A Life of Letters

I’ll Be Bummed

Posted in 1977, Friends by southpawcom on February 6, 2010

It’s fun to think about my friend, Mike K., who was a second-tier friend from about 5th grade until the end of high school. Mike was a smallish, sensitive guy with a mellow and ironic sense of humor. He often would pad around the hallways of our high school, usually in the company of a couple of the artier girls, with this unperturbed and somewhat spaced-out look on his face, and when I would see him, I couldn’t help but smile. He’d look up at me and say, “Mark, I’m so bummed….” But when he laughed it sounded a little like a goat. I could make him laugh pretty easily.

Mike was a pretty good actor. He had some memorable roles in our theater days, the Hermit in a one-act play in our “Theater-In-The-Round,” which had lines like, “Drink….drunk….past the twelve….my you’re looking pale today….” He also played Nathan Detroit in “Guys and Dolls” and had to sing “Sue Me.” I remember his angsting out because in his role as Allen-A-Dale in “Merry Yours, R. Hood,” he had to learn guitar well enough to play it and sing a short ballad. He did great!

Mike was actually elected our senior class president. He had a girlfriend for a couple of years in high school, Terri L. They were quite a pair, as she was several inches taller than he. They were kind of like Agents 99 and 86 or maybe Tenille and the Captain.

He drove a beat-up Oldsmobile that he called Clem. Once Will got sick while we were driving and drinking on Orchard Lake Road in West Bloomfield, and he rolled down the window and threw up all over Clem’s door. Mike was unflapped. Said he, oy vey, “Little Billy….throwing up.” Sunrise, Sunset.

When we were younger, he was the only player on my Little League team who was a worse hitter than I was. His dad was one of the coaches, and having been my son’s Little League coach for several years, I can only imagine how that must have made for some uncomfortable dinner table conversation.

On September 7, 1974, Mike invited me to spend the night at his house, and we went to a beach party. He had gotten access to some Scotch, and it was the first time in my life I ever got drunk. I can still recall the slanted late summer sunshine and jumping around his yard and driveway, jabbering away to nice looking girls at the beach, and feeling the exhilarating effects of alcohol on my wiry teenage frame for the first time.

Mike learned about being depressed well enough, I suppose, that he grew up to become a psychiatrist. He also went gay. Will and I drove down to Ann Arbor about 15 years ago to see him, and he was balding and had a beard. He didn’t seem nearly as fun as he used to be.

I’ll still fondly remember a lot of good times with Mike K.

I had moved with Mom and Dad to New Jersey right after graduation from Andover High and was planning a trip back to Michigan to see friends and family.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: