In just a few more days, my brother Brian will be 50.Â He has had a great life: everyone loves him, heâ€™s a great dad and husband, an outstanding employee and doing pretty cool stuff in his job. Katiâ€™s dog even loves him.
I have shared a few stories that might have been a little embarrassing, but nothing we will go to jail for.Â We had our moments, but we arenâ€™t hardened criminals.Â Wilder than some of you apparently imagined, but still, we can continue to maintain respect with a sly wink of the eye.
Iâ€™d be remiss if I didnâ€™t mention my time with him in San Diego. In 1985 (or was it 1986?), Brian, Johnny, Mark, and Bob moved to San Diego. I wasnâ€™t in on the discussion and I donâ€™t know exactly what precipitated it, but there they were, living in a tiny apartment on Wilbur Ave. in Pacific Beach. Brian was trying to get on the fire department out there but working as a forklift driver.Â I canâ€™t remember what Johnny and Mark were doing. Johnny was going to UCSD, if I recall.
Before getting that place, they lived in another place. This was the scene of a landmark event between all of us that I only heard about, but is worth mentioning. While I was there for a grunion run or two, I missed the previous, and much more bizarre event, where the guys decided to SAVE the grunion. Going back a way, Brian, Johnny, Mark, Bob, and whomever else was with us on Hilton Head, bought â€œbucketâ€ hats at a grocery store that was closing down. We all had the same type of hat and they were usually worn while drinking heavily.Â So while drinking heavily and wearing the hats, one of them determined that scooping the fish up in the hats and taking them home to save them by putting them in the bathtub was a good idea.Â Filling the bathtub with tiny silver fish was not sufficient, as there were more needing help, so apparently the washer was also filled.Â Thus the birth of the â€œgrunion hatâ€ that we all wear when we are together.Â The problem? Well, consider all the places that little tiny silver fish in various states of decomposition might be found after having thought they cleaned them all up.
I spent some time with them, sleeping on the mantle of the fireplace (the only thing resembling a bed remaining).Â The time that I was there was amazing, and I fell in love with the city.Â The climate was perfect, we were close to the beach and the mountains and the desert.Â Brian shared La Jolla with me and we would go down and throw the Frisbee or kick the hacky-sack around. We took a couple of trips across the border, which was some serious alcohol-fueled fun. Brian taught me how to haggle with the shopkeepers and we had some pretty funny experiences. At the time, there was a State Department advisory out because tourists were getting robbed and killed in Tijuana.Â Of course, it never occurred to us that anyone would rob us and kill us, so it didnâ€™t keep us from making the trip.Â A year or so later, Brian sent me the news article where the robbers were caught: a family robbing and killing people to buy one of the family members a uniform for the Tijuana Police.
This is the countdown to March 17, and a happy 50th to my brother, Brian, the best brother anyone could ever want in the whole world.