Everyone always has a “best friend.” That one person you identify above all others. And it has no objective criteria. It doesn’t have to be your oldest friend, or the friend you have known the longest, or the person you have the most in common with. It doesn’t even mean the person you trust the most as plenty of best friends exist in kind of a hazy rivalry and exploitation territory were, where you expect them to take your money, steal your girlfriend/boyfriend, and leave you hanging in a Mexican Jail cell, and then simultaneously expect they would take a bullet for you or cut off a foot a la Saw for you and so you trust them with your life, even though you may not trust them with anything else. Usually forged by random circumstances and chance encounters, there is no rhyme or reason for any particular pairing. Best friends are Best friends, period.
My Best Friend is Casey Richard.
Now the temptation for me here is to just start telling stories from our childhood together. Particularly ones that are cherry picked to embarrass him, which is exactly what Casey did for his best man toast at my wedding. But my intention here is to demonstrate the profound impact my Best Friend has had on the first 40 years of my life,...........
and embarrass him in the process.
Growing up as a kid in the 80’s I pretty much had no choice but to become a He-man fan. Thanks to the culture of cartoons and the billion dollar (Even in 80’s terms, hate to think what the numbers would be in today’s terms, accounting for inflation) toy market, He-man was literally designed as the bait in a trap for young boys like me. Through the cartoons, comics, books, bed sheets, movies and every other avenue possible He-man and the masters of the Universe was broadcast into my awareness and I of course was powerless to resist. Now days, “the product is the marketing” and every detail of a product is designed and tailored to a specific demographic. But before He-man is was kind of the other way around. People created movies or books or what ever, and then they had to find ways to make them into toys and find ways to appeal to the general population. Star Wars was the quintessential example and it was The fact that Mattel passed on making Star Wars toys that led them to invent a line of toys and media they could mass market. And the result was He-man and the Masters if the Universe. This was a product line designed specifically to ensnare me, the little American boy, and ensnare me it did!
Hands down, without a doubt; the funniest, most entertaining, easy going, laugh a minute, fun to be around person I have ever known is Carlos Cruz.
No one ever laughed harder, or more inappropriately than the collective crowd surrounding Carlos Cruz at any given moment, except for maybe Carlos himself.
My sense of humor has always been described as “dry.” I have no idea what that means, but if that is true, then Carlos’s sense of humor must be dripping “Wet.”
We could not be more different in terms of our styles of humor. And that is why I always secretly thought we could of been a smash comedy team. The reinvention of Abbot and Costello, or at least Farley and Spade. I would obviously be the straight man. And Carlos would just be hilarious.
So the whole reason I am endeavoring to do this 40 for 40 is because I did not complete my planned 30 for 30 before my 30th birthday. I had started a count down from 30 about 6 weeks from my birthday and made it to #23 before the whole project was completely abandoned and forgotten. The reason it was abandoned was I got a job. It was my first real job.” I know I was almost 30 and never had a real job? Yeah, the truth be told I had been in and out of school so often through my 20’s that I had never had the time or opportunity to move into anything more than entry level employment. I had worked my way through grad school doing the graveyard shift at a hote, get off at 7am, and then I’d race to class or my internship by 8am. Before that I worked as a janitor at the school, or I worked Security swing shift (I know, me, working security, it doesn’t make sense. I couldn’t believe they actually hired me. I was totally riot fodder). I tried selling cars for a very short period of time. I worked a summer at the book bindery. You see my undergraduate college education was about 1 thing and 1 thing only and I will exhaust you with that story in the Future. But the point is I didn’t have any career Plans or aspirations until after grad school.
So my first real J.O.B. was when I started as a counselor at Boys and Girls Town of Missouri on February 28th, 2011.