Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It's Margo's Birthday

Today is my friend Margo's birthday. I won't say which one, but I'm sure that when you get a look at the range of photos and the hairstyles here, you'll have some idea.

I'm not, as I've mentioned before, big on fuss and celebration. Greeting cards make my brain explode. $4.50 for a piece of paper you're going to recycle fifteen minutes after opening? Really? How does the tree feel about that? But that doesn't mean that I don't recognize that there are certain days that bear celebration. A birthday, after all, marks the day a person came to exist...and for those of us in that person's life, that's kind of a big deal.

This is what I looked like when I met Margo:

Well, not exactly. I didn't wear a toga made out of one of my bedsheets all of the time, of course. The purpose of this photo is really just to show you my hair, but I chose this one intentionally, because this night (Halloween night, 1984) was a very special one in my history with Margo...

as you will soon see.

My hair had never been shorter than shoulder-length in my whole entire life, and even that was short-lived, so without Margo, I might never have found out what I looked like with short hair.

Because clearly, that long wavy hair I was originally sporting just DID NOT GO with a toga. We had absolutely no choice but to cut it off in our dorm room bathroom before going out for the night, and Margo was perfectly qualified to do the job...after all, her mom owned a beauty shop.

(It was only years later that she mentioned that she'd never actually worked in the beauty shop or learned to cut hair from her mother...but by that time, it was funny. And my hair had grown back.)

Of course, without Margo (and a bomb threat, but we had nothing to do with that) I'd never have met Jim Belushi, either.
Margo, of course, took this picture...and we're not even out of our freshman year of college yet. You might want to get a cup of coffee, because we have more than a quarter of a century to go.

Speaking of being dorky freshmen:

When my daughter saw this picture, she said, "I notice you both have some interesting hair stuff going on." It was the eighties, but somehow even that seems inadequate to explain...

Margo's always been full of words of wisdom, too.
But there's much more. Without Margo, I'd never have been suspected of contemplating Hari Krishna; I'd never have carried a legendary set of red and black marbles in my pocket; I'd never have perfected the art of looking someone in the eye and, with a perfectly straight face, saying something so outrageous that we'd still be laughing about it two decades later.

We were really cool when we managed to buy wine (2 half gallon bottles for $5!) at Jewel-Osco when I was 18 and she was 19. I use "we" loosely here, since part of our strategy was for me to get the hell out of sight while she bought them since it was clear that I'd never pass for 21.

We were so cool, in fact, that my MOM took this picture, in her kitchen, right before telling us that we couldn't drink the wine unless we committed to staying in the house for the night.

So eight or nine years later, when Margo was working in Chicago and I was practicing law out of state and came visiting for BluesFest, we couldn't resist recreating the moment in our hotel room.

We didn't actually drink the wine at BluesFest--nowhere near as much fun if it's not contraband, I guess--just grabbed it from the hotel room bar to snap the picture and then put it right back. That was the weekend that I met Margo's fiance and also that I learned that my soon-to-be fiance had picked up a family ring from his mother to give to me. Neither of us actually ended up marrying those men, though, proving that friendship is far more enduring than romantic love.

Without Margo, I'd never have known how to walk into a newspaper office and talk my way into freelance work ("stringing," she emphasized. "Don't say freelance, or they'll know you don't write for newspapers.") when my only previous professional writing experience was in the legal field. And without that experience, I might never have written my book.

I suppose that there are many things I could point to over the past 26 years and say, "Without Margo, I would never have..." Many of them are mischievous, impulsive, highly-entertaining-only-to-us events like improving the signage at the River Walk in Naperville.

I mean, seriously--what's the point of putting up maps all along a miles-long River Walk but not giving you any indication of where along the route you might be?

We saw this as a public service. Really.

Of course, we felt the same way about taping "This too shall pass" and "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" up in the hallway of our dorm, and that netted us a $25 "vandalism" fine. Seriously. I mean, it was TAPE. It peeled right off with no damage whatsoever. Just like the tape flags we used on the maps.

Most of all, though...without Margo I would have had much less laughter in my life. So happy birthday, Marg. I'm glad you were born.



Anonymous said...

I honestly, truly, really did think that I was qualified to cut your hair because my mother had had a beauty license.

After the haircut, however, I realized that actual education (rather than observation) is a trait to appreciate when cutting hair. I've not cut anyone else's hair since.

Love this entry. You know, this entry does not help get you out of doing my Eulogy. You're it.


Anonymous said...

Did my original comment not post?

A few additional thoughts:

--Why was my Neptune sweat shirt blue and yours pink? Did we have two different colors?

--I was never as thin (at least not in these photos) as I imagined I was.

--Without these photos, I would have denied (and meant it) wearing an inflatable pink vest with a blue sweat shirt. My hair in the pink-vested photo is merged on one side with someone else's --though quite shocking in retrospect. That photo was taken at a Forest Preserve BBQ I only just now remembered.

--I was apparently NOT as good looking as I imagined myself to have been at that age -- at least not in Tiffany's photos. The photos I've kept from that age, however, are all fabulous. That's why, in my memory, I was gorgeous. Darn.

--I'm delighted that Tiffany was born, and that she procreated. This blog made my day, and Tiffany has made my day many times. Thank you. Love you. Now please burn all those photos.