In honor of Dylan Read’s birthday, here’s a blog post on the enigma… I really enjoy doing blog posts for friends because they’re secretly self-promos for myself…
Hoop Side Note: Sorry for writing my edition of the Odyssey here. I promise the story flows well and will move quicker than you think. Photos and Videos of the two of us are at the bottom.
The Birth of a Handshake
In the Fall of 2007, I arrived at Armwood High School for my first day of freshman year. I went to a middle school across town, so besides the football team (who I spent the whole summer working out with), I knew roughly zero people. It was all good though. All I needed was one football player to be in my classes and everything would be fine! All you need in high school is that first friend. After that, you’re golden.
My first day was a cycle of arriving in class, looking for one recognizable face, and then sinking into my chair when I saw none. My dad signed me up for some technology/communication program at the school, so all my classes were predetermined with generally the same people. I guess the dads of the other kids on the football team didn’t think to sign their sons up for such a program.
So, instead of getting world class athletes in my class (which our high school was known for), I got kids like Dylan Read. Nothing wrong with kids like Dylan Read, but I took one look at Dylan and immediately categorized him as a skater boy who probably had as much athletic ability as Chuckie Finster.
But in those first couple weeks, another thing registered about him. On the first day of school I watch this kid fall madly in love with this girl in our math class. Immediately. Like five seconds in. The type of “fall out of your chair” in love. No one else in class saw, but I did. I only knew one other person who fell in love like that… Me!… ( #SelfPromo )
His girl of attraction had a boyfriend and was completely out of his league. I nodded my head in approval. It takes balls to fall in love like that. I gave the kid kudos figuring he couldn’t be all bad.
One of those early days I turned to him and said, “Let’s create a handshake.” I put my fist up. He hit mine with his own fist, and without a word we both blew it up, opening up our hands. It was the kind of stuff ninth grade bromances are made of. I told him, “You know what, I barely know you, but I’m going to write your life story one day.” Dylan said, okay and that he would hold me too it.
That whole first year, we blew up handshakes, avoided doing homework, reminded each other of that written life story promise, and I watched him admire his math class girl crush from afar.
Operation: Brown Bear & Operation: Blonde Bunny
The next year, the academy was disbanded (in typical Armwood fashion), but Dylan and I found ourselves with a couple more classes to share. We were sophomores now. Ready to take on things like Spanish I and girls. Our Spanish teacher was a joke, so we focused most of our attention on operations to win the hearts of ladies.
Remember that girl Dylan fell madly in love with in math class?… Well, Dylan never fell out of love with her… Plot twist!… In a whisper, “He never does…” She had brown hair… Thus, Operation: Brown Bear…
As for me, I was told from a friend, who was told by another friend, that a blonde girl had a crush on me… So I fell in love too! Thus, Operation: Blonde Bunny… Simpler times man…
For half a year we spent time developing strategies on the way to woo our pursuits. Dylan actually ended up in a relationship with his day one crush for a bit because of these operations. I’ll take credit for helping seal the deal. As for my personal operation?… Well this blog post isn’t about me or the blonde heartbreaker…
Through the years, Dylan and I remained close, always using our handshake in passing and sharing a couple classes each year. It was senior year that I found myself seeking validation from my peers and running for Homecoming King, hoping to have Dylan as my campaign manager or something.
I was shocked when I found out that Dylan was running also. To be honest, I wasn’t even mad because I didn’t think he had a shot at winning… I just never pinned him as a run-for-Homecoming type of guy like myself… But it does make our story all the more better.
It turns out, that none other than Dylan’s original math class crush was also running for a Homecoming crown! By this time, the two were back to being single, but I knew that Dylan still loved her like stars love a night sky. I thought her decision to run may have played into Dylan’s.
The night before the dance, Dylan and I watched the girl win the Homecoming Queen tiara at the football game. I saw it in Dylan’s eyes. He was hoping for a Homecoming miracle. A moment in which he would win the highest Homecoming title on the boys side and the two would live happily ever after, Jack and Diane esque.
I figured that even if Dylan somehow won, the fact that he would share the moment with the girl I witnessed him fall in love with on our first day would be beautiful and a strong coping mechanism for my loss. I still wanted to win very badly though.
The night of the dance, I arrived in my best button-up and tie and had the time of my life. I got down to my jams like “No Handz”, “We R Who We R”, and “Right Above It”. Not one girl turned me down (well one did, but I’ll save that for another blog post). I had come a long way from not knowing anyone in my classes. I was ready to cement my rise with the crown of Homecoming King.
About half way through the night, all the contestants were called to the stage. I danced my way up, feeling myself. Dylan stumbled up, for reasons yet unknown to me. The others gathered as well, and we all stood there waiting to hear the results.
As I said, I wanted to win the Homecoming King crown more than anything going in, but it was at that moment that I decided that I’d truly be okay with Dylan winning. I was having an amazing time, and Dylan winning would in no way change my night. I’d be happy for him. I’m a sucker for love and he deserved the peak of romantic moments with a girl he had been in love with for as long as I had known him
They announced the Homecoming Duke winner. David Lopez, I think. Then they the announced the Homecoming Prince crown. None other than yours truly took it. Mat Hooper. Second place. Not bad. Prince Mat Hooper sounded pretty good anyways. And then they announced the Homecoming King title.
I threw my hands up and yelled, “Dylan!” I clapped like he was my son. He walked over and received his crown. He smiled for a couple pictures and then it was time for the moment that we all had been waiting for. The epitome of all things Homecoming. The beautiful bow-tie on a relationship four years in the making. The Homecoming King and Queen dance.
Dylan and his OG crush, with the whole school circling them, danced to one slow song. I nearly cried. I led the “Kiss her! Kiss her!” chants, hoping with all my might to see them share one. But it never happened. They danced, probably overwhelmed by the moment (or at least so I thought), and then they stopped. The dance circle broke up, and after being disappointed for the lack of a kiss for a second, I returned to doing me!
I didn’t see Dylan the rest of the night until the very end. He was following the Homecoming Queen outside to his truck. I was in the truck of another friend on the way to the after party, figuring I would see the two there. But I didn’t.
It turns out there was a falling out between the two that night and Dylan would refer to the dance as one of the worst experiences of his life, including the crowning moment and subsequent dance. I know everything there is to know about Dylan, but I still haven’t gotten him to open up to me about what happened that night and what made it so horrendous…. Good thing too, because I probably would’ve shared it on this blog, and now that I think about it, I probably shouldn’t be talking about it as much as I am now… Jeeeeeeez… He’s gunna hate me…
It’s been more than five years since that fateful night, and a lot has happened. We both graduated. Got jobs. Moved to different cities. Started college. Met new people. Got in new relationships.
I’d love to say that through it all Dylan and I have remained exactly the same, but that might not be true. We still stay in contact and hang out when we get the chance, but nowadays I don’t include Dylan on all my “operations” when pursuing girls. There are plenty adventures I have had without him. There was a time when we didn’t go days without seeing each other and now we can go months.
Through it all though, a couple things have remained true. One, Dylan and I still utilize our handshake when reuniting or saying goodbye from each other. Two, I’m still very much aware of my commitment to write his life story. Thus, this blog post. Wink-wink. It’s kind of a low key life story. One day, I’ll make the novel.
And of course, another thing still hasn’t changed… Dylan’s still very much in love, and not just with anyone, but that same day one math class Homecoming Queen winner. Yes, despite whatever happened that homecoming night and nearly five years of being apart, the two have recently gotten back together and are once again in a steady relationship. I actually played third wheel to their movie date over Winter Break.
It just shows you that when it comes to Dylan, as much as things change for him, things also stay the same. And if our handshake, agreement of me writing his life story, and his love for a math class crush are any indication of how long things can last with him, than I know it’s only a matter of time till I’m the best man at his wedding, secretly writing his life story at the reception, passing him the ring following our “blow it up” handshake, as he stands in front of the girl he fell in love with on the first day of ninth grade math.
This is one of the few photos from my freshman year of high school (got it from my Myspace). Who’s that in the back? Well… That’s a baby Dylan Read! Seemingly always in the background of my grill-showing life.
High School Birthday Dinners
Senior Skip Day
Prom was one of the best nights of my life. I loved it. Dylan didn’t have a date because he was a loser. In this photo, Dylan is the only one without a girl to pose with.
I’m pretty sure Dylan was one of two white people to go to Grad Bash. Here we are right before boarding the bus to Universal and having the night of our lives. If you look closely I am in the purple in between the boy in the green and the boy in the white. Dylan is the only white face way in the back in the last row tilting his head to get in the picture.
My Going-Away Dinner
Return to Prom (#FifthYearSeniors)
Dylan finally had a date.
Marvel’s Avengers All-Day Movie Marathon
During the Summer of the Blonde.
Losing My Eye
We shut Facebook down with this post and a caption saying something like, “I Lost My Eye”.
Hooperpalooza (My 21st)
Dylan’s 21st (it had no cool name)
Bubba Gump and Lieutenant Dan
Videos of Dylan and I
(cause they’re probably better than the photos)
My First Starring Role On Dylan’s Videos
The video that started it all. It was just a small role, but it introduced me to being a part of Dylan’s videos.
Our APUSH Historical Project Videos
We both made videos for AP US History. Dylan got an A. I got a D. Guess which ones his.
Other Great Videos
Rock The House Video
After choosing being frat over Dylan multiple times, our two worlds collided when I needed someone to film a video for my fraternity’s philanthropy push-up contest. He filmed, edited, and published a masterpiece. It was worthy of a bid.
Honorable Mention Memories
I Break Dylan’s Oven
Dylan’s Sloppy Drunk Days
Asking My Prom Date To Prom
Getting Our First Job
Throwing Our Caps At Graduation
Nights At Strip Clubs
Dylan Getting Me A Job
Dylan Not Getting Me A Job