What took me so long?

Something big happened last weekend. I’ve waited until now to blog about it because I wanted to consider what to say publicly about reconnecting with three of my old Boston University college roommates.

Now, a week after dinner with Judson and Dana followed by drinks two days later with Judson and Nick (along with Nick’s lovely wife and Judson’s protégé), what I have to say is simple: letting us drift apart was a colossal mistake. (And what a mitzvah Judson performed to come all the way here from LA to pull us together.)

I learned a couple of things being with my old pals. First, we really don’t change. Nick, Judson and Dana are exactly what they were when we were buds in school. The same reasons I loved them then apply — in full measure — today. Gesticulations, ways of talking, the looks in their eyes — all precisely as I remember them. And, today they’re more of what they were then. These three guys have done what they’ve done, succeeded where they were successful and taken arrows where they weren’t, all of which has made them intensely more of what they were in college. Cognac comes to mind: as it ages, goop in the barrel evaporates (which causes a fungus that lives on the evaporate to form on the cellar ceiling. What a life, eh?) but the stuff left behind gains flavor all out of proportion to the original taste.

Second, age brings both wisdom and dimmed memories. I had completely forgotten that Dana and I had been both sophomore and senior year roommates. None of us seem to be able to remember the fifth roommate (Nick thinks his name was Ben, but who knows?). But we still remember the Third Annual Irish-Polish Lobotomy Picnic (though there were never any other picnics, before or after), singing in the stairwells and very specific professors and classmates. Collectively, our memories form the best history of our individual lives then — a reason in itself to stay connected to each other now.

Third, it’s too damn easy to let friendships go. This may be my particular failing. Sure, I am busy with a career, two kids, life in the ‘burbs. I used to travel all the time on business. I was gasping just to keep up with my job and my family. It’s been a 30-year marathon I suspect my pals are running, too. But I never lifted a finger to find these dudes, with the exception of a call or two to Judson five or six years ago. After you let friendship drift away, you convince yourself it doesn’t matter and then you just forget about it. But that’s like propofol, the black hole of memory, making you feel better about forgetting something central.

So, guys, I wanna work on it. Nick, Tricia and I definitely are coming there for hot dogs. Dana, you gotta come by on your way to Sunderland. Judson, we will come see you in LA one day soon.

Count on it.

2 thoughts on “What took me so long?”

  1. I never forgot what my fourth grade teacher Mrs. Abel said. She was correcting another kid’s spelling on friend.
    She said to him, “always remember the easiest way to remember how was that you just had to say to yourself it’s fri – end. Key to it was you had friends to the end.”
    We’re friends to the end and it was like there was never a lapse in our time together cause it was like our conversations had picked up from the day before.
    We all were busy living life as we made other plans.
    But the point suite of Myles Standish Hall is back. We just can’t remember that other guy.
    Love you guys!!

  2. Well, I would have never thought it possible, but someone actually Googled “irish polish lobotomy picnic,” found this post and left a comment — on the wrong page. So, I am cc’ing here, in the off-chance that someone else out there remembers these crazy, wonderful days.

    “Alex:

    I just reconnected with an ex-girlfriend from BU ’75 and was thinking about all the good times we had living in Myles Standish Hall. So I Googled Irish Polish Lobotomy Picnic, since a group of us attended and actually help fund the first one in ’75. I was glad to come across your blog and see that someone else knew about the event. I graduated in ’75 and never knew if the ritual continued, it appears that it at least ran through ’77, happy to hear! Just thought I would email you and tell you that I appreciated reading your blog, hearing more about the event, seeing the ticket and reading about BU…
    All the best,

    Jim Craven
    @CravenTravels”

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