Today we get away from Will’s love life (kind of). I have plenty more of those stories, but we will take a break this week.
Today’s story is about a very sad event in our lives that Will managed to make into something we will never forget or ever let him live down.
So we begin during Thanksgiving break three years ago when I was still working as a teacher. I had the week off, so my wife and I are running some errands on Monday. We were getting ready to walk into a BJs Wholesale Club to do groceries when all of a sudden my phone rings and it is Will.
This is odd, since Will never calls me and it had been probably sixth months since I had spoken to him last.
The first words out of his mouth are, “This is not a social call. Have you seen Facebook lately?”
Trying to figure out how Facebook isn’t social I answer no, because I never check my Facebook.
The next words out of his mouth, “BJ is dead.” Just matter of factly. No warning, no buildup. Just yeah he dead.
A little background on our good friend BJ. We went to high school with him and I played hockey and Will played football with him. He was one of the most dependable guys we ever knew. We had all grown a little apart since we graduated but he was still a great guy.
Another quick side note, Will was totally in love with BJ’s longtime girlfriend. Like head over heels for her. He had been trying to subtley break them up for years when we all were close. He even dated one of her best friends for a while to stay close to her.
Anyway, so after the initial shock, I inform Will that perhaps that wasn’t the best way to break that news and a warning would have helped me not scream profanity in the middle of the BJ’s parking lot.
He tells me that he did warn me, saying it wasn’t a social call.
So he hangs up and continues his calling. Next on his list was BJ’s ex. They had actually been broken up a few years earlier, but were still close friends.
Will calls her and immediately says he is so sorry for her. She asks him what he is talking about. He says his bit about have you checked Facebook lately. She says no. He realizes he is breaking the news to her and freezes.
“Umm, why don’t I call you back,” Will says. She insists that he tell her what is going on. He breaks the news, I can only imagine he said it matter of factly like he did to me. And she just starts crying uncontrollably.
It is at this point in the story that we tell two different versions. There is the “real” version of what he did and said, and there is the “better” version that we tell. I will go with the real version first, and then the other version that has become our inside joke that always makes Will cringe.
So apparently Will talked to her on the phone for a few more minutes and tried to calm her down and got her to stop crying. Then he called Phil to tell him, and after his cold, “BJ is dead” he told Phil the story of what happened with BJ’s ex.
Then they started talking about the funeral and if Will could catch a ride over with Phil. And Phil said sure. This is where Will shows his true colors.
Will tells Phil he needs to get a haircut and some new clothes, he wants to look good because he’ll finally see BJ’s ex again. And, with all respect to his dear departed friend, he wants to see if he can snag a date with her later on after the grief is past. That is when Will realizes something.
“Shit, I made her cry. She’ll never want to date me, she’ll just remember that I told her BJ was dead. Damn, I should have called her tomorrow when she would have known.”
They both went to the funeral, I couldn’t because he was in Maine and I am in Florida, and Will did see BJ’s ex there. They did end up going out for coffee like a month later, mainly to reminisce about BJ, which just pissed Will off. He never did get another chance to date her.
Now for the better version of this story, the one we tell and are 100% certain BJ approves of wherever his soul may now be. We are also 100% certain we are going to hell.
So as the story goes, Will called BJ’s ex and after asking her if she had seen Facebook simply said this.
Will: “Yeah, uh, BJ is dead... Speaking of BJs...”
Yes we will all go to hell for that, but now anytime the name BJ or term BJ or anything that sounds like BJ is uttered we always end with a, “Speaking of BJs....”
Like, if someone says, “I’d like a P, B and J” we will all stop and go, “Speaking of BJs...”
Every single time Will stops, looks us dead in the eye and says in all seriousness, “That’s not funny.” Which just makes it so much better.
Next week marks the 10th week I have been writing these! So I will have a special surprise for everyone if a certain someone doesn’t flake out on me.
May you rest in peace my friend.
If you missed a week, I’ve got you covered.