I'm a lucky guy in the sense that I have a wonderful family who love and care for me. I'm even luckier that, in addition to a great family, I have not just one, but a handful of people I can call my 'best friend'. I may not have 3,417 friends on my myspace.com or facebook page but in real life my small handful are some of the greatest people you will ever find, and no amount of 'friendship' on myspace would equal what I have with these 'best friends'.
Sadly, my current life situation has caused me to not be there for one of my best friends. I'm hoping I can say a few things about the man here, as I won't get the chance later this month when Mike Ciccone strolls down the aisle to marry his lovely bride, Rebecca Hall, on May 20th. Shortly after Mike popped the question to Rebecca he asked me to be his Best Man, and for a time I said I would, but for several personal reasons, I had to bow out. Mike was understanding and gracious and I know he thinks no less of me. But it doesn't change the fact I feel like I've let him down somewhat, and I should be there for him. So, I'd like to share a few things about Mike that I would have done at the big wedding, had I been able to attend.
Not many people know this but Mike will not help you move. If you don't want Mike to show up someplace, just tell him there is moving involved and he will not darken your doorway until the coast is clear. Mike will balk at my claim, but I can verify this from several sources, those several sources being my brother Jim. I'm not sure why Mike avoids helping people move. I think there is something in his genetic make up that causes a stammering, yet bewildering, auditory defense when asked to put boxes in trucks. I liken it to an Octopus who squirts his ink to confuse his attacker, and then quietly slips away unscathed.
“Hey Mike I need to move, can you help next Sunday?”
“Ahhh ....ummmm geeez,..... ahhh yeah I, uhhhh can't ummm make it, I.... ummm, have an appointment”
“You have an appointment on Sunday?”
“Yes. Gotta go!”
It's a phenomenon that must be investigated, but I fear much like the Sasquatch or the elusive Yeti, we will never truly understand it.
I can't actually remember the exact moment meeting Mike at BCIT in the fall of 1992. We were both taking Broadcast Communications (that's Radio for those not in the know) and I'm almost positive he was there from day one, but I can't say for sure because I didn't hear him speak until weeks after we'd been introduced. In fact, I know he barely spoke to anyone, until one day, when I was being my usual loudmouth self, no doubt trying to impress a girl in our class, and in my attempt I screwed up whatever it was I was trying to do. Mike spoke up with a quick and clever jab at my gaff that caused the whole class to laugh at my expense. I turned to him, sighed, and said.... “I liked it better when you didn't speak!”
Outside of me being a bit loud and Mike a bit quiet I quickly realised Mike and I were very much alike in many ways. Almost scary alike actually, to the point where I can't even recall ever seeing a movie with Mike, and disagreeing on what we thought of it (And we have gone to hundreds together). In fact to illustrate this point of like mindedness, there is a website called YMDB.com where you type in your all time top 20 favourite films, and then your list is compared with other people from all over the world giving you a top ten of whom you share the most movies in common with. Well, out of however many millions of people who had listed their favourite films on this site, I was amazed to see a Mike Ciccone from Abbotsford, BC clocking in at #3 on my top ten. What are the odds?
We became fast friends at BCIT sharing our love for movies, music, Baseball, David Letterman and many other forms of amusement far too nerdy to list here. Quickly we were teaming up writing gags, or 'bits' as we called them, for our radio shows, comedy routines, skits or whatever else popped into our heads. Later on in our lives we even made a movie together. The film had everything ... Mike wrestling a horrible Space Alien, Mike being electrocuted to death, Mike walking down the street with a tin foil space suit on, oh and there's also a scene where I have sex with a chair.... don't ask. Send me the right amount via paypal and I will post it on the internet....
I know in something like this you are supposed to have a few funny stories about your times together but to tell the truth there are sooo many things I can't even begin to pick just one thing. I mean we've done so much together where would I start? We've been to Las Vegas a few times, we've done day trips to Seattle, been all over small town BC, seen countless Vancouver Canadians games, Got locked in the Metrotown parking garage after hours and couldn't get out! We even shared season tickets to the Vancouver Grizzlies for all but one season of their short existence. In fact Mike and I met the nicest person ever at those games.
Our seats at GM Place were on the second level, dead center, two rows up, and we always sat next to the same lady (who it turned out was an African-American, motherly, ex-Californian police officer named Rena), we would share a nice smile at the beginning of the game with Rena, but pretty much ignore her when tip off rolled around. Well, a few weeks into the season listening to Mike and I talk Basketball, and deciding we actually knew what we were talking about, Rena turned to Mike and I and asked 'How the heck do two white boys from Canada know so much about Basketball?' We made sure our seats were next to Rena every season after.
Mike and I have so many running jokes and do them sooo often that we actually had to retire some because they were even making us sick. Somewhere in the ether of space hang banners of jokes worn out with over use. Lord knows how annoying they were to people around us. For instance Mike would call me up and ask what I'm doing, and I'd reply truthfully about the video game I happened to be playing ...
“I'm playing Ultima, it's where you have to get this magical sword to destroy an evil dragon that is killing everyone in the land”
Mike, without hesitation, would say “Wow that sounds like an awesome video game”
And on cue I'd reply... “Game?”.
Now you kind of understand why we 'retired' these things...
Despite the fact I now live far away I know Mike will still always be there for me. When I was diagnosed with a severe depression disorder some time ago, Mike would call and come over as much as he could, which wasn't easy, because by now he lived all the way out in Squamish. But, he'd still make the trek to my lovely downtown Surrey apartment to check in with me. He'd ask me where I needed to go, take me to the grocery store, then to the Comic Book shop (as he knew I liked my comics), buy us some pizza, watch a movie with me, and most important of all, listen to my problems. He didn't have to do this as he was seeing a pretty young thing named Rebecca at the time (Although I don't think I was yet allowed to tell anyone they were dating) and seeing me took away from his time with her. That's not easy to do when young love is blooming. I may not have seemed very appreciative at the time, as I was in a horrible state, but it meant a lot to me.
I can honestly say you'd be hard pressed to find a funnier, smarter, kinder or more loyal friend then Mike Ciccone. This is a man I look up to and respect, and I know Rebecca is well aware of how lucky she is so she doesn't need me to say it. I love him like my own brother. I know there isn't anything I wouldn't do for him as I know there is nothing he wouldn't do for me.... except help me move.
Good luck Mike and Rebecca, I wish I could be there to help celebrate your big day....