I’ve known my friend Josh since we were in middle school. I’ve known my friend Mike since we were in high school.

About thirty years after meeting them, Josh and Mike drove down to Iowa from Minnesota a few weeks ago to visit. They braved the cornfields of Iowa to see me.

That’s quite a friendship.


Mike and Josh visited me a few times in Pennsylvania as well. After I moved to State College. They braved propellor planes, rural Pennsylvanians, and the terror of landing at University Park Airport in State College to visit. Their devotion isn’t lost on me. Flying into that airport is a panic attack. A panic attack I’m well acquainted with. In fact, I have to fly back there in a few weeks. I put my headphones in, close my eyes, and pray. It’s quite an adventure.

Anyway, Mike and Josh are two of my closest friends. We were inseparable in high school. Later, we were short-lived college roommates. My introversion proved too extreme and I moved out of our two-bedroom suite on campus at The University of Minnesota. Words can’t describe how angry Josh was when I left that night in December. I remember him sitting in silence, staring at the spot where the TV had been before I packed it into my friend Nick’s car. I had brought my TV for our dorm. This was an important item in 1999. And then I took my TV away. What a monster.

Josh and Mike eventually forgave me. And all these years later, we remain friends. That’s quite an accomplishment if you ask me.

Josh and Mike were my best men in my wedding. And they’ve been there as I’ve moved along this slow journey towards adulthood. Months can go by without us talking and yet I know that I could reach out to either of them about anything. Ask for anything. And they could do the same to me. Though God knows what I have to offer. I’m but a humble college professor who squeaks by on my charm and good looks. And I’m 42 now, so there’s no telling how much longer those things will last.


Josh and Mike stayed at an AirBNB in Cedar Rapids, about thirty minutes north of Iowa City. It was a home game for the Iowa Hawkeyes (Go Hawks), so there were few options when it came to lodging. Still, we spent time in Czech town. There was a delicious open field next to their place. We spent hours throwing the frisbee. Playing catch with a football. I even brought Solomon and Samson to play with us. It was wonderful.

Sure, there seems to be a vagrancy problem in the neighborhood they stayed in. The house next door was teeming with feral cats. And we didn’t get to spend that much time near campus. But Josh brought his Retropie, and so got to revisit classics such as Street Fighter 2, Super Mario Kart, and Link to the Past.

I have a fantasy that Josh and I will beat Maniac Mansion someday. Maniac Mansion is a classic NES game the we played as kids. The game mechanics are, in a word, wonky. It would take the patience of a monk to master the game. I think that is a dream I might let die.

You know what won’t die? My friendship with Mike and Josh. It’s lasted over thirty years. That’s beautiful. I love those guys.

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