We're All Damaged

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Funny Sad

A few years ago, my friend Brett got married in the Florida Keys. My wife, who was my fiancé at the time, had a wedding in New York City the same weekend, so I was solo. Two of my friends were alone as well. There was Brad. His wife wasn’t there; I can’t remember exactly why. And then there was my buddy Neal—always the bachelor.

When seating charts were being made, Brett and his soon-to-be wife wisely kept the three of us away from the decent people. Sunburned and womanless, we sat together at a table toward the back. The previous night had been a long one, and we spent most of the first course talking about how hung over we were.

At some point, it dawned on us that a guy with a hang over behaves, generally speaking, a lot like a girl who’s on her period. Bloated, moody, unnecessarily hungry, a little weepy—the comparison was and remains solid. And that’s when one of us—I honestly don’t remember who—coined the phrase “Beer-iod,” as in, “Matt’s on his beer-iod, so he’s lying on the couch and eating Doritos today.”

The three of us laughed like children for an hour straight. For the next three days, whenever a guy would look sluggish, or if he’d complain about something silly, like the humidity, we’d ask him if he was on his beer-iod, and this would lead to more giggling. We were convinced that the term would catch on and become a national phenomenon and that we’d have our own sitcom on NBC within a year. “It can’t miss,” declared Neal, drink in hand. “It’s comic genius.”

We lost my friend Neal last week. And when I say “we,” I mean it—the people like me who knew him, and the people who would have eventually known him. I feel bad for those people, because they really missed out. He was kind and smart and gentle and funny and he would have made a wonderful husband some day, and a wonderful father.

I have hundreds of memories of Neal; I’ve been going over them for a week now. But my favorite has got to be our asinine Beer-iod Revelation. Neal had many, many friends, and he shared a lot of jokes with a lot of people. But “Beer-iod,” well—as idiotic and short-lived as it was—it was our thing. Mine, Brad’s and Neal’s.

My friend . . . you will be missed.


  1. I am sorry for you loss. I was fortunate to meet him and hang out with him a couple of times...he was very nice and funny...very sad.

  2. That's terrible, i am so sorry for your loss. he sounds like a really fun guy.


  3. Not sure who you are but if you were friend of Neal's then you must be great. Neal was my cousin but more like my brother. Thank you for sharing your piece of Neal with us all. We are all truely better people just for knowing him. Keep his spirit and memories alive and he will live on.
    Thank you again. And I am sorry for your loss too.

  4. What happened to Neal? Was he your friend who lived in NYC and was at your graduation party from UNL? If I am remembering right, Amelia and I visited with him at your wedding (in the bar, he was alone, but fun).