#RIPWedge

Posted: February 18, 2015 by Crackin' Wax in General
Yesterday morning, my sister informed me of some very sad news. One of my high school classmates passed away. During all of my childhood and teen years, I had very few friends and was beaten up and bullied quite often by many people. This classmate was quite possibly the most popular guy in my class and, conversely, I was quite possibly the least popular. While things weren’t initially very smooth between he and I, he did what very few others at the time did—he showed me respect. Kevin, known lovingly as “Wedge,” didn’t fit the mold as the mean popular guy. Yes, he did occasionally find ways to upset me early on, but deep down he was a big kind-hearted teddy bear. He was smart, funny, charismatic, and a really great guy. While he and I were never close and were never really friends, it still hit me very hard when I read his obituary this morning. Last night, I wrote this tribute to Wedge…

Dear Kev,

You and I didn’t get along very well most of the time that we were together in high school; me the awkward loser, you the prom king (or was it homecoming?). You weren’t like many of the other “cool” kids, though. You had a warmth, a kindness that I didn’t often see outside of my very small circle of friends. You showed a genuine interest in a kid that had a hard time making his way through his teen years. One moment that I’ve thought about often over the years was a time when I was struggling in the batting cage during high school baseball practice. While the other kids were giving me grief, you saw how frustrated I was and took the time to show me how to make the bat contact the ball with consistency. No other teammate, no other friend, and no other coach took the time to teach me something as small yet so meaningful. You didn’t just show me how to hit a ball, you showed me kindness. You also thought it was so cool that I was able to play drums. I’ll never forget the day you tracked me down just to tell me how awesome you thought my band’s CD was. You even picked out a particular song and a specific drum solo that you told me you loved to crank up. You even gave me a nickname that only you ever called me, “Mad Skin Basher.” That nickname was a much welcome reprieve from constantly being called “shoulders,” “weak tit,” “grass fag,” and “Mr. Pimple” by our other peers. What you didn’t know, Wedge, was that, if not for you, I might have never drummed on any CD for any band. You see, you indirectly introduced me to edgier, hard-hitting bands of the day like Korn. You are without a doubt one-in-a-billion and I am truly sad that we will never cross paths on this earth again. Perhaps we will rock out together again someday. Until then, thank you, Kevin. I won’t forget you.

Sincerely,
“Mad Skin Basher”

Kevin made a difference in my teen years, whether or not he knew it. Our 20th high school reunion is later this summer and he was one of the people that, had I gone, I would have liked to have seen. That way, I could tell him to his face the small but important impact he made in my life. Since I can’t see you again, Kevin, I’ll play this song just for you—the one you loved air-drumming along with, the one you said I went “all apesh*t on the skins.”

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