The following was written as part of a group gift for my friend Jason’s 30th Wrigleyville Rooftop Birthday Party. We all have our favorite stories of the man and we all brought them to share. This was mine:
To Jason, my friend who lives as if he has no fear. Whether it be spending our beer money on an $80 lottery ticket (and managing to win $200) or following me into a mosh pit full of men twice our size, he always punches forward toward life when the more cautious of us might hesitate.
I remember one of the many raucous parties at the townhouse Jason shared in Kalamazoo. The key-less bedroom door had been mistakenly locked, trapping within the coats and purses of the entire party-packed house.
No matter. With our combined effort, Jason and I would shoulder down the door. We stepped back, we braced, we rammed. In reality, it was the door that won, knocking us both back and to the floor like a bad comedy gag. But we were not deterred.
We descended the steps, through the wall to wall guests downstairs and headed outside. At the back of the house, we spied the second floor bedroom windows. Though the wall offered little in the way of hand holds, I boosted Jason and watched him ascend. Suddenly, I realized that I was just sober enough to know that wall-climbing was a bad idea.
Jason, not quite as sober, disagreed and climbed on, defiant to my calls to stop. I looked down in worry, looked up to see if he’d fall and, instead, saw his legs disappear into the window.
I ran inside and up the stairs, cheering our win. I stood before the locked door, waiting, as any second, Jason would open it from within.
Then I turned and saw him walking down the hall from the other bedroom.
Well then. Back to the party. Eventually some larger individual would bash down the door, freeing the purses and foregoing Jason’s security deposit. But I’m sure we loosened it a bit for them.