Sunday, June 13, 2004

Lily white ass

In high school my best friend and I were known as "The J's," Jason & Jay. We had the same interests, same background and both loved sports. I preferred golf, but got lucky on occasion in baseball and would knock one out of the park. He preferred baseball, but saw his share of eagles. We were attached at the hip as kids, loyal to a fault. I would have gladly gone to jail for him and vice versa and nearly did.

Graduation night our buddies dared me to streak through the Walmart. We all knew a cop sat outside the Walmart after hours. I didn't want to look like a puss and Jason knew it. He volunteered to do it with me so together we stripped down, hid in the back of a pick up while our buddies pulled up to the front door, then we jumped out and dashed into the store. With our johnsons wagging in the wind, we made a dash for sporting goods, cut through electronics, ran past women's clothing and right by customer service. Our escape vehicle was waiting outside and we barely made it into the bed before we went squealing out of there, rubber all over the pavement, a sea of open jaws and one pissed cop in our wake.

But somehow, things happened as they always do, and Jason and I lost touch. He'd graduated at the top of his class and won a full scholarship to college. My blue collar dad did what he could to help with my tuition back home. Jason was seeing the world while I was struggling to find my way. We spoke on the phone, but both being college kids it wasn't reasonable to run up the phone bill and email wasn't an option just yet. Eventually, we lost touch.

I heard he graduated Cum Laude again, no surprise. After that, I kept in touch with him simply by watching baseball. The San Francisco Giants picked him up in the 1993 draft. I later learned that he married the prom queen from a couple of years below us and she gladly spent her days following him around from city to city. In 2000 he was traded to the Minnesota Twins. We ran into each other back home at my high school reunion and he was starting to grow restless with the road. They wanted kids and a bus was no place to raise one.

Life kicked into high gear for me at that time, busy scratching my ass and all, and once again I lost touch with Jason. Someone told me a few months back that he retired from the Twins and baseball all together in 2003 and settled down just a few blocks from where I live. He and his wife had a son the year he left the Twins and now he coaches ball for little league and donates his time and image to various children's charities.

This aftertoon I made a run to the grocery store for water, beer, bananas and nuts, the true staples of every bachelor. As I was standing in the checkout line, discreetly reading the article on J Lo's wedding to that Anthony guy and looking for a pic of her ass, I heard someone say, "Jay?"

"Jason!"

In a burst of laughter and shouting over one another we hugged and hugged again, both thrilled to see each other. He looked the same, a little heavier which is good. He's bulked up now, little punk bitch. He had his kid with him, Mini-Me. I told him I'd been following his career until a few years ago. He said he loved the game, but loved being retired too because the memories were just as good. I asked him what his best memory was.

He said, "Shit, man, I don't need ball for that. Best memory ever: Your lilly white ass two feet in front of me as we ran butt-ass naked through the Walmart!"

That's true friendship, right there, I don't care who you are.