertained during long stretches of family time. I feel closer to him the more time we spend together.
Mark will always be part of my life. He is my brother from a different mother
Todd will always be part of my life. He is my older brother. We have shared alot over the years, and talk almost daily.
Barry will always be part of my life. I consider him my brother. I love the fact that we can debate on issues and agree to slightly disagree. I have always appreciated that for years he freely opens up his heart and feelings, and isn't afraid to share them. I love this about him. Also, despite his physical dominance over my scrawny body, I still think that one day I'll beat and humiliate him at wrestling. Call me an optimist.
If we have 4 boys, maybe I can honor all these good friends in name (no, not GARF). For now, we will start with Benjamin Barron Cope. To quote a great Superbowl beer commercial....I love you, man!