TANGENT Bidding farewell to roommate Brian
Three and a half years is the natural limit for heterosexual males to live together. And so, after thousands of arguments, hundreds of rolls of toilet paper, dozens of pre-games, three girlfriends, two apartments and 42 months of living together separated only by a thin, temporary plaster wall, my roommate Brian finally is moving out. It is a time of sadness and of joy. But most of all, it is a time for retrospection. This one's for you, man, the most absurd roommate of all time.
Here's an argument typical of the Karo/Brian Experiment. Our apartment building has a garbage chute in the hallway. Because we rarely, if ever, take out the kitchen trash, I usually throw food waste down the chute. Brian refuses. He insists on throwing rotten bananas and leftover tuna fish in the kitchen garbage, saying, "Karo, it's a garbage can. That's what it's there for." Dude, garbage cans only work if you empty them. If you don't, it's not a garbage can -- it's just a filthy hole next to the fridge.
What else has made the Karo/Brian Experiment unique? We taunt each other in song. Instead of making fun of each other like normal male roommates, we put our insults to music. Here's the soundtrack: I say I'm really tired from writing all day, and Brian sings "Cry Me a River." Brian complains that he used to be in much better shape, and I sing "Glory Days." I yell at Brian for throwing garbage in the garbage can, and he sings "Why Can't We Be Friends?" Brian tells me he'll be spending his 42nd consecutive night with his girlfriend, and I sing "She Drives Me Crazy." I say that I'm going on a second date with a girl, and Brian sings "Looks Like We Made It…"; I figure any friendship that spans from Springsteen to Shania Twain must be a good one.
As if you couldn't see this one coming, Brian is of course moving in with his girlfriend. This is really not much of a change because Brian and his girlfriend basically live together in our apartment right now. I've never seen anything like it. I calculated that in the past 100 days, his girlfriend has spent the night roughly 95 times, he's stayed at her place three times, and twice they slept apart. There are just so many jokes I could make about those figures, but I have a lot to get to, so I'm just going to move on.
OK, I can't move on. I just don't get it. Brian and his girlfriend go away for 10 days on vacation. They come back after a really long flight, and his girlfriend comes over directly from the airport and stays over for the next week. Don't you need a little break from each other? Don't you want to unpack? What is wrong with you people?
Brian and I are childhood friends and, ironically enough, our parents live so close to each other that our houses are actually architecturally identical. In fact, the only difference is that his layout is the reverse of mine. In a way, that sums up our friendship. We are so similar, yet so opposite. We both have girlfriends -- he's about to get engaged to his, and I haven't seen mine in three days. We both have passions -- I'm hooked on my iPod, and he knows the words to every single McDonald's theme song from the past 20 years. And we have our weaknesses -- he's pretty much dysfunctional when it comes to dealing with women, and I can't take a bra off with one hand. But in the end, we got along incredibly well these past few years. We laughed, we drank, we had a blast. I'm happy for him and his girlfriend. But for me, the Karo/Brian Experiment will always be our Glory Days. And so I bid you farewell, roommate. It's been real. Oh, and Brian, don't forget the trash on your way out.
Aaron Karo, 25, is a New York City-based comedian and author of the book "Ruminations on College Life." RUMINATIONS, a column about twentysomething life, runs every other week. For more on Karo, check out www.AaronKaro.com.