“I may have a lot of problems, but at least I can grow a magnificent beard.”
Seeing as I live in the terrible abscess of culture and art that is Central New Jersey, I don’t often get the chance to do simple things like go to museums, take DJ classes, or go to the movies. (There are plenty of opportunities for having deep metaphysical conversations with trees, so if you’re into that you should come hang out with me in my woods.) The closest movie theaters are about 45 minutes away if you drive the speed limit or an hour away if you spent a considerable amount of time living abroad and are now afraid of automobiles. (Everything just moves so fast now!)
Unless you’ve seen me naked sometime in the past three years, you probably don’t know about the giant homage to Princess Mononoke that adorns my stomach. I’m a relatively inconspicuous young man, my most notable other features being a thick, scraggly beard and a pair of extremely plump red lips, so most seem to be a little surprised when I take off my shirt and they are faced with a piece of art that takes up approximately 50% of my torso.
I assume it is because yesterday I went on my first bike ride of the new year and not as a result of some sort of violent sexual assault that happened after I went to sleep last night. I was visiting some friends of mine, so you never know.
We headed to a local bar (local for them, just a bar for me) and had a drink and watched the middle-aged cover band play songs so the middle-aged crowd would have an excuse to sway their hips and lift their feet and move their elbows and hands in the rhythmic motions most commonly known as ‘dancing.’
In honor of the college friends in Kicking and Screaming who cannot seem to move on from each other and begin their lives, let’s take roll call for my own motley bunch of loons who are my regular drinking mates and romantic misadventure confidantes. And, unlike the character’s of Baumbach’s debut, they have all (unsurprisingly) led very successful lives upon finishing college.
We tend to have the good luck/misfortune of being referred to by other people as “the guys from Africa” or “the African guys.” Africa was the name of our college house during senior year. The name could be (and often is) misconstrued as something racial, but, in actuality, we were just paying homage to a song we could all agree was awesome – the 80s hit of the same name by soft rockers Toto – and then the name stuck. Go figure.
Let’s just get it out of the way and say it; Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz were both better. Alright, alright, but The World’s End is still pretty funny and more than worth the time spent sitting in front of a computer, television, or movie screen to watch it.
The film did cause me to start skipping down one of my mind’s back corridors in search of an imagined future where I will reunite with my friends for an End All Drinking Expedition similar to the one undertaken by the group pictured on the poster above. We’re going to have to go with my college group of friends here, because, (and you would know if you’ve been following my writing) I didn’t have many friends in high school, and those friends and I certainly never had any drinking experiences. I didn’t have any drinking experiences until I got to college (with the exception of a few beers pilfered from my father and drank in our basement bathroom in the middle of the night; a shining moment in the history of my young life right there…).
There were a few months from 2012 to 2013 when I traveled with a group of Spanish girls. I met them through a German friend of mine and it always impressed me how they could stand to travel together for longs periods of time. They were five. Three sisters, each half-Spanish, half-Saudi (a very attractive combination), one of their Spanish friends, and a Colombian girl who lived in Spain. Five girls traveling together for months through some of the dirtiest places on Earth.