Going strong, fourteen years later.

Dan bestowed “The Secret” to us all, on his 28th year of existence.

A rare video chat with some of my oldest friends, catching up over beers, across thousands of miles, sitting in Florida, Oregon, New York, Texas, and California.

The occasion was Dan’s 28th birthday, who I first met when I was 11 years old. His finance Dominique set the whole thing up and surprised him when she handed him a laptop with all of our faces on it.

Such a great feeling shooting the breeze with some of my truest friends.

Left to right, Shweb, Dan, Charlie, Frankie, Chris, me, and Anthony. I was probably 11. Was one hell of water balloon fight. Anthony’s mom, Sally, took this picture. I can’t imagine an image that better captures how we grew up.

We’d spend our days seeing who could throw what the farthest. Who was the fastest. Who was the bravest, which typically entailed wrestling Frankie. He had such a strength advantage, that anyone only ever agreed to wrestle him if he was on his knees. We were wild and we ran like it, and the suburbs was our place to do it. Couldn’t have gown up anywhere better. Not specifically my hometown, but just the fact that it was the suburbs.

I live in the urban sprawl of Los Angeles now, a long ways from my hometown. I like it here, but didn’t always. It’s the people I’ve found and the girl I love that make it what it is for me. It’s where I belong now, but I couldn’t imagine being a kid here. I don’t know that I could have grown if not in suburban soil. I don’t know that any kid could. Confinement and wild freedom seem at odds. For that, I think some far off day, I may belong to those suburbs again.

Dan is one of my best friends. He’s a good guy, through and through.

This was his reply to our very dainty friend Michelle, when she was in pain from bumping her knee into I can’t remember what. I thought it was quite classy though.