Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Make 'Em Laugh

"Make 'em laugh / Don't you know everyone wants to laugh?"
Dear Chu Thong,
Belated Happy Birthday, ya big lunkhed! You would've been 34 years old yesterday . . .
Okay, so you know I hate sappy bullshit; that's one of the many reasons why we became such good friends. You and I are both cold-hearted bastards who understand that there is absolutely no crying in baseball. But sometimes there is crying when you miss friends who are taken from this world much too soon. And I really miss you.
I miss your generosity, your kindness, your laughter, your geekiness, your spirit, and your jacked-up sense of humor. You could make anyone laugh. You always played to your audience well, whether you'd known them for ten minutes or ten years.
I miss your Fashion Tips for Fat Guys commentary.
I miss the postcards you would send me from as far away as Fiji. At last count, you'd sent me more postcards than Hsuan and Phu combined. You're a big wiener! You even wrote the best postcard notes. Both those lunkheds would go on and on about their travels, trying to make me all jealous. On the back of a photo of Belgium's Manneken Pis, all you wrote was: "Pervs!" Dude, totally.
I miss your bone-crushing, lift-me-off-the-ground bear hugs.
I miss our random IM conversations, when you'd ping me in the middle of the night just to show me photos of your twin nieces. Just before Christmas 2006, we spent about half an hour trading photos of our respective sisters' children; you were trying to convince me that your nieces were cuter than my niece and nephew. Psh. As if. We were also trying to figure out when we could get together, since you were spending Christmas in Colorado and I was going to be in Maryland. Dusty and I would be flying home just one day before you were coming back to Maryland. You bugged me for a full 10 minutes to change my flight so we could at least go have a beer. I told you to suck it. I wish I had known it would be the last time I'd chat with you.
I miss you signing my birthday cards "Love ya like a cyst!"
I miss your questionable photography skills. I can't believe you emailed everyone those inappropriate photos of me, Ling, and Glenna that you took at the 2000 AASU reunion. So I'm posting this HAWT one of you:

I miss those ugly, clunky supernerd glasses. You apparently started a trend, though; I was going to IM you the day after the 2007 Oscars aired to tell you that Josh Hartnett was wearing your birth-control glasses at the Spirit Awards. I just never got the chance . . .
During last year's Oscars, I was hanging out with my friends Karin and Patrick, helping them pack for their big move and half-watching the awards when my cell phone rang. I stopped tickling Karin and Patrick's son and put him down on the ground, right side up this time. I answered the phone, still sneaking tickles on Monchichi, who was clinging to my leg and giggling. I had expected to hear Dusty on the line, perhaps phoning to ask for a pickup from work. It was Hsuan. I tried to keep my voice light, but I thought something might have happened to Betty or the kids. "Everything okay, Hsuannies?"
Hsuan said, in one breath, "I got your cell number from Dusty . . . I don't know how to tell you this, but there's been an accident. Thong was blindsided by a drunk driver this morning. He passed away on the operating table. Thong's gone." My knees buckled. I guess Patrick must have swept up his son into another room. All I can remember now is sitting on their hallway stairs, with Karin sitting behind me, stroking my back as I sobbed and asked Hsuan difficult questions. I don't remember hanging up, but I think Karin then drove me to pick up Dusty, who took me home, made me tea, and let me cry while he sat silently and held me to his chest.
I flew out to Maryland a few days later to say goodbye to you for the last time. It was good to be with our friends, gathered in Hsuan's house. We spent the weekend remembering and celebrating you, crying inconsolably and laughing hysterically at the same time. I know you were there with us, taking inappropriate photos as always.
There's only one thing we never wrote to each other in our postcards, but now I really mean it: Wish you were here.

Love ya like my bra,

"Make 'Em Laugh" from Singin' in the Rain
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