Friday, January 21, 2011
Sometimes I heard Ronnie, never just Hanna, but always ronniehanna. Just 4 easy syllables. Sure, What-A-Guy, his company's namesake and really, with no irony, the most accurate description anyone could ever bestow upon someone, would inherently follow.
I hadn't known Ronnie all that long. Sometimes, as a sales rep, you refer to particular time frames by the line you carried at the time. I met Ronnie during his days with Stussy at an Embassy Suite's show in Southfield. The show was so dead, there was nothing to do but dangle over the hallway wall in the atrium and talk shit to other reps.
He had just come off a long stint with Michael Brandon and was starting over with Stussy. He was full of himself and had lots of stories about the crap sides of this business I had never known. And I thought I'd already lived enough crap stories. Christ, there's more?
So I kind of held Ronnie at a yeah, right, whatever sort of distance. I don't know that I admitted it to him, almost sure I didn't, but I was envious of him. How much longer than me he'd been in the business, the people he knew, the places he'd gone and the money he'd made...and lost.
Yet he was starting all over again, like many in this business do. So our kinship, if I may call it that, started then.
And since then, I would go out of my way to spend even a few minutes at one show or another to catch up. Bands and music were another thing we jawed over. He used to tell me that while he lived in Milwaukee, he was often mistaken for Sammy I think his name is, the shorter guy in the Bodeans. Once, while in New York for the Men's Collective, it was my 5oth, and he took me out to dinner because I was away from home on my birthday. When I lost my gig as a rep after being in a motorcycle accident, he called me right away and asked me if I needed cash. He told me about the summer he moved to Milwaukee and how it ceremoniously coincided with the police rummaging through the condiments in Jeffery Dahmer's icebox. And finally, last summer, he made a point to stop by my hotel after the show and we had a smoke and a cocktail while admiring a cat sized rat walk the fence line on the patio.
Not many people in this world leave you wanting more. And now of course when I can't, I wish I would have nudged our friendship further.
I will let that be a lesson.