The Story: Where to even begin? Tim is my youngest brother and one of my close friends as well. He’s six years younger than me so we didn’t have a whole lot in common growing up but, once he got to college, that gap closed. I think part of that was probably proximity since he went to Wentworth Institute and I lived less than a mile away. Tim is a pretty quiet guy so he spent more time at my place than at college parties.
One of my favorite Tim stories was a prank I pulled with Jason. We pulled into the parking lot of the Star Market that was located between Tim’s dorm and my apartment and we saw Tim’s motorcycle in the parking lot. I don’t know what possessed us, other than our average, every day wise-ass-ness and penchant for mischief, but the motorcycle was parked nose out, and the front wheel was angled in such a way that we were able to roll it from the space it was in, arc it perfectly around the car parked next to it, and leave it parked facing the opposite direction in the next parking space. Then we went and hid behind a couple of vending machines to watch what happened.
When Tim came out of the store and saw that his bike had moved from where he left it, he was obviously perplexed. He stood there with his hand on his hip looking from where the bike was now parked to where he originally parked it. He looked around the parking lot a couple of times. He looked at the car in between where the bike was now and where it started. He looked around again. That’s when Jason and I came tumbling out from behind the vending machines in fits of hysteria, supremely pleased with ourselves and our antics.
It still makes me laugh to this day. But I digress…
So Tim and I have been close for many years now. We share a twisted sense of humor and an unbecoming appreciation for the scatological side of life. Throughout our 20s and 30s we played disgusting brother/sister games that, by all rights, we should have left behind in our pre-teen years.
Another favorite Tim story: When Tim was 16, he went on a school trip to Italy and I went along as a chaperone. Being 22, the only minor they actually let me chaperone was Tim.
One day, in Florence, we had a few hours of free time to wander the city and Tim and I went to an open-air market to do some shopping. (I still have the gorgeous leather messenger bag I bought that day.) We were supposed to be back at the bus at a specific time and had been forewarned that, if we weren’t there, the bus was leaving without us (which was an exaggeration of epic proportions. It’s not like they were going to leave one of the high-school students behind.)
So the appointed time is fast approaching and Tim and I are scurrying back towards the bus when we come upon this deserted square in the middle of the city with no identifiable characteristics (at least to us).
I announce that our bus is most certainly parked somewhere off to the right. Tim counters with the assertion that the bus is parked to our left. We literally get in a fight on this uninhabited street corner in the middle of Florence about which way the bus is parked. It gets to the point where I say I’m going to the right and he had better come with me. He says I can go whichever way I want to go but he’s going left and off he marches crossing the street in the direction that I know, without a doubt, to be the wrong one.
But now I realize that I can’t leave my 16-year-old brother by himself somewhere in Florence or my parents will kill me so I follow him. Grudgingly. We go down one block….around a corner….and there’s the bus. He was so pissed at me for our fight in the abandoned square that I don’t even think he had the presence of mind to say ‘I told you so.’
Not only did I think the bus was the wrong direction, I thought it was several blocks away in the wrong direction. I have absolutely no internal compass. My dad and both my brothers do. That’s the last time I’ve ever questioned Tim when it came to direction.
One thing Tim has always been good at is keeping in touch with me, no matter how close or far apart we lived. I’m not as good at keeping in touch with people as I was in my teens and 20s. I used to be so much better at calling people and sending cards and notes, and even emails, but I realize it’s just not one of my strong points anymore. Tim, however, does a great job of calling and dropping me emails during the day or week.
Tim is a funny dude. He’s more creative than you’d think for an engineering kind of guy and he’s a great writer, which makes for pretty hysterical emails. I don’t think he knows this, but I keep a special folder for his emails and I have for more than a decade. I also keep a special folder of collected Weiner Man cartoons he’s drawn through the years. I quite likely have the largest collection of Weiner Man art in the entire world!
By way of explanation, Weiner Man is a cartoon that Tim has drawn since he was in high school. He’s a superhero who fights crime and protects the residents of Hotdogopolis. He’s hysterical. He’s irreverent. He’s sometimes naughty and I love him.
While I’m a big fan of Weiner Man, Tim’s got another hobby that gives me the creeps. He’s into guns. Way into guns. He owns an impressive and varied arsenal of weaponry and, if the shit ever really hits the fan, I’m happy to know that he’s on my side.
While I don’t know where it came from, Tim’s penchant for weaponry started early. He ordered himself a samurai sword out of a catalog (without my parents knowing about it) when he was about 14.
For years he’s wanted to take me shooting and I’ve always demurred at the invitation but when he said this would be the perfect thing for us to do for our drink, I couldn’t disagree. He has a friend whose real name is Dave but who everyone knows only as Chuck Norris. He’s another one of these guys you’re happy to know would be on your side if things got all apocalyptic. Chuck has a farm somewhere in rural NH that is, fittingly, known as the Norris Ranch. That’s where Tim and I went for our afternoon of weaponry and, eventually, for our birthday drink.
We pulled into the Norris Ranch, grabbed a few bags from Tim’s trunk and hiked off into the woods. I felt a lot like one of the girls from Red Dawn and I’m sure I hollered “Wolverines” more than once. That was mostly nervous energy at work, though, because I don’t really like guns and this was about to get serious.
That afternoon, we shot the following weapons:
• Sig Sauer 522, .22 caliber rifle
• Sabre Defense M4, 5.56 mm rifle
• Beretta 82fs, 9mm handgun
• Sig Sauer SP2022, 9mm handgun
• Kimbre Pro Carry II, .45 caliber handgun
• Mossberg 500, pump shotgun
The first five we shot out in the woods. Tim set up terracotta targets out among the trees and brush and I actually hit a couple of them but, mostly, I just made a lot of dirt jump and leaves dance. No woodland creatures were harmed.
For our last activity, we went out to one of the fields and set up the skeet launcher and shot skeet, which I also hit a couple of.
All in all, it was a fun afternoon and I’m glad I went but I don’t think I’m going to become a member of the NRA anytime soon.
The Drink: Tim’s never really been a big drinker. He really only took it up a couple of years ago in his early 30s. It was never really a philosophical thing, he just didn’t like the taste of alcohol. So, on those rare occasions when he did drink, he’d drink something fruity and delicious.
I did find a drink called a .357 Magnum, which I thought would be appropriate for our drink, but the recipe actually looked pretty disgusting, even for me. So, instead, we went all the way back to the beginning and had something called a Nuts and Berries, which is about as creamy, girly and delicious as drinks get, and made for an amusing juxtaposition with the afternoon’s activities.