By Wyatt Earp | March 28, 2006
The first in a series.
People always ask me, “Wyatt, why are you so cynical?” Well, it has little to nothing to do with my upbringing. It has everything to do with the friends that surround me. Today, I will begin profiling my little circle of friends in hopes of giving you a glimpse into the darkest reaches of my soul. First up, “Vinnie Antonelli.”
Like the rest of my circle, I met Vinnie in high school. He and my future brother-in-law took pity on the loser from the cross-country team, and introduced me to their close friends. We all had something in common: hockey. Every weekend, we spent hours playing roller hockey at the local schoolyard – even though Vinnie couldn’t skate all that well.
When we were old enough to work, Vinnie got me a job at the neighborhood deli. It was the most fun I ever had. We made fun of customers, screwed up orders, messed with the local pot-heads, and generally took the business down from the inside. It was Clerks before the movie.
When the circle went to college, we all stayed local. I went to Saint Joseph’s – and was branded a “preppie” by Vinnie – while the Vin Man went to Temple. “He could have gone anywhere, but he chose Temple.” Actually, Temple was the only school that would take him. Vinnie joined a frat, and lived on campus in the most disgusting inner-city “home” on Broad Street. This thing should have been condemned in 1920! There Vinnie learned the intricacies of Actuarial Science, as well as the complexities of getting his friends to drink Colt 45.
Vinnie graduated near the top of his class and found a great job in NYC. The life-long Flyers fan quickly became a Rangers fan, outfitting his jersey wardrobe in Broadway Blue. One night, our circle went to a nightclub in Langhorne, PA. Vinnie, as always, was dressed to the nines: a white New York Rangers jersey and maroon sweatpants. Our friend “The Badger” told him that he should buy his clothes from “Garanimals” – the kids clothes where you match the tags to match the colors. Oddly enough, Vinnie met his future wife that evening. Donna must be color-blind.
For some reason, Vinnie asked me to be his Best Man. (Still my first and only invite to that position.) The wedding was a blast, and Vinnie and Donna jumped on the baby-making bandwagon. The couple have three terrific boys (and with my two we almost have a hockey team): Jeffrey, Derek, and Anthony. A few years after he was born, Derek was found to be autistic. Information like this would probably crush a lesser man like me, but Vinnie and Donna are so good with Derek, it makes you want to cry. I mean, if you’re a wuss, that is.
Vinnie is one of my closest friends, and even though he’s balding, a mediocre skater, and a major wiseass, he’s like a brother to me. A brother you verbally abuse and torture for your own amusement.