The man you see below is Jared Osborn, one of my favorite buddies since college and a fellow former Marvel Bullpen Grunt, and today is his fortieth birthday.
Every year on the first weekend in August, my extended family of friends and loonies descend upon Jared's home in Rockland County's Garnerville for a birthday celebration weekend of grillin', chillin', and brain cell killin', and it is the one weekend per year where I put off all other activities to attend since fun is absolutely guaranteed. (The one year that I skipped this gathering was because an ex-girlfriend invited me to her baby shower in Pennsylvania; not only was it a boring, time-consuming disaster where I got to see for myself what a boorish hillbilly her husband was, her from-the-Boot Italian female relatives conjectured amongst themselves that the baby she was carrying was mine. It wasn't.)
On Friday I made my wayto Port Authority to catch the bus to Rockland County, and on the way passed a construction site that offered the following graffiti statement:
I just love that some guy actually wrote it legibly, but also invested the time to do it and presumably not get busted by the Times Square gendarmes.
The bus ride was a fucking nightmare thanks to misinformation provided to the riders and the trip running over an hour and a half longer than it was supposed to, but at least I got my yearly view of the West Side of Manhattan from across the water in New Jersey.
Upon arrival, Jared and I commenced to prep food for the next day; marinated ribs and chicken, meated and veggie chili, and all manner of goodies, soon to be launched down the gullets of ravenous partygoers. When the usual suspects arrived the next day we had a terrific time, feasting and drinking with abandon, and playing with our little tribe's several offspring. As the day wore on and the children departed, we lit the brazier and opened the portal through which we would soon commune with the Beast Who is Called the Desolate One, the First of the Fallen, Despolier of Virgins, Lord of Dark Forces and undisputed Master of Death Metal, Satan hisself.
While we awaited the arrival of the Horned One, Captain Bligh regaled all who watched with what was surely the vilest piece of pornography that I've seen in at least ten years; a short montage of obscene film clips featuring scenes of guys shoving batteries up their peeholes, driving nails through their balls (I shit you not), and a myriad of human degradation accented by some random piece of death metal, complete with the requisite Cookie Monster vocals. This horrifying apparition caused the birthday boy to sensibly flee for cover after two seconds, leaving the rest of us unable to move, utterly mesmerized by torrent of sheer filth that unspooled before our disbelieving eyes. We shouted vitriolic epithets at Captain Bligh, who by this time was reduced to a giggling mess despite threats upon his life. When its four minutes finally ended, Lia, the bespectacled cutie in the photo below, silently zombied over to the coach, plopped herself down and clutched herself, as if trying to keep warm for the next fifteen minutes or so, while her mouth hung open and her eyes bulged out of their sockets. Shocked myself, I offered "What ever happened to just plain fucking?" to which our statuesque bass player, Susan, improvised a couple of lines of a folksy ditty of the same name.
When we finally went back outside and attempted to chat with Ol' Scratch, the Devil was so disgusted at the smut that we had just witnessed that even he didn't want to talk to us, no matter how many times we chanted Mercyful Fate's "Corpse Without Soul."
"Hello, this is the Devil. I'm not home right now, but if you want to leave a message..."
We soon gave up on Satan and retired to our seats on the lawn, happily sucking down beers and bullshitting into the wee hours.
And last — but definitely not least — we have a shot of another college buddy/former Marvel Bullpen grunt, Ed Murr, with his lovely wife, Olivia, and his two charmingly delinquent nieces, the older of whom is horrified by Ed's attempt at outdoing her abdominal display.
I can't wait for next year!