Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Years ago, I was living in a dumpy apartment in downtown Siloam Springs, one of those places that, for $100 a month, you get a spacious living space with free internet and all utilities provided, but lack certain necessities that most normal apartments provide. Like a stand-up shower, a sink, a stove, etc. Little things.

I was getting ready to take an extended trip with YWAM to Switzerland, which meant saving my pennies and dimes and living as frugally as possible. My entertainment began to consist less of beers at clubs and nights at the movies, more beers at home and nights at the movies...at home. As I was perusing the odd selection present at Siloam's finest video purveyor, lickety-split (also known as MovieTime video), browsing the 99 cent video section for a fine piece of cinema I had not previously viewed...truly a difficult task at that point in my life...when I stumbled across a truly memorable title. Things to do in Denver When You're Dead.

It had me at "Denver". As I would do with just about any movie I'd consider actually watching, I flipped it over to get information about the cast. Pre-Ocean's Eleven Andy Garcia, Christopher Lloyd, William Forsythe, Bill Nunn, B-movie royalty Treat Williams, Christopher Walken and Gabrielle Anwar. Not Hollywood's finest bunch, but worth a 99 cent expenditure.

The movie is about a former gangster known as Jimmy the Saint, a guy who "went to seminary but lost the calling." Jimmy runs an odd business called Afterlife Advice, where terminally ill folks record advice regarding various aspects of life for their loved ones. Turns out the loan Jimmy used to buy the business is bought out by his former mob boss, who calls in the note by essentially forcing Jimmy to undertake one final job: stop the boss's crazy son's ex-girlfriend from marrying her new fiancee. Jimmy gets his old crew back together in order to spread the wealth (the boss offers him $50k to do the job) and form a plan. Unfortunately, the plan goes haywire, and the boss orders a hit on all of the crew members. Jimmy, out of both guilt and love for his friends, tries to help each of them lay low and avoid imminent death. Jimmy has also fallen in love in the meantime, and now has to decide what to do with his final days to not only ensure his crew survives him, but that the woman he loves avoids any repercussions.

It's a pretty low-budget, offbeat film. One that I fell in love with as soon as I'd finished it. Tons of cool little catch-phrases and mob-isms that are really unique to the movie (you'll probably not find a modern mobster using any of them). The movie opens up with my favorite Tom Waits song, "Jockey Full of Bourbon", which really sets the tone for the entire movie.

The first person I encountered to have seen the movie besides myself was the locally-infamous Jason Wead. Jason and I have been friends over a decade now, having jammed together (he's a truly talented drummer and guitarist) in various bands, spent many nights with brews in hand, talking about both the shallow and deep things in life, and watching each other go through both life's joys and heartaches.

Both of us having seen the movie and loving the dialogue, it wasn't long before it seeped into our daily vernacular, earning us many strange looks as we toasted with our boatdrinks and told each other to give it a name.

I eventually bought the movie, and still break it out at least once a year. It really became synonymous with mine and Jasons' friendship. We had our little crew, each member with their humorous quirks and fatal flaws. We had our own little language (albeit much of it borrowed) that fit within our group and our group only. And we had years of experiences that knit us together and created brotherhood.

I can't say that I've kept in touch with most of those folks. As is all too common with friends, many of us eventually grew apart as we grew into our ever-changing lives. But Jason and I have kept touch, though sporadically, and it's been a real joy and blessing to see his life blossom. He'll be a dad in 3 weeks (or less), a little boy to teach every musical instrument he can. He works helping children with less-fortunate lives have a voice, a protector, and a friend. And he has a wife that loves him and has become his best friend. Rightfully so.

I miss having Jason around. This post is to you...Boatdrinks my friend. Until we meet in the middle, hit Fayettenam for a night on the town, re-live old memories, and make new ones in the process.

Give it a name.

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