Thursday, August 17, 2006

Brandon Bailey's Lord Of The Dance

I can’t really say when I met Brandon Bailey. The furthest back that my mind can reach is when he would come in to talk to the Flatscreen during one of our graphic design classes at JCCC. He had this routine down for most of the semester and we soon began to hang out in the same circles.

I definitely can remember the first time we ever hung out alone together. To say the least, it wasn’t the best of experiences. One evening, I was at home getting ready to put a Swanson TV Dinner into the oven when my phone rang. It was Flatscreen, trying to rally the troops together for a night out on the town. I asked what was on the agenda, only to discover that Brandon had scored some tickets to Michael Flatley’s Lord Of The Dance, which was playing for four nights at the Uptown Theater. It had been sold out for weeks and, as it turns out, Brandon had pulled some strings and gotten his hands on some seats.

“We figured we’d all humor him and go,” Flatscreen explained, “He really doesn’t have any friends and he told me that the tickets are on him.”

“Lord Of The Dance?” I asked, as I eased the Swanson into the oven and began to muster up my best phony cough, “Well, I’m not feeling well.” This was in 1999, by the way, before I was married and didn’t have a family as an excuse to not go anywhere.

“Balderdash!” Flatscreen replied, “We’ll be over in an hour to pick you up. Wear clean socks.” Click.

An hour later, Brandon pulled into the parking lot outside my second floor apartment in his Jeep and honked the horn. He was noticeably by himself. I climbed into the front seat and was met with a smile. He was wearing an Abercrombie & Fitch shirt.

“Another Michael Flatley fan, eh?” he said as he offered me his hand.

I shrugged and asked him where Flatscreen and the rest of the gang were. “Are they meeting us there?” That’s when he explained that he only possessed two tickets and that Flatscreen was going to go, but insisted I get his seat since I was, apparently, a “big fan.”

Flatscreen did it to me again. I’d been had. Not only was I stuck with this Abercrombie-wearing Jeep driver all night, but also he actually asked me for the $240 for the ticket. Sure, he was a nice enough guy, but I only knew him from little ten-minute increments in an Illustration Techniques class. I suppose I can make the best of it. And how long is this play? Or whatever the hell it is. Brandon pulled out onto the highway.

“Have you heard the new Dave Matthews CD yet?” he inquired as he fed the disc into his player, “it’s even better than ‘Under The Table And Dreaming.’”

The first notes of the record’s opening track pounded through the Panasonic speakers as Brandon punched the gas and we began our descent into Hell. I cringed at the thought of what lie ahead of me. I began to count the minutes until I would see Flatscreen again and I would feel my hands around his skinny neck.

Yes, the ride out to the Uptown was awful. Yes, the show itself was the most torturing thing I had ever had to sit through. Yes, the after party that we found our way to later on was brutal. Yes, the dancer that Brandon picked up and took home that night was not the most attractive of fellows. And, yes, I was upset for my having to pay for a cab ride home from Independence. But despite all this, Brandon has actually become one of my closest and best friends. I think back to that spring night in 1999 and I can’t help but laugh. What a couple of crazy guys we were.

I still give him grief about that night. He’s changed so much since then, trading in his bi-curious lifestyle for an exclusive interest in the opposite sex and his Lord Of The Dance for The Jesus & Mary Chain. But the best part about him is how we all like to make stuff up about him and he’ll just laugh and let people believe whatever they want to. That’s one thing that makes him such a great guy. He rolls with the punches, just like I did on that fateful spring night in 1999. Drop him an email and wish him a happy twenty-ninth birthday, or leave him a comment right here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy birthday, Brandon.


17 August, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You bet your a$$ I'm wishing Brandon a happy birthday. Everybody get ready to see the smallest cannolli in the world!

Wait, wrong Brandon.


17 August, 2006  
Anonymous Milkshake said...

Happy Birthday babe!

17 August, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark, don't forget that our third date was "Feet of Flames"...and you drove the car all the way to Omaha to see that one, you closet Riverdancer, you.

Thanks for a good laugh on this, the first day of my 30th year!

--Brandon "Happy Toes" Bailey

17 August, 2006  
Blogger Kin-Corn-Karn said...

Happy birthday dude.
Hope Pitchfork didn't steal the rest of your best of today, like they did me.

-The Real Brandon

18 August, 2006  

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