It was a regular evening and I had finished my homework. So, like any other kid at the time, I signed onto AIM to chat with friends until it was bedtime. I was having a typical conversation with Stu. We chatted about hating school and teachers together. We also talked about what we would change if we ran the middle school system. Of course, our conversation deviated to jokingly forming a gang. But, we were good kids, making or joining a gang was unheard of.
“So what about a clan?” I suggested to Stu. For at the time, the game to play was Final Fantasy Tactics Advance; a game all about making and fighting as a clan (or team).
“Yeah! Let’s do it! What should we call ourselves?” He replied.
In the game, the formula for names was “Clan” + whatever you wanted to name it. So I suggested:
“What’s Wumbo?” He inquired.
I proceeded to pretty much quote word for word this scene from Spongebob Squarepants:
I had to, because YouTube didn’t exist yet, so if you missed an episode or wanted to watch a clip, you actually had to wait around until that episode came on again. But the name wasn’t good enough. It needed to be more unique. It used to be if you searched for “wumbo”, you would find nothing. So, with my awesome foresight, I knew this wumbo thing wouldn’t be so secret for very long. Go ahead, search “clan wumbo” right now, there’s a “clan wumbo” for everything. So I said:
“Let’s add a Q.. Clan WumboQ. But the Q is silent”
For Q was an underrated letter at the time. Which eventually lead to our symbol, a “w” within a “Q”. It was iconic, and simple enough to draw out, should we ever move to the hooligan life style of tagging things for the thrill of vandalism.
A symbol of great conviction!
(Go ahead, google “clan wumboq”, the first thing you’ll find is us.)
So we had a good laugh and we were happy with our new clan. But every clan needs members. I believe the first thing we said to Matt the next time we saw him was “Matt, join our clan!” To which he probably responded with “Uh, okay.” We were the San Marino Trio after all.
This is where the story takes a turn to a deep level. You see, when I was younger, I had formed a pretty good friendship with Caleb and Marty. As early as 6 or 7 years old, we spent a lot of our time together at Church. Our friendship was built on gameboy, pokemon, starcraft and even yugioh. I didn’t really know Matt or Stu too well yet, because they went to Valentine Elementary School, and I went to the other one, Carver. But when middle school rolled around, I found myself hanging out with Matt and Stu more and more since we all went to the same school. Sure, we all interacted with each other on Sundays and Friday nights, but it wasn’t like we were all super close (yet).
Sorry, couldn’t find any young pictures of us..
Matt and Stu were star-crossed friends. Their parents had planned their friendship since their birth. They moved to San Marino together and lived 10 houses apart. They were inseparable.
Marty and Caleb practically grew up together in child care during business meetings and such. They were just as inseparable.
And then there’s me. Just a shy kid looking for some friends. Though I’m sure there would have been many events that lead to our eventual friendship, I like to take credit for what happened next. I was essentially the bridge that closed the gap between these two pairings. Little did I know the outcome would be so awesome.
One night after RAs (Royal Ambassadors, church Friday night fellowship for elementary and middle schoolers) initiation, I told Stu that we should have Clan WumboQ initiations. Pretty much on the spot, we initiated Marty and Caleb. Nothing intense, we just had them close their eyes and walk into things (like my fist or each other). And so, Clan WumboQ had its members.
It worked out great! Matt had found an intellectual equivalent to which he could intelligently talk to in Marty. Stu found another short person who he could empathize with in Caleb. This is friendship in it’s truest form, because there is not one thing that we all have in common. Rather, it’s a smorgasbord of mixed and matched likes and dislikes that bind us together.
Sounds silly. But that’s the origin story of our friendship. From time to time, our inner children return and we tag our “WQ” on something. We’ve been the best of friends since.