Suggested Audio Candy
 College & Electric Youth “A Real Hero”
 Toto “Africa”
 Godiego “Monkey Magic/Gandhara”
Today Grueheads I wish to talk to you about one of my own personal heroes. There are many people who have inspired me throughout my life and the gentleman in question is right near the top of that list along with Steve Martin and Gandhi. Many of you will already be aware of Silent Shadow, my partner in podcast crime and all around stand-up guy. I have had the distinct pleasure of knowing this fine shaggy specimen for well over a decade and can state with assurance that he is one of my very favorite people on the planet. Way back on our initial introduction I knew he was going to be a lifelong friend and, in all the time that I have known him, he has remained totally constant. There are about ten years between us but age is pretty much the only thing we don’t share in common. When I am an old man, sitting beneath a tartan blanket and soiling myself, it is Silent Shadow who will be tasked with daily bed pan changes. Now that is true friendship.
We all know the criteria of a lifelong friend and I am fortunate enough to have many in my armory. The best way of ascertaining one such life buddy is to go several months without any form of contact whatsoever and then see what happens. Within seconds of reuniting it feels as though we have never been apart and there exists a mutual understanding not dependent on any other factor. Silent Shadow is very much like a comfortable pair of slippers to me. I know that I can slip him on at any given moment and he’ll always fit. That is one of the greatest honors that can be bestowed upon anyone; a friend to the end. Our chemistry together has been remarked upon many times and our podcasts are always enlightening whether we have a cunning plan or simply wish to chew the fat like a couple of old war veterans.
Back in the day I used to run an independent video game store in a bustling shopping mall and Silent Shadow was one of a number of larger than life characters that I had the pleasure of rubbing shoulders with during my decade long tenure. All of them I regard as true friends and, thanks to Facebook, I still have a direct line of contact with each of this fine collective. However, it is Silent Shadow who I get to see on a regular basis and there is one thing I can guarantee from one of his visits: I will always be smiling come the end. We share the same dark sense of humor, the same positive outlook, and the same fascination for all things grotesque so it’s always an effortless hook up. I have been through some tough times over the past two years and he has seen me at my lowest ebb. But like any sincere allegiance, he has never once faltered.
So enough of sucking his dick, who the hell is Silent Shadow anyway? Well Grueheads, I feel that the time has finally come for me to lift the veil on our colorful friend. His name…is Robert Poulson. It’s not; I apologize but I just couldn’t resist that one. His name is Matt O’Keeffe but many refer to him as The Master of The Queef. He is a man with many missions, one of which is to watch as many horror movies as humanly feasible before he croaks, but today I wish to talk of another current objective of his. At the end of August, Matt plans to scale the tallest free-standing mountain in the world in the name of Cancer Research UK. Kilimanjaro stands proudly in Tanzania, Africa almost 20,000 ft in elevation from sea level. He has decided to conquer this peak and do so in honor of his dear friend’s brother who lost his battle with the big C a few years back. Most of us have been affected by Cancer at some point in our lives and I’m sure you will all agree that there could be no better cause than this to support. But enough about this vile affliction, I’m not wasting another word on something so mean-spirited. We are here to celebrate after all.
You see, Silent Shadow is set for a seven-day expedition to the summit and I’m pleased to report that he currently resembles a rabbit in headlights about the prospect of this perilous pilgrimage. But in the same manner as he approaches any good fright flick, with fear in his heart and a twitch in his testicles, he will also succeed in his mission. I have heard the term “fear is the mindkiller” before thanks to the wonderful Paul Verhoeven but what about if you don’t allow it to exterminate. Whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger right? You’re damned right it does and my fuzzy-chinned friend is living proof of that particular mind nugget. He is, as we say in the UK, “bricking it” and likely lets out a tiny little stream of involuntary flatulence every time the word Kilimanjaro is mentioned in passing conversation. Will that stop him from touching the void? Hell no. He may have to crawl the final 1000 ft on his belly like a top-heavy snake but he will get there one way or another.
When he achieved this, his original intention was to plant a flag for Rivers of Grue, and this filled my buttercup with pride. However, due to the fact that I too may need to climb Kilimanjaro soon if I’m to finally have two red cents to rub together, we’re a little behind on the merchandise side. Thus, I shall load his kit bag with business cards and he can do with them as he pleases. Whether leaving them stacked in an immaculate pile for any subsequent adventurers or shooting them from his hip like ninja stars, he will ensure that the Grueheads defeat this mountain alongside him. I am hopeful that any down time will be spent questioning why he believes Aliens to be anything other than a downright masterpiece and learning how to pronounce the word Argento. Thankfully, he plans to document his plight and this means a video diary dedicated to the Grueheads. While it was amiable enough watching Morgan Spurlock cram supersized fast food into his hole for 98 minutes, I would much rather watch a bedraggled mountain man shuffling in extreme discomfort and more blistered than an albino on Route 66. That’s right; we want to see him hurt but not because we’re rotten to the pulp. Therein lays the achievement; by overcoming adverse conditions, the moment when he reaches for the peak will be one to forever cherish. The boy will have done good.
So anyways; how about those monkeys? You didn’t really think I would allow my dear friend Silent Shadow to undertake such a gargantuan task without informing him of the 90,000 famished and murderous gibbons currently running amok in Kenya did you? I figure that forewarned is forearmed and therefore feel duty bound to be the bad news bearer on this occasion. I’m not wishing to startle you Matt but, should you pass any baboons during transit, there are two distinct don’ts to adhere to. Firstly, whatever you do, don’t look them dead in the eyes. Eye contact will be catastrophic and, if you need a refresher course before you set off, then I would suggest viewing Monkey Shines the night before departure. Secondly, do not make light of their bright red buttocks. You think they don’t hear that shit all the time already? A single offended baboon is one thing but far worse when the gibbon in question has 89,999 friends with similar crosses to bear. Beware the monkey punch; that’s all I’m saying.
I hope that my warning encourages Silent Shadow to stock up on bargaining bananas and, more than anything, I trust that he knows just how proud of him I am. What a magnificent role-model he is, this act of controlled lunacy has rocketed him into my exclusive shortlist of personal heroes, and I am blessed to call him my brother. Next time, I would love to join him on his adventure, so long as the 90,000 baboons don’t tear him to shreds in Tanzania. Should he perish then I will scale Kilimanjaro with his urn in my backpack and scatter him over the summit at a later date (and leave a few more Rivers of Grue business cards while I’m at it). Joking aside, and I know that Matt would expect absolutely no less, I wish him all the very best on his travels. I am literally bursting with pride right now and, should I happen across $1 million in the near future, I plan to build a marble shrine in his honor. That’s right Matt; you’ve only gone and earned yourself a Buddha. Stalk ya later brother.
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