I always figured one of my roommates would die young. It's just simple math - I've had like 30 of them. I just never thought it would be Cracker*. The reason I never thought it would be Cracker was because I fully expected it to be Cracker. And since stuff always happens the way you never think it would, I figured that meant one of my roommates that lived a safe life on the straight and narrow would be the one to go first. Yeah, I thought it would be someone like Alison. But it actually turned out to be Cracker: the top candidate for early death of the 6 or 7 people I've shared a house with that have had extended periods of life where they were determined to off themselves by way of entertaining accident. That's what made most of them such terrific people. Cracker, umm, he was good and bad. More on that in a minute.
I just found about his death 35 minutes ago. Why am I writing about it so soon? Because I have no one to talk to at the moment. And besides, how often do you get to write about learning of a friend's death within the hour? Usually, you're too upset and your world is too rocked to do that. I'm not that way right now. Upset? Yes. Shocked? Oh, c'mon! I'm not gonna be phony with you, you'd see right through it.
I found out about Cracker's death when I was leaving my job at the radio station just now. I said hello and goodbye to our business manager who doubles as a our building cleaner. (She knows all of our "dirt" in two ways! Wokka Wokka Wokka.) After I said goobye, I picked up a crappy publication called Bootleg Magazine. I'm sorry, I just don't really like it. But I started reading it ever since I heard Cracker started working there, just to see what he was writing each month. Today, when I picked up a copy off of our lobby table, I turned to page 1 and saw a picture of Cracker, presumably standing in front of giant rocks in Iceland, and an article titled: "In Memoriam: Cracker B. Lastname." (C'mon, I've gotta change names here.) Don't you hate when you see an article with a name you have said out loud thousands of times, accompanied by the words "In Memoriam." That's never good. It makes me think of the times I've said the name other ways. Like nice ways: "Well, I'll be damned! If it ain't Cracker B. Lastname! How the hell are ya!" Or the ways you said it when you were mad. "Well, I'll be damned! If it ain't Cracker B. Lastname! If you don't fucking get the fuck out of my house right now...." But when it's in memoriam, the names just look boring. Like all the shit you did only led to that? How lame.
I know everyone that knows that guy expects me to tell the story about how I successfully predicted he would kick my door in looking for beer. Or how he flipped his truck over in a residential neighborhood after he did it. Or how I had to change the locks on him permanently. While those stories are good, they've been told. I'm not really giving that much thought right now. Instead, for some reason, I keep thinking about a day when we lived together when we had lots of beer and lots of time to drink it.We ended up in beach chairs drunk on the side of Racine Drive waving at traffic. Eventually, a crowd of people we didn't know had joined us. Cracker confused me because he spent the whole day acting like we were closer than we were, especially when he spent hours talking me up to this girl with curly red hair named Annie. (I actually didn't change her name. It's just too funny. If I changed her name it would lose it's humor. Sorry, Annie. If you're still alive. And reading some guy's blog entry you knew for a day. From ten years ago.)
Anyway, all these guys were hitting on Annie, but Cracker kept talking to her but saying nice crap about me. That day went on forever. I think I drank more beer in a day than I ever had.
Skip to the next day. Me and Cracker woke up in the apartment. And the first words out of his mouth were: "Please tell me you put it in her butt."
I was confused.
"Tell you I put what in who's butt?"
"That Annie girl. Did you do her in the butt?"
"I didn't do her at all."
Cracker was pissed! He laughed and said, "So I did all that work for nothing? I wanted you to put it in her butt and tell me about it!"
"Look dude. If you wanted something "put in her butt" so bad, why didn't you do it yourself, Cracker?"
"Because, I have a girlfriend in England. You know that. So I wanted to live through you. And I like buttsex more than a pirate! And I really love redheads. And you let me down."
"I made out with her, if that makes you feel better?"
"Thanks for trying dude, but that's not the same. Next time I send a redhead your way, you better buttram her the way I would."
Yeah, so I guess Cracker was a sexual deviant. But then again, he wasn't a sexual deviant? Or was he a sexual deviant who loved his English girlfriend? I don't know. But he definitely had to be a schizophrenic. I don't mean that as disrespect. I just mean, had all the signs.
Some days, I hated him, some days he was my brother, and some days I just felt sorry for him. It wasn't his fault that he was born fucked in the head. And he was definitely just put on this earth fucked in the head from day one. And as much as you want to, it's hard to hold someone accountable for being fucked in the head when they didn't choose to be fucked in the head. And you can't expect them to cure themselves of being fucked in the head, because they can't do it. Have you forgotten? They're fucked in the head!
So yeah, after a short time living together, he did some fucked in the head shit and I had to kick him out of the apartment. And he ended up in a D.C. rehab. His parents payed the bills for the rest of the lease and I threw away all his shit and kept his clothes. I never got an apology. We were no longer friends. And I was sure I'd never see him again.For eight years, I never saw or heard a thing about Cracker. I thought I saw him hitchhiking once but that guy was smiling in a way Cracker never would. I always thought if ever saw him again, we'd fight or ignore each other.
We actually hugged each other.
It took eight years, but one night less than a year ago I ran into him at the Blue Post. We accidentally found ourselves standing face to face in the by the door of the bar. After all those years had passed, we found ourselves staring at each other, both trying to believe that the other guy was, in fact, not the other guy. Then I hugged him.Then he apologized for the shit he put me through back in the day. And I apologized for one of my famous overreactions. And we bought each other beers. It was fun to find out that we had both become writers since we saw each other last. (Neither one of us had any interest in writing back then.) And it was great to see that he had seemingly gotten his shit together. He had been living in other states the whole time. It was crazy to see our friends standing a safe distance away staring at us in disbelief with looks on their faces that said, "I can't believe those two are not cutting each other open with pool cues right now."
That was a year ago, and I never saw Cracker again. It feels today like God set up that one chance night last year for us to hang out and make peace. I never really considered him a friend until that night we made up. But I considered him my friend ever since. And I never saw him again. So I guess, I knew a guy for nine years and we were only friends for a day.
I don't know what happened to end his life, but for his sake, I hope it was fucking fantastic. I mean no disrespect to those that are close to him. And I know he wouldn't get mad if I told him that. But he would get mad if I told him I've still never had buttsex with a redhead. Sorry, Cracker. But that's your thing. Now go do your thing.