““People used to make records, as in a record of an event…””
— Ani DiFranco, "Fuel"
This is a record dedicated to my friend Steven.
It’s funny and awesome and sad and amazing that we can literally go decades without sharing a single word with people that mean so much, yet still feel all the same love and loyalty and joy that started the friendship in the first place.
That’s why I wanted to write about Steven. I think about him at least three times a week.
He introduced me to a new world of music and people and places when we moved back to Waukesha in 1990. It was the last period of the first day of school – Algebra – and I hadn’t uttered a word all day. There he sat, back row, middle seat, cool, confident, self-assured… the type of guy you want to know.
There was a seat in front of him and I took it.
“I’m new. I don’t know anyone and haven’t said a word all day and it sucks. I’m Dan.”
We talked about music. He listened to my love for heavy metal and recommended music and bands that changed my life forever – Naked Raygun, Mighty Mighty BossTones and his favorite – Social Distortion. Every time Mike Ness’ voice comes through my headphones, I think of Steven, a huge grin on his face and more than a few beers in his system, smiling and saying “it’s time for a little, all-American punk rock…”
In every school there is one person that is universally recognized as the coolest person – that was Steven. Every group and clique knew he was awesome – the jocks, the popular kids, the nerds, the smart ones, the theater/drama kids. He respected everyone and got that back tenfold. Special people have a charisma that attracts others; something that makes you feel better when you are around them. Steven has that in spades.
He was one of my guides to the beauty and glory that is Canada and the Boundary Waters. We took three trips together: Steven, Chuds, Filardo, Kenny, Batt and I. The stories that make up those trips are some of my favorites to retell to this day.
There are moments in between that are just as amazing. From Madison to Milwaukee, Steven was the inspiration and instigator of some of our most infamous nights. Clouded memories that make me shake my head in awe and smile at what we did and how lucky we were to not kill ourselves or someone else.
The world is better, my life more fulfilled, thanks to Steven and the other 139 characters that have made such a difference to me.
Who is your Steven? Who do you still think about and wonder if they still think about you? Do they know how you feel? Steven – I hope you know now buddy…
Reach out to yours and make some no15e.