Santos had a different name when I first met him, and I called him by this name in my head until about a year later, when we began conversing for real and he informed me that his name was currently Santos. I met him at freshman orientation in June 2000, and we shared a few honors-type courses before we actually spoke. Santos claims that I was his crazy stalker in the meantime, as I had discovered his then-new website (his satirical anti-drug project inspired my first e-mail to him), but to this day, I still maintain that it was â€œstalking in a friendly way.â€ I even kept a webpage of funny things he said for future laughing purposes, and because I knew we would be good friends after he referred to ice cream as â€œthat icy nectar of cows.â€
Santos refuses to let me forget the time I prodded him in the back with a ballpoint pen, even though Iâ€™ve bribed him with many Cheez-Its, cherry Pop-Tarts, and homemade snickerdoodles over the years. Our interactions are characterized by him smothering his amusement at something Iâ€™ve done, I think, though the time we had a nighttime picnic near the art building and the time I helped him re-attach his rearview mirror to his windshield, it was really too dark to see his expression. I fear now that he may have been scowling at me the entire time.
One of the most noteworthy things about Santos is the way he asks extremely original, thought-provoking questions, based on his keen observations and creative ponderings from his daily life. On more than one occasion, he has caused me to respond, â€œHm, I donâ€™t know! I never thought about that,â€ and left me with a number of unanswerable puzzles to mull over. Santos has given me neat things he created, such as a Cheez-It Valentine written with his best crayons, a deathly skeleton bopping along in pink roller skates, and a wheelchair-bound T-Rex enjoying a swirly lollipop. That makes me think heâ€™s pretty okay. That, and he would often smell his hands and report to me their current odor.
I donâ€™t talk to or see Santos as much as I would like these days because of some dumb thing called â€œgrad schoolâ€ that seems to consume most of my time. I still think of him quite often and hope that he is getting on all right despite the troubles that have come his way.