Willie (aka Homey, Bro, Penis, Homeslice, Duder, Beeyotch)-
Twelve years. That's the number I always come back to when I think about how long you've been my dearest friend. It seems like I'm stuck on that number – in part because I'm lazy and don't want to do the math, and in part because it's hard for me to grasp that our friendship has lasted longer than that.
But it has. From 1991 to 2009 – that's 18 years. And I have to say you look much older.
Leaving Dallas on December 5, 1993, I was uncertain about my future. And I was uncertain about the future of our friendship. I moved a lot as a kid, and my history was to leave everything behind and start over.
But that didn't happen with you. You are the exception. And you continue to be the exception in many, many ways.
Eighteen years don't pass without a lot of change. Divorces for both of us (Willie 2, Tim 1). Friends and family went away. A broken nose (not that anyone can tell – no, really). A business sold, a decade of teaching relinquished. Houses, cars, pets, companions, friends. ManKind Project.
That's a lot of change. A sea of change. Two things have endured during that time, for me: my sons, and you.
Not that we haven't changed along the way: weight (me, mostly), hair (both style and quantity), attitude, maturity (you mostly), jump shot percentage (me, higher).
You play many roles in my life: brother, teacher, friend, mentor, patient listener, jackass, artistic critic and catalyst, technology suck, introducer to many things. But mostly, friend. My dear, dear loving, caring, generous, smart, creative, compassionate enormous-hearted friend.
So you're 50, bitch. I don't know what that means – to be honest, nothing, I suspect – but if I had to put something out there I'd say it means we have another 35, 40 years to do what we do: compulsively watch the tv show of the moment (maybe Arrested Development will return in 2035), eat embarrassing amounts of sushi, argue about literally anything, bless each other, push each other, encourage each other, and do another 60 mkp weekends. But mostly just continue being the richest of friends for each other.
I love you, brother.
P.S. – I'm glad I was able to complete this note without mentioning how you unceremoniously forced me out of Steve's office so many years ago, leaving me virtually homeless. I just didn't need to bring it up. I've moved on. Clearly.