Tuesday, August 28, 2007

He Ain't Heavy...He's My Brother! And He's Older Than Me Too.

The end of August has always been a pretty wacky time in my family. Yesterday, it was my Mom's birthday. Today, it's another family birthday. That of my brother Mark. He's older than me by 3 years (it feels good to say that) so he's rocketing towards old age just a wee bit faster than I am. As brothers go, he's pretty damn good. He excels in everything he does, was God's gift to everything in high school (including women, which is why I nailed him in this picture) and if you were to compare the two of us - we're totally different but in a weird sort of way.

We grew up outside of Albany, New York to some pretty amazing parents. Dad left our midst last year but Mom is still kickin'! (See yesterdays blog). Being three years apart, I always got his hand-me-downs (who says velour isn't fashionable?) and had to follow his excelsior reputation in school. Even through all that, the fighting and crap that I had to endure as a kid hasn't made me any less fond of him. No matter what, a brother is a brother and that's the way it is...period. He's never forgotten the value of family and neither have any of us.

One thing I can say about Mark, that when you're around him you have fun. I have never laughed so hard as when I've been around him and my family. Some of the stuff we laugh at may be a bit off color, and we may do some very bizarre behavior, but it's all in the name of fun. I always wanted to be around him because we grew up closer than me and my oldest brother who is 10 years older than me. Mark and I got to spit at people on the Scrambler when we were kids, got to ride our styrofoam surfboards in the freezing Maine ocean when we were kids until our stomachs were raw and we were screaming in pain. In high school, it was cast parties and poker games. In college, getting "derailed" at the local pub in Oneonta.

And the fun continues. We make it a tradition to go to Hooters with my older brother whenever we're in Florida. That's are boyz bonding moment. Our Dad used to go too (the girl in the picture is the Hooters waitress who filled my Dad's spot last year) and I'll have to say, we have some good stories to tell. For some reason, no matter how many miles separate us, whenver the three of us get together, we have a blast. We pick on each other like brothers do (we call him "Hef" not because of his resemblence to Hugh Hefner either) and he takes it pretty well. Not matter what happens in our family, it's gotta be fun.

Now when it comes to sports, Mark was the man. He and my brother Paul were extremely competitive. Being the younger brother I tried to stay up but my abilities downright sucked. I got my ass kicked in almost every sport. Mark on the other hand won tournaments, got every high school athletic award possible and was, and still is today, an incredible all around athlete. In fact, Mark is a Los Angeles Tennis Players Association Hall of Fame inductee. (see picture). I've got to say this, if I wanted to be on a winning team, having Mark on it helped out a lot. Also, his skills at acting made him great (and sometime hysterically funny) on the basketball court. I think he was nominated for a few Oscars on his "charging" performances.

Well, there's so much more to say about Hef but I don't want to bore the hell out of you. I think he's turned out pretty good and has a great wife and a daughter and tries to carry out our "family values" in a world where family values have gone to pot. So as the big guy rapidly approaches old age, I've got one final statement which sums up the mushy sentiment you've read here...

Happy Birthday Bro! Keep on rockin'!