Day 158: A song that reminds you of your best friend. (Volume I)

“Eve ’91” – Nuclear Valdez

Dream Another DreamHappy Autumn, everyone. (At least those of us in the Northern hemisphere. Otherwise, happy Spring.) Apparently, I took the summer (or winter, again depending on location) off. This wasn’t intentional, but things needed to be done for my railroad club. They got done; blogs didn’t. That was the tradeoff.

But the operating session went very nicely, thank you.

I was happy to find that at least a few people asked me what happened to the blog. So someone’s paying attention. That made me feel good.

But, that’s not what we’re here to talk about. (I can hear you saying “Get on with it, already.” So I’ll get on with it.

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So the topic of today’s post requires a little bit of explaining. You’ll notice that it’s a “Volume I.” And that’s because I can’t decide. Most people have one best friend. Given that the very definition of “best” limits you to a single selection, this makes sense.

But, as you know, I do not. Make sense, that is.

I have a handful of friends that I have known for many, many years. Not all for the same number of years, but in all cases, more years than I care to count. They are all the type of friends who I could not see or talk to for very long periods of time, yet pick up as if no time had passed at all. They all know a lot about me (in some cases way too much about me) and I, in turn, them.

These are all people whom I can always turn to, people I can depend on in times of crisis, or need, or just to talk with. And isn’t that what being a best friend is really about? Regardless of singularity? So, you’re going to get multiple friends. Because even though the relationship with each is different, I value them all equally.

So Volume I is dedicated to Ray.

I met Ray in the office of Newspeak, the Student Newspaper of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. (This was clearly stated in the masthead, so it must be true.) I’d joined the newspaper early in my freshman year, and by the time Ray came around, I was the Features Editor, which, like any of the editorial positions on the newspaper at an engineering school, really meant nothing more than I was one of a very few who would take responsibility for the output of the paper.

It started simply enough: He came to one of our weekly writer’s meetings. Now, I’m not sure if it was his very first visit or not, but one night after a writer’s meeting wrapped up it so happened that three of us (the same three who ended up writing the words to “Be Our Guest” much later) just started talking.

And talking.

And talking some more.

At the start of that discussion, we didn’t know each other at all, and yet, the conversation just flowed. The discussion covered a lot of ground, even personal things like relationships that, normally, you just wouldn’t talk about with someone you just met. But, that’s how it worked out.

After literally hours, we were tapped out and the conversation just stopped. And, following a moment of thoughtful silence, Ray said “Nice to meet you,” with that silly smirk I’ve come to know so well over the years.

As you might expect from such an auspicious start, we formed a good friendship and spent many hours at “The ‘speak” doing often tedious editing tasks.

Many hours.

To kill the time, we listened to music, and ended up introducing each other to things we each liked. (See “Silent Lucidity.”)

And one day he showed up with an album called Dream Another Dream by a band called Nuclear Valdez. I’d never heard of them. (I’m not alone, I think about 14 people, including Me and Ray and the friend who introduced the album to him, know about this band.) It was good stuff, and it ended up getting many plays on the CD player in the office. (This begs the question: if you hear a good song and no one else knows about it, is it still good?)

One track, in particular, stands out. (“Oh good,” you say, “he finally got to the friggin’ song.”) That would be “Eve ’91.” (The ’91 part is because it was the second time they’d recorded the song, the first being on their debut album.) I’m not sure why. I don’t think it’s the best song on the album, but it’s probably close.

I think what really did it was the intro to the song, which lends itself to high volume. (I know this because invariably when it came on we’d crank the stereo to 11.) So, to this day, each time I hear (and crank up) this song, I’m reminded of Ray.

So there you have it. Volume I.

Oh yeah, I intentionally forgot to mention that I’ll be attempting to do these best friend posts (there are a number of Volumes, just how many I’ll leave a mystery) on the friends’ birthdays. So…

Happy Birthday, Weeniehead…