To this day, I have no idea if this was simply an idle suggestion, or if the idea had been fermenting in his mind over the 45-second walk from the parking lot into the green room. I’d like to think this was a spur-of-the-moment remark and that he was just as shocked as Kyle and I were by what transpired. At other random times when I’m thinking back over that night, sitting in the parking lot of the People’s Food Co-Op or in front of my computer writing this, I can’t help but imagine that this was an intricate form of revenge for the subtle cruelties we’d inflicted upon him; a way to trap us doing what we’d always gotten away with and gain the upper hand.

Then again, that’s probably giving him too much credit, and he probably just bragged about what he’d started to the wrong person that night.

In any case, our reaction was immediate. “We should!” Kyle proclaimed, looking at me for final approval. Already I could feel my face stretching into a grin.

“What are we going to say?”

On a personal level, I was stagnating, as well. After several years of doing little other than playing more Nintendo 64 than was truly necessary, I felt out of touch with most everybody. Couple that with the fact that when I did spend time with other people, they responded more positively when I acted like an emotionally stilted shy guy. After a few years of this, I had become my own act. I made jokes about everything and never gave myself the slightest hint of emotional release, because emotional impact was a non-issue with the impression I gave off. The problem was, it had grown old without anyone letting me know.

Then, after an unremarkable session of the latest wrestling game on the market one night, Kyle and I had switched off my PS2 and were too lazy to turn off the basement TV, so we simply watched the news that was on.

Matt Perry
Happy Families
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