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My Friend, Rick

The first time I met my friend, Rick, he was charmed by the way I held my liquor. Jack Daniel was my drink of choice then. We met in film school; I was an undergrad and he was a grad student- 8 years older than me, with two days between our birthdays, he was charmed by my naivete and I was impressed by the fact that he graduated from Berkeley back in the days of sits ins, Angela Davis, and the birth of the free speech movement. We were friends, never more than that, and it's always been one of the most sustainable friendships I've ever had.

Everyone, it seemed, knew Rick. Whenever I went out with him, he was always running into someone or another. From his childhood in New Jersey, and Delaware, to his life at Berkeley, teaching in a northern California private girls' school, and present day university students, there was usually a wildly amusing story to go along with each of those friends. There was nary a bar or restaurant that we went to where he wouldn't run into one of his old chums. There was even a time when he went to the Dresden Room so often that Marty, of the infamous Marty and Elaine, started playing the theme song from "Laura," (his most requested song) whenever Rick walked in. Another magical night was when we went to the old Perino's on Wilshire Blvd where Hadda Brooks, the pianist from "In a Lonely Place." was playing, and Rick, using his irrevocable charm,talked her into playing some of his favorites.

Every year, we make it our business to call each other to say happy birthday, if we aren't already celebrating together. When I was younger, I tried very hard, to match him, glass for glass, but in the end he always won. Margueritas were our drink of choice and our group went to El Coyote, where the food was bearable only if you drank enough cheap margaritas, so often that we made it to virtually every table there 2 or 3 times over. He's going to turn 70 next month, though our friend Bob tells me he doesn't like to talk about it. For the life of me, I can't see Rick slowing down, and I think he's going to go for for a very long time. And he can still drink me under the table.

NCIS Junkie