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2004-07-19 - 5:59 p.m.

Most Likely to Have His Arms Covered in Tattoos by Twenty-Five

There was no such senior superlative at my high school, but had their been, the Ranger probably would have received it.

One of the few in my group of friends who was shorter than me, the Ranger still maintained an intimidating appearance. Drawn to black and ochre, his attire was rarely shaded lighter than his buzzed brown hair. His t-shirts, flared loudly, usually bore the name of some metal band, I, in my Dave Matthews Band haze, had never heard of. (Please note, my haze was jam band induced, and not drug induced. Making it all that much more pathetic.)

“The music I listen to…it would make you shit in your pants.”

Infamous still stands the story wherein the Ranger, received a head butt defending his girlfriend’s honor, without flinching. He never threw a punch, just took the hit with so little care that his attacker walked away.

In a time where many of the men in my group of friends swooned over Gwen Stefani or Janet Jackson’s belly button, the Ranger crooned: “Mmmm, Evil Willow;” marking himself nearly four years ahead of me on the Buffy love.

He meshed well with our already established collaborative: the women, workaholics, striving to be the in the highest academic quartile at all hours of the day. The men, active slackers, much happier discovering new ways to tear down each other’s self esteem than discovering insights into NATO policy.

Average conversation:

Overworked Girl: I have three papers, two projects, and I have to study for the PSAT’s.

The Boyfriend: Oh, honey. You need me to make you some flashcards?

Slacker Guy: Oh, honey. Do you need some axel grease for my ass before you make me your bitch?

We were a lovely, heart-warming lot, and the Ranger, fit well in our ranks, nearly impervious to insult, even when he made such public display of his affections with his various women that he was often confused with a couch cushion.

For all of this, it seemed odd the one among us with the hardest edge, was the straight edge.

No liquor, no smoking, no drugs. He declared his near-religion on everything he owned with three x’s. (Until then I’d thought three x’s only appeared on the side of jugs of moonshine in old cartoons.) He regularly had them on his hands, and it was duct taped onto each of the bags he used throughout high school. (One of them made entirely of duct tape.)

The death metal rocker destined for tattoos and at least a few more head butts taken lightly was the one least likely to be found with a beer in his hand. It seemed almost like a Hell’s Angel quoting any book of the Bible other than Revelations. (Okay I stretched that metaphor too far. A Hell’s Angel quoting the Bible would have been fine.)

Looking back, though, I realize a few advantages he had in that day, thanks to his affiliations. First of all, he could be confident in the knowledge that he would never be found prancing about in his boxer shorts in an open dewy field for the masses to photograph. He would be the one behind the camera. In fact, it was most often the Ranger who got the scrumptious duty of relating back the events that transpired during a lush’s black out. Many of us could have given the highlights, but his lack of fuzziness gave him access to the details. Those lovely, lovely details.

The Ranger has never asked, “How did I end up making out with her?” He was the one telling you how.

This is not to say that he was without sin. He simply decided which sins he found most exciting and cut the others out. They'd just get in the way. Considering the trade off he made, in light of my last few weekends, I’m thinking of etching a few x’s into my cell-phone.

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