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"My Old Friend"

There was this kid in grammar school, at P.S 64, in Buffalo. 
Okay, I'll tell you his name: Richard Gacek. 

He beat me at everything. 
I outran everybody in the 100 yard dash, 
except Richard Gacek. 

He had the top grades of all the boys. 
I was in there somewhere close. 

In the graduation picture, guess who sat front and center. 
Not me. 
I was in the back row toward the right. 
Dick was Class President, 
A job nobody ever considered me for. 
I was too weird, always making jokes. 

The trouble is: We were friends. 
He was a really nice guy, humble and friendly. 
He seemed to take second place to me socially. 
It was an act. 

A few years ago, 
I called another school friend I got from the Buffalo Information Operator, 
Raymond Maydej, pronounced Mayday. 
He was dead. 
I talked to his son, 
and he gave me Richard Gacek's phone number. 

I figured I'd brag about my musical career, 
the Grammy nomination, 
the millions of record sales. 
Maybe before we both kick the bucket 
I could get JUST ONE over on him. 

A woman answered and I heard her say: 
"Some guy wants to talk to the doctor." 

He came on the line 
and it took me about five minutes to explain who I am. 
He hadn't been thinking about me. 

He also wasn't so humble anymore. 

He said: 
"I went to Harvard on an athlete's scholarship, 
and became a professor. 
In fact I became HEAD professor of the Harvard Medical School. 
I invented a whole new school of medicine." 

I think it was the study of the left earlobe. 

He then told me that his offspring were all doctors, 
lawyers, or something equally annoying. 
I was just happy mine were out of jail. 

He said : "Let's keep in touch", 
and I said: "Sure". 
I didn't mention my music career. 
After all these years, he got me again! 
And I asked for it! 

I told him I'd write. 
He wrote to me once 
on Harvard business stationery. 
He never told me where he lived. 
I never contacted the bastard again. 

Copyright  April 22, 2002 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.


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