As I’ve written before, my mom passed away on October 12th or 14th of 1999 – which also happened to be my senior year at Syracuse University. And when my mom died, all of my roommates and friends really stepped up to support me.
For example, on the night I learned that my mom died, one of my best friends, Stephen Harlton hopped in his Jeep Cherokee and found me as I was off walking around on campus all pissed-off and angry. He told me to get in and he just drove me all over Central New York because I was upset and didn't want to be at home.
Years later, after Harlton came out of the closet, I learned that he was actually driving around looking for a gay hand job, and it was only coincidence that he picked me up. But I’d like to point out that he still put aside his homosexual needs to support me instead.
FYI -- Harlton’s the tall lanky gay guy on the left.
In addition to that, all of my roommates drove up to Auburn, Maine -- an eight hour drive from Syracuse, New York -- just to attend my mom’s funeral. But once again, I learned after Harlton came out of the closet that he only drove to the funeral just for all the truck rest stops that he’d be forced to stop at along the way.
But in all seriousness, it was the little things that my friends did that really helped me get through that incredibly tough time in my life. Little things like buying me beer, or staying up late to watch Mr. Show, or playing Risk when they should have been studying for an exam instead.
My roommates were great, and everyday I was reminded of how lucky I was to have good friends like them. But of all the things my friends did for me after my mom died, I’d have to say the greatest thing any of them did for me was what Dave Guthro did.
Guthro or “Guth”, as I like to call him, is a world class Masshole with a heart of gold. He was born and raised in Medway -- a strange little Massachusetts town that he claims was called that because it somehow is magically the “mid-way” point between Boston and every other single town in the state -- despite pesky details like geography, zoning laws, and reality.
But as I was saying, when my mom died, Guth did the best thing anyone could do for me. He created the ALF Room.
For those of you who don’t know who he is, ALF was the star of his own NBC sitcom which aired for a few years in the late 1980’s. He was an Alien Life Form from the planet Melmac named Gordon Shumway, who crashed his space ship into an American family’s garage. And instead of using his superior knowledge of time and space to fix his ship and return home, he decided to stay on earth and tell bad jokes instead.
The ALF Room was a broken bathroom located in the basement of the four story house that I rented with my friends on 511 Euclid. And me and Guth called it the ALF Room because, A) it had a picture of ALF in it, and B) we used the room to get stoned off our asses every single night during our final semester of college. Now I realize those two things have nothing to do with each other, but it made sense to us -- probably because we were stoned.
And getting stoned in the Alf Room usually led to these three events:
1. Each of us eating half a dozen Ice Cream Sandwiches, which I would steal from the dining hall every night.
2. Watching the Big Lebowski on vhs
3. Making fun of Arn Albertini -- despite the fact he had already graduated from Syracuse a year earlier.
You get the idea. The ALF Room was a place where we could act stupid and forget about our problems -- especially mine. And although other people would often join us -- Cooch, Marczak, and Solazzo all made several appearances in the ALF Room -- me and Guth were always there every night, and I’ll always thank him for being a great friend when I needed one the most.
On a side note, years later, after Harlton came out of the closet, I learned that he also used the ALF Room too -- but that was for something entirely different…