Monday, January 11, 2010

It's great to be writing again.

Throughout my childhood and teen years, I put pen to paper prolifically (plays, poems, stories, etc.) and expected I'd be a professional writer and actor someday.  As a matter of fact, I just reached over into my pre-computer writings drawer and pulled out my journal from 6th grade, in which I stated, "I will be a writer and an actor someday.  I will perform the words I write for myself."  It's what I enjoyed immensely and what I felt was my destiny. But then, when I got to college, something happened.

This is what happened:

Now, I'm not blaming the Ape for my suddenly decreased desire to compose future classics.  But, you see, I was not just deeply in love at first sight (I said, "I love you" on our first date, when he took me to a Burger King drive-thru in his father's ancient Chrysler New Yorker...but I'll tell that story of poor sexually frustrated Duane dealing with shy, virginal me another time); I was also deeply in awe of this amazing, cute but freaky-looking towhead who had deservedly earned the nickname "Little Andy Warhol" from others, and the nickname "The Clown" from me (before we'd officially met).

Everyone on campus knew of him.  The wiry, athletic boyish body (5'7" and 120 lbs.) with a shock of white hair on top...the quirkily ill-fitting 50's thrift shop clothes...the white tennis shoes he'd dyed bright pink with Ritt dye from Woolworth's...and, of course, his bright yellow plastic Fiorucci briefcase.  I was in love with his style; to me, it  showed fearlessness, which was a huge turn-on.  And I wanted not just to be with him; I wanted to be him.

So, when we began to cohabit a few months later (in the apartment we dubbed the Honeymoon Cottage), I got to wear his clothes, which were even more ill-fitting on me, since I was a few inches taller and 20 pounds bigger.  Then we started to shop for clothes together, got matching barbershop haircuts and looked like twins, which didn't exactly thrill the independent-minded Duane, but made me the happiest boy in the whole U.S.A.  This was exactly how I felt:

But what does all of this have to do with my stopping writing?  Well, Duane was not a writer.  (He was barely a speaker; I did most of the talking and he loved to listen, or so he said.)   So, I stopped writing.  But he was very talented at visual arts and our apartment walls were filled floor-to-ceiling with his drawings.  Here I am admiring his work at the time:

Duane had a double major of Economics (to satisfy his mother) and Art History (to satisfy himself).  As you've probably guessed, I soon switched from English to a double major of Economics and Art History, neither of which particularly interested me, but I wanted to be in all of his classes and I wanted to be him.

Eventually, I developed my own sense of style and identity (once Duane graduated and I moved back into the dorms) but I didn't return to my childhood passion of writing until years later, when I began to do stand-up comedy and wrote a solid hour of strong material for myself.  And now, I write the routines for Dick and Duane, with a lot of input from the Ape himself.

I love that Duane the former non-writer is doing this blog with me.  Maybe after all these years, he's become a little more like me, too. 

However, we definitely have different eating habits.


  1. I love your writing style. Perhaps a future classic will, indeed, still come out of you someday.
    Well done.

  2. thanks for sharing some of your life-shaping moments Richie. after following your antics on FB it is awesome (in the original sense of the word, not the informal teen-speak definition) to see beyond the public face of R&D. I've often wondered about the two of you and how you met, life stories, jobs, etc. I'm thoroughly enjoying reading both your blog entries.

  3. I love the early photos of how you evolved into the man that you are now.I can see why you were in awe of Duane.That was like the time that I wanted to be like COLT Man Gage Weston and Luke Garrett and join the gym.Do you see where I'm going with this?

  4. Thanks, you guys, for such nice supportive comments! I hope it's half as much fun for you to read the blog as it is for us to read your feedback.

    LOL, Frank!

  5. According to me...after all these years...this is probably the most beautiful public declaration of love You could make to Hipponia :))
    I'm so thankfull to have crossed ur roads...
    You really are wonderful friends and much more than thIS :)
    But you know it already :)


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