My Brothers

(I originally posted this on MySpace in November 2006, and I’ve updated it. I’m lazy, but the message is timeless.)

Growing up I was saddled with one sibling, a younger brother that I once wished had a personality transplant to make him less annoying. Always there to mock me, compare height and generally get under my skin, he was an irritant on the level of Flava Flav at a NAACP charity dinner.

But as I got older, we both mellowed out. Gone were the strange noises that once were a nuisance, the pitch-perfect impressions of me and the embarrassing spectacles in public. In their place was a good listener, a buddy to hang out with on the town, and best of all, a good friend.

Throughout the years, I made other friends outside of my familiar circle. These guys were among my best friends, and I considered the bonds to be like those between brothers.

When I was thrust into the world of college, I was alone and in a scary place: Central Illinois. It was at my college orientation that I met one of my current best friends, Reggie. After finding out we had a similar appreciation for Jackie Chan flicks, we hung out for most of those three days — playing cards and smoking cheap, gas station cigars (he and the other guys, anyways), leaving disgusting pictures from Rotten.com on computer monitors and watching a Bulls playoff game. When I moved down for the start of the first semester, he introduced me to his family, and I immediately felt like I had a new home. 14 years later, I still feel the same way. I joke that we’re brothers from different mothers and fathers, and I definitely consider him an honorary bro.

Before then, entering junior high was the scariest thing I had encountered. Luckily, I had a cool labmate in my biology class, my friend Joe. We were oddballs, more likely to talk baseball cards and video games than pop music and smoking. His self-confidence exploding in high school, Joe was gleeful in his goofiness, unashamed of being himself — and it was infectious, right down to his wife (and high-school sweetheart) Laura. And his love for his friends was second to none. I’m glad to consider him among my brothers.

Growing up, you don’t have a choice where you live. It’s during these years that we make friends based on convenience of location rather than choice. It wasn’t too bad of a deal having a friend like Dave. Very loyal and hilarious, he was a great friend to hang out with. His love of video games eclipsed mine, and I couldn’t wait to play his huge library of NES and SNES games. We ended up going to different high schools and I eventually left for college, but we remained good friends through it all. Though we haven’t spoken in more than 7 years, I still consider him one of my brothers.

More of a family connection, my cousin Corey is an honorary brother by more than association. Born almost nine months apart, we were inseparable from the start. He introduced me to the NES, instilling my love of video games at the age of six. We (and Steve) shared our crushes on girls, going as far as drawing up lists of famous women we liked and trading Jet magazine “Beauties of the Week” like baseball cards. We were family, and yet Corey was more than the cousin I would visit with once a month — he was my first honorary brother.

A few newer additions would be my friends that I made through work. While I slaved away in the mortgage business, I was lucky enough to meet some great people. The person I met the first day, Adeel, ended up training me on my job. We bonded immediately over our love of Stone Temple Pilots and other rock music. Three years later, we have gone through my move to Arizona, his breakup with his longtime girlfriend, and other personal issues, and he has been a loyal friend to the end.

Along with Adeel was his younger brother, Shakeel. Perhaps an even bigger music aficionado than Adeel, Shak always keeps me up to date on the newest and best bands around, and is also a loyal and cool dude to hang with–not to mention one of the biggest Bears fans I know.

And Dave Faber…oh, he is a crazy guy who LOVES Pearl Jam. He is an interesting character, manic about his passions and will pull you over to talk about Eddie Vedder and play you some music. A drinker and a smoker, he can sit for hours and talk about his favorite topics, and the switch up a conversation in mid-sentence. He is also a super-loyal dude that I know would have my back. I can easily call those three my bros.

A newer addition would be my friend Josh. I met him after I moved to Arizona and started work. Josh is always willing to try new things and will stick to you like glue. He introduced me to his church, OnePlace, which I attended regularly and loved. He was the co-founder of our Bad Movie Nights and was instrumental in working on our sketches. He was there for me after my breakup, willing to go out for a few drinks and letting me talk my stuff out. Whether it is talking about Sarah Silverman, hosting Profit parties (based on the short-lived television show) or complaining about Britney Spears, I’m glad to call him my bro.

My international brother from another mother is Arran. You may have seen his name pop up in the blog for the Book of Statham postings, but his wit and wealth of pop culture knowledge are only two reasons why I love the guy. He’s got a good head on his shoulders, a great moral center, is married to a wonderful, funny and talented writer, and takes similar delight in geeky things without the embarrassment that comes with eye rolls. We also have our bro language down to a science. His qualification as my brother is a no-brainer–like BROS, BOOZE and BROADS.

And lastly — and certainly not least — there is Steve. I didn’t have a choice in him being a sibling, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s amazing how those irritants now are hilarious, and the kid I once cursed for teasing me would be one of my main sources of support.

Not many people can say they have siblings. I’m proud and lucky to say that I have several.

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