I am on the far right. Armando is on the far left. The two men in the middle are wonderful friends but have little bearing on this story. Sadly, this is the only digital photo I have with Armando.
Imagine if you will two old college friends who move in together to share expenses.
They find they're a bit opposite by nature. One is a self-proclaimed hedonist, caring little for perceptions or appearances. The other is wound pretty tight. As example, he was found scrubbing the bathroom in his underwear while listening to Erasure...which brought up all kinds of uncomfortable questions.
Sounds like the same old cliche, right?
Well what if I told you that the two men in this urban, postmodern scenario were enthralled with the weird, the bizarre, the unexplained? They are...The Paranormal Couple.
During the mid 1990s, Armando and I introduced ourselves to the wonders of canned Chicken a la King while simultaneously consuming hours of the show, Sightings. That was the one hosted by Tim White who reminded us that "no mystery is closed to an open mind"...whatever that means. Often that meant a lot of ghost stories and few outrageous claims about the pyramids that had both Armando and I howling at the TV in disbelief.
Of course it was 1994 and we had yet to experience Giorgio Tsoukolos.
But there was Bigfoot. Through one of the numerous docs we met researcher Peter Byrne. His Bigfoot organization had a really cool jeep they'd use to go toolin' through the woods. The doors had a Sasquatch silhouette on them, same shape as the classic "pose" from the Patterson film. Most people want to see a Bigfoot. Armando and I would settle for a ride in the jeep.
Oh and we were there at the beginning for the Chupacabra. The beginning of its entry into public consciousness anyway. So we got that going for us. Which is nice.
Naturally, we wallowed in gallons of UFO content. We watched the film versions of Communion and Fire in the Sky, prompting long, mealtime discussions of each. We compiled a full VHS tape of abduction documentaries. The title we gave that tape? "Leave Our Butts Alone!" We had in-depth discussions about UFO phenomena, abductions, and what exactly were the motivations of the Greys.
Except we didn't know they were called "Greys." Instead, given their enormous, almond-shaped eyes, Armando gave the would-be aliens a new moniker:
"The Bug Eyed Fucks!" he would say. "We're never going to have a democratically elected Congress or a non-rigged Oscar night. You know why? The Bug Eyed Fucks! Those twisted freaks obsessed with our asses!"
Be that as it might've, we eventually found a way to give the BEFs a bit of payback. Virtually, anyway. It was that magnificent video game X-COM: UFO Defense. Genre constraints keep me from getting into all the wonderments of that game, but suffice it to say it involved UFO crashes, BEFs, and sending in transport planes full of armed troops to shoot the surviving BEFs. Oh the days on end we whittled away with that game. You could also name each of your individual soldiers. Given that mine had a tendency to get killed, I stopped naming them after people I liked and switched to the names of people from work or Republican politicians.
Although before I did that, one of the troops named Nick Rhodes survived a disaster of a mission and became senior officer by default. I imagined him in fatigues with little ruffle cuffs sticking out at the wrists. He'd pace before the other troops and say "All right, boys. I'm in command now. And we're gonna get a few things straight round here...very few."
So why am I blogging about this? I guess because I'm wistful. I'm melancholy for those simpler times. I know for a fact my self at that time wouldn't have seen it that way. I was having a terrible time adjusting to adult life and I felt bad that I wasn't going to as many wing dings and shindigs as a young man my age should've been.
What dumb things to worry about. And even dumber to not realize how good I had it.
For I had no idea what true nightmares life could have in store for someone.