1. Jim Holmes

Who didn’t see this one coming. It is no surprise that Jim tops the countdown of most influential positive impacts on my life. It is not a surprise to Jim, it is not a surprise to me, and it is not a surprise to anyone that knows him or I. I have known Jim since we were in 6th grade, but we have been best friends since 8th grade, totaling 7 years and counting. As for the impact, allow the story to begin.

Unlike the other pieces where I listed each person’s greatest impact on me at the end of the post, I am introducing it first in this one. There are a few reasons for this, the first being it is a long, detailed explanation. Another reason is because telling the story this way will allow my memory to be tapped and allow me to remember more things now, as opposed to saving some for later.

Every person over probably the age of 15 has a best friend, whether you have been that way since you were 2 years old or maybe you just found that friendship after turning 20, you have someone. For me, Jim has elevated what a best friend is. Most people can say that the next step above having someone as your best friend is considering them a brother or a sister to you, but it is not that way with Jim and I. I do not consider him a brother to me, I consider it to be somewhat of a different level. Brothers can be extremely alike and still not be totally alike. This is why I do not consider us to be brothers. I did not know in 8th grade that without either of us ever changing our personalities, that they would be the exact same. Of course it is possible to have the same sense of humor as someone, the same likes and dislikes as them, the same hobby preferences as them, but how often is someone the exact same as you? How often does someone find the same exact things funny that you do, and vice versa, finding things that annoy you also annoying to them? We both will tell you, and I can speak for him, that we would not act the same if we were paid, so it is remarkable that we are one in the same. Allow a few examples.

During our senior year of high school in English class, our teacher Mrs. Collacchio, would call on one of us. Since we both sat in the back of the room, we were somewhat out of sight. We decided that on a whim, one of us could answer for the other, and so we did. Not once did Mrs. Collacchio ever question who was talking, revealing later on that we sounded the exact same, both in tone and in terms of the words and phrases that we used. The teacher that replaced her during our senior year, Mr. Moffat, later admitted the same thing.

During the entirity of high school, our names became synonomous with each other. I swear whenever I heard a story about one of us, the phrase “Jim and Rob” or “Rob and Jim” was always used. Whenever a prank went on during school, oftentimes we were both called down to the office as the first suspects. It became commonplace to be called out of class, walk down the hallway into the office and see Jim standing there and asking him “What are we here for?” His response was always “I have no idea.” That’s the way it was.

From the beginning of high school, we adopted what I’ll call the “Jackass” mentality. This idea derives its name from the popular television show commonly shown on MTV. We began to start doing “stunts” or dumb little things for laughs, and sooner or later it just took off. We became the equivalent of George and Fred Weasley, except instead of selling prank materials, we provided the pranks ourselves for free. We became a form of entertainment whenever we chose to. Our resume includes, but is certainly not limited to:

  1. Bringing the entire cafeteria to silence and then announcing that the New York lottery is now 7 billion dollars.
  2. “Party Boying” Mr. Kenny as he walked down the hallway.
  3. Me scoring a goal in soccer outside during gym class then going to the center of the field and celebrating and Jim blindsiding me by plowing me directly into the ground. Anyone that has seen the video of Terrell Owens doing this on the Dallas Cowboys star at midfield will know what we were mimicking.
  4. Creating the Mini Johanemans floor hockey team along with Clayton Brooks, Marcus Jackson, and Dillon Nugent and being within one goal and one annoyance away from the semi-finals. Regardless, we were the fan favorites that night.
  5. Creating a “scavenger hunt” similar to the one from the Jackass show. It featured random acts that had to be performed and as they were, they were checked off, The team completing the most challenges won at the end of the day. Too bad it was cut short.
  6. Drawing an enormous Mr. Kenny on Mr. Wright’s blackboard and featuring him in leopard skin briefs. Luck was with us that day, as Mr. Kenny came in to converse with Mr. Wright and noticed himself drawn there, to which he smirked.
  7. Buying Mr. Kenny a bottle of Rogain and placing it on his desk only to receive the response “I’ll give this to my brother, he uses this stuff.”
  8. Jim getting his lunch priveleges removed for an entire week, creating a situation where he had to have me or someone else from the table get his lunch for him. Reason for this: excessive use of the “F” word directly to the lunch ladies.
  9. Shooting arrows directly into the woods during archery in gym class.
  10. Prank calling Wingdale Hardware along with Clayton and a few others and being one “yes” away from being arrested and taken out of school. The “yes” refers to the fact that the owner of the store had the choice of whether to press charges or not, luckily he chose not to.
  11. Scoring a goal in floor hockey and completely tearing my shirt off Hulk Hogan style and being told to change and leave immediately.
  12. Playing a form of tag in Health class and Jim deciding to avoid all tags by running 100 feet out of bounds and then diving into a pine tree to conceal himself. He still sports the scars.
  13. My personal favorite. During 10th grade English class, we read Othello and for the duration of the semester, Jim voiced Othello during the readings and I voiced Iago. We always read the characters using different voices ranging from Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Jackson, rastafarian, deep black male, little girl, old lady, even singing one verse to the beat of Blues Clues. It got so good that when it came time for new people to speak the parts, they refused to accept them, saying that they wanted Jim and I to continue because of the voiceovers we used.

The list goes on. I swear every day has the potential to put something else on the resume, if you will. Who knows what will happen next.

In any case, many of the other stories on this countdown had a beginning and an ending, but this one does not have an ending. There is no final opinion or statement or “if only we still spoke” type of phrase. This is the story on the countdown that truly could go on forever. Some others may be longer than this one in terms of words, but in terms of anecdotes or longevity, this story I am still living. I do have a conclusion, however.

Jim Holmes does one thing right that every person should do in order to be the best possible friend that they can be, that being always being honest. I can honestly say, there have been times when Jim told me something that would normally offend a friend, an example being “_____ (girlfriend’s name) is a bitch.” That does not offend me, I think everybody should speak like that. It wasn’t as if he made that up as his own opinion, in that instance he was right. I want friends in this world and in my life that tell me whatever they think, even if they KNOW I do not want to hear it.

That, to me, is true friendship.

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