Saturday, June 25, 2005


I had a great surprise last month when I received an e-mail from my high school friend Aaron Olson, otherwise known as Urn. I am not quite sure how the nickname was derived, though it did always seem like a touchingly polite gesture, rendering his name just that much quicker to type or to pronounce. (I suppose I was not so polite, because for a long time I went by the nickname "maccheww", based on a noise that our family dog, a siberian husky, made one day - Bandit may have just been clearing his throat, but his howl sounded distinctly like "Halloooooooooooooo! maccheww".)

Anyway, Urn was always one of my favorite people and closest friends in high school. We used to walk together to and from almost every day, and since he lived at a convenient point midway between school and home I would often linger there at Urn's house for several hours each afternoon.

Here's something I wrote in an e-mail to Urn, thinking back on that time:
I remember how we had our own huge collection of inside jokes, when we would walk to school and back together every day, and how we could totally crack eachother up while saying nothing that would be remotely meaningful to any other person on the planet. I've always admired people who could collect jokes like that - they just seem to evaporate out of my head, leaving only vague nostalgic memories of something pleasant and funny!
When Urn e-mailed me last month, wondering if he had stumbled on the right Matt Heller and hoping to renew our acquaintance, his message awakened all kinds of vague nostalgic memories. Especially since, as it happened, I received his e-mail just after returning to Charleston, SC, a place that has all kinds of nostalgic associations for me as well - I felt like I was nibbling the tea-soaked madeleine at both ends. I also wrote:
...getting back in touch with you makes me realize how so many of the people I've known and liked since then were basically replicas of people I knew in high school. Or rather, I tried to replicate the relationships I had in high school with those people - and when they failed to behave in quite the same ways that their high school prototypes would have, I never quite knew what to make of them. I don't think I ever quite found a substitute Aaron Olson, which I suppose makes you a highly valuable commodity!
Urn's value as a commodity seems only to have risen, judging from the charm and humor of his e-mails! Here is an excerpt from Urn's e-mail to me, which I think gives a taste of his unique sense of humor:
Man, I'm glad I found you. Not as though I've been on some lifelong quest to find a long lost sibling holding onto the other half of a pendant that will eventually usher in the new world order or anything, but now and then I get a bug, and I start looking up people to see if I can find them. My internet stalking abilities only stay fresh if I use them, you see.
He also has a blog, alternate 3rd thursdays, which I've been snooping on to catch up on his current obsessions. Urn's blog may get a bit technical on occasion, but it still makes me laugh, even when I have no idea what he's talking about!


urn said...

Publish freely, I have few secrets to hide. :)

Matt Heller said...

Thanks, Urn - I added a little bit of your e-mail to the end of this post, which I think makes the posting sound much less like a pathetic ode to my imaginary friend.

Feel free to contribute any time to hella frisch, though I reserve the right to use any contributions for blackmail purposes.