this is not the guy i met many moons ago

at the daily nexus wearing a dress, drinking wine, and surrounded by women doing night production on the greatest college paper of all time.

he had longer hair, raggedy jeans, and like corey hart he wore sunglasses at night.

i guess we all had longer hair back then and more fucked up jeans, but the difference about todays birthday boy is that fuckin white boy got a hundred times smarter than any of us ever thought.

not only is he a virtual expert on central and eastern european history – somehow – but he’s only gotten more nerdy about his baseball history and neo-jamesian stats that would make guys like theo epstein say hold on what?

there will be a day when someone will let me and matt either run the dodgers or the cubs and after i abuse my powers and rip down the lights matt will trade away all the stars and replace them with long beach unknowns and i will make sure that every national anthem is sung by the best of the punkrock underground.

every game will be a sellout and bill veeck will rise from his grave and stand in line for bleacher seats.

worst mistake and my only regret in life was not following matt and the nexus crew to prague after graduation to start the first english language newspaper there Prognosis. i had fallen in love with jeanine who at the time was only a junior and i told matt that i was going to stay in IV, work for warner bros. and hang out with my new girlfriend. i believe that was our first and last fight. he called me a skinny sellout whiteboy and when he saw that he wasnt getting to me figured i was truly in love and gave me a hug and a kiss, and we were good.

a year later jeanine was in prauge and i was working for an even bigger conglomerate than wb and matt was playing guitar on the charles bridge and interviewing havel and getting good seats to guns n roses.

i had made a terrible mistake.

since then matt has married emmanuelle, cut his hair, appeared on the o’reilly factor, and basically made his momma proud. all without a degree, as ucsb decided to kick him out right before he reinvented the wheel.

in a perfect world theyd look at what he’s accomplished in the 15 years since he was unjustly booted from the fine institution and award him an honorary degree, but somehow i think his achievements taste sweeter without the sheepskin because he got everything he needed from his college university and proved to the world that renegades dont need your stinkin badges, they dont even need your cable tv, american ways, or californian girls.

he lives in a better house than you, his backyard is bigger than yours, his wife is frencher than you, and his country band is sweeter than yours.

and he can write even me under the damn table

and unlike me, get paid for it.

two fiddy, sal, two fiddy a week.

of course he didnt tell anyone that today was his birthday and here it is midnight oh six and his big day is over, but thats how real libertarians are – true independents, satisfied with a trip to a beach in malibu with his bikinied bride, a nice bottle or six of red, and maybe some seafood at a little place playing footsies and driving home down sunset listening to npr.

what did i imagine for matt welch in 2005 when i met him 15 years ago? completely ruling. pretty much what he’s doing now.

but for some reason i thought we’d be driving faster cars.

matt welch’s warblog + part three of our backyard podcast + his lovely wife emmanuelle

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