It’s common knowledge among our longtime followers and 18 facebook likers that one of the most beloved PO Life contributors, Cliff, has been deployed since February. From February up until now, everyone at The PO Life has lived a life of normalcy. But that’s all about to change. At time of print, Cliff was safely en route back to America, finishing his second and final tour of duty in Afghanistan.
For better or worse, having Cliff back stateside is sure to usher in a wave of changes. In this week’s edition of The Friday Five, we’re highlighting the Five Signs That Cliff is Back from Afghanistan, penned in a team effort by those that know him best: the writing staff of The PO Life.
Welcome back Cliff… I guess.
1) Eli’s Mom Has an Extra Mouth to Feed - by Eli and McCannon
Eli - I am one of four so my mother has been cooking large meals for my whole life. She’s a solid cook who loves little more than feeding groups of ravenous mouths. For years our house was a spot where the neighborhood kids could go to get stuffed. Alan and Rudy are regulars at our Thanksgiving meals. McCannon has made his way over for the only meal he eats (pizza). Easily the most overfed of my friends, however, was Cliff. Pretty much any time we would hang out he would ask what leftovers were hanging out in our family fridge or what my mom was cooking for dinner. He would pop over to the house, suck up to my mother*, and proceed to demolish the Costco-sized portions that were placed in front of him. Now that my parents are empty nesters, my mother is stuck cooking meals for two. Once Cliff is back, she can start cooking for six again. Her and my dad will each eat one portion, Cliff can eat four.
*Nobody sucks up to parents like Cliff. I like to think I’m pretty good at kissing ass (especially to moms), Cliff blows me out of the water. He is like some sort of ass-kissing sherpa. No parent has ever met Cliff and not loved him. He’s polite, well spoken, and complimentary. He will make himself at home but will let you know at the same time how appreciative he feels to be so welcomed. He’s an artist. It’s really something to watch.
McCannon - A long-winded anecdote about Cliff:
My grandfather passed away a few years ago and left each one of his grandchildren a package. In mine was a cigar, a small bottle of scotch, and two pieces of paper. One said this:
I leave you three things that I greatly treasured in my lifetime. In this order: a genuine Cuban cigar, Scotch from the peat fires of Edinburgh, and the recipe for your grandmother’s peach cobbler (a national treasure). I want you to wait for a cool day this Autumn and follow the recipe (it is very detailed, as I am sure you do not have much experience in the kitchen). While the cobbler is baking, go outside and enjoy the cigar and scotch. Never forget the finer things in life — when you find yourself without time for such things, you will find yourself unhappy.
- Your loving Grandfather
The other piece of paper, of course, had my grandmother’s national treasure of a recipe on it. I kept my Grandfather’s package under my bed until a particularly comfortable and lazy autumn day arrived. I collected all the necessary ingredients, laid the cigar next to a glass of Edinburgh’s finest scotch outside on the patio furniture, and took to the kitchen. I’m not much of a cook, but my Grandfather hadn’t lied and the recipe was very easy to follow. I popped the cobbler in the oven and moseyed outside to enjoy the finer things in life.
Half a cigar and a full glass of scotch later, I headed back in to pull out the cobbler. The smell had taken over the house and was absolutely heavenly. The crust had broken in a couple spots and the shape wasn’t perfect, but all in all I was pretty happy with it. The recipe was very specific about letting the cobbler rest and cool for a while, so I slipped back outside to finish my cigar. I relaxed, polished off the amazing cigar, and prepared to devour my grandfather’s (and my) favorite dessert.
As the back door closed behind me, I noticed the front one had been left slightly askew. I was so relaxed, in a sort of zen-like, spiritually-connecting-with-my-dead-Grandpa sort of way, my Cliff Mooching Defenses had been completely lowered. I took the steps two at time to find a drunken Cliff laying slackjawed on the couch, face and shirt covered in peach cobbler, staring at the ceiling with the vacant, utterly satisfied look you only find on someone who just housed an entire peach cobbler after double fisting 40’s. I wasn’t even mad — how could I be?
I just shrugged to the heavens and muttered, “Sorry, old man. Maybe next week.”
Cliff rolled over, crumbs peppered the floor next to the couch, “Hey dude.”
This story is completely and utterly made up. I have no specific examples of Cliff being a giant mooch, just know that the dude is a future-Hall-of-Famer moocher.
2) The Return of Dudes. Night. Out. and Just Do It July – by Rudy – A wise man once said: “Some people have a hard time explaining Dude’s Night Out. I don’t think anyone can really explain Dude’s Night Out. Maybe DJ Pauly D, but that’s okay. Dude’s Night Out is a lifestyle and a way of thinking… and it’s not about money and popularity. Although, some money would be nice. But it’s a voice that says, “Here I am… and fuck you if you can’t understand me.” And one of these people is gonna save the world. And that means that Dude’s Night Out can save the world… all of us together. And the chicks are great. But what it all comes down to is that thing. The indefinable thing when people catch a Dude’s Night Out.”
Cliff is a champion of Dude’s Night Out (DNO). As the proverbial bachelor since returning from his first deployment and finding out that his girlfriend at the time was a cheating whore while he was fighting for freedom, Cliff is a modern day Simon Bolivar. His cause? Liberating his off-the-market friends from the clutches of Friday nights spent perusing Pintrest and winding down with a bottle of white wine with the wifey. His weapon of choice? 151 shots. The outcome? See #3.
DNOs are really a subset of a larger, more notable event known as Just Do It July. Cultivated in 2011, Just Do It July is a 31 day spectacle of self-indulgence. A 744 hour period where the Geneva Convention holds no jurisdiction. A 44,640 minute morality malaise. The 2011 session was so physically, mentally, and financially taxing that the 2012 celebration was canceled. Going forward, plans are to align the celebration with years in which the President’s Cup is held, meaning The Year 2013 in Our Lord Jesus Christ – you’re next. Why? Cause it’s Just Do It July.
Am I ready for the onslaught of Just Do It July 2013? No. Is my girlfriend ready for the return of DNOs? Certainly not. But are they important? …
3) The Potential for Bar Fights is Back – by Joey and Merkyll
Joey - Only once have I been close to getting into a bar fight. And guess who was there, begging to rock bottom some bitch to the floor? Cliff.
We were at a local hot spot around town when this 20-something slooze starts going all Bloodsport on another typical 20-something slooze. Hair was pulled, kicks were landed, and drunken punches were launched. Then Slooze #1 turns to some poor shmuck and starts going off on him about his unbelievably small penis, or some bullshit like that. He just laughs, turns to me, and smiles. I proceed to ask him what he had done to deserve such hatred. Well Mr. Schmuck didn’t take too kindly to that, got in my face a little bit, and told me to back off. I obviously would have tombstoned his ass, but I played it cool and backed off. I turn around to see Cliff, wide eyed and fuming, ready to kick the guy’s ass. He turned to me and said, “Joey, I was THIS close to putting my forearm into that guy’s throat and teaching him a lesson.” We proceeded to get hyped on each other and fantasize about how we would have Stone-Cold-Steve-Austin’d his ass up and down the bar.
Come to think of it, I can’t remember the last time I went out with Cliff and he didn’t almost start a fight to prove how awesome he is. One time, somebody called him a “ginger fuck” after he got up in some dudes face. While he was telling me this story, I reminded Cliff that he was, in fact, a ginger fuck, but to no avail. Cliff wasn’t about to be disrespected like that. One time the cops told us we had to move our car because we were parked illegally during a tailgate. Cliff was there ready to throw down with the pig, yelling something about, “I didn’t fight a fucking war so you could come and tell me to move my car.” Yeah, he said that to a cop. No big deal. OK, maybe he didn’t say fuck, but whatever, it was still amazing. The point is we are all about to go peoples elbow on half of the east coast when Cliff gets back. And we couldn’t be more excited about that.
Merkyll - The first time I ever drank liquor was in Cliff’s basement with Eli and McCannon and a bottle of Captain Morgan (I know..back off). Our nights would generally end in watching Rescue Me on DVD for the 900th time or South Park reruns and laughing our asses off. Thinking back, damn those nights were great. Anyway, occasionally we would actually muster the energy to leave the house and voyage off somewhere in our hometown. One particular night, we got everyone’s favorite person (currently a Chemical Engineer in Bumfuck Georgia) to sober drive us to Amphora. We had all drank enough to embarrass ourselves, and we figured a fine-dining establishment such as Amphora was the perfect setting for us to do just that.
Rather than go with the modest approach of arriving subtlety with class, Cliff rolled up in a long white Arab gown and I wore an enormous (probably about 12 by 12 inches) pin that read “No One Could Hug Me the Way You Can”. From the moment we entered the restaurant people started staring us at and smirking. Like something from a bad Entourage Season 4 scene – one person in the restaurant started talking shit to me, which led to McCannon flipping out and yelling at the person – which led to more shit talking towards McCannon from the other side – which eventually led to Clifford standing up and flipping the fuck out (in full Arab garb).
Someone from the other group kept yelling about how Cliff was being disrespectful with his outfit, to which Cliff responded with something like “I lived in Egypt and I speak fucking Arabic so shut the fuck up”. (Who would have thought Cliff would big league someone in an Amphora at 3AM while drunk). McCannon also knocked over a plate which shattered on the floor. He dropped a 20$ and all of us got the fuck out of the restaurant.
Isn’t it funny how some of the most nostalgic nights take place when everyone is drunk and wearing Egyptian clothing?
4) Increased Frequency of Betting on Physical Prowess – by Bart – I am not ashamed to admit that I have packed on a few pounds over the last year or two. It’s not like I’m not aware. Considering that, I was still able to finish 3rd place in the physical challenge. I know what should be done – a steady lower carb diet with less high fat content and processed foods alongside a consistent exercise regiment occurring at least 3 days a week – I am not an idiot. But once Cliff comes back, I will be reminded on a daily basis about cross-fit routines and push-ups I am not doing. Or pick-up basketball games I will not be participating in.
For Cliff must do just that; he must remind you that he physically stronger than you. Dare you question him? Dare not! For if you dare, you enter a competition of that you wish you did not dare in the first place. Get ready to bet $10,000 because Cliff will not lose. Or if he thinks he will not lose, he will tickle, bite, or complain his way to victory. Get ready for it Arlington, with Cliff back you can be sure to spot him running roadside while bearing his trademark neck-beard and exposed pale man-chest.
5 ) New Lessons in Southeast Asian Geography – by Al
In the proverbial shed of intelligence Cliff is a Valyrian steel greatsword with an air horn strapped to it. There is a large, loud presence, but wits to match. He’s worldly because, well, he’s actually pretty traveled (and not just to The Stan). He’s an erudite because he’s well-read.
The catch is that sometimes he can be a bit pedantic about how much he knows. Any benign conversation can start a discussion on the sociopolitical environment of Laos. Or you’ll be gifted with an esoteric fact about the Dutch colonization of South Africa because of something you saw in a GEICO commercial.
Now don’t get me wrong, Clifford isn’t always like that. It’s more of a tic. Even though you may roll your eyes, are you not going to find the factoid interesting? Just because you’re about to do your fifth shot of tequila, aren’t you going to at least try to remember what he said?
This is who Clifford is and we love him for it. He says these things because he thinks you’ll be genuinely interested, or he wants to hear your opinion on it. Okay… sometimes it’s actually just to be ostentatious.
But wouldn’t you rather have a friend who knows a lot about global politics and isn’t a mouth-breathing moron?