Sep 7, 2004, 9:35 AM
Post #1 of 32
Kuskeisms - Craig Kuske Memories
I met Craig Kuske June of this year for one weekend at Cross Keys. It was my time there and I walked into Crosskeys late at night Friday with no beer because I couldn't find an open liquor store. He hooked me up with some beer and later showed me and this girl the "secret of the pease." I couldn't jump that Saturday but got back that evening and we partied some more. Sunday evening we were watching a swoop contest which he decided not to enter and were getting a ride back from the swoop pond on the outside of this girl's Ford Explorer. I was shooting video and he was hanging on with one hand with his hair was in pigtails with pullup cords. When I get home I'll see if I can attach it. We both nearly fell off but it was great. That night we go to a bar called The Alpine for Karaoke night. He must have sang 20+ songs. I dragged him on stage for a Blues Brothers like rendition of "Stand by Your Man" and he returned the favor with "Girls just wanna Have Fun". At the end of every song he'd say "My name is Clifford, and I love women." I only met him 2 days and he left an impression on me. Let's share some stories...
Craig did a lot of work around Cross Keys. When they built the deck around the back of the main hangar, Craig nailed his foot to the deck. He just had an odd way of getting into strange predicaments.
I remember running into him at CSS over Easter or Thanksgiving one year. Somehow, after a few/lot of beers, he decided randomly that I could not carry him around. I'm not sure where that came from, but I carried him around CSS for a while!
There we were (Craig and I), no shit. WFFC 2003. Drunk as ten indians. He drove by on a stolen golf cart and we just rode around the rest of the night and into the morning looking for more beer to drink. We drove all over the airport and through the RV park taking beers out of unguarded coolers. Kuske was yelling "HEY YOOU GUUUUUUUYS!" at the top of his lungs when we would see other night owls. Around nine or ten in the morning we stopped at my RV and I crashed. Craig wandered off in search of more trouble. He ditched the stolen golf cart in front of our vendor tent and it stayed there for several days. That dude was fucking nuts and I really liked him.
I've also known Craig for about three years. I am not at Xkeys that often because I go to school in FL, but we still get the good ol' karaoke nights at the Alpine in. This past summer, I was singing "Picture" with the dude who runs the karaoke there, and "Clifford" (as he was so known as there, lol) came up in the middle of the song and convinced him that he could sing it better.....so he took the mic. and sang the rest of the song with me dispite the very angry look from the other guys face who was singing already. Then last summer it was the "If I had a million dollars" fight. It was nice singing with PJ, then Craig joined in with his drunken stouper (sp?) and then I babysat the two of them so they woud stopping beating the living piss out of eachother. (after we got kicked out of the bar, of course! Like Joe was suprised or something though) I have not been current since last January, and Craig tried really hard to get me back into the sport this past summer so I could jump with him, Will and Selwyn. I really wish I would have taken the opporotunity. He like to have his fun, but Craig was always a good guy with me and a presence I will truely miss when I go back home to NJ this summer.
PS:......who can ever forget what happened on that wacky night with the rope and a piece of heavy duty equipment?? lol
The first time I met Kuske was going to SM1's trailer when it was parked at Xkeys this past summer. I went to knock on the door and there's Kuske just sitting there and he says "he's doing the deed with his woman, you can go in if you want". I got a little more respect for SM1 than that, so we just chilled and I had an awesome time with him. He was so laid back and such a nice guy. He'll truly be missed.
And I'm sure no one will forget the incident involving a pair of scissors, peanut butter, and Marley, the dz dog
That is the day I truly got to know Kuske. He was driving me batty, honestly, because he came to this realization after we spent time reminiscing about Raff that we need to tell our friends more that we love them... Needless to say he made it a point to hug me and tell me he loved me and Chuckie about every 10 minutes!
He's the kind of guy you could trust. He thirsted for knowledge from Chuck on swooping and really just wanted to become a better skydiver. He could just as easily be the butt of the joke or delivering one and take it just the same.
When Craig showed up at Crosskeys ages ago with his friend, Doug - they soon became known as Thrust & Rudder.
Craig's enthusiasm and willingness was the thrust. Doug's practicality was the rudder.
And once, when crashing at Dugan's house - like 5 or 6 years ago - I heard water running in the living room in the middle of the night. Sure enough, Kuske was standing there (sleep 'walking') and taking a leak over the coffee table onto the floor.
water running in the living room in the middle of the night. Sure enough, Kuske was standing there (sleep 'walking') and taking a leak over the coffee table onto the floor.
He and Doug were HILARIOUS when they got going. One night, Doug wanted a meat ball sub from WaWa in the worst way. He piled Kuske and I into the company van and drove down there. Kuske was whining because he didn't have any money but was hungry, of course drunk since it was some odd hour of the night/morning. We lost Craig in WaWa, and later found him sitting in an aisle eating chips and cookies quietly. All he said was "I've got the munchies."
I met Kuske at Cross Keys one weekend and kept bumping into him all over the east coast. My first day at Sebastian, he was the first person I saw in the parking lot, and it was great to see a familiar face. He told me some story about not being allowed to drive on the landing area anymore- something about broken glass and car parts all over the place one morning.
Well i'll copy my last two posts into here and add a little bit more:
---------- 5th Sept '04 --------------- Hi all, just heard the news, and i'm very sad to hear of it, he was, as Chuck said, one of the 'funner' people to be around at the Dropzone. I arrived at Crosskeys on the 21st June to be greated by Kuske in with his hair in pigtails, later on that evening i watched a video of him have his shorts cut off him and have a dog lick peanut butter off him whilst he was asleep. He was great fun at the DZ and even let me and my mate Edd stay in their house along with Selwyn and Frick for the 2 and a half weeks we were there.
------------ 7th Sept '04 --------------
I'm gonna skip over the last posts and go back to the memories, I forgot about " If your gonna be stupid, you better be strong" He said that alot, also 'Heeeeey yooooooou guuuuuysss" And his own version of 'White Stripes - Seven Nation army'
All the memories above i know about or have heard the stories, That deck he built, i remember one night, really late just Kuske, Edd and one or two others were sitting outside and he threw a dumb-bell (used for packing) across the deck and it broke a panel, he made a hole in the floor, he said "Don't worry, i'll fix it tomorrow" the next day he did fix it.... eventually, but everytime he walked past it and i was there, he said "Would ya look at that, who did it?" and we'd both laugh.
I also remember Wildwood, i went for a walk on the beach at silly AM and bumped into him still partying!
I was only at Crosskeys for 16 days, but in that time i have got alot of fond memories of Kuske
Kuske started jumping at CK and I was there to see most of the bofoonery that went along with him. The funniest thing I saw that had to do with him, was a couple of months ago. I showed up at CK early on a monday morning to do some tandem DVD edits.....to make a long story short, Kuske was laying on the deck some people were looking for the peanutbutter. We stood there at the sight we were seeing laughing and Will yells from inside the hanger "Craig is gonna wake up...........naked........and scared" The thought of it to this day still makes it hard to type through the laughter!!!
I tied my dog to the trailer he hung out at, he walked over to her and petted her and took care of her while I worked. I will miss a friend that made me laugh all the time, Madison will miss the guy that rubbed her belly!!
When Craig came back to Crosskeys after having been gone for a while, I walked up to him, and started to say, "Craig, it's good to have you back." But I stopped in the middle and instead said, "It's....ok that you're back." He laughed and told me I was a dick.
He was always saying to me, "Daless, I love our relationship." It was a joke we shared and it always made me laugh.
On new years in sebastian one year, he had recently been dumped by his girlfriend. They were both at the party and I spent the better part of the night hanging out with him. Every time she would walk by and he saw her, he would cry out, in a choking anguished voice, "It hurts soooo bad." Then he would clutch one of us, and pretend to cry in our shirt.
When I first met Craig, I stayed as far away from him as possible. Not because I didn't like him, but because so many people said he was a wet spot waiting to happen. I didn't want to become friends with some one who would be soon to be checking out. But for me, not liking Craig was impossible, and I tricked myself into believing he was out of the woods and would keep surviving no matter how far he pushed things.
He would tell you himself that he was a fuck up, but when he was at his best, he was a great person, a good friend, and a kind soul.
Craig would make fun of me for always listening to Seven Bridges Road by the Eagles. Despite this, I know he liked the song, I think because he knew it always sounded better coming from someone who ACTUALLY had a southern accent.
Craig had good taste in music.
He was my friend. I respected him and he gave me useful advice.
Kuske stood for himself and his values.
Craig was an intimidating character for those who had the pleasure of a first impression. He was chaotic at times, and this is when most people got to see him performing a stunt of some kind. He was just as fun to simply party with.
I first met Craig about 3 years ago. He yelled at me for not setting my brakes before I layed my rig down for him to pack. He schooled me like I was a 5yr old boy and showed me how to properly stow my brakes.
Then, when I had my first chop last year, he saved my ass $1300 by finding my main and freebag 4 days later. The impressive thing about that was no one knew where the hell my canopy landed so he practically combed the forest surrounding the landing area and actually found the canopy and freebag. When I heard he was strapped for cash I actually hooked him up nicely with a couple of extra bucks.
Just a few months ago, he was drinking quite a bit and then ran up to me after I had landed and started boxing with me while I was walking towards the hanger and holding my canopy. At that time, I was really pissed off about what he did cuz I just had a lazy throw which resulted in a pilot chute in tow but managed to clear the burble for the pilot chute to fully inflate and I didn't have to chop. He changed my pattern from being relieved to being ticked off cuz he came pretty close to hitting my face a few times. He'd back off and then charged at me swinging his fist. Then, he'd back off and charged at me again swinging his fists again. I pretended to laugh it off and he'd threatened to knock the smile off my face. That next morning, he heard that I was pretty ticked off about and wanted to apologize to me so I just forgot about it and went on like nothing ever happened. I'm glad that my lasting impression about him is how he was man enough to know he made a mistake and he was going to make things right again. He didn't owe me a thing, but he felt bad about what he did. That alone said a lot to me about his character. He was a little pit bull with a big heart. I'm gonna miss ya buddy. Rest in peace bro. I only regret that we never got a chance to fly together.
Kuske was yelling "HEY YOOU GUUUUUUUYS!" at the top of his lungs when we would see other night owls.
was he the guy that was with you the morning i found you and monkeylip and told you about the guy that was looking for your dad and then we proceded to drive oround in "your" golf cart and ran into phillykev?
Craig "parasailing" behind Doug's jeep is something I won't soon forget.
Then there was Rantoul '03. He was crashed out in Sam's RV the night before they were leaving for WFFC. He didn't know WFFC was moved to Rantoul. They tried to wake him and tell him to get out of the RV so they could leave for Rantoul. He thought Rantoul was a bar or restaurant or something and said, "fine, I'll go to". He woke up somewhere in Indiana with no shirt, no shoes, no rig and no money. We made him our packing bitch at the CK camp site in exchange for food, beer, etc. Later in the week we banned him from driving the golf cart after he flipped it for the 95th time and almost broke Sam's leg.
Wanted to kick the shit out of him, SM1, and Wingnut for coming around at 5 AM screaming "HEY YOU GUYS!!!!"
I met Craig when I began jumping at Cross Keys in late May. When I first started going, I would camp out in my tent on the weekend but it wasn't long before I was staying at his house with the rest of the roommates on weekends. He wasn't rich but he was generous with everything he had.
We were sitting around the table with another friend talking about skydiving. He said, "if you stay in this sport long enough, you could lose someone close to you." I pretty much thought the same as one of the other posters - thinking that he would always come out ok in the end. I told him just don't let it be you. We told each other we loved each other and then proceeded to get hammered.
We talked about a cutaway I had and how I felt bad about maybe cutting away too early. He said either way I did the right thing - then he told me that he had several cutaways early in his career. He said he hadn't had one in 6yrs however and then I knocked him on his wooden head.
He always brought fun and pure entertainment to everyone around and much more importantly, I had the opportunity to have a very good friend in him. He had a laugh you could hear a mile away.
He knew he could be a loose cannon and, as another poster mentioned, he would tell people "don't spread stupid." I am newer on the dropzone and to skydiving and he would always remind me and another friend, "Don't do what I do - Learn from my mistakes."
He was working to organize a boxing match to benefit a friend who was badly injured several weeks ago but hopefully recovering. We spent some nights boxing and taking care to not put each other in a coma. Still he got some good ones in and so did I
The last time I saw him was 2 weeks ago, three of us just sat around playing guitar and singing along to a bunch of CD's. He commented that it was nice to spend quality time with friends rather than "sucking back beer without purpose." I'm sorry I didn't have more time with him but I am so happy for the time we all got to have with him.