My friend Shane Curcuru is not the easiest person to get to know. Quirky and often introverted, he seems to view the world at right angles from most other people and is not particularly interested in how they feel about that.
But it is worth the effort to get to know him, and not merely because he would happily detach his own right arm for a good friend. Shane is brilliant and fascinating and quite a good baker.
An engineer by training, a history buff by vocation (he took high-level history classes at Tufts for fun while getting a degree in mechanical engineering) and a computer programmer of sorts by trade, he has plotted his own course to happiness, figured out what matters to him — good friends, strongly roasted coffee, pastry, cats, privacy — and has set up a nice life for himself, his wife and daughter in the Boston suburbs.
So it stands to reason that if he wants to celebrate he will find a reason to do it. The reason he thought of last weekend: The 10th anniversary of his bachelor party.
I thought it was a brilliant idea, as did most of the people I mentioned it to, although others thought it boded ill for his marriage.
It doesn’t: Shane’s friends marvel at the compatibility he has with his wife Amy, a sometimes timid, always clever former entomology student who to us it seems must have been molded by some higher being, maybe out of alabaster, expressly to be Shane’s companion.
Bachelor parties can include many activities meant to express independence, manliness, lust or merely a desire to celebrate.
And the group of friends that Shane and I share, from my first and second years of college, are far more inclined to get together for an orgy of food than of anything else.
Indeed, in my sophomore year of college we formed a sort of secret society around monthly dinners.
Okay, it wasn’t that secret, although for the sake of propriety I shall not mention its name, but what was discussed at dinner was not to be discussed elsewhere.
Seafood was usually involved in the meal, as we were in New England, and generally some kind of red meat and very likely something deep-fried.
It was supposed to be all-male and I think it generally has stayed that way, but I’m not sure as I spent much of the 1990s living overseas and generally out of touch with the group, although I did fly in for computer networking system consultant John Bruce aka JB’s wedding (people in the foodservice industry might be interested to know that John’s little brother Charlie is an executive chef for Sodexho at one of their accounts in Richmond, Va.).
Anyway, on Saturday we convened at the Concord Rod and Gun Club where we fired guns in the basement shooting range and then middle school science teacher Michael Gerber sliced up raw tuna and mollusks to eat as sashimi, and clams just to eat, while JB — after scouring nearby suburbs for a butcher with bone-in rib-eyes — charred us up some steaks and roasted corn on the cob.
Customarily we would discuss our romantic pursuits, but everyone but me was married and my romantic life remains as boring as ever, so inevitably we talked about kids instead (I talked about my nieces and nephew).
I spent the night at Shane’s and the next day he, Amy, their daughter Roxanne and I had a late lunch at La Verdad, Ken Oringer’s new Mexican restaurant on Lansdowne Street, just outside Fenway Park. The Red Sox were playing, so we went there after the game had started and the crowd had moved from the restaurant to Fenway. We had chips and guacamole, mole chicken wings and roasted corn with cheese and chiles, followed by assorted tacos, a chicken burrito and a chile relleno torta.