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Group of Middle Aged Men Keep up 23 Year Game of Tag
Most people sign each other’s highschool yearbooks with optimistic lines such as “call me in the summer,” or “let’s stay in touch,” or “best friends forever,” but soon enough, as the demands of college or the vicissitudes of careers get in the way, those friends get reduced to useful anecdotes to tell to our new friends, but are otherwise left behind. Highschool friends Bill Akers, Patrick Schultheis, Sean Raftis, and Mike Konesky are different; they’ve kept their friendship fresh, after 23 years, and this by keeping up a game of tag.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, the friends felt bad when in 1982 Mr. Tombari was left “it” for life. He had planned an ambush for a friend who was tipped off at that last minute and locked himself in his car.
“The whole thing was quite devastating,” he said, “I was ‘It’ for life.”
But eight years later, the group thought they should pick the game back up. Patrick Schutheis, who was a first-year lawyer, wrote up a “Tag Participation Agreement,” — the sort of rules kids seal with oral agreements, that stipulates no “tag backs” among other key points. After they all signed it, they kept the game going to this day. The game is only active in the month of February, after which one player is “it” for the year.
Now that they’ve dispersed across the country, they plan secret plane trips to attack them unawares. Mr. Konesky once pulled up this friend’s house at 2 a.m. and groped for the house door. “It was open,” he said, “I’m like, ‘Oh, man, I could get arrested.’”
He snuck to Mr. Denney’s bedroom and leapt into the bedroom. Mr. Denney’s now-wife yelled “Run, Brian!” but “There was nowhere for Brian to run.”
Now that Brian Dennehy is chief marketing officer for Nordstrom Inc. he has causally asked his new coworkers how hard it is for nonemployees to breach the building.
“You’re like a deer or elk in hunting season,” said Joe Tombari, a high-school teacher in Spokane, who for the month of February looks under his car and behind his back.