When I was in fifth grade and growing up in Houston, I had a crush on Erin Cooney, a girl I sat next to in classes thanks to the wonders of alphabetization. I was so stupid over her that I used my mother's ultra-high-tech Apple IIe publishing software to create a sort of newsletter, replete with newspaper-themed clip art, to promulgate my love.
There were three issues of this newsletter, and I have never again in my life been that romantic.
It's been nigh 20 years since I finally cajoled Erin Cooney to give me a kiss on the cheek on the playground of Bunker Hill Elementary, but I occasionally wonder what the hell ever happened to her. As a result, I have a habit of dropping her name into columns* and blog posts, in the secret hope that somehow this will result in her contacting me.
Then, last week, I heard from a fella named Jason, who finds himself living in the Czech Republic these days. He told me that he had once had a crush on an Erin Cooney, and after a bit of quick confirmation, we determined that we were talking about the same Erin Cooney. Jason was smitten with her in junior high.
St. Paul is 1,054 miles from Houston, Prague is 5,466 miles away. What we have here are the makings of an international society dedicated to Erin Cooney's discarded men. There may be dozens of us, stretched across the globe and searching for something to fill that tremendous void caused by Erin's absence. Woe to us, I say. Woe.
*You'll note that this column claims that it was fourth grade, whereas this column says fifth grade. If my memory is correct, I chased after Erin in both fourth and fifth grades.