Christmas, best friends, and my nephew-dog Sampson.

My Christmas last year was possibly the most amazing Christmas I had ever had.

I was lucky enough to spend it with two of my best friends. Not only that, but they are now my best friends who married each other. It really doesn’t get much better than that. We all have a very funny back story too. Which makes us that much closer as friends and as our own little family.

Moving back to New York.


 

When I moved back to New York I was offered a place to stay while I got myself back on my own two feet. I didn’t expect to become so attached to both of them while I was there. I already knew both of them really well and I thought that I might be hated by the end of my time there.

They share this really amazing dog, Sampson, that kept me company during the winter when I got home really late from work. He is a black and white Pomerania/Papillon. Really just the most beautiful dog I have ever seen. He welcomed me every time I came out and jumped up my leg and into my arms and would take my hat off from the cold. His energy is insane. He can play for hours and hours, non-stop.

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Ryan is the name of my longest time friend. When we both weren’t working or skateboarding we would play this game with their dog. Monkey in the middle. Because it was so cold outside we needed to find a good way to let this dog burn up some energy.

We would sit on opposite ends of the house and do as we all did when we were children. Throw a ball back and fourth and try to keep the dog from getting it. It’s a really special moment because not only are me and Ryan having fun tiring the dog out, but we are also playing this game of catch. Like we are kids again. I forget how old I am and how much baggage I have when we do this. It’s a really special connection between two great friends and a dog.

I’m notoriously known to some as ‘Uncle Dusty’. I always connect with people and animals with high levels of energy. Which tend to be very little people and animals. I am just a huge kid who wants to play catch and pretend I am Lord Gorgoth trying to rob the Castle of Doom from fire breathing dragons.

The best time with my best friend, Ryan. 


 

One of our favorite experiences together is when he visited me in California. His fiancee and my fiancee at the time, both teamed up to have Ryan come out and surprise me. Perfect execution too.

Me, my ex, and my friend Elliot were going to San Francisco to see Marky Ramone and the Blitzkrieg. I was told we had to go to the airport to pick up Elliots friend, Ryanne… I should have known but I’m notably not very quick at picking things up.

I walked through the airport pretending to hold a sign and yelling, “Ryanne!” Once we finally got to the baggage claim my ex tapped someone on the shoulder with long red hair. I tried to stop her because I knew it was a man. Then Ryan turned around and I thought he was on a layover… I tell you I am not very quick.

We spent an entire week drinking, skateboarding, playing guitar, and building more on a friendship that already had a rock solid foundation.

Our first day together we skated around Chico, California and went to one of my favorite margarita joints, Tres Hombres. Mostly because they sell PITCHERS of margaritas. I also knew the bartender and he hooked us up. We drank 3 of them between the two of us and was given free shots of whiskey.

Well, as the night turned and we got back to my neighborhood we went next door to my neighbors house where he gifted me and Ryan some custom digital prints. I insisted on paying for his art work. He would not take my money. No matter how many times I threw it into his yard, dropped it in his drop box, put it on their porch. He just would not take my money.

After running back and fourth all night I found myself exhausted from trying to get him to take my offer. So what do you do when people won’t take your money? You threaten to burn it. I have done this hundreds of times with smaller bills of money. Never has anyone let me catch money on fire. This time was very different.

I lit the lighter and held three 20 dollar bills over the flame. I said, “Someone better stop me!” No one did. Ryan stared at me the entire time. Shocked and dumbfounded at my drunken stupidity. I never saw that 60 dollars again and my fiancee was Pissed. Of course. I ended up having to ask her for money the next day because my poor decision making. It was all in good nature in humor on my end though!

To this day I could use that 60 dollars! Back to the moral of the story though.

The holidays spent in Ryan and Jamie’s home.

Last winter I spent the holidays with Ryan, his then-fiancee-now-wife Jamie, and their little pup Samspon. It was probably the best Christmas season I had ever had in my life. I think that no matter what happens in life, it’s so important to just be around those who give you that sense of agelessness. That we are just little kids inside of adult sized machines.

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(Image Credit)

Jamie helped me find a job and get a car in the middle of winter. She became one of my other greatest friends. We solidified our friendship through the couple of months I lived there while watching TV and drinking. She’s kind of my bro, truth be told.

This started happened while Ryan worked a job with the Town of Chili (Pronounced Chy-lie. Don’t ask.) He would have to wake up at 2 in the morning to drive to work and plow the roads of snow that had accumulated in the 9 hours since he got home from work. This caused him to take sleeping pills early in the evening and fall asleep sometimes in the middle of the living room floor. Snoring while we were drinking.

We would put on a T.V. show called Workaholics. (Go watch it now) We both were working at a call center, we both hated our jobs, and we both wanted to drink about it. The premise of the show is 3 guys working at a call center and hating their jobs. They also partied. We related.

We would start watching this show and just drink and talk. While we watched whatever it was we were watching I got to truly know the person my best friend was going to marry.

There was one momentous night that I remember. We both, for some reason, desperately wanted to be drunk. The same way you want to get drunk when you are 16 years old. Making the worst concoction and just building on it. We had bubblegum liquor, amaretto, and nothing to mix it with. But wait… are those popsicles in the freezer? We did what any 16 year old would do. We melted the popsicles, poured all of the booze into a large mixing bowl, and we drank all of it.

This is still the same person who got me a job, hooked me up with a car, and helped me get on my feet. She also got me a sweater and a bar-tending kit for Christmas.

I had always knew they would be great together. What I didn’t know is that my best friend was marrying someone who is equally as caring and hilarious as he was. Living with both of them and getting closer to them made me realize how much I cared about each of them.

Without their friendship and extreme support I would be way worse off. I did end up junking the car she helped me get and quitting the job she reccomended me to. I should probably work on stuff like that in this portion of my life. Like, don’t quit your job the moment it sucks. Don’t junk the car the moment it doesn’t turn on first try. Things like that. Practical stuff.

It may never happen again like it did, but I spent Thanksgiving and Christmas in the home of two people I love the most outside of my family. I wouldn’t trade that for the world. It’s one of the clear benefits of me not having my life together at that point in time. I really got to see my friends in an intimate space and love them more than I already do.

I hope everyone has the chance to spend a holiday with their best friends at some point in their lives. I truly suggest it because it is so much different than the family routine we fall into. You can be your weird, fucked up, wild self all through the season and not miss a beat. It’s really very beautiful.

Merry Christmas! Or whatever denomination you wish. Merry Holikwanzachrismakah

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