PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Friday, April 29, 2005

8-Track Flashback: Dovetail Boy

Yesterday, I had lunch with an old friend. Not the way Hannibal Lecter did, you know, at the end of "Silence of the Lambs", of course, but with a guy I hired & worked with back in St. Louis - he now is in sales in Chicago, and in this small, strange, world of advertising, now calls on me. Yet another reminder to be very judicious about which bridges you truly torch, and why behaving nicely always is a better route to choose. (Not that he & I had bridges to burn, but the point is, the world feels like it's shrinking sometimes, and you never know who might be in a position to influence your life tomorrow.)

It was one of those funny winding conversations as both of us remembered people, the parties, the ones we liked, the ones we didn't, the jokes we had, and what we're doing now. I always viewed him a little bit like a brother I didn't have - he's also an only child, and I have a similar bond with all my OC friends, who understand the uniqueness that growing-up experience brings. Particularly the SPACE needs of the OC.

One of the first things he asked me was, "What the hell did we DO back then?" I can barely remember myself. I know we did a lot of work, and we were in this whacked-out office set-up where an office was cut into two offices, the side by the windows was bigger, it was my side, and he sat on the other side, smaller, no windows. They could have done the 2/3rds:1/3 ratio with both sides getting window, but that would have been too fair. We dubbed it "The Shaft", because the whole thing sorta blew, and the boss in charge (the one who spent the first year I worked for her drunk, crying, and playing free cell all day) had brought in a former-job-pet to work over us, even though said pet knew absolutely nothing about the specialized industry we worked in. Yee-haw! Goooood times. Nothing like putting TWO only children into a compressed space together, to do all the work. We had music wars, and I still remember him hitting the wall with the "Trainspotting" soundtrack & forbidding me to ever play it again. It's a long muthah.

Oh, the references, the one-liners. There were commercials that aired around that time, that drove both of us cah-RAY-zeee. One was for an eyeglasses company. In the background, they did this jazzy sing-song, "Sexy Specs!" Sent me over the edge every time it came on and I hated the dude who starred in the spots. Then there was that Red Lobster commercial, with the old dude in front of the restaurant, drawling, "Ah'm a shrimp eater!" We discovered we still say that phrase, and laugh, despite knowing that there's only one other person we know who would also laugh. We discovered our respective spouses just raise an eyebrow, nod, and move on. They're used to our peculiar brand of crazy. (You'll note, on the title of the picture of James eating shrimp, I used that line. It's like an OCD habit, I can't help it.) Of course, the ubiquitous "good times" - the words I always hear as said by Phil Hartman, god rest his funny, taken-too-soon soul - on "News Radio" talking nostalgically about the sandwiches his mother would make for school lunch, and how she didn't want to be bothered every day, so she made a month's worth at a time and put them in a bucket on the porch.....

It's those snippets that get woven in over time, the things that hit us as riotously funny, that stay with us over the years, even when we don't stay in contact with everyone or even remember everyone we knew. I don't normally like to trip down memory lane a whole lot, unless it's here on my blog & I'm in complete control - there are a lot of things that've happened over the years that I'd rather not revisit, and I think I have a deep fear of regret. I don't want to feel it, because I think it's a useless feeling - it's paralyzing and negative, to me. So the good news is, a two-hour lunch that was exactly that, an 8-track-flashback, was incredibly fun. No regrets, just laughs.

Man, I almost forgot to explain the title. When I first met him, when he interviewed, it was on a Saturday. We sat in The Shaft, he in my guest chair, and I asked all the standard questions. At least three separate times, complete with big gestures, fingers lacing/interlocking, he said that he wanted to "dovetail" his prior sales experience with working at an agency. Shortly after he started, and I had ascertained we could throw a LOT of crap back and forth at each other, I had to give him a hard time about it. When I called him a few weeks ago about a work issue, instead of saying my name and going that route, I said needed some help with a dovetail issue. It's like instant recognition code. And at lunch yesterday, he threw it in, complete with the hand gesture.

Good times.
posted by PlazaJen, 6:53 AM