Swell Birthday – An Encore
Easy peasy! Cuz not only is this one of my favourite posts about one of my favourite people but wouldn’t cha knowit…today is her birthday! (Again).
Popular, pretty ‘Swell befriended the shy, awkward kid with crooked legs and an Orphan Annie perm. In doing that she gave me the gift of self-confidence. A gift that almost 25 years later, I still tearfully thank her for.
I’ve got a best friend. But we’re not your traditional female best friends. We’re not one of those gushy women buddy couples that hug all the time or sob about how much we are there for each other. If we hear “Wind Beneath My Wings,” we’re not going to listen to it and coo about our friendship —we’re going to flip the bloody dial.
It is safe to say our friendship will never be depicted in an ad for some feminine hygiene product.
We like it that way. It goes unspoken but has been proven throughout life’s shit storms, we got each other’s ass.
Us – 1998ish…
We’ve got something like 20+ years of friendship behind us and have had more adventures than Snake and Joey Jeremiah. (I was going to add Wheels in there but things were never the same after Wheels chose to drive drunk, crashed his car and critically injured Lucy Fernandes. Wheels still sticks by his defense that “Its not my fault Lucy wanted chips.” Whateves Wheels, whateves.)
‘Swell and I have traveled to Florida in the bed of her father’s truck with nothing but some magazines, some water ski equipment and a Rancid CD to amuse us. One New Years Eve we got so drunk we got kicked out of a notoriously crazy house party (how drunk were we???), stumbled 2 kilometres home in subzero temperature and crashed on her parent’s couch with still 30 minutes left before the big countdown at midnight. We picketed the local McDonalds – in the rain – as part of the McDonalds Boycott Coalition’s “Adopt-A-McDonalds” campaign decrying McDonald’s cruelty to cows. (OK – ‘Swell picketed. I sat on the curb beside her wondering if the $8 bottle of Neutrogena shampoo I had just bought would give my hair enough sheen to attract the attention of a boy I had been crushing over.)
Us – May 2002
But our most ambitious project was the McNic. (A combo of our names – not a shout out to Swell’s arch enemy). Swell and I were big into the high school newspaper “The Scoop”. Swell loved it as it gave her a platform to (rightly) call out the faults of the administration or the Student Council. She also loved to write about the environment or social wrongdoings. I loved it because I got to write stuff (I thought) was funny and see it in print.
There was one tragic flaw to “The Scoop” – we couldn’t swear. Our desire to swear in print was all the fuel we needed to start our own ‘zine: The McNic.
We spent a month’s worth of Saturdays hovered over my IBM Thinkpad and Windows 3.1 cobbling together the McNic. Oh – it was going to be grand.
Our friend Bean had written a column on the ridiculousness of suicide spurned by the recent death of grunge God Kurt Cobain. Our friend Tyler had offered illustrations. I wrote an article rating the different scents offered by the makers of Teen Spirit deodorant. Swell had several environmentally themed articles in various states of completion.
Unfortunately, the McNic never made it to print. It was a victim of corporate greed…our greed. Swell and I decided to get part time jobs so we had some cash to spend on life’s necessities – Henna Hair Dye and broomstick skirts.
‘Swell got a job as a cashier. I got a job flipping burgers at McDonalds – the same McDs we Swell had picketed a few months prior.
Our friendship survived me collecting a paycheck from the Golden Arches. It can survive anything.
Happy Birthday Swell!
Just for you ‘Swell– “The Scoop” – April 1994.