This is not an exit

From geodesic domes to the Windy Apple: The Drew Hunt story (sort of)

In Uncategorized on May 6, 2012 at 8:25 am

There aren’t many things I can remember from seventh grade. The big stuff comes in alright, but there are few little moments I can recall at a whim. After all, it’s been 12 years. Can you remember exactly what you were doing on March 25, 2000? Neither can I.

Now, I might not be entirely sure of when we had to create identity books in Mrs. Carnahan’s seventh period Core class at Duniway Middle School, but little bits and pieces of it come back from time to time. And if there’s one element of that assignment that comes in clear as day whenever it’s summoned, it’s the bit about my own personal heroes. Even then I can only remember two of the three that ended up in my final draft. One of them was Spider-Man, the fictional character after whom I’ve modeled most of my adult life. Why do you think I spend so much of my time snapping photos in a leotard?

My other hero was Drew Hunt. Here he is, squinting into the hot Chicago sun.

Again, I can only vaguely recall the reasons I gave for listing Drew in that category. After all, I had only known this kid for a little more than a year at this time and that he didn’t even know how to beat the Water Temple in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time without help. Sure Drew couldn’t aim the Fairy Bow worth shit, but what he lacked in Zelda skill he more than made up for with what we in the business call “moxie.” For those of you who aren’t familiar with this particular bit of journalism slang, it’s a bit like courage. You might say it’s j-jargon for “balls.”

I admired how Drew stuck to his convictions. If he knew something was right, by gum there wasn’t a point in telling him otherwise unless you could produce some solid evidence to the contrary, a rare trait for a seventh grader. If something didn’t make sense, damned if he would be caught doing it unless it was fun or had some other kind of payoff. When his brother and I would venture to 7-11 in the middle of the night during the shortest nights of summer, Drew was perfectly content to watch Late Night With Conan O’Brien and start snoring.

That is, unless he happened to crave a delicious helping of chocolate milk and a donut during Garrett and my adventures (he never did.)

The kid also had a fascinating memory. It was particularly useful when we’d quiz each other on homemade Simpsons tests during geography class. I’ll never forget the day I was forced to sit under a table while he finished my quiz (Old Man Bixler hated students leaning back in their chairs and I was doing just that as Drew pondered Question Eight. Or was it Nine?)

The punishment for being caught with a tipped chair was the loss of the uncomfortable hunk of plastic and metal followed by 50 written lines. I was dutifully scrawling my note when something Drew said made me jump a bit and smack my head into the bottom of the table. My uttering of the word “dammit” earned another 50 lines reading, “I will not swear or tip my chair in Mr. Bixler’s class.”

I still wasn’t able to stump the bastard. Hell, Drew was the only one who dared take questions that ranked 4/5 or 5/5 on the difficulty scale of The Simpsons Trivia Game. And to us, Brandine will forever be the gal who tipped the scales in somebody else’s favor when it came down to the final round.

Seriously. What the hell.

He also seemed to be ahead of most curves. I may have fallen in love with journalism and decided on a career in reporting at a young age, but it was Drew who had a byline in The Bruin, our high school paper, before I did. Same with photography. Before I was standing ankle-deep in freezing water to shoot the Jaqua Center, Mr. Hunt was running around with a 4.8 megapixel camera shooting the now-forgotten, though no-less-inspiring, Lonely Boy.

And few of our friends from McMinnville High School could deny that when it came to music, Drew was often one step ahead. He recommended nearly every one of my favorite albums from those days, with one notable exception. Even then, he and I played Twisted Metal for damn near three-and-a-half hours the first night I listened to Saves the Day’s Stay What You Are from start to finish.

Like any other friendship, the one I share with Drew has had its share of ups and downs, but we’ve always known — and joked about — the fact that weeks, months, and even years could go by while the core of our relationship remains unchanged. And it’s all of these elements, from his stick-to-it-iveness to his memory for the things he loves and knack for just knowing about certain trends that’s gotten him where he is today.

It’s May 6, 2012 and Andrew Hunt is graduating from Columbia College with a bachelors degree in cinema studies.

The 11-year-old in me is just as happy for his best friend as his 25-year-old counterpart. We’ve been on plenty of adventures together with myriad more to come and I can’t be more proud of him for all he’s accomplished.

We’ve rocked out in the tiniest music venues in Portland, ventured knee-deep through the waters of the world’s shortest river and to the top floor of the tallest building in the United States (or at least the Sears Tower was at the time.) I can’t shake that nagging feeling I’ve had since the first time we trumped Calypso in Twisted Metal: Black together: We’re here to take over the world. And right now it feels like he’s one step closer. I’m proud of you, buddy.

Oh, and about that song I embedded at the beginning of this post? Drew sang that out loud when he presented the music chapter of his identity book to our class. I told you: The kid has moxie.

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