Learned of the unfortunate news about Clint Muncy’s passing and just wanted to share my thoughts about my childhood buddy and some unforgettable memories I have of him.
Most importantly- my heart goes out to his loved ones in this time of pain. 
I met Clint at Westwood Elementary School. He lived right up the street from me and “The Crompton Road Crew”. Clint would ride his bike down the road to join me, Michael and Jared in the shenanigans that often occurred on Crompton Road. As we became closer, Clint invited me to go camping with him and his dad a few times, and we’d rent a horror movie to watch in the camper, hoping the monsters on his dad’s little TV weren’t lurking in the woods that surrounded us.
Needless to say, it was and will always remain an awesome memory. And I have so many of those with Clint, in those days when we were coming of age.
Boys can get involved in some messes, but they also talk and sort out misunderstandings and create bonds. I always felt safe with Clint. My friends all knew I had a bleeding disorder, but we still played football and roughhoused. I always felt like Clint eased up on the tackles where I was concerned and doubled down on Jared, my teammate, to even it all out. L
Around the age of 9 I thought I saw Clint die one day. We were climbing Michael’s giant pine tree in his front yard, and Clint kept going up… far braver than I ventured to be. I gave up trying to catch up to him and returned to the safety of the ground where the cowardly thrive. Soon thereafter I heard a yelp and the sound of snapping branches- I looked up and saw Clint bouncing his way down the tree before finally, mercifully, landing face first in the mud. The fall was at least two stories up from the point where he lost his footing. I raced to Clint and rolled him over. He looked at me- thank God he survived, I thought. Then he…
Started laughing?!
And then I started laughing with him, utterly surprised, relieved and confused as to how a human could survive such a ghastly fall.
By junior high school we were seeing less of each other outside of school, the natural order of discovering interests that don’t overlap as much. I think Chorus in 7th Grade was the only time after Elementary School that we ever shared a classroom together. Of course, there’s a memory there… I brought a stink bomb to school, a little glass vile of a couple of ounces of “TOXiC ODOR!” I was too scared to use it, but when Clint caught wind of the gag he said, “I’ll do it.” Sure enough, he found a corner of the room to detonate it.
The room smelled like rotten eggs the whole time that period. When I posted this tribute to Clint on Facebook, classmates still remembered that moment... Clint truly was a master at risking some skin to make memories that last a lifetime. In retrospect, that stink bomb was probably an aromic iupgrade considering the fine attention to hygiene that can be lost on 12-year old boys.
The following year, in 8th Grade, I threw my last punch before I dedicated my life to pacifism. Well, I planned on throwing some punches. Instead, I was destined to supplement my school lunch with a few knuckle sandwiches on that sunny, Fall afternoon day at Kate Collins Junior High. My battle plan went to shit fast after I confronted and pushed my target back after some light trash talk. Suddenly, he grabbed me in a headlock and started punching me with uppercuts to the face. Those quick and grabby hands were the reason why I squared up with him in the first place: he’d grabbed my girlfriend’s boob in class the day before.
Turns out those hands were multi-faceted tools of destruction, both emotional and physical, as I quickly learned.
Fortunately for me, Clint was nearby and, in a flash, he tackled us both to the ground. He held onto me- even as my heavily-rumored-to-be-HIV-positive blood was streaming down my face. And he didn’t let go until he saw that I was solidly standing on my own two feet, which he’d helped me up to. Unlike Apollo Creed, I had a pal in my corner that knew when to throw in the damn towel.
Our paths would cross in high school, thanks to TJ Overton. Their Brew Crew would welcome my occasional attendance for a night of shooting pool, drinking beer, playing videogames and listening to Black Sabbath. Just as the Crompton Crew welcomed Clint when he rode his bike down the street back in the day, Clint always welcomed my presence among the athletes.
I remember seeing Clint sing a solo during a high school concert, and being surprised at how strong his voice had gotten since The Stinkbomb Incident four years prior. Also, I was way too scared to sing, much less in public, so I was a little envious of his bravado and skills. But it was a nice reminder of what I’d learned earlier in our friendship- which was that Clint always appeared tough. If you were fortunate enough to see his heart, then you knew how sensitive he really was.
My mom loved all my friends growing up. I think she kind of interviewed them when she first met them. Perhaps my bleeding disorder was a reason? She was literally entrusting them with her baby boy’s life. It’s probably why she saw them as bonus sons, of sorts.
I’m not sure what Clint’s beliefs were about what happens beyond this beautiful shitshow we are all living in, but I had a thought today (I’ve been writing this on and off for three days) that made me smile and I instantly knew it was how this tribute would end. I imagined the light of Clint’s soul making the rounds… once my mom’s light caught wind of his, I could hear her voice as clear as day calling out to get his attention:
“CLINT?! What the hell are YOU doing here?”
Til we meet again, my old friend. And thanks again for always having this little guy’s back.
Positively Yours,