TBS: Throwback Summer

Throwback Summer: Revenge on Prom ’07

Last week on TBS I shared my Prom memories and what a terrible night it ended up being. This week the “Empire Strikes Back.” Some readers took my stance against Prom as me being anti-party, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It wasn’t the act of partying that upset me, but rather the expectation to do so.

A good party should be organic, come out of nowhere, and be set on your terms, not societies. This week I throwback to one of the greatest parties I’ve ever been a part of, Revenge on Prom ’07. As I mentioned last week, our great after Prom party plans completely fell apart. It left a sour taste in our mouths during the summer leading into college and we collectively wanted to make amends for our failing. Thus set into motion the greatest revenge party this world has ever seen. We returned to the scene of our failure, my parents’ lake house, to throw a true “we’re going to live forever” party to satisfy our rebellious teenage appetites.

A house, a pool, a prom size group of a couple dozen people, and two kegs equaled the weekend of our young lives.

Keg Stands.

Keg Stands.

More Keg Stands

More Keg Stands

What else do you do when you have a keg besides copious amounts of keg stands. The great ritual in any young person’s partying years. It combines gymnastics, lots of drinking, and the thrill of competing for whom can go the longest. Two TBS debuts in these pictures, on the top right is the aforementioned, but not yet seen Quinn Ford, lifting yours truly with great ferocity along side Brian. Despite the severe change in angle from my right side to my left, due to Brian’s height limits, boom two short burns in two weeks, I still managed over 40 seconds. What is it they say about hindsight again? And on the bottom left is Brandon Groth, aka Captain Groth due to his status as captain of the football team Senior year. Groth is the coolest guy I have the pleasure of calling a friend and I don’t think any of my other friends will take offense because they would say the same thing. Any time he would go out with us, which was more rare then anyone wanted, it was guaranteed to be a good time. The dude was the David Ortiz of going out, he just always came through in the big moments. The energy always picked up when he was around because we all knew it was going to be a legendary night.

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Any time a game of drunk pool basketball is involved you know it is a legendary night. Pool basketball may be my favorite game of all time. It is part basketball, part water polo, part swimming, part absolute cluster fuck. And all the best aspects of it get ratcheted up tenfold when alcohol is involved.

Beer pong.

Beer pong.

A good partier knows how to improvise and make a beer pong table out of anything. In this case, a covered pool table. Man, did that leather cover need a good hosing after this night. I swear the stench of beer has still not gone away even seven years later.

Laura and Amy

Laura and Amy

Here are two more newcomers to the TBS series, Amy Bilek on the left and Laura Schramm on the right. I spent a lot of time party with these two lovely ladies Senior year of high school, which was a good thing since we ended up going to college together. Our bonding in high school made the transition to college easier as it helped to have two people I knew so well with me. They’re currently living together in the great city of Chicago, which warms my heart to see two friends remain close through the trials and tribulations of high school and college. This was far from the last epic party we would attend together, so this will not be the last you see of them.

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Another sign of an epic night is when people randomly stop by because they heard about it, in this case it was Erin Sullivan. Pictured modeling off our cheap basement putting green. The Demetrio men can never be too far from a golf course. I don’t want to make it sound like Erin was not welcomed cause she was one of my favorite people that I only ever hung out with in school. I would’ve loved to hang out with her more, it just never happened. Luckily she got the chance to join in the festivities before we all went off to college. I have not seen or heard from her since that night, so I hope all is well. Also, found another Pro for my Pros/Cons list on Facebook, if it were not for the Facebook photo evidence I would never have remembered that she was there that night.

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Billy’s drunk dance shows are always a special treat at any party. This one combined a little classic “Moves Like Jagger” with risky business sock sliding. I personally cannot think of a better combo. Well done, sir.

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And then things started to get weird.

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Really weird…

The downside to a memorable night of partying is the hangover that follows. In this case even our cars suffered major hangovers as they were unable to start.

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In the end though, the cars were not the only ones that suffered. I might’ve been able to secure the location for this Revenge Party, but I lacked the skills to keep it hidden from my parents. As it turned out the lady that cleans my parent’s house showed up the next morning to quite the surprise, considering no one was supposed to be there. In her confusion, she called my Mom to apologize for not realizing people were there. This led to further confusion and eventually anger from my mother. Even if that didn’t happen it wouldn’t have taken long for them to discover what I had done. There were holes in the wall, door handles broken, and the whole place smelled like a frat house. I received quite the verbal lashing upon my return home, followed by a few weeks long Irish Catholic guilt trip, and a grounding for the rest of the summer. Luckily it was already the second week of August and the rest of the Summer only meant two weeks before I left for the sweet freedom of college. 

I have no regrets though. The second best summer of my life, we call that a tease, went out with a bang. It was the end of my high school life and I got to celebrate it with the people that mattered the most to me during that time, in true John Hughes fashion. Time and circumstance change all friendships, but while I may not be as physically close to most of these people I’m proud to still call them my friends and that will never change. Unfortunately the TBS Series has taught me that most people have deleted old Facebook albums from High School, so I haven’t been able to share as much of the great times as we had, but now the series shifts to a time that no one wants to delete, call me Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, cause next week I’m going to college!

God I miss being that skinny!

God I miss being that skinny!

 

 

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TBS – Throwback Summer: Prom Night

The next couple of posts in our on going series, Throwback Summer, will feature multiple photos that cover major events from my past. First up, Prom Night. The Super Bowl of High School. A teenager hears about Prom a million times before it actually arrives. Whether from movies, primetime teen soaps, the news, or just constant conversations amongst friends forecasting how awesome it is going to be. It is built up to be this magical night where all your dreams come true and you’ll be telling your grandkids about it. Any time expectations are raised to an astronomically high level typically only disappointment follows. Not only was Prom not the best night of my life, it doesn’t even crack the top 100, in fact it actually kind of sucked.

As it turns out, teenagers are not the only ones who hear about Prom a millions of times, their parents do as well. Only they do not respond with the giddy excitement of anticipation, but rather dreadful fear. Fear that their kids will ruin their future, by getting arrested, pregnant, or worse. They have the date marked on their calendars to prepare for battle. And our parents were the equivalent of going up against America in a World War. The odds were stacked against us. 

We knew that we needed to come up with ultimate plan in order to secure a fun Prom after party and we thought that we’d done it. The party was scheduled to take place at my family’s lake house in Lake Geneva, WI. Chicago’s Big Bear Lake for all my LA readers. We knew that the parents would check our overnight bags before we got on the bus to take us north. It would’ve been a fool’s errand to try to pack any contraband in them. They would’ve thrown it out immediately and raised the red flags. And they were sure to vet our bus driver, plus pay him extra to not pick up any alcohol on our way. So what to do? It appeared we had run out of ideas, until brilliance struck. We could drive alcohol up the weekend before and hide it at my lake house to have it waiting there for us. It was only a hour and half ride, three hours round trip, we wouldn’t be home too late to raise our parents’ suspicions.

We had a plan, so the Saturday before Prom, Billy, Joe Daly, and I drove up. I know Bill drove up, I only think Joe was with us. As I remember there were three of us and if it was someone other than Joe I apologize. Please forgive my terrible memory, I mean no offense. I knew where the spare key was hidden and the alarm codes, so we were covered there. The only thing left to decide was where to hide it, but luckily using my knowledge of the location I already knew the perfect spot – the crawl space on the lower level. It was the perfect spot, hidden, plenty of space, and located where we would want to party in the house. Boom-diggity! We were all set. The operation went off without a hitch. All that was left to do was wait to get to the house and then let the festivities commence. It was perfect.

Unfortunately, life is not meant to be perfect and our plan did not play out as we expected. There were two things that we overlooked. First, was how diligent and awake the parents in charge of watching us at the house were going to be. I spent my entire senior year and the summer before college coming home hours after curfew because I had never seen my parents awake past 10pm. I guess they chose Prom as the night to introduce themselves to cocaine because they were awake and alert till past 5am. The second issue came from the fact that we were beer drinkers in high school, which was both the worst alcohol to leave in a crawl space for a week and to hide discreetly in another drink. Coke and beer is surprisingly not a tasty combination. 

The night was ruined, but not because of our parents vigilance, but rather by expectations to throw a huge rager in order to have a good time on Prom night. It should be about the people, not the activities. If you’re with people you love, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing. I wish I could go back in time, not to execute a better plan, but to convince myself that it is stupid to have these unrealistic expectations of what Prom should be. Our night was ruined because we were unable to get over our failure and the disappointment that we weren’t partying our faces off like some of our classmates. Damn you expectations, damn you to hell. Alright, now it is picture time.

I feel awful for that girl whom had to go to Prom with an ugly Vampire. Get some sun, Vampire!

I feel awful for that girl whom had to go to Prom with an ugly Vampire. Get some sun, Vampire!

Here is my lovely date, Colleen Kearney. Another big expectation of Prom is that it is a chance to make an proclamation of love to the girl you’ve been pining for since freshman year, or at the very least get laid. Colleen and I did not fall into that former category. I found her very attractive and we did hang out peripherally over all of high school, more so the last two years, so I also liked hanging out with her, but there were not any hidden sparks that came flying out that night. As for the latter, the getting laid part, well…absolutely not. I’m not sure if I’ve properly expressed how much of a loser I was in high school when it came to girls, but let me sum it up this way, I couldn’t have gotten laid in a whorehouse with a $1,000 dollars in my pocket.

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This is a picture of every person that went to my elementary school, Faith, Hope, and Charity, that was in our Prom group. From left to right, Brian Borah whom I already covered extensively in my first TBS article, so let me just add one more thing – if he weren’t standing on a step he wouldn’t have come up to the shoulders of the girl in the gold dress. The girl in the gold dress is Rachel Murray, I really did not interact with Rachel much so I can’t really share a cool story. I apologize, but part of this exercise is realizing which people made an impact on my life and which did not. Next to Rachel, in the blue dress, is Molly Gapen. More on her in a little bit. 

In the middle in the brown dress is Meghan Borah, Brian’s younger sister by one year. I write a lot sister characters in my scripts and the reason is that I always wanted a sister, preferably one older and one younger. Meghan was the closest thing I had to a sister growing up and she was a more than worthy substitute. I lost touch with her since college, which may mean that it is a good thing that I didn’t have a sister, but I’ll always appreciate her for filling that role in my life back then. Next to Meghan is Shannon Steger, whose younger brother, Kevin, is one of my brother’s best friends so I still hear about her through a third degree of separation. But she was one of the toughest and most athletic girls I knew growing up. I was afraid to play her in anything because I didn’t want to face the shame and ridicule of losing to a girl. And finally next to me on the left is Hope Holmberg, whom I also mentioned in my first TBS post. I think the smile on her face sufficiently summarize all I said about her and the way she brings joy into any room she enters.

If only I listened to my father...

If only I listened to my father…

You may have noticed that I left out a description of Molly Gapen in the last picture and thought, “Huh that is weird. Why did he do that?” I wanted to give her a picture of her own with yours truly because she represents a very important lesson I learned too late and one I will make sure any son of mine will not commit the sins of his father. See Molly and I went to school from kindergarden thru 12th grade. And as far back as I remember my father always told me that I should be talking to her as much as possible. He’d egg me on, “talk to her, she’s going to be a good one. Don’t screw this up.” For various reasons ranging from, thinking girls had cuddies to being afraid to talk to them to other kids not thinking she was cute, and also the simple fact that it was lame to do what your father tells you to, I never did talk to her much. See what I didn’t realize at the time, though I very much wish I did, was that my Mom and Molly’s Mom went to high school together and therefore my Dad had met her in college. Having seen how attractive she was back in the day and having biological knowledge that was beyond my fourth grade mind he knew that Molly would also become that attractive. And damn if it didn’t turn out exactly that way. Two days after Father’s Day I thought it was appropriate to reiterate the fact that Father Knows Best!

I may have missed out due to my stupidity, but my first best friend that I met in high school, Quinn Ford was smart enough to not only take Molly to Prom, but also date her for Senior year, which was best for everyone. Reference my earlier statement about Whorehouses, $1,000, and getting laid. I’m lucky enough to still call Quinn one of my best friends. There is no one I have an easier time talking to than him. We share a lot of life philosophies and never judge each other, no matter how weird, twisted, dark, and fucked up some of her conversations get. And they tend to get all of those at once. Hanging out with him is on my short list of things I miss most about Chicago, along with eating at Portillos and drinking on E Division Street. Oh and my family, of course. For some reason I could not find a picture of him from Prom otherwise I would add it here, but there will be one of him at some point in this series, I promise.

And for anyone who cares enough about how things turned out between him and Molly based on two paragraphs of writing about them…First off, easy there weirdos, secondly things ended before college started, which was also best for everyone as he was lucky enough to meet and date for the past 6 years, a beautiful, intelligent, funny alumnus of the best Law School in Chicago. And Molly, well actually I have no idea what’s happened to her, so maybe I can’t say for sure if it worked out best for everyone, but at least it did for Quinn.

Anyways, this is everything I learned from my memories of Prom. Remember, life isn’t about the events you attend, but the people you attend them with. Some of the best nights of my life is sitting around with my favorite and playing categories or card games, talking about how we’d fix the world’s problems, or arguing about sports. It may sound stupid to you, but it doesn’t matter cause to me they’re precious memories of spending time with the people I love.

TBS: Throwback Summer

Summer time is upon us. It is time for BBQs, sundresses, sunburns, baseball, The World Cup to save us from having to watch baseball, and television summer event series used as a ploy to keep you inside to keep the commercialization machine moving. I thought it would be nice to join in on the fun with a summer article series of our own. TBS – Throwback Summer. I’m going to hop on Don Draper’s Carousel, anyone whom doesn’t get this reference saddens me, and revisit my life, not in polaroids, but in Facebook pictures. At first I thought about doing the classic list and rank my top 50 favorite Facebook pictures, but then after going through them all I decided it would be an impossible task to choose a favorite. Instead I’m going to go in chronological order and tell the story behind each of my favorite photos. Even if you do not know me or any of the people involved in the photos I hope you find the stories entertaining and the process educational. There are a lot of pratfalls to having Facebook, but the one constant positive is having a digital vault of photos to access our past any time we want. Let’s get started with my oldest Facebook photo.

Halloween 2006.

Halloween 2006.

Okay, so it was a bit of a white lie, this is not the first photo ever taken of me, but the oldest one to survive all the constant Facebook updates and format changes. It comes to us from Halloween 2006, my senior year of high school. As I mentioned in my article, I’m Done Giving A Shit, last week I was a scared little sheep in high school. All I cared about was being cool and having people like me. It affected my life both socially and academically. I wasn’t happy cause I wasn’t being me and my grades suffered tremendously my Freshman year. I received the only C of my entire life Freshman year of high school, Integrated Science. A major reason why I was able to avoid falling deeper down the rabbit hole and seriously messing up my life was the group of friends that I made starting in my sophomore year.

We were a group of misfits without a home until we decided to make our own. These guys made high school an enjoyable experience. I felt comfortable to be me, the goofy, sometimes slightly weird, and nerdy me because I knew that they would still like me. Not all of them are in this picture, but it still captures the essence of happiness they gave me. First of all take a look at me, far left. Is that a face? Or a billboard for a game of connect the dots. I was going through a terrible acne phase in 2006, from Summer through the Winter. I tried all the over the counter medicines, didn’t work. I let an acupuncturist convince me she was the answer, all she did was stab my face with toothpicks for an hour and leaving it bloated, bleeding, and still loaded with acne. While acutain gets the ultimate praise for defeating those damn pesky red dotted bastards, it was my friends that gave me the confidence to still go out and enjoy a night like Halloween, while my face dressed up as a Pepperoni pizza.

The other great thing about my friends is that we shared similar traits, in this case procrastination. Despite my best efforts to convince myself that this is the year I get ahead of the game and come up with the perfect Halloween costume, I always end up scrounging in my closet the day before or even the day of Halloween and coming up with some half assed costume. That year I had company as we all showed up as “Tom Cruises” from various movies. I was Top Gun Cruise because I put on my Dad’s old leather jacket and wore aviators.

Standing next to me is my fellow real life Tom, McCaskey, as Jerry Maguire Cruise. Tom and I have have the most similar senses of humor out of all of my friends. The biggest jump between numbers is two and three, at least when it comes to friends. There are very few people with whom we can carry one-on-one conversations with for an extended time. In a group of friends there are always people that you’re close to within the group setting, but when you’re stuck alone you strain to come up with a topic of conversation and pray for another friend to show up soon to relieve the awkwardness. This never happens with Tom and I, there are a few others that can tie him, but nobody that beats him. We can talk about anything and always keep each other entertained. I miss having him around to lighten each other’s mood and hope some day to live near each other again.

Next to him, center front, is Mike Juettner, aka Mikey The Jet, Last Samurai Cruise. I had a lot of enjoyable experiences with The Jet, top of the list would have to be Mark Buehrle’s no-hitter against the Texas Rangers, April 19, 2007. But the first thing I think about when I hear from or see him is our constant competition. We competed and most often argued over everything. I’m a highly argumentative guy, I’ve covered my reasons for this before, but Juettner is the only person I’ve ever known who matches my love for competitive banter. We spent entire lunch periods yelling back n’ forth over varying topics. Our most popular one was who should be the Bears’ starting QB, Rex Grossman or anyone else. I was on team Rex and he was on team anyone else. Our arguments carried over to every pickup game we ever played against each other, which was a lot.  The most famous was when he called a charge against me in Attic Basketball, which was played with a Nerf Ball and a Little Tike hoop. We tore into each other for the next hour, ruining the evening for the rest of our friends and then did not speak to each other for the next week out of anger. I miss having my fellow combatant around. It is special to have a friend where you can rip into each other endlessly and still be cool with each other, even if it takes a week apart some times. 

Behind Juetner is my shortest in height, but longest in length friend Brian Borah. He is the only one not dressed as a Cruise, but rather just simply a fisherman. Ive known Brian since kindergarten, scarily that means for 20 years. Although we have not always been friends for that long, as my first attempt to befriend him ended in disaster as I dunked him in a pool for so long that he thought he might drown. What was supposed to be a friendly action led to him being scared of me for many years to follow. It was not until about the 6th grade that we started hanging out a lot, but really it was the fact that we went to the same high school together that made us become so close. Before that I was best friends with my two next door neighbors, but since both of them went to the public school, while Brian and I went to the Catholic one, I stopped seeing them.

I would’ve thought that going to different schools wouldn’t stop next door neighbors from hanging out, but it did. The silver lining was that it allowed Brian and I to become best friends in high school. He is the most interesting person I’ve been friends with a true savant at everything he touches. It was intimidating at times to be friends with him. But since he lived the closest to me of all my friends I spent an absurd amount of time at his house. His family became my family, which was nice because he had six siblings to my one and as a kid that dreamed of having 21 siblings it was nice to get a few more. It was always an enjoyable challenge to be friends with Brian, he operated on a different plane than everyone else and what was difficult for me came easy to him. Out of all my friends that helped me grow out of my sheepish ways, I have to give him the most credit. It was nothing that he said, but rather his actions that inspired me. Brian was always comfortable being himself and it was difficult to not be motivated around him.

To the left of Juetner and Borah is Joe Daly, Juwanna Man Cruise. Yes, we know that Cruise wasn’t in Juwanna Man, but it is funny to imagine if he were. Really Joe just wanted to wear the jersey of his true love, Tracy McGrady. Joe had the worst luck of anyone in our group. He always seemed to be getting in trouble for this or that and spent a lot of time grounded. But I have to hand it to Joe he was in trouble a lot cause he loved to have a good time. He was a fun-loving guy who brought a lot of joy to our group. The energy always picked up when he was around. I probably spent the least one-on-one time with Joe out of all my friends. It was a combination of meeting him later than most the others, him living the farthest from me, and all those groundings. As such I’ve lost touch with him the most of any of my friends. From what I hear, he’s doing well, has been in a relationship for a few years, and enjoying Chicago. I miss having a guy like Joe around. It is always good to have people who want to have a good time around, to lighten the mood and lift your spirits.

And finally on the far right, we follow the person I’ve been in the least contact with to the person I’ve been in the most. Billy Kirland, my roommate and fellow Millennial Man founder/editor in chief. You’ve all gotten to know Bill through his own articles, so I’ll keep this short and sweet. Billy was our leader in high school, a role which in he both relished and thrived. We would have wandered aimlessly and never organized ourselves if not for him. He was like our Mance Rayder, but instead of bringing together warring tribes, he brought together apathetic, procrastinating, sarcastic teenagers and turned them into something more. The traits that made him a great leader in high school have not disappeared over time. I count myself lucky to not only still be friends with him, but also live with him and start a Production Company with him. There is not enough thanks in the world to Billy and the rest of my friends from high school. They helped me become the person I am today.

My other close friends not pictured will pop up as this series continues and I look forward to telling you how special they are as well. One final thanks before I bring this article to a close, thank you to Hope Holmberg for hosting the Halloween party at which this photo was taken. I went to school with Hope, or Hopie as she was affectionately called, for 12 years and there is not a person with a brighter personality that I’ve met in my time on this Earth. She had an infectious smile that light up any room she entered. The last time I saw her was on a train from Indian Hill station to downtown Chicago. It had probably been two years since I had least seen her then, yet she still greeted me with the warmest of hellos. The morning train ride into the city could be a depressing bore, but the times I was lucky enough to share it with Hope made it much more enjoyable.

I know that a no person is Disney Princess happy all the time, as Hope made herself appear. I regret not getting to know her more, to know when she was sad or mad, and to know how to cheer her up as she did for so many. Life moves in one direction, but it is nice to look back and think about the people that you’ve met. The one’s you respect, the one’s that make you laugh, the one’s that can draw out a passionate argument from you, and the one’s that brighten your day. By looking back and having regrets of not appreciating them more, we can be better prepared for when we meet new people with the same traits. There are a lot of reasons why I hate Facebook, but having this amazing Time Machine to hop into and enjoy the past makes it worth keeping around. Thanks, Mr. Zuckerberg.