Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Legend of Josh Wildenhain

Today, East Providence lost one of the funniest, kindest and overall best residents today. Our dear friend Josh Wildenhain passed away today. It goes to show how you never can predict what happens in life. I know I haven't blogged in a while, but if there is one person who deserves a full blog post from me, it is Josh. This is going to be one of the toughest things I'll ever write, and I'll be sobbing like a baby, but this is for you Josh.

I know I didn't know Josh as long as all the Riverside kids, but I met Josh freshmen year in geometry class with Mrs. Hall. I would go up to the other side of the room to sharpen my pencil about 4 times a period because I had no idea what the hell was going on, and Josh sat right by the pencil sharpener. Probably two weeks into 9th grade he finally asked me why I sharpened my pencil and I told him flat out because I was a dumbass and didn't care about triangles, Josh laughed at me and told me he was glad that he wasn't the only one. From that point on me and Josh became quick friends. We hit it off well, because as everyone who is reading this right now knows, he was the funniest kid to ever walk those decaying halls with about 40 different kind of tiles at EPHS. There are so many memories of Josh, from the time he dressed up like Joe Townie for the volleyball championship senior year and was prancing around like a possessed crackhead. It was an honor to join you in dressing up as the guys from Reservoir Dogs for the Senior Cruise with Matt Rizz, Kyle, Sully. Everything was better with you around. Josh was always quick with a joke, but the thing I loved about him the most is that he always looked at the brighter side of things. No matter how bad it was, whether it was his sickness he had to deal with, and never complained about, all his life, or whether we both got a 50 on a geometry exam, Josh would always have a joke or something to get a smile out of whoever he was with.

We all are going to miss Josh. Whether it was seeing him jamming out in his car before school started in the EPHS parking lot to Third Eye Blind, Billy Joel or witnessing him kick the shit out of singing Sabotage by the Beastie Boys (I believe he got an encore at my 16th birthday party when he graced us with that), Josh was the best. He was never sad. He rolled with the punches. There was one time I'll never forget in freshmen year Spanish class when I sat behind him in Mrs. Gervais' class and started singing 'Crazy' by Britney Spears because he had just told me how he hated it. Josh got so aggravated he took his Spanish (hardcover) text book, turned around, told me to shut the fuck up and cracked me over the head with it. It hurt like a bitch, but he actually made me laugh, even if I was concussed for the next two weeks because of it. Josh was one of those kids that everyone in high school liked to have around. You'd always see him walking around with his hands in his jeans pockets and wearing his black and white adidas windbreaker and you'd just want to go up to him and hear whatever he had to say at that moment, because whatever it was, it'd be something awesome.

One of my proudest moments was almost making Josh cry from laughter our Senior year when we had to do public speaking in Mr. Philips english class. I wasn't prepared and planned on winging something, so I turned to Josh and asked him what I should do it on. Josh told me to pretend I was found in a Russian McDonald's by my parents, and that I was planning on going back after graduation to find my birth parents. I had no other topic so I said screw it, and somehow convinced poor Mr. Philips that I was indeed found in the bathroom of a Russian McDonald's, and added that I planned on enrolling to the University of Moscow. The only thing that kept me from cracking up in the middle of my speech was looking at Josh who had fallen onto the floor from laughing so hard. It was due. That kid made me laugh so many times I had to return the favor somehow. I can still see him now with tears in his eyes, cursing me under his breath while everyone else in the room was confused and kept looking at Mr. Philips to see if he bought it.

I look back at it now and can still see Josh and that smile of his. It's like senior year when myself and Kristen Conners would always get our asses handed to us by Josh and Kyle Towne in Trivial Pursuit (yeah it was a really hard US History II class) happened just last week. Josh knew everything. That kid could tell you absolutely anything about movies, and apparently Bill Clinton (it was 90's edition Trivial Pursuit). Another memorable moment for Josh was whenever he had to present to the class. I think just about everyone who ever had class with him actually got excited for his presentation, because he was so dam quirky and animated. There was the infamous Abe Lincoln assassination presentation where he acted out a pretty good John Wilkes Booth, incorporating jumping on a desk and holding a finger-made gun to mock jumping off the movie theatre balcony and screaming 'SIC SEMPER TYRANNUS!' just after he blew old Honest Abe's brains out. There there was the St. Valentines Day Massacre where he asked me to bring in two fedoras into history class so me and Kyle Towne could be some Chicago mobsters that he kills. Josh got so into it, that he slammed my face into the whiteboard and I swear almost broke my nose. He said sorry but I knew he meant to do it because it was worth my pain to get a rise out the class, which he definitely did. Now that I think about it, Josh kicked the crap out of me, but somehow still managed to get a smile out of me.

One of the best days was when I found out Josh was joining me and Matt Rizzini at Providence College. Josh wasn't sure of where he was going to go and for a solid month after we both got in I was begging him to join. He kept on toying with me saying that he wasn't sure, then one day he just casually told me he was going to join us at PC. When I asked him if it was because of myself and Matty being there he sort of grinned, looked at me and said "No, it's only because you aren't required to take a foreign language there." Always a joker.

Josh, you are going to be dearly missed. You were the one who gave me the idea to start this blog in the first place, and I still don't forgive you for deleting yours. Yours was so incredibly funny and it should've kept on going. I'm going to miss throwing balled up napkins at your face at Slavin while eating those awful Mozzarella Sticks. We're all going to miss that insanely loud sneeze you had and would give teachers heart attacks the first time you sneezed in class. Seriously, your sneeze was like a shotgun going off. Even that beard. Josh you could grow a fine beard my friend. There is no doubt in my mind that the 'Wildebeast' nickname you got came mostly from that beard. Josh, you defined the term "you're the man". No one is ever going to forget you. I've flooded my keyboard right now with tears. You were one of the most amazing friends I've ever had. There were times where I'd bitch and moan because I have a stuttering problem, and then I'd see you and you never complained about not being completely healthy all your life. Providence College won't be the same without you. The 2008 graduating class of East Providence High won't be the same without you. The world won't be the same without you. Everyone loves you Josh. I love you buddy. Life won't be the same without having you there. You were an inspiration to everyone you ever met. I know right now if you read this you'd be calling me a pussy for getting all sappy on you, but that's a damn shame. You left us far too soon and it's not fair.

So everyone who knew Josh, keep your heads up. Feel free to leave your favorite Josh story in the comment section. This is a tough time for everyone knew him, but let's all stick together and think of all the great memories Josh left us with. Go grab a Narragansett and go to your itunes or ipod and throw on Billy Joel's Piano Man for Josh and just think of him. Life is too short to worry about the stock market or the price of gas. We all need to look at the positives of life, because that is exactly what Josh did. He lived life the right way.