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.
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.