I lived with Kris Wolfe for five years.  If you do not know Kris and think this post is not for you then, you are wrong.  This is post is for you if you have ever had a roommate. Roommates are strange marvels to say the least.  Kris was an especially memorable roommate, and ever so often I feel the need to tell stories about him.  Because I am hard at work on my book at the moment, I am posting a blog entry from a few years ago (albeit with some modifications).

First things first, Kris and I shared a house at 1555 S. Rogers St. in Springfield, MO.  Our neighbors were complete freaks (in the most compassionate sense of the word). We were surrounded by men who never married, and for good reason.  They were about as unusual as men could be.  Of course, this felt like an omen to Kris and I, as it seemed like we would both be single until the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse turned Springfield into an island of bones in a sea of blood (or something along those lines).

First, there was an elderly man on one side of the house who completely hated us. Of course, his hatred was probably the result of our trash tumbling into his yard like man-made tumbleweeds on a regular basis.  Kris was and still is a drug representative for Eli Lily, and he received whole warehouses worth of boxes almost daily.  When he emptied those boxes of their contents, he left them in the yard by the trashcan, and they would always make their way to that poor old man’s yard.   On more than one occasion I looked out the window and saw this man emerging from his natural habitat, a gruesome grimace on his face as he carried box after box back to our yard. On the other side of our house there was Phil, the shirtless, bearded flutist who took in a homeless man and owned Amy Grant’s debut album on vinyl.

We lived between these two casualties of the Ozarks, and I am pretty sure we absorbed some of their weirdness (not that we didn’t already have plenty to spare ourselves).  But that pretty much gives you the context.  Without further ado, my top 10 Kris Wolfe memories (in no particular order), with today’s installment of five entries:

1)  Before Kris goes to sleep, he would always (in his own words) lay down before he slept.  It didn’t make sense then, and it doesn’t make sense now.  But he would just stare at the ceiling and reflect on the nature of being, or something.  Most of the time, he would fall asleep while doing this. Once, I woke up to find the front door wide open, the lights in the house on, and the George Foreman grill cooking charred chicken at 7:00 a.m.  Kris, of course, was asleep in his bed. When I woke him up he thought it was still the night before, around midnight.  He had fallen asleep while contemplating his bellybutton, and the house had been in the aforementioned state all night long.  Why not just put a sign on the house that says, “Wanted: Burglars?”

2)  Another time I was working on my Master’s thesis bright and early in the morning, and I heard Kris yelling, “BRENDA, NO!  BRENDA! BRENDA!!!”  Of course, there was no one named Brenda living in our house, so this struck me as odd.  It turns out Kris had been on the phone with one of his coworkers, a woman named Brenda. He had accidentally dropped his cell phone down the air conditioning vent in his bathroom, which is completely inexplicable unless you happen to know Kris and are familiar with his propensity for doing highly improbable things. The next thing I knew, Kris and I were downstairs.  I began calling his phone, which was set on ring/vibrate.  Kris had recorded his dog Kingston for his ringtone, so when I called his phone to locate it in the air conditioning duct it sounded like there was a dog barking inside, trapped and shaking (i.e. vibrating) with fear. Upon retrieving the phone and calling Brenda back, Brenda told Kris she thought he had been in an accident.  All she heard was screaming and clanking and the sound of Kris’ phone violently impacting the bottom of the air conditioning duct.

3)  Gigantic crows used to perch on our roof every spring, and I had to put earplugs in my ears every morning around 5:30 to muffle their insanely loud voices.  “CAW!!!  CAW!!!  CAW!!!”  I swear they all had megaphones.  Our friend Cara used to say the crows were big enough to be “dogs with wings.” One day, when the crows were roosting on our roof, Kris began yelling across the house at me to get my attention.  In typical Wolfe-fashion, he had thrown an apple out.  He probably though it smelled funny, as Kris was always smelling everything.  “Chad, does this green, moldy, festering lasagna smell funny?”  Of course, I would have been more concerned about the mold, but that was Kris for you.  Anyway, he had thrown an errant apple onto the yard.  One of the crows had actually picked it up in its claws or talons or whatever, and it was flying away with it.  It was a large apple, and that crow had no trouble carrying it away. I feared my car would be next.

4)  Kris is really laid back. One night in particular he told me he had fallen asleep while eating salad (Note: Salad is one of Kris’ four food groups, which include eggs, protein shakes that smell like cow urine, greens [i.e. broccoli, salad, etc.], and chicken on a fork).  He awoke to discover that he had dropped the salad he had been eating and it had tumbled onto his lap and all over the floor.  He also mentioned he still had salad in his mouth. He had fallen asleep mid-chew.

5)  Another time Kris and I met two promising ladies at a coffeehouse and we had no idea what to do, which was pretty typical for both of us.  Our friend Dale was with us, and he was oblivious to the situation.  That we could be interested in these two girls was completely beyond him.  We were too frightened to ask for the girls’ phone numbers, so after they left the coffeehouse we did our best to force Dale to follow their car, as he had driven us to the coffeehouse that night.  We were following them late at night like the scariest of stalkers so we could ask them out.  Considering things like this, it is a miracle my wife actually married me.

Dale, despite all of our attempts to convince him to follow these girls, was still completely oblivious to our intentions.  As a result, he turned left when he was supposed to go straight.  He finally realized what Kris and I were up to after we brutally assaulted him with a tire-iron.  Lucky for us, one of the girls had mentioned that she worked at a local bookstore, so I went there the next day and told her Kris and I wanted to have dinner with her and her friend.  For whatever reason, she and her friend agreed to go out with us.  After telling Kris of our success, we proceeded to clean our disgusting house from top to bottom for approximately 72 consecutive hours.  It was the only time our house was ever truly clean. We went out on one date with these ladies and they shot us down shortly thereafter.

Of course, I found out a few years later that things had probably worked out for the best.  I ran into one of the girls at a coffeehouse and caught up with her over a cup of coffee (Surprise!), and she began telling me what God was doing in her life.  This was not unusual, as Springfield is the shiny dinner-plate sized buckle of the Bible belt. I was used to people casually talking about what God was doing in their lives, and it always made me feel like God was doing very little in mine by comparison, which led to a sort of spiritual inferiority complex.  But I largely got over that, no doubt in part because of the conversation I had with this girl that day:

“You know, the Lord is really testing me right now, ” she said.

“Oh yeah?  How’s that?” I inquired.

“Well, I enrolled in this class at Drury University and then I felt like God wanted me to withdraw from it.”

“What made you think He wanted you to withdraw from it?” I asked.

“I just felt like He did.  But then I felt like He wanted me to enroll again, so I did.”

“So you enrolled again?”

“Yes, but then I felt like He was really testing me and wanted me to withdraw again, so I did.”

Kris and I dodged a major bullet if you ask me.  Had we gone out with these girls, they probably would have broken up with us, gotten back together with us, broken up with us, and gotten back together with us, all at God’s behest. It was the sort of thing that made both of us want to become monks. But then I met Becki and got married.  Kris, on the other hand, has been married to his muscles for years.  He has been in bodybuilding competitions and, recently, a music video.

I miss Kris, as he was and is a great friend.  More about Kris to follow soon…