Friday, October 7, 2016

40 Years And 46 Weeks

So...I don't know how to actually write this post.

Obviously, all of my blog posts are very "me-centric" in some way. I mean, I'm writing them...and possibly the only person reading them...(on those rare occasions I actual decide to proof read).

Last week, was a crazy weekend.

On Friday night (9/23), Julie and I were part of a huge group who went to see Brian Wilson at the Tower Theater. In what is likely Brian's last tour of Pet Sounds. The outing was put together by my "Elvis, And" podcast-mate and friend, Brendan Carr. The entire evening revolved around our memories of our dear friend Joel, who was likely the biggest Brian Wilson fan I have ever met.

Last year Joel and I had planned to see Brian Wilson. I believe he was touring in August or September. But as usual, both our schedules got in the way and it didn't happen. Joel even texted me that he'd take me the next time Wilson came around, That is, as long as Brian Wilson was still alive. We both laughed at this. Because that's our sense of humor.

The man has a perfect SMILE (get it?)

Friday's party consisted of Joel's parents, Jack and Sharon. His beloved wife, Sabrina. His "mini-me" daughter, Josie. As well as the aforementioned Brendan, his wife Amy, and Julie and me. It was an amazing night. But at no point was it lost on any of us that the most Brian Wilson-y of Brian Wilson fans was missing.

Josie fell asleep once the ballads started in the "Beach Boy" opening act and she managed to stay asleep through the rest of the show. I can't tell you how impressive that is! 

After the show Sabrina carried Josie out and down 2 flights of steps. We all said our goodbyes on the sidewalk. Except Josie, who continued to sleep.

As we turned to leave, Julie and I ran into our friend Chip who was at the show with his family. We took a Chantry Family Portrait under the Tower's marquee.

Chip, I stole your photo for my blog!

It really was a great night. But of course, my emotions took me deep inside of myself where I'd stay the rest of the night and for most of the weekend.

Julie and I called our friends, Jimmy and Petra, who live near The Tower Theater to see if they wanted to grab food since we were starving. Petra, in true Italian fashion, told us everything would be closed, but to "come over" and she'd make dinner for was 11:30 pm at night. I'd feel like I was imposing on almost anyone else. But Jimmy & Petra are family. This wouldn't be the last time Petra made my dinner this weekend.

Julie and I eventually picked up Kit from my parent's around 12:50ish. Late. Sorry Mom. Kit fell asleep almost immediately. Which was good, because we got pulled over. No ticket, because I "know people." Also, I was only doing 5 mph over the limit at 1 am. Likely the officer wanted to see if I was drinking. I wasn't.

We went home and went right to bed.

I was up super early the next day because I was filming near Dover, DE for work. (ON A SATURDAY?!? I know, right?)

Driving out with my other producers - Trae and Joe, Trae informed us of a horrible house fire in Wilmington the night before. Really about 3 and a half hours before as it was early Saturday morning. 1 of 4 firefighters who were injured died. Trae continuously refreshed the story since our job often times puts us in contact with fire fighters. In fact, it was a firehouse we were heading to in Cheswald, De to film. Moments before arriving we found out a 2nd fighter died.

It was a sad, overcast day.

Upon our arrival we spoke to a local fire chief who told us the morning training we had planned to film was canceled. Of course it was. As it should have been. We spoke with the chief who gave us some information that wasn't yet public. Of course we promised not to say anything until all the information was public knowledge. 

I didn't know either of the fire fighters, but many of my friends did, including Trae himself. Trae, Joe, and I got breakfast at a diner as no one wanted to rush home just then. The sad, overcast day just got sadder.

I spent breakfast looking at one of the lost fire fighter's three kids on Facebook. I don't remember anything Trae, Joe, and I talked about. We went home.

I took a 2 hour nap before going to perform at ComedySportz. Thank God for ComedySportz! I really didn't want to leave Kit and Julie at all, but if I was anywhere else on the entire planet, ComedySportz was the place to be. These people are family. I played twice with my old friend Jim. Also with Kristin who is, all around, one of the best people I know. She too was having a particular sad, overcast day, as it was an unpleasant anniversary for her. I hugged her when I saw her because I felt she needed it as much as I did. Nothing else needed to be said, or was.

The shows were great. The shows are always great.

Sunday morning I took Kit to The Bounce House so Julie could make a pasta salad for a birthday party being held for Jimmy that evening. Or at least for a party I thought was being held for Jimmy.

Kit and I had a good time.

I was still in a little bit of a haze, but love hanging out with an almost 3 year old. They get me. So we had a fun time. We grabbed lunch and took it home and made food for Mommy. 

Because I was still slightly out of it, I accidentally turned off Julie's timer while I was cooking our lunch. I thought I messed up her pasta salad. I felt bad and started considering bailing on the evening plans, all together. BUT I kept coming back to Jimmy and how I didn't want to do that to him. So I sucked it up. And we took Kit back to my Mom's for the evening.

On our way to the party (which was held at Jimmy & Petra's friend Kimmie's house) we stopped at Spencer's. The FB invite said no gifts, but I feel like Jimmy often times gets the shaft (not in a good way) so I wanted to get him a gift. And where is the best place to get a t-shirt of nuns giving the finger? Spencer's. 

Julie seemed slightly on edge. I thought maybe it was from me almost fucking up her salad or maybe the fact that I've been so distant this weekend. We grabbed our middle finger shirt and a gift bag and were on our way...

We pulled into the make shift driveway (read: Front Lawn) and headed inside. I asked Lauren if I could carry her tray, which would turn out to be a birthday cake. She said "No." She was fine.

I guess this would be an appropriate time to tell you, my birthday is November 5th. There's no reason you should know that. Unless you're writing my biography. In which case, it's probably something you're going to want to mention at some point. Preferably the beginning.

Also, I was born in 1975. I'm not saying this so my biographer gets it right (in fact, feel free to say like '82 or something), but rather to tell you that I'm 40. 

Here's the part that is weird and why I said I don't know how to write this. Because no matter how I write this, it'll come off "me-centric" and that's not my point at all.

I never actually turned 40. I mean I did, obviously. Even if my biography lies about my age, if you cut me open and count the rings the truth will coming spilling forth (amongst other stuff). But time kind of stopped this year.

On November 4th, Julie and I had yet to commit 100% to what we might be doing for my birthday. We were off on 11/5 & 11/6 to go to New York. We had tickets to see The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. But for some reason our planning was super laid back. That's very unlike us. I wasn't sure what time we'd head to NYC or when we'd get back. We did have a room booked, but even that seemed more like a "let's see" sort of thing.

A few hours before I turned 40, I received the worst phone call I have ever gotten. One of my best friends, Joel had died.

As much as I can't tell you what Trae, Joe and I talked about over breakfast last weekend, I can tell you ever second of every minute from the evening of 11/4/2015 through about midday on 11/6/2015. Time felt like it was both standing still and moving faster than it ever had ever moved before. I stayed 39.

November 5th, Julie and I canceled all of our plans. We ended up having a small, quiet dinner in Philly at Charlie Was a Sinner. 
Then Saturday, Gordon and Lyndsey took us out to The Social Lounge in West Chester. But I somehow stayed 39.

It wasn't until a few days later, while I was shopping at Giant that it hit me that I had 40. It was really the first time I had thought about it. It happened and I missed it. I literally know exactly where I was standing when I turned 40. About 6 feet from the salad bar at the Giant in Aston. All things considered, not very exciting.


So here I was at Kimmie's house for Jimmy's birthday. A whole 46 weeks after my 40th birthday and 6 weeks before my 41st. Before I walked into the house I saw Kimmie holding a snake. I think a python, but I'm not a zoologist (no matter what that piece of shit biographer tells you). I started talking to her. If there had been booze on this patio, I might have never gone inside the house. But somehow I was ushered in. I think by Jimmy himself. 

As I walked through the door, across the room I saw Kristin and Alli from ComedySportz. My slow brain (which is now well into it's 40th year) immediately thought, " they hang out with Jimmy?" And then I heard, "SURPRISE!"

You want to know an immediate way to snap out of any haze? Gather a bunch of your friends together in a room. For any occasion. Especially one that happened 46 months prior.

I have the best friends.

I have the best family.

My biographer however, leaves a LOT to be desired.


Jack Rickenbach said...

Kevin - that hit me like a ton of bricks and the tears welled up. I suppose in the haze of grief, I never realized you turned 40 the day after we lost Joel. Happy Belated Birthday - I probably missed saying that to you. You and he connected on a very special level and it resulted in so much great film making and commentary, much of which was recorded for prosperity. That's really special to me.
One of the best things about being Joel's Dad is I thought I had a friend for life. I never dreamed it was for his life and not mine. So going to see Brian Wilson was almost spiritual in a way. We had such an intense bond over Brian's music and life story. Fortunately we shared many of his concerts including the previous Pet Sounds and SMiLE tours (2x). We discussed the man and his music for hours, especially on many of the long car rides while listening to Brian's magical chords and harmonies. Brian is the most important musician in my life and it was heartwarming to see Joel connect with his music as well. Joel had very eclectic tastes (mostly ALL good) so it was cool to see him dig so deeply into Brian. I know in one of your YGG podcasts he said I was the catalyst for his love of Brian's music. So proud he said that! Towards the end, he would tell me things that were going on in Brian's music that I wasn't aware of - the Child is the Father to the Man!
So life goes on and my challenge is helping to bring up Josie with those things that were important to Joel and those things he would want her to experience. I will need all the help I can get and I will certainly appreciate your input.
Thanks for an amazing perspective on that night at the Tower!

Susan DeVito said...

As I grow older I am struck by the fragility of life and the loss of friends in my life. I have tried over the years to remind myself ....that this is a perfect moment and I must remember it for it will never happen again. I do love these good memories that I have stored and use them to cancel some of the hurt and pain of the bad moments. It is never easy. I am sending you and yours love and hugs. I am also asking the universe to send you and Julie wonderful memories....some of my best memories were in the year I worked with you guys at CTC. You are one of the happy memories.

Katie said...

Simultaneously can't hold back tears or chuckles... you really are a deeply good human (whatever that shit biographer tries to sell- though if it's to make a more marketable story and bring in more proceeds towards your estate, I'll allow it. I'm sure that'll be put to commendable use, and not the world's largest collection of Pez dispensers at all. ; ) Happy 40th.