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Words. Elizabeth Barbiero

January 8th, 2011 by Conor

It was Thanksgiving, 2005? Time has a funny way of congealing once you hit your 30s, but I’m pretty sure it was the Fall after I’d given birth to my first child since we were all really drunk, and you’re not really supposed to be really drunk while you’re pregnant. So my mom was dating this new guy who we’d affectionately nicknamed ‘Potterman’, which if you know anything about Danny’s father is pretty self-explanatory. This was the first of what was to be quite a few epic mashups of the Toumarkine and Barbiero clans, and as a testament to all involved, despite the potential for awkward “yeah, so your Dad is boinking my mom, nice to meet you” introductions, it was – in a word…really, the best word – epic. We (my brother and I) liked Potterman well enough: He was arty without being farty, hip without being too hippie (preferred hairstyle notwithstanding). But as some – maybe most – of you might have discovered by now, it’s a sad truth that sometimes the coolest parents have the lamest kids. So my brother and I were psyched that we were going to meet the spawn of Potterman, but there was a bit of understandable trepidation. I should say here that our family affairs (and by ‘affairs’ here I mean to say holiday celebrations, though it’s probably true of everyday interactions as well) have enjoyed a long and fruitful history of falling into the ‘epic’ category. Dinner conversation (even without the booze) typically covers any given persons’ sexual history, proclivities (in and/or out of bed), food preferences, personal hygiene… though I’d like to think we’re smarter than the average bear, we’re not really ones for academic or ‘intellectual’ (in the academic sense of the word) discussion, though after a few nips we do sometimes get pretty philosophical about this crazy life…not to digress too much. Anyway, we’d heard a bit about Conor and Danny (ANOTHER Danny – our father is Daniel, our other brother is Daniel, I’m now engaged to a Daniel…it was a sign, for sure) and were hopeful that they weren’t going to be lame. Now, I could go into great detail about the meet & greet, but lest this note become a novella suffice it to say that both Conor and Danny turned out to be two of the LEAST lame guys I know. Which brings me to the Danny story I’d like to share. We’d met, we great, the meal was over, we’d all stuffed ourselves and drank like fishes, and had sat down post-dessert to play cards. The ‘grownups’ had gone to bed and we decided that a game of Asshole would nicely complement the PBR or whatever made-for-pounding crap beer we were drinking. You all know the game – officers, rules, yadda. But this game had the intensity of a Yankees-Sox playoff…after all, even though we’d all decided that the ‘other kids’ were cool, we’d never partied together which as you all know is the true test of putting one’s money where one’s mouth is. Lots of people are really cool but in grim turns of fate morph into waste-oid loser pussy d-bags when put to the Asshole test. Like, lots of people might get pissed that they fucked up when the rule was you had to eat a nasty-ass hair-covered dog biscuit. Lots of people might say, fuck you man, I just fucking met you and I’m not eating that nasty shit and try to play the weaseling out as some sort of principle-of-the-thing BS.

Let me say right here and now that Danny Toumarkine is not lots of people. Let me tell you: Danny Toumarkine is one fucking cool kid.

Not only did he eat it (literally – and really, that shit was nasty) – he did it with the gravity of a guy who knows that you just don’t fuck around when you get into a Thanksgiving game of Asshole. There are precious few moments in life when you laugh so hard you can’t do anything but let the insanity envelop you and ride it out till the shaking subsides. This was one of those moments – Danny, bless his drunk brave heart, fulfilled his duty like a man – and I think I can say that that moment was the beginning of a mutual admiration, respect, and friendship that has outlasted our parents’ relationship with each other.

I could go on about the crack crotchet Thanksgiving (really, it’s equally as good – probably better – in conveying why Danny is such an amazing guy), but since you never have a second chance to make a first impression, I just wanted to share with the Danny-loving world at large that my first impression of this kid was Platinum. However hairy or nasty the challenge may be right now, I KNOW he’ll eat that shit up and be ready to go for the next game.

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