On Sundays I reflect.
I’ve had a few drinks this week on vacation. We’re celebrating my brother’s 30th birthday.
Today’s reflection is going to be all about my brother Jon. Jon was born 3 years after me and I’m reminded that the first thing I said after his birth was “take him back”. I was not stoked to have him around.
I don’t have a ton of memories from my early childhood, but I remember my brother was always around. Our family unit was very tight and a long list of rules had both of us around the house often.
For a while my brother wanted to be doing whatever I was doing. I wasn’t good at sharing, and I definitely didn’t include my brother in my plans and games unless I was forced to by our parents. Looking back on it I think I was a terrible big brother when we were kids, and at the very least I was an asshole to Jonathon.
I never shut up as a kid, and my brother didn’t speak much. I think he was more outgoing with his friends but around the family there was always a bit of tension. I was probably the source of the tension most of the time and I think my brother just wanted to stay out of it.
I remember my brother had health issues as a kid beyond the occasional cold or flu we would get. Jon had allergies and ear infections among other stuff that must have made his childhood more challenging than my own. I was hardly empathetic. I also remember my brother’s fear and discomfort around dogs, especially larger dogs. I never understood that as an absolute dog lover myself, but I think he’s gotten over that one. He told me today part of his reticence with dogs stemmed from his allergies.
Once we got older I think we mostly stayed out of each other’s way. Our hobbies didn’t overlap and neither did our friend groups. Jonathon played football and I played music. I remember snowboarding with my brother in Wisconsin when we had nobody else to ride with, but I think we both preferred riding with our friends. Our parents took us to ride Colorado resorts one year for spring break and even though we both brought a friend it is one of the first times I remember us enjoying each other’s company. We hit Breckenridge, Keystone and Vail for our first time riding real mountains. On at least a few days we rode breckenridge all day and then went to Keystone for even more night riding.
To this day snowboarding with my brother is one of my favorite things to do.
When I was around 15 I got arrested for smoking weed. I was taken to jail. When I got home my parents were disappointed and my younger brother, indoctrinated by D.A.R.E. was afraid of what would happen to me. I think that had a big effect on my brother’s decisions after it happened.
We started becoming friends when I went to college. I needed to get out of the suburbs of Chicago, and started my life in Bloomington Indiana. My brother came to visit at least a time or two, and we began partying together. Over the next few years he would visit regularly before attending Miami University where I began visiting him.
When my brother turned 21 I made a trip down to Miami to help him celebrate. We had a wild weekend and I felt like I fulfilled my first real brotherly duty taking my brother to the bars (legally) for the first time.
Things really started to get interesting for us when my brother came to share the couch I was crashing on in NYC at my friend Yoni’s. My band had a big show at Arlene’s Grocery and Jon came to support. I was in rough shape at the time and having my brother’s support meant a lot. His willingness to share the couch came after we tried to find him a cheap hostel that felt more like a crack den or maybe the set of a particularly disgusting horror film. He wasn’t stoked, but he was there for me.
When I moved to Fort Collins Colorado and my brother was between jobs, he came and slept on my floor for a few weeks to help me get this business off the ground. He had some experience in digital marketing, and he believed in my vision. I made him a partner, and desperately wanted him to come on full time. To this day I believe my brother would be the best person for the job of helping to build my business, if only I could afford him.
Over the years my brother has provided countless hours of assistance behind the scenes for Drinking Vessels. He has also been a constant shoulder to lean on for me personally while I’ve struggled on my own journey. I admire my brother and all of his accomplishments outside of my business. He and his wonderful wife Pri are building a life together in Miami and I especially cherish the time I get to spend with them. Every December they host me during Miami Art Week and Basel, and sometimes I even get them to come out with me to the shows or for a dance party.
Today we’re at the beach just chillen for my brother’s 30th birthday. I fucking hate the beach. Fucking sand. I don’t trust sea creatures either. So while my brother has made so many sacrifices over the years to support me and my brand, today I can suck it up and tolerate the beach for Jonny Buckets.
I gotta get off my phone and back to the beach now, or my brother is going to keep making fun of my writing this blog instead of being able to “be here now”.
I love my brother and I’m ecstatic to be here celebrating his 30th birthday. Thanks for tuning in and enjoy your Sunday!
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