“Write a short biography about your best friend,” it tells me. “Begin with a real hook or a grabber sentence.” This is the “Writing Class” for the Wednesday of the first week of “The Writer’s Devotional“.
I knew I had my copy somewhere. I kept it on my shelf when I worked at CEVA, alongside a first edition of “Moveable Feast“, “Jurassic Park” and a Bodley Head edition of “Ulysses“. I found it at the bottom of the banker’s box I brought home and stashed in my garage when I got home after last day at CEVA. It now on the corner of my desk, placed next to my “Zen A Day” Calendar, in front of my Darth Vader piggy bank, between the pictures Elena and Reid painted for my birthday last year.
“After crafting this first sentence,” it tells me, “continue writing, including basic facts – full name, birth date, place of birth and current home address.” As a reminder, this is an unauthorized biography, but the names have not been changed, just to keep it interesting.
My life with Jon started with a troll doll. A bunch of them, actually. While I’ve learned little of his ‘basic facts’ during the intervening twenty five years, I can say with unwavering certainty that I would sooner spend time with him than any one of the finest people in the world.
I don’t know if he has a middle name. I am pretty sure his birthday is January 23rd (or maybe it’s the 26th). I’m not sure if he was born in 72 or 73, so he might be the same age or a little younger than me. I have no idea where he was born – although I think it was somewhere in Richmond Hill – and while I am absolutely certain where he is living right now, I am not going to fall into the trap of giving that away to you guys.
Twenty five years ago he was dating a friend of my girlfriend. The two of them met at work and got along swimmingly. Jon and I met across a bingo card filled table, surrounding by mu-mu wearing old ladies who hoarded colonies of troll dolls, treating them with an unnatural amount of reverence.
He wore oversized corrective lenses with brass frames that made his eyes look absurdly tiny in comparison and his hair was parted on the right, slicked to the side. At the time he favoured jeans and plaid shirts (from my memory) and when he greeted me his hand nearly swallowed mine when we shook. I followed his lead because it seemed like he had done this before, but I got distracted by everyone else. He noticed me starting at everything and asked what was going on. As a result of that question and much to the chagrin of our respective girlfriends, we put more effort into speculating on the “Secret Lives Of Blue Haired Bingo Ladies” than the game at hand. I won’t say it was love at first sight – because that would weird Jon out – but I will say that I knew I had a friend for life.
Ten years later, I stood as one of his groomsmen at his wedding. Not long after that, he stood as my best man in mine. Our first children were born exactly six months apart, our second born children were born twenty days apart. You might accuse of being in sync because we spend too much time together. Truth of the matter is, when you flash forward to the present day, it could be argued we don’t spend enough time together. I might see him one week in eight.
Today he’s the guy that comes to mind when you ask my who my best friend is and what follows are some of the things we’ve done to seal that friendship….
That’s as much an intro to a bio of him as of our friendship, but you get the idea. Oh, and I’m not making it up. It’s not a made up name. I swear.