Friday, October 16, 2009

A Reading from the Book of Dreams

This evening a gentleman who it has been my pleasure and privilege to call my friend for the better part of the past decade and a young lady whose friendship I have enjoyed the benefit of for about half as long shall be married. At some point shortly after 6:00 p.m. tonight Dave and Lindsay, considerably more than simply two lawyers in love, will walk as two down the aisle at the commencement of the festivities and will walk as one up the aisle at their conclusion.

I actually met Dave several years before we were formally introduced to one another. We had the good fortune of sitting together in the little pseudo-steno pool that the Bar Examiners forged out of a vacant hallway at the Ukranian Center in Somerset, New Jersey for the July 1994 New Jersey Bar Examination. I thought I was the only one whose handwriting resembled the random scratchings of a demented person. Nope. As I learned in late July 1994 at least two dozen other similarly-afflicted souls existed who had also signed up for the Bar Exam. Among our number - at opposite ends of the room - strangers to one another sat Dave and me.

At some point during the morning session of the test, with all of us banging away on our typewriters, waking up echoes of the newsroom in All the President's Men, Dave ran out of ribbon for his machine. While I am not the most observant member of the tribe, he uttered aloud a few choice words that immediately transported back to the home where I was raised and which I immediately recognized as something other than the alternate version of Kool and the Gang's signature jam.

Being married to the world's most retentive woman has its advantages - as Dave would soon come to learn and to appreciate. Margaret had insisted upon me bringing with me to the test - roughly speaking - a gross of replacement ribbon cartridges for my electric typewriter. If the testers in New Jersey used a testing format similar to that favored at Le Mans, I would have had more than enough ribbon to type with impunity. I certainly had enough to spare to help out a fellow sufferer - who happened to have an electric typewriter identical to my own. And I did. At some point in mid-afternoon I finished my exam and at some point - I cannot recall whether it was before or after I did - Dave completed his. We left the building at separate times and headed off in different directions.

Proving that even blind squirrels find nuts, Dave and I both passed the Bar Exam in July 1994, which represented our first attempt at it. It used to be vogue to point out that it took JFK, Jr. at least three tries to pass the New York Bar Exam but once, tragically, he was revealed to be an even worse pilot than he was standardized test taker, it ceased to be so. Several years after we sat for the test - in either 1999 or perhaps 2000, a bunch of us got together to play in a single-day charity softball tournament that was being held in Middlesex. Diego arrived the morning of the tournament at my house with a few faces I did not know in his car. One of those faces was Dave's. As they all got out and we got to talking, someone mentioned "weird bar exam stories", which prompted Dave to tell the story of the stranger who helped him out several years earlier by providing him with replacement ribbon cartridges for his typewriter when he had none. At that point, I introduced myself to him as the aforementioned stranger. We have been good friends ever since.

Dave used to - when he would have a particularly lousy day at work - send me the occasional e-mail or text message blaming me for getting him into this mess of a career we call the practice of law. I would receive a lot of stuff from him that started, "but for......." and he would go on to set forth his theory regarding my culpability for his misery. I did notice however that those, "Dear Adam - I hate you for tossing me that F****ing ribbon cartridge!" I had grown to love so much came to a grinding halt several years ago. He ceased sending them without any explanation. The well apparently had simply run dry.

And then, way back when in April 2006, Margaret and I were introduced to Lindsay. And without further need for visual cues, it became obvious to me why my pal Dave no longer voiced a syllable of regret about his career choice. My introduction to Lindsay came when the four of us drove together to Asbury Park to watch one of Springsteen's rehearsal shows for his Seeger Sessions Band. If memory serves me correctly, Lindsay had never been to a Springsteen show before that night. I remember Margaret commenting to me - after we had all driven back to our house together and Dave/Lindsay drove off together from there - that she had seen "that look" in Dave's eyes all evening when he looked at Lindsay, when he spoke to her and when he listened to her talk. It was my wife's educated guess that love was afoot and at some point thereafter Dave was going to ask Lindsay to marry him.

Hell of a prognosticator my wife, eh? Do not be too impressed. On her recommendation I took the Pats and laid the points in the Super Bowl two years ago. At some point, I hope to grow to miss my weekly meetings with Knuckles and the fellas.

Margaret might have been wrong about that one but, happily, she was spot-on accurate about Dave and Lindsay. Tonight we are among those who they have invited to share the first big event of their life together with them. And we look forward to being there tonight to watch them exchange their vows and to dance their first dance and to bask in the joy of taking those first precious steps together.

There is a lot of bullshit in this world. It has always been out there. It will always be out there. Its presence does not stop us from living our life however. Happiness is out there as well. We simply have to be willing to endure the tough stuff in order to find it. That which does not kill us makes us stronger right?

The scars we carry remain but the pain slips away it seems. This evening it shall be but a it should be.


1 comment:

David said...

Great to have you share the day with us. I hope we do 1/2 as well as you Margaret!!!