Dustin Ah Kuoi

Dustin Ah Kuoi.

It might be a blogging Faux Pas for me to lead with a blog about my friend and what he means to me, and just celebrating him, instead of pulling out one of the stock standards. After all, aren’t I supposed to be blogging about how I felt when I was peering over the bow of my sailing vessel whilst taking upon the great fish? Or debating why ‘black coffee’ is the new ‘coffee with cream and sugar’? Or even more my style is messing with people’s minds by dropping a blog about the fact that stylish scarves in the summertime are so out of style that they are actually back in-style, but don’t do it because it’s mainstream, unless you’re a hipster. Then you can. Or maybe I can blog about something that I think people would be interested in. Or, maybe I don’t care what you think -today.

Today, I just want to celebrate my friend. But first let me back up. You see, friends don’t just happen. Well, they kind of do, but then again, REAL friends don’t just happen. Casual friends are quick and easy. They’re nice. They jump out of the water for a moment like a dolphin, and then they dart back in. Casual friends are good. We need casual friends.But they are different than the real deal, and the real deal shows up just a few precious times throughout your life. But they are usually forged out of trial, and dug out of the ditches. Real and lasting friendships are like red-hot metal in a blacksmith’s hands hammered into shape. Not comfortable, not tame, not predictable, and not easy. But when you can finally stand back and see what has been created, it is pretty amazing.

That’s kind of how it is with my friend Dustin, and I. It’s been about 10 years that we’ve known each other, and we’ve shared the stage together hundreds of times, traveled all over America together, and written songs and shared life at an incredibly deep level, ironing out issues between each other, and shedding tears about our relationships lost, and laughing about new ones to come.

I think it takes a special handful of characteristics to have the ability to share life at such a tempo as Dustin and I, and not rip each other’s heads off. Yet, if it seems like the way that I am portraying Dustin and I’s friendship is leaning on the side of frustration, probably nobody makes me laugh like that dude, and I would gladly take a bullet for him.

You see, it’s not always easy for Dustin and I, although I must say that over the last year it has been substantially easier for us to click. But that’s how we know that it’s real. There’s very little pretense, if ever. There’s always an effort made to talk it out, to solve issues, not hold grudges, to make peace, to get beyond a ‘thing’, and to enjoy each other’s company once again. It’s the term: “BRO-mance”. Like Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday, (by the way Doc Holiday in ‘Tombstone’ ruled). And while it’s said with a smile, and a bit of tongue and cheek- at it’s core, it’s very serious, and having a friend like Dustin has radically impacted my life. Between Dustin and I, our paths are quite different. We’ve experienced life and growing up from completely unique angles, and we handle things from completely different perspectives. We even have different dreams and aspirations. Yet, from my view, we are bonded on somewhat of a cosmic journey that leads ‘who-knows-where’.

Perhaps one day, when find ourselves to be much older than we are now, we will take our wives and our kids out to some Caribbean island, (or something) and talk about stories and music, and laugh about how his kids tan better than mine. And maybe by then we will have success in music that exceeds our current expectations or our wildest dreams, or maybe something different. I don’t know.

But one thing I know is that good friends, like Dustin, are a rare thing in the world, and I want to celebrate it today, for I am thankful for it.
I continue learning more about life. As I make my way through it one day at a time, I am learning to celebrate the things that matter most. Things that refuse to be bought with money, things like real friends. Friends like Dustin.

So I leave you with a video that might be slightly strange to you, or might be hilarious, as it is to me. Dustin’s most recent birthday gift to me, from one heterosexual man to another: “A Bro-mance To Remember”


@Rudy Vaughn