Monday, December 22, 2008

Thoughts on a Fallen Friend

Four months ago to the day today my best friend Joe Powers put on one of the best performances I’d ever seen- this after a week of marathon performances.

For 8 days prior we hung out putting all time and efforts we had into being funny in terms of stand up and sketch to co-produce shows with our sketch group, The Ultimate Experts.

Joe is also my neighbor, and not unlike a sitcom stereo type there were often random drop-ins where I would find myself going about my day and then Joe would be there to eat lunch with me, or distract me with a beer.

On that night four months ago the experts didn’t have their celebration shot that we normally have together afterwards. We just went straight to partying, talking to friends and audience alike. The show we run at the Producer’s Club is a monthly (kinda bi-monthly) which takes place on Fridays at 10pm and ends around midnight. By the time we’ve cleaned up and shut down the bar it’s around 1 or 2 am and we’re all pretty high from the rush of putting on a major production.

That night Joe and I went out on the town with two other pals and had some fun moments, deep conversation, and beer – this could’ve pretty much have read like any other evening we’d shared except for two things:
1. The show was phenomenal that night.
2. Joe fell three stories onto concrete at about 5am

It’s still traumatic to write about, but it’s even worse to think about when you have the actual visual of him lying there in blood. All I could think was, “Not Joe.”

But, alas, it was Joe Powers.

He survived the fall, and after four months has been in and is now out of a coma, couldn’t move the left side of his body – and is now working with therapists to walk, couldn’t talk and is now speaking.

The mind is a really amazing thing, and how the body can heal after such trauma is truly an awesome thing to watch. It’s been a roller coaster these past four months. Joe has his good days and his bad, but he’s moving forward each day – which is something I’m very grateful for.

The thing that makes it all hard, and I’m going to sound selfish, is – I don’t have that best friend around anymore. I went from an everyday pal to a once a week mostly one-sided chat.

It’s hard to go to mics and parties sometimes because I catch myself thinking one of two things:
1. This would be a lot more fun if Joe were here.
2. I really hope no one falls off the building tonight.

Talk about awkward, like that’s not the kinda reputation any gal would want.
“What kinda gal is Sue Funke? – Well, don’t invite her to a party if you wanna walk away from it.”

Oh, that’s awful to think, but really, I just never wanna see that kinda thing twice.

I’m just glad Joe is safe now and recovering, and I hold onto great hope that there will be a day where Joe and I get to do another open mic together, take the train home, grab some tacos off a truck and watch America’s Funniest Home Videos while we discuss comedy and life.

So, what do I want for Christmas?
A hair dryer.
Oh, and Joe Powers. I’d like a fully recovered Joe Powers. I miss him very much.

So, if any of you brain surgeons out there can figure out how to accelerate Traumatic Brain Injury healing, I would really REALLY love that Christmas miracle.

And now some of my favorite moments from the August 22nd Ultimate Experts show:

Joe as Father Barnabus Dempsey

Joe and I play a couple and other dorky things from my Dungeons and Dragons sketch.

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