Brian Pickerall, Tom Berg, me, and our respective spouses attended a bunch of Washington Nationals baseball games this past season. The Nats took the NL East, but sputtered in the first round of the playoffs. This has nothing to do with our fraternity, other than the fact that it gives me the opportunity to point out that Brian is vastly overpaid, given that his season seats are posh. I am also vastly overpaid, but being a profligate wastrel, I can only afford seats that are just below the holding pattern for Andrews Air Force Base.
After more than 30 years, I finally saw my fraternal big brother, Brad Garrigues, again. His son Jonathan was celebrating a Marine Corps promotion, so I drove down to Quantico and helped the two of them celebrate by smoking a cigar and getting my butt kicked shooting pool. Jonathan and his brother, Bradford, fought in Fallujah. Jonathan keeps in peak physical condition by taping up all but one or two of the holes on a gas mask, putting it on, then running. The first couple of times he tried this he passed out cold walking across the room, but now his body is conditioned to using less oxygen, and he can run a few miles. In uniform, with a full pack. This also has nothing to do with our fraternity, other than to warn you that if you visit Brad and meet Jonathan, Do Not Mess With Him. He seems like a fine young man, but you don't want to take any chances. A Marine who likes to run without breathing would think nothing of removing your spleen through your nostril. Brad is hale, and pretty much looks the same, except he shaved off his beard. He's a preacher at Badin Shores Chapel, on Badin Lake in North Carolina. Brad was a Mummies devotee back in the day, and could chug beer faster than any human being I ever met. His Mummies mug, which I inherited, is still hanging in the C-house. Life is strange, isn't it?
Donzo Wierbilis retired from Hewlett Packard this past summer. He doesn't even have to get used to sitting around the house in his underpants, because the last few years he mostly worked from home. He lives in Colorado, and in addition to his suburban home, he has some country property where he occasionally goes to drink and fire large caliber handguns.
Bob Montione doesn't have a television set. He has a radio, but after the hurricane the reception was poor, so on election night he fired up his antique dial-up modem to check on the electoral votes. He called me in a complete panic. I calmed him down, wondering why the election was so aggravating for him. "Election, hell!" he yelled. "The sun is going Supernova!" Monti, not knowing any better, had chosen "The Onion" as his news source. I told him to stock up on ice cubes and sunglasses.
Erik Andersen raises chickens. Not for a living, mind you, just for fun. He swipes their eggs, but in return gives them a nice life, which he allows them to live out to whatever the chicken equivalent of three score and ten is. His father-in-law, Joseph Farris, was recently on tour promoting his latest book, "A Soldier's Sketchbook: From the Front Lines of World War Two." Mr. Farris, a WWII combat vet who has contributed hundreds of cartoons to "The New Yorker" since the late fifties, was in DC at a book signing at the National Geographic. I met him and asked why he allowed his smoking hot daughter to marry the likes of Erik. I was just about to tell some EA stories when the vaunted NatGeo security team arrived to escort me to the alley. I held onto my copy of the book, which is a corker, so go buy it.
John Cosulich died last May. John and I rushed the house together. He was an honest, generous, upbeat, fun, intelligent man with absolutely no guile whatsoever. I wept when I realized we would never again perform the "mine's longer" routine we perfected over about a hundred beers during our undergraduate years, not because it was worth a damn, but because we would laugh until our faces hurt, which is contagious, and everybody needs to laugh.