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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Different Trains

Once upon a time I was 23. No, fer reals and shit -- I WAS!

The small print shop where I worked, in Harvard Square, changed hands and my health plan went the way of the quagga.
This was AT THE SAME TIME of my very first brain do up (I should have a memory book for this -- Baby’s First Brain Surgery. It’ll be all done up with butter yellow and sky blue flossy ribbons with a pic of my first Schwanomma on the cover, framed in gold and silver decorative, squiggles). I squeaked by. My insurance coverage didn’t end until a few weeks post op but I def needed another gig molto rapidemente.

There was an opening at a downtown Boston copy and print chain. It was a small, local company but big enough to offer decent insurance plans. Yea!

Beauty was the first thing I noticed about the crew. Every last employee. Intimidated? Who me? Damn straight. Three of the men were a bit over six feet tall, trim and broad shouldered. On top of the whole statuesque, smart and handsome thing, they were all marvelously creative. Tom and Joe were writers. Phil was an actor.

Watching the three of them interact as they traded witticisms, references to literature, music, films and more, was like watching Gerry Mulligan, Art Farmer and Bill Crow riffing off each other on a fire hot night. And I got to work with them EVERY day! It sure made having a blah, sometimes shitty, job mega cool.

Time passes, lives mutate and shift. We all moved on -- took our different trains. Tom left and became a web designer/developer. Phil moved to Minnesota. Joe? Got me hangin’. Through the wonders of Facebook, Tom and I reconnected.

He posted this announcement on April 9th:
Copy Cop people of a certain era . . . remember Phil Kilbourne? Well, R.I.P. Phil Kilbourne.
and the comments:
Steve: This is bad, but my last surviving brain cell can't quite place this Phil. P4 CSR? The name is really familiar, but details escape me. Can someone enlighten me?
Me: here's a pic of him. He was a tall, sharp witted, funny stunner

Tom: As I told Joe in an email (I heard about Phil from Joe) I have a strong visual and aural memory of the three of us whistling something (The Stars and Stripes Forever?) in a manic, Marxian (brothers, not Karl, though Karl would be Marxist rather than . . . but I digress) fashion in front of a color copying machine. A good memory.

Donna, Joe says "Funny- the first memory that came to my mind was Donna Maderer saying something about "working with all these tall men," whereupon the three of us crowded around her and began singing "men, men, men, men" in comical baritones."

Steve: Gee, not sure why the "stunner" description didn't immediately bring him into focus. But my memory was of a tall, thin guy with an angular face, so I guess I remember him, just nothing specific.
Me: Oh man, Tom -- I totally remember that as well as the whistling trio. What a blast! Daddy always referred to Joe as 'Joe Gargery.' Say hey to Joe from me.

Tom: And now that I think of it, the whistling was operatic -- probably Rossini. We were a cultured bunch, after all.
And indeed we were.
Thou know'st 'tis common; all that lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.
-- Hamlet, Act I, scene 2, line 72.

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come.
-- Hamlet, Act III, scene 1, line 66


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