I thought Richie Walasin was a cool kid. He never tried to be cool, which was part of his coolness.
And anybody who saw his epic Drum Battle with Ricky Brady at that high school assembly will remember that Richie could play the drums.
I sat next to him in Mr. G’s chemistry class one day and noticed he was not taking notes in a normal way; he was writing lists of words, like cold, hot, shiny, heavy, and so forth.
I asked him what all that was. He said they were Mr. G’s Very Verys.
Mr. G was our chemistry teacher and a good guy. He knew his science and treated us like actual people, which might have been an error, since we were only partly human.
But Mr. G had a tendency to slip Very Very in front of a lot of adjectives when talking about chemistry. So things were very very hot, very very heavy, very very acidic.
I looked at Richie’s lists of Mr. G’s Very Verys and was in love with this kid. He was quietly sitting there and doing this, instead of taking proper notes. He never expected anybody to notice; it was just his ironic, sweet way of taking in chemistry class.
He wasn’t making fun of Mr. G. He was just taking in the very veryness of Mr. G’s Very Verys.
I don’t know what became of Richie Walasin, but I am guessing he brought that ironic sweetness and musical intensity with him into adult life.
Recently, I looked for Richie online and found he had passed away a while ago, which made me Very Very sad.