I have remembered fondly many times with guys I hung out with. Between cracking jokes, scrounging money for illicit alcohol, and various other fun activities, we had a blast. I left it behind when I went into the military.
When I left, one of those guys became a shitty outlaw. Meth made him an asshole and plenty of people couldn’t stand to be around him. Another dude boosted guns from a delivery truck and attempted to sell them to a fence. It failed and he along with a known snitch ended up in juvie. A man I considered a brother of sorts found himself down on his luck, rolling with a bunch of jackasses, high on cocaine and beating wholesale ass with a baseball bat. The rat amongst them saw to it that he visit the regional prison for a spiritual retreat. This man, “Petey”, is who I will focus on today.
I went to see Petey after he got out of jail. He was engaged. He had a beautiful little place a short drive from where I live. He let things fall apart. He ran off a beautiful fiancée and a cherub of a child. He dragged ass about finding work. But one of the most disturbing things was to come.
He ended up moving back home to live with his enabling mother. He went back to working cooking jobs at fast food or chain restaurants. (Please note: Petey was a sous chef at one time before his fall). He ended up avoiding the cretins but he dove into one of my least favorite poisons; nostalgia. He would get onto Facebook and crow about how he “couldn’t wait to get some of the guys together”. Petey would try to get a chuckle out of us guys in adding a mention of our drunken tomfoolery of past.
The irony is that several of us are clean. One goes to AA and I don’t get into that stuff anymore. A few of us have sensitive careers that don’t look fondly on hanging out. A well meaning AA going guy mentioned that we moved on. I didn’t see much of any of those guys when I had a reason to be in town, (minus AA guy runs a training program and a gunsmithing operation). Looking back at this, it struck me when I used to hear assholes on the news say the following:
“I’ve got to rep my crew and my street”.
The irony is that this is often after they come back from the military or life changing event. Knowing, for the most part, that these people bring nothing to them, outside of trouble or nostalgia.
I don’t have much back “home”. Only one or two folks did anything that didn’t mirror being an bankrupt anchor. The healthiest of the “old crew” would fall silent during a conversation, knowing that we weren’t bonded by old antics. We both knew that each other were serious about work and family. I wasn’t offended.
I wanted to part with a warning via Ryan @ Path to Manliness. He had a email that was titled “Your Old Friend Will Hold You Back”. He had mentioned “ your high school friends will bring you down”. Petey was the last one that could hold himself accountable or even try to inspire others. I, like Ryan, needed better in my life.
I was never going to find it back home and I wasn’t going to find it “repping my old crew”.