Pat Johnson was the most popular boy in the whole class. He had personality (whatever that was), a sense of humor, and was the best basketball player in school (even for a freshman.) I was president of the freshman class not because I was popular, but because I was clever enough to ask Pat to be my “campaign manager” and for some reason I never fully understood, he said, Yeah, I don’t have to do anything, do I? It was the way politics always goes, I suppose. That was the first indication how our lives might work, but there was a second one too.
This was a year or two even before the Beatles, which of course would be the beginning of everything we would ever know about girls, peace and war, or anything. In those days – the days before the dawn of mankind, you might say—besides being a do–nothing freshman class president, I was Coach Birckhead’s pick to be team scorekeeper. I was good at math and was okay as an extra for the team to scrimmage against. Sometimes I would even get to dress when a guy on the team was sick or failed a spelling test. Mostly not, but Coach would wink at me and call me his “assistant manager.”
Pat always dressed, of course. And averaged about 15 points a game. Except, one night, something happened. After the game, I was sitting in the locker room a bit depressed. That day I had seen my girl Sherry McNeill walking to 5th hour class with Bob Stewart, a football player and no less a junior. I hadn’t said a word, but it hurt anyway. That night, sitting on the locker bench, I heard Pat in the shower. Pat had scored 24 points. I could have sworn it was the radio and the actual FOUR SEASONS! Sherry! Sherry, baby! Sher-er! Ever’ thing is alright!
I had to laugh. I didn’t know if he knew what I knew about Sherry (turned out he didn’t), but it didn’t matter. Sherry? Who did Sherry think she was, anyway? Who needed a Sherry McNeill? Buck-naked, he was wiggling his butt back and forth in unimaginable contortions. And he didn’t care. That was the crazy thing. Maybe something only Pat could have made happen. When he got out of the shower, he grabbed the towel but continued to sway to the song—back and forth, back and forth.
We were becoming something. And that song! The Four Seasons. Just the wonderful sound. It didn't have to mean anything. It was just the harmony of it. The everything about them. And Pat? He later was senior class president but that night, we were freshmen. He was the funniest thing we had ever seen.