The Plexus Tuxedo Project

I’ve never known anyone with a greater capacity for taking himself too seriously than my old friend Matt. Admittedly, we knew each other best when we were teenagers, a time in which melodrama is often the norm. But even allowing for the emotion-scrambling potential of coursing hormones, Matt was in a class by himself. He seemed to thrive on inventing a life that was far more compelling than our mundane, Midwestern reality. It was a tendency that often alienated him from our peers.

But then it was always something of an uphill struggle for Matt. He was an alien from the start, a rare transplant from the Carolinas with a strict, Southern father whom he addressed as Sir. Some time around third grade he appeared at our little Catholic school. He was very sociable and seemed to make friends quickly, and it wasn’t long before his mother was hosting our Cub Scout den meetings from the basement of their modest home just down the street. From the beginning, however, Matt spoke in a way that seemed aimed at eliciting our sympathy and admiration. He was candid about the heart surgery he had endured as a toddler, an apparently true event for which he would gladly provide evidence by displaying his scar. As time went on, he would embellish his medical history with statements to the effect that he “technically shouldn’t even be alive,” that he stoically faced greatly reduced longevity, and that he had been “clinically dead” for some matter of minutes. Read More

The Rise And Fall Of The Edward Hannon Band

Ed Hannon Band

John and me with the man responsible for teaching us a few chords.

The applause was explosive, a prolonged cacophony of shrieks and howls that reverberated throughout our small gymnasium.  As teachers attempted to restore order amid bellowing calls for an encore, John and I sat on the stage and regarded the chaos we had created.  We had expected to go over well, but never did we anticipate the wave of adoration that washed over us.  It was all coming from the end of the bleachers along the north wall, where our eighth grade classmates were sitting.  The rest of the student body craned their necks and looked back and forth in silent confusion.

We called ourselves The Edward Hannon Band as a tongue-in-cheek homage to our social studies teacher, a transplanted Pennsylvanian whose ample moustache and east coast colloquialisms were amusing to us.  Plus, naming a band after someone who isn’t actually in the band is ironically hip when you’re thirteen.  Mr. Hannon tolerated our tribute with good humor, though the quirky adoption of his name was not the key to our success.  Rather, we won the approval of our peers by penning a folksy lament that pushed all the right buttons. Read More

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