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10:39:42 - 2001-01-31

SAYING GOODBYE TO MY BROTHER

The end of January.

Doesn't it seem like yesterday that we were all stocking up on canned goods, bottled water and several thousand rounds of ammo in anticipation of Y2K?

Well guess what, Simple Simon? That was 13 months ago. You can come out of your bunker now, General Schwarzkopf.

Soooo...I'm a bit on the sad side today. The misty side. Mucho Melancholy.

Today's Mattie Gee's last day at the newspaper after several years with us.

I've known the guy about ten years now and in that time, we've become brothers in the sense that we're close but his mom still won't breast feed me. Which ... truth be told ... might be kinda nice, because his mom's got quite a rack on her for a woman in her late 60s if I may say so myself.

I still remember the first day I met the guy. I was working at The Bulletin Board, when the boss drags this baby faced kid in with a Daffy Duck tie on and introduces us to one of our new production boys ... Matt Gilmore.

I was all like ... "That ain't Matt Gilmore. That be ... Mattie Gee."

Actually, I thought the guy was a geek when I first met him and didn't really hang out with him.

As the weeks went by, I noticed this young babyfaced kid had quite a sense of humor about himself, so I thought ... okay ... I can hang with the geek and not look too geeky myself in the process.

Soon ... Mattie Gee decided the babyface look wasn't for him. He grew a demonic looking goatee and quit cutting his hair, opting for a long ponytail instead. He looked like Willie Nelson and Whoopi Goldberg's bastard child. He still has the goatee, but a couple of years ago, one of my interns talked him into cutting off the majority of his hair and donating it to Locks of Love that donates human hair to make wigs for little kids with cancer. And he's kept the cleancut look ever since.

I've watched the guy go from a nice house on the East side with a wife ... to divorced and living in a rat hole on the west side ... to coming back to the East side with a new woman by his side and a puppy. I've made him laugh thousands of times as he's made me ... I've watched him cry once (in his defense...he had a fever and felt miserable)and I can't recall ever watching him puke, but I've heard the stories of the time he was so drunk onstage that he puked all over himself while playing guitar and NOBODY noticed.

We met B.B. King together when Mattie Gee was heavily into the blues and playing in a blues band. Then we stood backstage together behind B.B.'s drummer and watched the show from there.

We spent 12 hours in a strip club together in Pensacola, Florida, where Mattie INSISTED we were going to be getting laid by strippers. He was so drunk, he was SURE that he had been charming the pants off the strippers (literally). And I was so drunk, I fell for every line that he threw me, hook, line and sinker.

Nobody got laid. And once the money ran out, the strippers found other new guys to fool into thinking they were going to get laid as we left the club with our chins on our chests.

We've gone on road trips, we've made other employee's lives a living hell, we've done a lot of good and a whole lot of bad together.

And today, it all ends.

Mattie Gee already knows he'll be missed at the newspaper. The person taking his place is a nice guy ... but he's NO Mattie Gee.

He's one of the few people in my life that I will accept every piece of advice he dishes out. When I thought that I wanted a divorce from Susie several years ago, he was the one who basically talked me into staying with her, even while his own marriage was crumbling. And now, I've never been happier in my relationship and I have him to thank.

So thanks Mattie Gee.

I owe you a whole lot more than this.

But I think you already knew that anyway.


This isn't the end of our friendship by any means. He still only lives two red lights away from me. When I get in my car to drive to his place, I can still make it there before the song quits playing on the radio.

And we are still working on the hunting magazine project together.

And I'm still his dog sitter for when he goes out of town.

But it's going to be awfully quiet around the office with him gone.

And ... it's going to be pandemonium on next week's deadline day.

And when everyone comes rushing around, panicking that nobody knows what to do, I plan on speaking up and saying "We HAD someone here that knew what to do. And every single one of you bastards ran him off because you overworked him and underpaid his ass."

And I'll mean every word of it. Because even though Mattie Gee's too nice of a guy to admit such a thing to his co-workers...ol' Uncle Bob doesn't give a shit when it comes to speaking the truth.

They worked him like a farm dog and then fed him peanuts.

Bastards.

So goodbye old buddy. Even though I'll be seeing you, I'll still be missing you.

...Somebody cue that Puff Daddy song "I'll Be Missing You" as I turn around and walk outta this beeyotch.


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