I don't know that we ever actually met in Stephen G.'s class, but nevertheless, that's where I first came into contact with you. I remember thinking you looked like you'd walked out of the 50's. I remember thinking that the professor was inordinately hard on one of your scenes. It seemed personal.
I later saw you play the part of Trotsky on stage, and the image just stuck. You are Trotsky. You are pale and smell slightly of vodka. You are a ranting Russian with an axe in his head.
Along with a few other friends, we went on to found Loaded Gun Theory together. Those were pre-child years full of script readings, late night rehearsals, and scrambles for performance space. For a brief period there, it seemed as if you and me would be the ones producing all the finished scripts. I valued everyone's opinions on my work, but I valued yours uniquely for some reason. Perhaps because I could see the results, the proof that you'd spent the same hours I had in front of the keyboard. If I ever write anything again, I imagine you'll be one of the first to see it.
You told me a while back that you were making a conscious effort to be less of an asshole. I had mixed emotions about this. It's true, you can be kind of an asshole sometimes. But I say this not with venom or anger, but with a smirk and a laugh, even a bit of admiration if that makes any sense. You and I have actually laughed about this very fact ourselves. It is a good thing. It's you. Again, the ranting Russian, but who isn't actually Russian.
These days, our kids play together and we're something like adults. Shall we go ahead and take bets on whose kid wrecks a car first?