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"Stalking An Old Friend"

There was this kid in grammar school...
I’ll call him Rick, to protect me from his lawyer.

He beat me at everything.
In the 100-yard dash,
I outran everybody except Rick.
He had the top grade average 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,
looking at Ellen Weinheimer’s chest.

Rick 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.
Things change.

A few years ago,
I called another school buddy I got from Buffalo Information.
He had died.
I talked to his son,
and he gave me Rick'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 Notre Dame on an athlete's scholarship,
and became head professor at Harvard Medical School,
and 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 gave me his home address.
I never contacted him again,
but he later contacted me by email.
He was very friendly this time...
the old Rick.
He even sent me a picture of us together at graduation.
We emailed back and forth a few times,
and then my messages to him started bouncing back.

Rick has disappeared again.
I have a feeling he joined the Witness Protection Plan
just to get away from me.

Copyright © March 29, 2005 Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.


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