Punny Joke For The Day: I'd tell you a chemistry joke but I know I wouldn't get a reaction.
I loved my gentle giant friend, David Yanosko for the decade that I lived in Columbus, Ohio, and still do in a way, although we no longer speak for a nexus of reasons having to do mainly with the passage of time, the distance between us, and the peculiarities of aging. In many, many ways he was my hero. From the moment that I met him, I saw David’s six foot six inch value. I have had several lovers in life but my friend David is the one I look back toward with longing.
David was amazingly handsome when he was younger. His mother, who lived in Pittsburg with his sister Ruth, showed me his fair-haired, bright-eyed, cherub-faced boyhood photos. What a beautiful child he was! I am very fond of his mother and sister as they are very decent people.
David has a master’s degree in geology. He is retired with disability now, but at the time he worked for a weatherization company doing housing audits in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, with his home base in Columbus, Ohio. I met him when he did an energy audit of the carriage house that I rented while I was a graduate teaching associate working on my master’s degree in sociology at Ohio State University. He said he could not “fraternize” with customers, so I followed him outside when he was done and said, “Now I am not a customer, let’s go for coffee.” We did and have been friends ever since. The only change that I am aware of making in him is when I took him for a walk through some trees in a city park and taught him not to talk incessantly, to be silent so as to hear the world. He was surprisingly resistant and resentful of being taught, but I prevailed.
David’s very presence was comforting to me, he was a person of higher mental stature, with great emotional competency, and a capacity for listening that eased any fears in my heart. He had originally trained at seminary to become a priest, but knew himself to be secular and did not continue. He wrote letters to me that were beautiful, worthy of publishing. I still sometimes reread his emails, something I never did with anyone else’s work. Reading his words feels a little bit like being with him.
He would say wise and gentle things like:
“Dearest one, venting is a state of mind. You can do it silently if you must. Or go for a walk and dedicate the energy you burn to the process of venting. Or squeeze it into the wording of an email, or a letter, or into a song or a hymn. I sing out loud at night when I am alone. Usually it is some old song from the 40's that Mum taught me, or a hymn like "Let All mortal Flesh Keep Silence", singing it over and over till the stress is gone. I am adding your parents and you to my prayer list. I will ask my family to do so too. Giggles are great. They are express venting.”
Because David was Catholic I had a reason to go to Mass with him on Sundays. That was back when the rumors of priest child abuse were just rumors, and Mass was in Latin, so I could sit back and let the pageantry, the liturgy, music, the glittering gold, and the incense wash over me. David was often out-of-town during the weekdays, and he and I spent our weekends separately because he would party hardy and I did not, but on Sunday mornings I would pick him up and we would go to Mass and an All-You-Can-Eat buffet with wonderful conversation. Only the topic of religion was verboten. “Aw, leave me my religion.” He said when I tried to analyze the dogma. It was a very pleasant way to spend Sunday. If I could not rouse him at the doorbell, I would go round and toss rocks up at his bedroom windows like a child to rouse him. It always worked although he would grumble on the way to the Cathedral. He claims to have asked me to marry him, but I did not hear him. I do not know what to make of that, but in later years he loved another who was more accessible so the matter is settled. I remember asking him to be my roommate at one point, but he chose to live with a rowdy guy who would party with him. (Party is a euphemism for get drunk and high and rowdy.)
For years he said that I was his best friend, then he presented me with this portrait that he created of me. It hurt my feelings terribly. I showed it to my father for comfort and my father liked it so much that he asked if he could keep it, so years later I inherited it back from him. I see that it is wonderfully rendered, but it seems to imply that I am a bully, monstrous even.
Years later, he emailed this poem to me:
I wish that I could click my heels together and lose 100 pounds each click.
I wish that the west side of Columbus was made of blue cheese and that I owned stock in Kraft.
I wish that people could actually get along with each other for more than one second before they tried to kill each other.
I wish that you were here right this instant and that you would never leave me again.
by David R Yanosko 1996
Caption: David Yanosko
screencapture from an I LOVE YOU video clip
that he emailed to Annmarie Throckmorton not so long ago