Thursday, August 01, 2013

"Arright. Let's do this."

Over the past couple of months, several people have asked if I'd be willing to share the story of how I met my best friend, Deb Koren.  I have four best friends, and I met three of them in fairly conventional ways (4-H group and college), but the friendship between Deb and I has a more unique origin story.  With her permission, I've decided to share it here.

It all began on this train to the little town of Colby.  I'd finally finished earning my law degree and was heading home for the first time in far too long.  And Deb was on that train too, but while I was in a fairly comfortable passenger car, she was manacled and chained up in a cattle car, on her way to face justice...

...no, sorry, that's our alter-egos.  

To tell the truth, it all started one night back in June of 2005.  Cowboy and I worked third shift, and I had the night off, but he was working.  I was bored and decided to search LiveJournal for bloggers with similar interests.  One of the things I searched for was "Vic Morrow."  One of the journals that popped up belonged to Deb, and I started reading post after post after post, leaving her comments all over the place as I discovered more and more interests that we shared.  Combat!, old movies, westerns, John Wayne, writing... the list went on and on and on.

As far as I can tell, this post is where she first commented on my blog.  Her comment is dated June 14, 2005, so we probably first 'met' a day or two before that.

By the end of a week of exchanging blog comments, I was calling her my friend.  We exchanged email addresses when it became obvious that blog comments just weren't good enough.  (Eight years later, we still exchange multiple emails most days.)  For several years, we also had long instant-messenger conversations every evening before I went to work.  

About eleven months after we first met online, we met in real person.  Deb flew to WI and spent four or five days with us.  We read each other's NaNoWriMo novels from the previous November.  We watched lots of movies together.  Deb got horribly sick.  Her sister thought she'd been kidnapped.  Good times!  

The funniest thing happened during that first visit.  One day, I showed up at her hotel to pick her up, wearing my "The Force is strong in this one" t-shirt.  When she opened the door and saw me, Deb began to laugh and laugh and laugh.  She pulled off her sweatshirt to reveal... the exact same shirt!  Neither of us knew the other owned it, but we both knew the other would get a kick out of it, so we quite randomly wore it on the exact same day.  Thus started a long, long tradition of (purposely) wearing the same t-shirts at the same time, which we've continued on most of our get-togethers.

Yes, get-togethers.  As in, multiple ones.  All told, in the eight years we've known each other, we've gotten together seven times.  I've met her whole family, she's met my whole family and some of my in-laws... it's awesome.  We've seen a bunch of movies together in the theater (we're both nuts about movies, and about many of the same movies), and we've developed a way to watch movies together even when we're on opposite sides of the continent:  we start them going at exactly the same time, then discuss them via instant message as we watch.  It's crazy fun.  Only works for DVD/VHS/digital, though.  BUT we have been known, on occasion, to surreptitiously call each other from a theater while watching a movie just so the other person can hear a bit of dialog that they love.  Can you imagine answering your phone on a bad day and hearing Thor say, "You give up this poisonous dream!  You come home."  I tell you what, I gave up all my poisonous dreams right then and there.

So yeah... that's the story of how Deb and I became best friends, beginning eight years ago and continuing to this day.  I was going to illustrate this with a picture of us together, but I can't seem to find any where we both aren't grinning like total goons, which we tend to do 99% of the time we're together.  So I'll leave you with a shot of our alter-egos:


That's totally us.  Except we're closer-matched in height.

20 comments:

  1. Awesome story! I love it! And by the way, a photo of the two of y'all grinning like goons would be wonderful to see! I've become friends with Deb too, though not to the extent you have. For us, it was Bill Holden, rather than Vic Morrow, who brought us together.

    I know you have to be careful with the internet, but my experience has been positive. I have made some wonderful friendships online...and, like you, I've had the opportunity to meet those friends in person. We've shared very precious times together.

    And my daughter's experience has been the same. She will be attending 4 weddings this year (bridesmaid in 3 of them), and 3 of those friendships began online. Several other precious friendships (one whom she has visited 4 times and who has visited us twice) began online.

    Thanks for sharing such a sweet story. I rejoice with you at the wonderful friend you have in Deb!

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    1. Yes, there are weirdos on the internet. I've had my share of experiences with people who are not who they want you to think they are. But by and large, you can usually tell who's a real person and who's faking their personality. Back in college, my escort to the spring dance was a guy who I'd known via email for about 3 years, but never met until that night. Such a sweet guy -- too bad he was studying to be a Catholic priest ;-)

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    2. Go here for a picture of us grinning like goons. At least, I think it'll work...

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    3. Great photo! I love grinning goons!

      Pretending to be something one is not on the internet is no different than people of old who were snail mail pen pals. I'm sure many of them "enhanced" who they were or just plain put on a false face, but the vast majority of them were probably completely sincere.

      Funny your date was studying to be a Catholic priest. Obviously, that spring dance was nothing romantic to him. Did you know that before that night?

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    4. People pretend to be someone they're not all the time, even face-to-face. Think of sociopaths, spouse-abusers, etc. The world is full of sinners and deceivers. It's just easier with the anonymity of the internet. (I will confess that my real name is not Hamlette and that I am not always as bouncy and fun as I am on my blog.)

      And I did know that he was studying to be a Catholic priest -- we were definitely only platonic friends. He brought his twin brother along (they're both priests now) to be my roommate's blind date, and we had a fabulous time. But for a little while, in the year or so before we actually met, I did have a teeny wish that he might change his mind on my account, lol.

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  2. Aww! I enjoyed this a lot. It's so lovely to know that you've managed to see each other about every year even though you're 'grown up' and have families! ;) And I LOVED the bit about the t-shirts. :D Oh, and Amy and I have done the same thing with watching things together. It's very fun. Soon we're going to try Skyping simultaneously. ;) (Nothing will be like having her sit next to me on the sofa, though!)

    Thanks for sharing the story.

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    1. It does average out to almost once a year, but the truth is sadder. We met up twice in 2006 and 2006, once a year in 2008, 2009, and 2010, and then didn't see each other at all (except for the occasional Skype call) until this year.

      So cool that you and Amy watch movies "together" the same way! It works really well, doesn't it?

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  3. Hahah! Your memory is better than mine, Kemo sabe! I had totally forgotten that was the shirt we first had in common! I'm glad you remembered.

    Thank goodness for Combat! and Vic Morrow and the wonder that is the internet.

    And I love that bottom pic. Haven't seen that angle before. Alas, the top link appears to be broken. :(

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    1. It just so happens I'm wearing that shirt today. Was on the top of the pile. Huh. Almost wore my LR shirt, but saving it for tomorrow just in case.

      Yes, imagine if we'd lived in the Old West or the 1940s or any of the other nifty time periods we love -- we'd never have met. How sad that would be!

      That link has been nothing but trouble. Fixed it twice already. That's what I get for linking to a picture on someone else's site instead of saving it to my own, I guess. It should be fixed forever now.

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    2. Sadly, I wore that t-shirt out and I no longer have it. But guess what? My sister just bought us matching t-shirts yesterday! I was laughing because the timing was perfect! So, need to get yours in the post... :-D

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    3. Lol, really? Didn't turn it into a pillow or a tote bag or anything?

      Anyway, can't wait to see our new shirts! :-D

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    4. Sewing machine still in box. But even still... it wouldn't have occurred to me to make something from it! Not crafty like you. I can make costumes and things from scratch, but not so much a re-purposer. :-D

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    5. You could hand-sew a tote bag or pillow. I'm just sayin'. Also, my sewing machine is not in a box, so any time you want something repurposed, send it my way! I made the kids a tote bag from and old shirt of Cowboy's, and they love it. One of these days, will get around to doing the same with the Hamlet shirt I got that's too small.

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  4. That is so cool! It is great to actually meet an online friend in person. Too many people say the internet is a waste of time but it has the ability to bring people together who would otherwise never meet. One of my goals is to eventually meet a few of my online friends, hopefully that will happen one day. :)

    -James

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    1. Large chunks of the internet are a huge waste of time. I seem to stumble on those chunks when I'm up too late for some reason. However, things like blogs where you can exchange information and ideas -- those can be wonderful.

      One of my husband's cousins met his wife while playing a WOW-style game. They got married less than a year after their first in-person meeting, and have now been married for a dozen years and have 3 kids. They lived in WI and GA, so there's really no way they would have met otherwise.

      You're a level-headed guy, so I don't need to say this, but I'll say it anyway: always be smart when you meet online friends the first time. Bring along someone you trust, meet in a public place, and wear really cool t-shirts so you'll for sure recognize each other! :-D

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  5. That is such a great story! I'm going to blatantly repeat what all the other commenters have said, but isn't the internet wonderful for meeting people with similar interests and striking up nice friendships with them? I have been lucky enough to meet some lovely people on the internet as well, but will probably not meet them in person soon as I don't just live on the other side of a continent, but on the other side of the world....

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    1. It really is a a wonderful way to make friends. And you never know -- I have a friend I met online who lives in Australia, and we've met up twice face-to-face!

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    2. That's hopeful, Hamlette!

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  6. What an awesome story! I love it! :D

    Friends are a wonderful blessing and I love that the internet has brought about the ability to make more of them. Some of the sweetest and nicest people can be found via blogs and I for one am very grateful. One such awesome blogging friend would be you, Hamlette! Definitely thankful we stumbled across one another. :)

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    1. Aww, thank you! I'm also glad we've crossed virtual paths and become friends :-)

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