There’s sure been a lot of upheavals these past few years and, straight out of the gate, 2013 proved to be no exception. The holiday lights had no sooner come down before I became aware that I was not only losing my friend, the other Dave – David Albaugh, but also facing the unwelcome reality of running this blog by myself.
I know…I know, MOST blogs are maintained by a single person but this was never something I wanted. It’s not about me being lazy nor looking to share the workload either. Color me sappy, but this painful situation was about losing a connection with my best friend as I’d always viewed our blog as an extension of our friendship.Then again, as that too was clearly dissolving, it made sense that “The Terror Daves” would become its first casualty. Yes, now heading towards the end of March, I have little choice but to accept that the “other Dave” has, in fact, become my “Todd.”
Let me explain…
When I was six years old and my younger brother, Keith, was three we moved to Homewood, Illinois. Two houses down from us was a little boy Keith’s age named Todd and the two quickly became inseparable. They’d spend the next two years taking turns playing in each others yards, enjoying endless hours of firetrucks, while emulating the Dukes of Hazard or the cops on CHiPS (which were their favorite TV shows). They had so much in common it often seemed like they had their own language and one only the other could understand. During those happy years, there were few days that didn’t begin with Todd’s rapping the aluminum on our side door before asking,”Can Keith come out to play?”
Then Todd’s family abruptly moved to California and Keith found himself devoid of a playmate. For the next six months whenever you’d call him for dinner or ask him to head out to the car for a family outing, he’d turn to the empty space behind him and say, “Come on, Todd! We need to get ready to leave!” He’d also sit in our sandbox and make sure to leave a space for Todd while carefully selecting toys for his now invisible friend to play with. If I tried to join in, I was made to avoid Todd’s spot completely and God help me if I tried making a play for one of those selected toys! To the casual observer it was cute but, to those that cared about Keith, tremendously sad. Keith could not accept that Todd was gone and, to avoid the pain, was going to keep him alive if only in his imagination. It would be over thirty years later before I’d start doing the same thing.
I believe there are three kinds of friendships in this world. There are the majority of pals who are there to share positive experiences with and, on occasion, be there to support one another. There’s also a few you could classify as “frenemies” as they tend to bring you down or gleefully hold your hand while walking with you into trouble. And then there’s the rarest friends of all; the ones who encourage you to be the finest expression of yourself you can be. David was that type of friend to me and I am 100% certain that I was that to him at one time as well.
We had so much in common it was downright scary. It was also a blessing as we (now grown up) monster kids finally had a true peer of our own to show each other just how much we could accomplish if we set our minds to it. “If David could do it then, by golly, so could Dave!” and vice versa. This would lead to us achieving a whole bunch of great things that neither would ever have believed possible prior to our meeting. We were also in constant contact and there to support the other during both happy and painful times. Sure, we had our share of spats but they were quickly resolved and seemed to make us stronger after it was over. Despite the 1,000 miles between us, we had become inseparable as he was always there to wish me a “Good morning!” and ask how my day was. He helped encourage me to write and become the “Terror Dave” and I pointed him to his local zoo to volunteer (as I was doing at my zoo) thereby opening up new worlds for each other.
Unfortunately, part of encouraging people to be the best that they can be sometimes means that they’re going to take a path that leads them away from YOU. Without getting into specifics, that’s what happened almost immediately after he entered his zoo’s gates for the first time. The messages slowly began to wane and it became obvious that the things we were both interested in were no longer as important to him. For me this was pretty painful even though, in my heart, I knew he was doing what was best for himself. No I couldn’t fault him for it but, let’s face it, such reasoning rarely helps when dealing with a broken heart. I started becoming fearful and bitter and certainly didn’t help matters either. I’d waited 40 years to find a friend like “Sparky” (what I always called him) and now it appeared that everything was coming to a painful end with me unwilling to let go.
David is entering a new phase of his life and, while I’m happy for him, it is tempered with the realization that this new life has little use for me. He officially left the blog a month ago, though his absence had actually taken place long before. We went from daily communications to a deafening silence that lasted over a month and, although we are now having weekly, generic email exchanges, he has become as invisible to me as my brother’s friend “Todd.” And in keeping with that family tradition, I continue writing him unanswered emails about how my day is going, talking about him in my pod-casts, and pretending he’s still around and sharing interests with me. Anything seems better than admitting that the friendship I once knew may be over.
Believe me, I understand what he’s doing, but going from the best friend to a casual pen-pal hurts like hell. Or maybe this is just a phase that all friends go through on occasion and I should just trust that eventually we’ll reconnect and be in a better place when and if we do. Either way, I’ll always be grateful to him for the wonderful things he helped bring into my life and surely a ride like that is worth a painful fall if necessary.
So where am I now with all of this? Well, I’m staring down the barrel of a lonely Horrorhound Weekend that I’d have skipped all together if not for my inducting Svengoolie into the “Horror Host Hall of Fame.” For a while I was working with another friend, Jason Lucas, on our Terror on Tequila pod-cats (click the banner on the right of this page to download our shows) and am very grateful to him for assisting me during these uncertain Terror Dave times. I think Jason did an amazing job making that show sound professional, injecting sound bites, and even providing his own musical talents while helping me to channel my anguish creatively. I hope that he and I will continue on with that project but, if there is one thing I’ve learned through all of this, it’s that nothing lasts forever.
Other than that, I’m just taking each day at a time, albeit with little motivation. I’ve also made lots of new friends this past year and certainly don’t want to downplay their importance either. One of them sent me a message of encouragement today saying “the site is worth continuing” while urging me to focus on having a great time this weekend at Horrorhound. Sure…why not?
I’ll just have to fight the urge of walking off stage after the Host induction, turning to the empty space on my right and asking, “Did I do okay up there, Sparky?”