Classic Us

I’m often given to hyperbole on this site. It keeps things interesting, and it’s more fun rising to the histrionic. In this case, I’m making the bold, and perhaps overused, proclamation that this is one of my favorite photos of all-time. Since it takes pride of place on our photo wall, there is something to back this up. It’s a photo of JoAnn and myself, taken by our friend Kira. And it comes with a short, silly story.

At the time (late 90’s) we were all working at John Hancock – a temporary job that consisted of microfiche and insurance numbers and a class-action lawsuit against the company – blah, blah, blah. To be honest, I wasn’t altogether sure what exactly we did, but I did it well enough, and was actually made a team leader (?!). It was my first office job, and it was filled with the variety of characters that comes in an office setting. Of course, in a few short weeks you whittle down those who will become friends, and JoAnn soon became one of my closest. We were just another ‘Will & Grace’, involved in the same riotous hi-jinks, and reveling in our foolishness as much as we laughed at ourselves.

On this particular day in spring, we sat on the steps of Trinity Church after lunch. It was sunny, and warm enough that we didn’t need jackets. I’d always scope out potential guys for JoAnn, and if a cute one came along I’d urge her to say hello. She never did. Sitting a few steps down from us was a guy smoking a cigarette and enjoying his lunch hour. I nudged JoAnn in his direction – she brushed me off. I laughed a little and told her to bum a smoke off of him to start the conversation. She ignored me. “Just ask for a light!” I demanded. Hey, it was lunch. I was working at an insurance company. I was bored. And I could be relentless. Exasperated, she turned to the guy and asked for a light. He brought out a lighter and was about to flick it.

“Oh, do you have a cigarette too?” she asked. He looked slightly confused and annoyed, but gave her one. I started cracking up then and there. I couldn’t stop. It was one of those laughs that leaves your belly aching and your eyes wet with tears. We had asked this guy for a light without having a cigarette (we didn’t really smoke that much), then we displayed the idiocy to ask for a cigarette after that. JoAnn kept a straight face, took the cigarette, and handed it to me. “Here, you wanted this?” she said. I roared. After the guy left (which he did pretty much immediately), Kira took this picture as we recounted what just happened.

It’s one of the rare photos of me where I am genuinely laughing and not paying any attention to the camera. It still cracks me up, and whenever I need a laugh I think of that day, those moments, and these friends.

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