Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Tragic Tale of J and Ashley (Might Want to Play "Landslide" As You Read This)

"So then I thought I'd make some plans,
but Fire thought she'd really rather be Water instead."
- Tori Amos "Cooling"
My dear readers:
The girl you see to the left side of your screen is my dear friend Ashley Dunn.
Ashley and I met during (I think) my second semester at Ole Miss, back when we were both taking Quantitative Reasoning (i.e. Math for Dummies.) Despite my best efforts not to socialize with anyone else in the class, Ashley just wouldn't leave me alone about the fact that I was reading Lost in the Funhouse (a biography about Andy Kaufman.) But, as it turns out, she was an Andy Kaufman enthusiast too. And thus, a bond was formed between us.
Throughout our college days Ashley and I did quite a bit of hanging out. As fellow WUMS radio personalities, we would often lounge around the radio station during each other's shifts, relentlessly complimenting one another about how awesome we were on the air. It was because of Ashley that I was invited to my first and only college-era Greek function (a Phi Mu winter formal where I had such a good time that my date was sent to Standards and Practices.) It was Ashley I ran to whenever Life or Love would get me down, or, conversely, whenever I was so excited about something that I knew no one else would be willing to put up with me. Back in 2002, she was my date on the opening night of my play (and how sweet is this?She came back for the Sunday matinee to make sure her parents saw it too.) Earlier this year she played the part of Mia in Pink, and last year she was the direct inspiration for a short film idea I'm working on right now. One night during college she called me around 2 a.m. with a wild hair about going to Graceland Too - and so we went, screaming along to Disney songs the whole way there. (I told her I'd sing along with her, but only if she promised not to tell anybody that I knew the words to so many Disney songs -- as far as I know, she kept that promise.) And on and on and on. I could literally go on like this for days. Why? Because Ashley is one of those kind-hearted people who calls just to say she's thinking about you, and who sounds genuinely interested when she asks how you are. In short, she's the perfect friend. We never fail to have a good time together.
So I guess it was only natural for she and I to come to that agreement which all special friends come to in this day and age: "If we're not married by (insert age here), we'll marry one another." And yeah, most people make those kinds of promises with a sort of tongue-in-cheek "we're not really serious about this" kind of attitude, but I was all about it. Hardcore. In it to win it. Down for the cause. For Ashley and I, the magic year was 27 (the latest age I'd ever want to get serious enough with someone to consider marriage.) And for the past three years I've very casually sluffed off every failed crush and romance that's come my way, thinking, Well, it's okay. Only a coupla more years of this shit and then I can marry Ashley.
It's worth noting, by the way, that I was encouraged in this line of thinking by, of all people, my own mother. Yes, Mom has a whole list of reasons why I should end up with Ashley, including:
  • "She's precious!"
  • "She's Catholic...and you KNOW that makes everything easier."
  • "I love her momma. She and I would get along good. Just think, we wouldn't always be fighting about who gets to spend time with the grand-babies."
  • and of course Ashley and I's favorite: "Y'all would make REALLY pretty babies!"

Yes, Ashley and I - as you can probably guess - are those friends whose parents want them to end up together. In addition to everything my mom says, Ashley's mom and dad have often complimented me on everything from my politeness to how well my e-mails are written. Every time I pop in on them out in Hammond I know it's only a matter of time before Dr. Dunn says, "You know something, J? I want you to call me DAD."

"If you insist, Dad," I'd say. "Gosh, I love what you've done with the place."

So put all this together: Two great friends. Both Catholic. They like each other's families. Their families like each other. Marriage pact is firm and solid. What could POSSIBLY be wrong with this picture?

The answer? Ashley got engaged over Christmas.

"Take thy beak from out my heart."

Or, as my mom so eloquently put it..."Well, there go my pretty grand-babies."


Only kidding, Ash. Congratulations!


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