Friday, July 22, 2005

Ode on a Grecian Spec

He’ll be embarrassed that I told this story, but I first met Spec in the summer of 1980, when we were both on tour with ELO. I was in charge of running the band’s t-shirts through the dryer right before the show to ensure they’d be nice and tight. Spec played piccolo in the actual light orchestra. Normally, performers didn’t mingle with roadies, but I ran out of quarters at the Laundromat right before a show. Spec heard of my plights and gave me a roll of quarters, saving the ELO show in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Because, really, who wants to see Jeff Lynne perform unless he's in a skin-tight t-shirt?

Imagine my surprise when Spec and I met up again twenty-four years later. But fate can be cruel- after a year of rockin’ good times, Spec made the decision to move to the Big Apple (most likely to study early Dutch settlements, knowing him). I know we will always KIT, be BFF, he’s 2 Good 2Be 4Gotten, and I LYLAS, so I’ll try not to be too sad that he’s leaving. But in commemoration of his time in the Midwest, I’d like to share what Spec means to me:

S is for skinny, which he is because he exists solely on movie nachos and fondue
P is for player, as in tennis and ultimate frisbee
E is for engaged, to a woman some say could do better
C is for crass, as everyone within hearing of the lunch table is well aware

J is for the imaginary friend he talks about incessantly
A is for his strange east coast accent (ask him to say the word “terrible”)
G is for the girly drinks consumed during Happy Hour
C is for the fact that he cries a lot (though always alone, to his credit)
T is for twelve, the age he looks
L is for the "upbeat" lesbian music he favors

So there you have it. Spec’s last name has finally been revealed. (Jagctl is the ancient Aztec word for “one who hugs without express permission.")

Now, so that I’m not accused of being insincere, I’d like to share some of my favorite Spec memories. (This sounds uncomfortably like a funeral oration, so I’ll just save the text. Just in case.)

The day I moved to this city, almost a year ago, Jack Thunder and Cordelia were kind enough to help me move into my fab apartment. Cordelia informed me that they would be bringing along a friend, namely Spec, to help. Quite frankly, I was embarrassed to have someone I didn’t even know help me move, but as soon he moved in my first box of books I knew I’d found a kindred spirit. My parents thought he was a fine, upstanding young man as well. Little did they know…

I was one of Spec’s assistants in purchasing an engagement ring for his lovely fiancée. Let’s just say we had fun playing it to the hilt, and the jeweler thought Spec’s “fiancée” was decidedly cold- both toward Spec and the entire experience. (Jeweler: What do you think of the ring? Me (shrugging): It’s alright.) Needless to say, the ring is beautiful and I’m fairly certain Spec’s real fiancée is enthusiastic about the pending nuptials.

Last fall, Spec and I drove to Nelsonville to see Dan Bern at Stuart’s Opera House. Since I don’t usually appreciate singer/songwriters post-1978, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was game due to Spec’s enthusiasm, the chance to hear live music, and the promise of singing protest songs against G. Dubyah. The Opera House was fantastic, the drive was lovely, the music was a call to action, but the company was the best part. Thanks, Spec!

And finally, one of my favorite Spec memories involves driving Upstate with him, Jack Thunder and Cordelia to see Rilo Kiley. Seriously, is there anything better than a music-related roadtrip? Catchy tunes, candy apples, religious cults, and scented candles made it a weekend to remember.

So what does all this blathering mean? It means I’m going to miss Spec something fierce. But to ease the pain, Spec, I promise to send you new music, think of you every time I go to a so-horrible-it’s-good movie, and even read your blog every once in a while. I wish you all the best and get ready to help me move when I eventually join you on the East Coast!


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