Many Happy Returns

No doubt you're all wondering why you've not heard from me on here in a while. Further, your frustrations over that (if frustrations there be) are about to be further compounded by this entry, the purpose of which is not to write so much about me as about someone who is very dear to me. He isn't even an actor (at least he hasn't been [in the traditional sense] since high school), but today is his birthday, and his family is just as clever as he is, so one of his sisters invited all of we--his 'blogified friends--to dedicate an entry to

David Mr. Younce

today. It is my pleasure to do so.

It's little known, but Dave Younce is actually a 350-year-old werewolf who belongs to all the important secret societies, including The Knights Templar, the Free-Masons and the Illuminati. He helps to keep this information discrete through a manipulation of seemingly inconsequential circumstances and details that somehow cumulatively result in a complete opacity of actual information. These masterminded manipulations require a comprehension and pattern recognition to perceive that is so vast, no normal man may achieve it. For years, the doctoral-level theoretical mathematicians at all the major American scientific universities have had their equivalent of a regatta, by way of a contest to be the first to determine what Dave will do next. To date, only two, Mensa-level mathematicians have succeeded. One promptly disappeared on an ill-advised expedition to the Amazon. The other immediately went insane. Dave is a figure of mystery and illusion who must never be gambled with, deceived (as if such a thing were possible) and who will swiftly assassinate irritating people with the power of his mere intention.

Not really, though. (As far as I know.) But Dave


one of those people about whom one has stories that seem almost of necessity fictional. I have spent the past few days trying to decide what is my best Dave story. Truly, there are too many to choose from. There's Dave the frustrated genius, who conceives ideas for engrossing fiction like each was an easily-dispensed pellet of Pez. There's Dave the adventurer, who appreciates better than anyone else I know the merit of following through on what seems a crazy idea. There's Dave-as-Mickey-Goldmill, who is always in one's corner for incidents from encouraging work on a project to understanding how tough life can get. There's Dave the Mastermind, who, you'll suddenly discover, has thought five steps ahead of you on a given day and, actually, is the reason you're where you are, doing what you're doing, that day to begin with. To top it all off, he's just a great, great friend--the kind you are always grateful for.

This last characteristic is perhaps the source of one of, if not the, best Youncey stories I have.

The best thing I can say about my experience of the summer of 1996 was that Dave was a huge part of it. It was the summer after our freshman years of college, his at BYU and mine at VCU. However it happened, we ended up hanging out more that summer than we ever managed in high school, and did I ever need it. I was working at a mall branch of Circuit City, in a bizarre state of quasi-break-up with my girlfriend and just generally confused and pissed off. So Dave and I passed the summer in good part talking about girls, drinking late-night Slurpees and having strange adventures. We would give one another "assignments," things to write or accomplish or retrieve that made mundaneness of growing up much more interesting. One day, Dave's assignment to me was to meet someone on a train platform toward sunset and speak specific words to him; something along the lines of, "No news is good news."

Well, I followed through, and sure enough there was a large man sitting alone on the platform, wearing unnecessary sunglasses and reading a newspaper. (The "man" was a mutual acquaintance, Chuck, but I didn't really know him well and for a minute of surveillance there I really thought I was dealing with a stranger.) What followed were hours of adventure as Chuck drove me to another location to meet another contact. I was completely out of control of my circumstances, and all my "contacts" were in character, mysterious figures who fed me tidbits of story but never answered a question directly. They were all mutual friends (including my erstwhile girlfriend--a deliciously dangerous twist), a network of game-playing cronies who executed this amazing real-life theatre. From train station, to park, to bank, to highway, every person I met had new information for me about my ultimate goal: to confront the mysterious "Condor." It went off beautifully, and mind you this was before everyone in the world had cell phones. The only glitch I knew about happened at the end, when the last contact dropped me off at the wrong end of the field behind my house, the end Dave had parked at. I knew I was to meet the Condor on that field. When Dave saw me crossing the street toward his car, he hopped out and addressed me by my codename. I was so into the game, however, that I thought it was a trick or test (no one who knows him would put it past him) and insisted on getting to the field. I did, to find a mini arena for our final confrontation. Dave eventually joined me (presumably after chewing out the last contact a bit) and we went to meet everyone who had been involved at a local restaurant.

Why that story, apart from not having had any experience like it before or since? Because it shows just how far Dave will go for a great experience with friends, his love of detail and creation, and because it demonstrates just how cool my friend Dave Younce is. Happy birthday, Youncey. You're (still) the best.