yesterday was franco’s birthday.

that’s him on the right, ladies.*

so what can we say about franco that would put him in the good light he deserves on his ridiculously late birthday?

i could say “nothing”, and we could all laugh.

but that wouldn’t be anywhere near the truth.

absolutely essential to the comic landscape of our close knit group of friends…the band, as we refer to ourselves…frank the tank and his lighthearted self-depreciation is a strong-willed, admirable man dedicated to his craft with a smile on his face (most of the time, anyway!).

a highschool math teacher who gets endless heat from his corporate-addled friends, one can only marvel at the strength of character necessary to live in front of a classroom full of snivelling adolescents and to juggle that with the snarky (but entirely benevolent) quips of your best friends after work.

and to keep that goofy smile on his face!

one of my favorite cinematic moments occurs in what i consider to be cameron crowe’s best film, almost famous, as william miller talks on the phone with his pseudo-mentor, lester bangs, about his experience on the road with rock stars:

Lester Bangs: Aw, man. You made friends with them. See, friendship is the booze they feed you. They want you to get drunk on feeling like you belong.

William Miller: Well, it was fun.

Lester Bangs: They make you feel cool. And hey…I met you. You are not cool.

William Miller: I know. Even when I thought I was, I knew I wasn’t.

Lester Bangs: That’s because we’re uncool. And while women will always be a problem for us, most of the great art in the world is about that very same problem. Good-looking people don’t have any spine. Their art never lasts. They get the girls, but we’re smarter.

William Miller: I can really see that now.

Lester Bangs: Yeah, great art is about conflict and pain and guilt and longing and love disguised as sex, and sex disguised as love… and let’s face it, you got a big head start.

William Miller: I’m glad you were home.

Lester Bangs: I’m always home. I’m uncool.

William Miller: Me too!

Lester Bangs: The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we’re uncool.

William Miller: I feel better.

Lester Bangs: My advice to you. I know you think those guys are your friends. You wanna be a true friend to them? Be honest, and unmerciful.

now why bring this up as we honor franco on his (belated) day of birth?

let me be clear…it’s not because he’s uncool.
and it’s not because he has trouble with women.

(in fact he’s the only person i’ve ever seen get hit on while playing pop-a-shot AND silverstrike bowling on seperate occassions.)

it’s because something about that scene resonated with me when i saw that movie, and something about it speaks of franco for me.

he IS cool…very cool.

but his cool (and the reason i think so many people love the guy) is an effortless, unintentional cool…a self-comfort that’s projected in his ability to laugh at himself and his infectious good moods and his this-is-just-who-i-am presence…

…he makes people comfortable.

that’s the kind of person people like being around.

it’s who you can be uncool with.

and most importantly, and no doubt due to a healthy dose of inner strength…

franco’s an honest guy.

there’s no haze, no smokescreens…i think almost everything you get from him is pretty straight.

who couldn’t love a guy like that?

franco…i think i speak for all of us when i say that it’s hard to imagine what we’d do with ourselves if we didn’t have you.

happy birthday.

*he’s cuban…is that weird!? 🙂

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