Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Treehouse of Horror

I went to Lynchburg this weekend for the 40th birthday party of my high school buddy Brian. It gave me the chance to hang out with my parents, which I've been trying to do more of lately, and also pick up some pieces of Mike's artwork that I needed to scan. They're a couple of Flash-related pieces that somebody needed for a magazine article and I promised to send the scans to them. The art actually belongs to Mike's good friend Paul Rogers, owner of Dominion Comics in Lynchburg (the fella who sent me the EERIEs) and he graciously agreed to loan them to me long enough to complete the scans. I'll probably post them here once they've had a chance to publish them. I don't want to steal their thunder.

While I was at my parent's house, we went through the ritual we perform every time I visit. They load my vehicle up with whatever I can fit in it in an attempt to free up more space in their house. Their reasoning is that I'll have to do it "someday soon" anyway. Might as well start now. This has been going on for about five years or so but has gotten really bad since last August. I really can't spare the space in my house but I don't have the heart to tell them no. Usually it's a lot of junk from my childhood like old broken toys and clothes that don't fit. Most of the time it goes in the landfill or to Goodwill. This time was different. They'd uncovered an old high school and college-era box of Mike's and my stuff. Inside was a treasure trove of old drawings by both Mike and me and some strange photos Mike took for a photography class. This was one of them:

At the time this was taken, we lived in a VCU-subsidized two-bedroom apartment in a complex called Treehouse Apartments. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. I wanted to live on-campus but VCU had other plans. Mike and I shared the apartment with two guys from southwest Virginia named Eric and Shannon. This photo shows my corner of the room that Mike and I stayed in. I can't believe how messy I was. it looks like a caricature of a college student's bedroom. I mean, there's actually a sock hanging out of half-open drawer. It looks almost staged. Alas, it wasn't. That's really how we lived. It got so bad in the apartment once that, while we were taking a nap, our roommates opened the folding doors between us and the living room and chucked in all the junk we'd left lying around. When we woke up we were buried in crap and I asked, "What the hell happened!??" We were really embarrassed but the guys were pretty jovial about it. They were pretty good roommates and I really missed them when they got their own apartment the next year.

I debated with myself about whether or not to show this next one but it's too funny not to. I'm pretty sure this shot was taken by my great friend Don McCants. He started out as a friend of Mike's and Paul Rogers' but, when Mike moved back home and I stayed in Richmond, he became one of my best friends. He used to call us up around 10:00 at night to tell us he was coming over but woundn't show up until about midnight. Then he'd insist we watch the strangest movies I'd ever seen. He actually had pretty good taste but at midnight on a school night, I would have had a hard time staying awake through anything. Of the forty or so movies he brought over during our college career, I think I saw three, start to finish. I'd wake up on the couch the next morning and Don would be gone. If it was anyone else, it would have been really annoying but since it was Don, it was actually endearing.

One night, Don showed up and told us he needed us to dress up in all-black, put on sunglasses and dance around in front of the apartment's blank white walls while he snapped some shots for his class. Don't ask. It was college. If he'd shown up asking us to put on pink tutus and ride a fire truck down Broad Street, we'd have done it as long as he brought the right brand of beer. Though Mike's not in this shot, he was involved. At one point, Don had me grab Mike and swing him around the room. As I let go of his arm, he jumped up, flailing his arms. There was a loud crunch and we were shocked to see that Mike's ass had left a perfect imprint of itself in the drywall about four feet up. It was like a figure-eight on it's side. Mike was so embarrassed but we all couldn't stop laughing. Well, not until we ended up having to repair the wall and paint the entire living room so we wouldn't lose our security deposit.

I don't know who the dude on the left is. His face rings a bell but I just can't remember him. I think he was a classmate of Mike's. The fella in the middle is our roommate Eric Ritchie, he of the amazing heavy metal music collection. He eventually went on to become a successful physical therapist here in Richmond. And the giraffe on the right with the purty mouth and the roadkill on his head is me. It was the 80's so I can probably be forgiven for the mullet. And there was much more where that came from. By the end of the year, my hair would be past my shoulders. At least I grew it out on the sides so it was less Billy Ray Cyrus and more Jon Bon Jovi. Still...yikes.

Next time, if I don't have a sketch, I'll post some of the drawings I found in the box. No more mullet shots, I promise.


Leaf said...

Wow. I'm still a little bit in shock with that blown-dry mullet of yours. I have to say it again, "Wow." I thank Cthulhu everyday that my Marine Dad never let me grow one of those things.

Who's that dude in the white suit on your wall in the first pic? I can make out Robocop and Guns 'N Roses, but not that sucker.

Also, congrats on finding the treasure trove. Always nice to take a trip down Memory Lane when you least expect it.

Casey Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Casey Jones said...

Wow, "treasure trove" is right! Steve Martin, GN'R, and Robocop in the same picture! I freak out when I see pictures like that of my old apartments... usually, it's "where is all that stuff??".

Sweet mullet, dude.

Warren said...

Don't feel bad, Matt -- my boss still has a mullet. :)

Brian said...

Good old memory lane, the older I get, the longer it gets.

Say, the guy in the middle looks like a young Weird Al.

Just saying.

DonsSword said...

That's Rich on the left. I want to say his name was something like Shusee (sp for sure), but I just can't remember. Rich was a friend of Mike's from Fashion Illo but disappeared at some point that I do not recall -- maybe he graduated? Usually moody, usually wearing his black leather jacket. He was about my size and build, and perpetually half-shaven. He always seemed really intense to me, which is funny considering how whacked I am.

No matter how many times I hear the story about Mike's ass going thru the wall, it never gets old ;-)

BTW - half those movies were Jennifer Jason Leigh "art films." Pretty much anything that had her in it was on my list of must see movies way back when. My wife worked on a film with her in DC/Baltimore in the mid 90's and absolutely can't stand her -- they nicked named her "Miss Dreck" because of her sour attitude -- I prefer to think she was method acting, but who the hell knows.

Kelly said...

Crazy Dons wife here and LMAO! I love hearing the stories of the good old days. ya'll were very funny.

Figure eight ass prints, mullets and Don's weird movies. This made my day!