Tuesday, November 06, 2007
At the end of Part One yesterday, I told you that NYJB was short for New York Jew Boy, my affectionate nickname for Fred Goodman. I also told you that Fred calls me a Boston Mick. Among the other things Fred has called me:
Sabre-Toothed Mastodon (that was before I got my implants)
When I'm not calling Fred "NYJB", I call him Fred, Freddy, FG or Goody (which is what he prefers, as he always has that on the backs of his softball jerseys) and, when he doesn't slide on a play that clearly calls for it, You Dumb Bastard.
(It just now occurs to me that Fred has never called me by my actual first name, Jim, during the entire time I've known him. That's OK. Nobody says, "Sully!" with quite as much gusto as Fred does, so I prefer that.)
Now, you may be asking yourself how a New York Jew Boy and a Boston Mick became such good friends. I've told this tale before, but it's worth re-telling.
Fred, originally from Brooklyn (of the Sheepshead Bay Goodmans) came to Boston to attend college. He matriculated all over the Northeastern campus until they caught him at it one day and told him he had to leave.
I had been working at a place called Blake & Rebhan. It was a stationer/office supply company, located on D Street in South Boston. I started there in 1985. After I had been there for two years, Fred came to work for the company. That was in October of 1987.
My ascent up the company ladder had already been taking place. I started in the warehouse, picking orders. From there, I was promoted to the shipping department, and then to purchasing. I had been kicked upstairs to customer service by the time Fred was hired. I would soon be given another promotion, to the catalogue publications department. As a matter of fact, I was the catalogue publications department. However, that's another story - and you can find it right here. If you still have the stomach for it, part two can be found here.
Fred and I became decent acquaintances immediately, but our true bonding didn't happen until about two months later. We attended a company Christmas party. Blake & Rebhan was full of people who knew how to party - often to the detriment of their own personal health - and this Christmas party was no slouch. Everybody was quite juiced, all on their own favorite substances. Mine was a mix of vodka and cocaine. Fred's was... well, probably a bit of smoke to go with the liquid refreshments, although I don't want to cast any aspersions upon his current boy-scout-like reputation.
We had previously discussed many things - shoes, ships, sealing wax, cabbages and kings - but it was at this party that we discovered each other's affinity for all things Deep Purple; that is, the rock group. We found out we were both fanatics, in the truest sense of that word. And thus it was that, somewhere around midnight, we were hanging onto each other and singing "Highway Star" a cappella at the top of our lungs.
We became bosom buddies from that point on. Our friendship was further strengthened the next spring and summer. Fred played softball on the company team, of which I was the manager. We have been teammates - mostly on teams that I've managed - ever since.
Also, since our friendship was more-or-less founded on a heavy metal basis, we have attended many concerts together. As a matter of fact, I can count on the fingers of one hand (well, maybe two hands and one foot) the number of concerts I've attended without Fred, over the course of the past twenty years.
I'll tell you a few concert-going war stories.
Going to a concert with Fred is an experience. It has a bit to do with our tastes in music. We prefer groups - like AC/DC, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple – who are loud, heavy, full of aural pyrotechnics, and whose concerts are sometimes populated by the anti-social and uncivilized. But, no matter what band is playing, Fred and I tend to have memorable experiences. Let me tell you about a couple of them.
We had tickets to see AC/DC in Providence. This was while we were both still employed by Blake & Rebhan, thus I was in the midst of my “If you take me to a baseball game, don’t show me the foul line; I’ll probably try to snort it” period.
Well, there was no coke to be had. I therefore made do by getting stewed to the gills on vodka alone. By the time we arrived in downtown Providence and parked, Fred basically had to tilt the car to one side and pour me out. Even so, I wasn’t so wasted that I didn’t realize that something was drastically wrong.
We had been able to find a parking space about half-a-block from the front door of the Civic Center. There were no throngs of tie-dyed neo-hippies, leather-clad groupies, or any of the other denizens of the deep one expected to see roaming the streets. The smell of weed was completely absent from the air. Nobody was hawking tour t-shirts, or trying to scalp bum tickets. There was no heat for the aforementioned to keep an eye out for. As a matter of fact, Fred and I were about the only people on the street AT ALL.
Fred said, “There’s something wrong here, Sully.”
I said something intelligent like, “Mmmfggrgnrawwww!”
Fred pulled the tickets out of his pocket and looked at them. I tried to focus, but it was a task just to stand still.
Fred said, “Sully, the concert is NEXT WEEK! We’re a week early!”
Fred picked up the pieces of my buzz and tossed them into the car. As we drove back towards Boston, I began to sober up enough to become semi-intelligible. Fred suggested that, so it wouldn't be a total loss, why don’t we go somewhere and get some Chinese food? I suggested China Sky in Dorchester, not too far from my house.
At the restaurant, Fred did most of the ordering. The only thing I remember, with crystal clarity, is that we had a dish called Char Sue Din. It was some sort of pork dish with almonds. I remember it so clearly because, as soon as I got home, I saw it again and again and again. I have never had Char Sue Din again, nor will I ever. Just typing this is making me queasy.
That wasn't the only time we went to a non-existent concert. We also went to see Ozzy Osbourne at Great Woods, but he wasn’t there when we showed up. We weren’t a week early this time. It was just that the concert had been cancelled, due to Ozzy coming down with mange or something, and we were the only two people who hadn’t paid attention enough to know about it. We circled the empty parking lot, finally saw a sign or something telling us about the sad news, and then we went home. We did NOT stop off for Char Sue Din that time.
Now, I don’t want to leave you with the impression that every concert we attended – or tried to attend – was a disaster. Sometimes they came with a bonus.
We again had tickets for AC/DC, and this time we showed up on the right date. They were excellent tickets, too. We were in the second row, slightly left of center stage, at the Fleet Center in Boston. As the band launched into it’s first number, Fred gave me a poke in the ribs and told me to look where he was pointing. What I saw was the most amazing thing I have ever seen at a concert.
There was a group of very attractive women in our row, just five or six seats to our right. They were flashing the band with their very attractive breasts. When they tired of that, they basically started doing each other, right out in the open. They were dropping their drawers and poking their noses into each other’s business. It was a jaw-dropping spectacle. As a matter of fact, there was a kid sitting next to me - he couldn’t have been more than 15 - and his mouth just sort of hung open, drooling, for the entire concert. I don’t think he looked at the band once all night.
The personal highlight of the evening came when one of these tarts decided to go take a pee or something, and she slinked by us as she made her way out of the arena. As she passed me, she grabbed my crotch and gave it a healthy squeeze. She looked me in the eye and winked, then continued on her way. Well, I’m a very happily married man now, and I was then, too, so I didn’t follow her. I just sort of stood there, stunned. I told Fred that I had been groped. I got the sense he was just a wee bit jealous of the attention that had been lavished upon me.
When the band left the stage before their encore number, someone came out from the wings and escorted those ladies backstage. Big surprise. Angus and the rest of the boys from down under weren’t blind.
Well, that gives you some background concerning Fred and myself. We’ve shared a few interesting adventures and we’d pretty much go to the wall for each other.
Be that as it may - and I've never been given any reason why it shouldn't - I promised you the details concerning the impending get-together to watch BC play Florida State, so it's about time I get to them. I had Fred’s promise that we’d stay for the whole game, so I was really getting psyched. This was going to be one of the hottest tickets in town. I had just one question for Fred. Could he get an extra ticket for my cousin?
Tomorrow: Fred Gets An Extra Ticket For My Cousin.
(Kind of takes all the suspense out of it, doesn't it? Eh. You know me. By the time I'm finished writing it, it will probably have nothing to do with what I've promised you.)