Monday, June 12, 2006

I Heart My Friends, Vol.1: Keith

What can I really say about my good buddy Keith, a.k.a. Keef?
Well, I guess I could start by saying that he and I became friends during our junior year of high school, right around the time when I was discovering Quentin Tarantino and deciding that I wanted to be a filmmaker. I was actually made aware of Keith's existence during my sophomore year, but only because I was friends with an ex-girlfriend of his who would often tell me how "abusive" he was. When he and I finally crossed each other's paths, though, we really hit it off, and it took me a while to realize he was that Keith. But by then we'd already found enough common ground for me to not really care how "abusive" he may have been. (To clear the record, the word "abusive" was a bit of an exaggeration on his ex's part. As Keith put it to me, "I was never abusive. I had to sit on my hands a few times, but I never actually hit her."..."Well, we've all been there," I said.)
In the early days, Keith and I spent a great deal of time driving around, listening to the Pulp Fiction soundtrack and scouting out locations for a movie we were going to make called, "Pass the Salt, I'm Going to Utah" (yes, I was writing scripts even then.) The movie never materialized of course, but that's okay. The planning stages gave Keith and I a lot of quality hanging-out time, and our friendship was really solidified when he and I buddied up for our high school drama competition. Looking back, I think that was where the overriding dynamic of our friendship was really established.
Hanging out together at Drama Fest, Keith and I realized that his natural sense of salesmanship (I don't think there's anyone who knows Keith who wouldn't agree that he's a very natural, full-of-shit politician) and my sense of humor could serve both of us very well. For example, we'd start talking with various groups of people, and Keith would eventually say something to the effect of, "Well, you know, J can do an awesome impression of Helen Keller..." and then I'd end up acting it out. In effect, Keith became my promoter; and now that I think about it, I can't think of a single time when he and I have been hanging out in a group of people when we hasn't ultimately ended up asking me to do a performance of some kind. (The first time I ever did karaoke, for example, was at Keith's suggestion.) Similarly, Keith has never become involved with anything that he hasn't managed to work me into. I'm very appreciative of that, and I think Keith and I have stayed true to something we once told each other: we're not just friends, we're also fans of one another.

One of my favorite Keith memories from that early era came when I started dating the infamous Monica (i.e. "the girl that dumped me on my birthday.") One day I sat Monica down and tried to talk to her about the unique relationship I share with my dear friend Crystalynn, a.k.a. "Cryssie". Now, in those days as some of you may remember, my close friends were distinguished from my acquaintances based on whether or not they knew about Crystalynn. So, it was a pretty big step for me in a relationship, and when I told Keith about it I very proudly said, "Well, I sat Monica down and explained 'the C word' to her today" (meaning I'd told her about Cryssie.) Keith, almost in a panic, replied by saying, "Holy shit! You called her a cunt?!"...Such is the secret of Keith's charm.
Of all my friends, I don't believe there's a single one who more closely shares my particular approach to life. Despite the obvious differences in our personal interests, Keith and I share an odd mix of Conservative politics and liberal social attitudes. We're "South Park Republicans," as we like to say (for more on South Park Republicans, check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Park_Republican)
This similarity in politics allowed us a very unified vision when we got to Ole Miss and started hosting "The Keith and J Show." A lot of morning radio shows, you see, like to have a straight man and a funny guy, or maybe two people who are totally opposite from one another. Keith and I were more like two roads to the same destination. As a result, the show was never in conflict with itself. Everyone else, however, was fair game. At the same time Keith and I were standing up for Ole Miss' time-honored traditions, we were also taking a lot of piss and vinegar out of everything that needed to be made fun of: Sorority girls. Independents. Coffee shop intellectuals. Cute couples. The Middle East. Fat chicks. The student body government. An apartment complex in Oxford that looked like the Ewok Village...You name it, we took aim. And it was great. (What I'm most proud of about "The Keith and J Show" is that it didn't permit a listener to be mediocre. People loved it or hated it, and that's the only way to live.)

Once our radio days had come to an end, Keith bought an independent newspaper and started The New Standard. Naturally, he came through for his old buddy J., and gave me my very own vanity column, "A Day With J" (that's where the title of this blog comes from.) After a nice 2-year run, The New Standard was discontinued and Keith began helping with the development of Y'all Magazine (http://www.yall.com/) Be sure to check them out.
Yes, Friends; Promoter and Performer; Radio co-hosts; Author and Editor. Keith and I have done it all, and there's a lot more I could say. 2006 marks a full decade of friendship between the two of us, and I for one am looking forward to the future. Keith celebrated his 27th birthday on June 9th, so here's wishing him a very happy birthday and many more. Here's to you, Nuts. You know I love ya, buddy.
**For more info on Keith, check out: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=43099494&MyToken=ea55963f-908e-4b29-ae73-3ce219a4e159 (P.S. If you check out his MySpace pics, you'll see that Keith's got the same one posted like 15 times. That's proof-positive that he's a computer-illiterate moron.)**

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

DO ME NEXT! DO ME NEXT!!!

carmichael

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Cryssie said...

J, Just because I don't have a camera following me around to record these happenings for you I'll walk you through it.

Here I am sitting here reading through your blog,
I had just taken a drink, and I get to, "'Holy shit! You called her a cunt?!'...Such is the secret of Keith's charm."

Literally I just sprayed tea across my office, all over my desk, and a certain little green irish penguin...to top it I nearly choked to death while laughing so hard that there was a slight fear of wetting myself.

Keeping in mind there is NO way to explain what just happened to my director. He just stared at me like I was crazy.

To sum it up in the only language I know that you will fully appreciate, "That's some good fucking shit!"

Oh how we do LOVE Keith!

Well I have to clean up this mess and then it's back to work.

Cryssie

2:32 PM  

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