We always had our goofy little running jokes, most of which were hilarious for about a fortnight before we got bored and found another one. As masters of comic timing, we all understood the value of establishing a joke, forgetting it, then coming back to it just before it completely slips out of the collective memory again. (This is why a phrase like "chalk it up" was not funny in 1992, but would likely provoke a hearty chuckle if brought up now.)

That brings me to prom night, my junior year of high school. My date, a cute girl who had acquired the unfortunate nickname of "Wump" because the last four digits of her phone number spelled that non-word, seemed uneasy and uncomfortable with me at the dance. I would later learn that she and Littleguy had some sort of cast party fling after one of those ridiculous musicals we'd done. And so, possessing my typical flair for the unnecessarily dramatic, I managed to work myself into a full-blown mope, completely convinced that "Wump" had dumped me for LG, when in fact nothing of the kind had actually happened. This is the sort of fellow I was in those days.

Any-who. So I drop my date off at home and slink to Mark's house, still clad in my tux, hoping... I don't know, to get a little sympathy or something I guess. But I pass Mark (and LG) on their way out -- it seems Roman's in town, and they're going to meet up with him wherever it was he was staying. I gleefully tag along, thrilled for the opportunity to meet the legendary Spud I've heard so much about.

We arrive at the apartment of some guy named Jim, where Roman answers the door. "Roman?" I say, barely able to contain my glee. "Yeah?" he manages, clearly schnockered on cheap beer.

"I'M GOING TO JUMP ON YOU!!!" I cry, and take a flying leap for his body. Roman is, understandably, panicked, confused and clearly angry. At that point, it dawns on me: Roman was not actually present for the inception of this particular running joke. As gravity pulls us both to the ground, I suddenly realize this. It makes me feel pathetic -- like I'm trying way too hard to impress and the result is only annoyance. So, pretty much an average day in my high school career.


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