13 April 2010
Stone Cold Steve O'Blenis is everything you could want in a friend.
Big enough to handle himself if we get into a bar fight.
He's a good guy trying to make his way in the world while raising a great daughter and trying his best to enjoy the things he enjoyed as a child: Star Wars, professional wrestling, sports and video games. It's no surprise he and I became fast friends when we worked together at the same newspaper more than 10 years ago. Back then he had a fiance and I had a rotating door situation with women, which is to say I had nothing and no one. The fiance became a wife who became an ex-wife. Out of this relationship he got a fine daughter and a clear head. He spent the next few years of his life working hard, getting to know his little girl and, I believe, getting to know himself again. And at the right time, when he least expected it, a girl named Diane walked into his life.
I met Diane one night and liked her immediately. She's a good girl with a good heart who isn't afraid to be generous and caring to anyone. She's like Steve: Honest, solid, and extremely good looking. (She really is. Steve aint so bad himself.)
So I was relieved when he said he was going to marry her. Part of me thought the big guy got burned too bad to go back. It happens. But he's a strong dude and she's the right woman and I couldn't be happier for him.
And this is what we talk about these days when we finally carve out some time for cocktails at the local pizza joint down the street. Last night we celebrated his upcoming marriage and did a few shots of tequila. We ended the night by watching the Hulk Hogan scene in Rocky III and then blasting some zombies in House of the Dead 2. For all the press the Wii gets for being a party games machine, few of my friends are interested in anything more than bowling or light gun games. Bowling is good enough to warrant buying the system in the first place. When you play, you might as well be in a bowling alley. You've got beers and a couch and everyone gets up and takes their turn and then cheers for the next guy. It's social.
Demented and said, but social. (With apologies to John Hughes.)
House of the Dead 2 - and all quality light gun games for that matter - offer the perfect mindless backdrop for two grown men to talk about their love of certain women and Hulk Hogan. The zombies keep coming - if you're good enough, because the game is hard - and the violence and story are so ridiculous that you feel compelled to either shout at the screen or lay back and ignore it while you discuss something important.
And that's just what we did.
Big Steve and I may not get as many Monday night play dates as we do now once he gets married, but I know I'll cherish them all just the same.
Good luck, brother.
By Victor Paul Alvarez