Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dear Mother Nature

This weekend was to be a rite of passage for one of my oldest friends, Papagiorgio.  To celebrate his 30th birthday, he decided to throw a get together at his mother's house.  While I had a more introspective and sedate approach to entering my fourth decade, Papagiorgio wanted to send his twenties away with gusto.  People could swim in the pool, barbeque various meats, drink at the outdoor tiki bar, and set up tents in the large backyard.  It was set to be a weekend long festival of all the things Papagiorgio loves, but it would prove to be marred by the one thing he hates.  For the two decades I have known him, he has refused to wear shorts, whether through a sense of modesty or because he believes cargo pants give him sexual superpowers.  His only concession to this is swimwear, mainly because he cannot find swim trunks that reach his feet.  Should the makers of longjohns unveil a new design called mediumjohns, he would shake his head slowly in disgust.  So vehement is his denial of shorts that he wore jeans throughout the year he lived in New Mexico, and this was his undoing.  His flagrant mockery of the normal human tolerance for heat infuriated you, Mother Nature, and you took it out on his birthday festivities like the weird smelling fat kid that didn't get invited to the party.

The festivities were set to begin on Friday afternoon, with promises of a nine foot hoagie and a keg of Yuengling.  Guests were set to converge from all over the state, and I had the day off.  It was to be a birthday for the ages.  When my sister and I pulled up to the driveway slightly after seven, what I thought would be late, I found that there were few cars.  I went around back to find Papagiorgio at the tiki bar next to the pool with our friend Kurt, the closest thing to Marcus Brody the world has yet seen, and Helga, a girl we went to high school with that I hadn't seen in several years.  Several of the other people that were supposed to arrive had to postpone until Saturday, and unfavorable weather reports made the proposition of sleeping outdoors in a tent less appealing.  Presently, the sky was blue, and we, the few that were about to rock, saluted the occasion with frosty beers and ice cold colas and laughed at the storm.

The first bad omen came when Papagiorgio offered me some of the fabled 9 foot hoagie.  He had been sold a false bill of goods, because what he spoke of in hushed and reverent tones was clearly nine 1 foot hoagies.  Names were called, ancient vengeful gods were invoked, and ultimately Papagiorgio admitted that at best, he had bought three 3 foot hoagies, which is not nearly as impressive as he insisted.  As we argued, the storm clouds rolled in, and suddenly a deluge began.  The five of us tried our best to huddle for protection under the tiki bar, but a loosely thatched roof is not the best umbrella, and we were soon soaked.  Luckily, through the flashes of lightning, our salvation presented itself.  Papagiorgio's stepfather had built a treehouse man cave on the far end of the yard.  It was completely enclosed, had an air conditioner, a loft with a bed, and a television. This is a view of the bed loft, and the chandelier.  Yes, the treehouse had a chandelier.

After a brief and heated argument on why we hadn't simply been in the treehouse to start with, and why Papagiorgio has to ruin everything he touches, we all made a run and ascended to dryness.  We had chairs to sit in, warmth and a place to dry, and best of all, we had a DVD player and a copy of Varsity Blues.  Sometime around the time Moxon asks Tweeter if he thinks he will like jail, we realized we had not brought any food or drinks with us to our newfound sanctuary.  Papagiorgio, ever the host, took off down the stairs, and we saw a dark blur streak across the lawn through the fury of the heavens.  Minutes passed, and Papagiorgio did not return.  None of us were terribly worried at first, but by the time her had missed the "Whipped Cream bikini" scene, we knew there was trouble, because no one would miss that on purpose.  I stood on the lower stairs and yelled for Papagiorgio, and received no answer.  Panic set in as I imagined him falling into a newly opened sinkhole, or tousling in the rain to fight off a surprise attack from his arch nemesis the North American Eastern Grey Squirrel.  I was ready to vault the railing and run to his aid when I saw him loping gracefully through the rain, with a pint glass of whiskey in hand, spilling nary a drop, and boxes of cookies in the other.  Once back in the safety of the tree fortress, he exclaimed, "Have some cookies!  They're really good.  I've been eating them for breakfast for the past three days."   He then took a healthy sip from his ten fingers of Jamieson and pulled a soggy piece of hoagie from his pants pocket and took a bite. 

Thus, Papagiorgio defeated you once again, Mother Nature, as he also defeated time and common sense by spending the last night of his twenties watching Varsity Blues in a treehouse while putting things in his mouth that he shouldn't.  


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