Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Friends are Awesome: Tom

Tom! The very name sets the blood afire! From the dawn of time he came, moving silently down through the centuries, living many secret lives, struggling to reach the time of the gathering, when the few who remain will battle to the last. There can be only one, and that one is Tom!

Tom! He's smarter than Rose and more beautiful than Davros, with the compassion of "Doctor" Greg House and the maverick cred of Mal Reynolds.

Tom! What can I say about Tom that hasn't been written with brightly colored pen in the notebooks of a thousand schoolgirls already, their first names followed by Tom's last name in curlicued practice signatures?

Tom! His father was an elephant, his mother was a crocodile, his grandfather was a gorilla, and his other grandfather was a gorilla who had been trained in Ninjutsu! He stands ten stories tall and has radioactive acid breath. He kills five men every day before putting on his pants, which he does both legs at a time! He bends steel with his pinky toe and extracts wasps from stings in flight!

Tom! It is Tom who ghostwrote the Goosebumps books for R. L. Stein, burning his holy writ in thirty-foot-high letters of fire on top of the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains in the land of Sevorbeupstry on the planet Preliumtarn, third out from the sun Zarss in Galactic Sector QQ7 ActiveJ Gamma.


To understand the person he has become, you have to understand the boy he was. From birth until age 12, Tom lived in an attic, united with his conjoined twin Hugo, with only fish heads for sustenance and DVDs of Firefly for "entertainment". Eventually they were separated in a radical but compassionate procedure Tom pioneered, with Hugo achieving modest success as an actor under the stage name Matt Smith and Tom marrying a woman who worked with me.

I knew Tom's then-fiancee Jen from the bookstore where we both worked, and of course his legend is whispered in hushed silences in even the most sheltered portions of the globe, but I would not be lucky enough to finally met Tom in person until shortly before the wedding. Instead of wearing a tuxedo, Tom would dress up in a Cyberman outfit but rather than a Mondasian Cyberman, he dressed as of one of John Lumic's parallel universe Cybermen from the modern series, which hadn't even been invented yet!

Tom went underground after that, partially due to his increasingly public feud with Dick Cheney and well as the fact that sentiment was turning against his grassroots organization CAMOS (Committee for the Advancement of Mediocrity in Outer Space Westerns)

Someday, when the world is at its darkest, and hope seems gone, Tom will return to save us from ourselves. Until then, we must strive to live up to his impossible ideal. It is to Tom's credit that his nigh-infinite awesomeness serves not to invoke jealousy, but to inspire us all to live up to the Tom-spirit that lives with all of us.

I leave you with a quote from America's first poet laureate. It is fairly well known in certain circles that Raymond Chandler's stories of Philip Marlowe are thinly disguised accounts of Tom's more mundane adventures. In the The Simple Art of Murder, Chandler writes of Tom.

"Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world."

And that is our Tom in a nutshell. The best man in his world, and a good enough man for any world.

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