Today is my brother Mark’s birthday. Last year, I missed it and I’m sitting here beating myself up over it this year. Funny how these things mess with our minds.
Mark and I met in 1985. He and Cousin Ben had become friends at Camelback and we hung out a few times before I started going to Camelback in December of that year. Knowing Mark, who I call Markus most of the time, made the move a lot easier. Our friendship grew quickly, too.
For one thing, Markus gave me the gift of skateboarding. I had been mildly interested in it, but as Markus, Ben, and I started spending more time together, we did a lot of skateboarding. He’s a wonderful teacher, too. He encouraged us to learn at the speed we were comfortable at and there were many adventures. I can look back today and remember being afraid to roll down his parent’s driveway near what used to be called Squaw Peak. In a fairly short period of time, I was skating fairly well and that’s because of Mark.
We also bonded over music. Mark has great taste in music and was willing to explore a lot of different styles even back then. He turned me onto a lot of different things and his enthusiasm for some bands was infectious. I liked Dead Kennedys, for example, before I met Mark and fell in love with them after we started hanging out all the time. Subhumans, Minor Threat, Toy Dolls…all bands I love because of Mark.
Mark visited me in 1991 when I moved to Berkeley for a short time. To his chagrin, I like to tease him about missing out on seeing Nirvana while he was there. I had tickets for us to go and Mark’s back was hurting a bit, so he stayed back at my house. I went and it was amazing. Nirvana was just about to become the biggest band in the world.
We also went to the Haight Street Fair and had a blast. At one point, we were sitting there minding our own business and a group of dudes dressed in sailor outfits went skipping by singing a song. There were about a dozen of them, holding hands and just having a blast. Only in San Francisco. A bit later, we stumbled onto a different street and an acapella group was singing the Underdog theme. Absolutely amazing spectacle.
A few years later, when Mark and his wife, Mo, got married, I was part of the wedding party, and it was a super proud moment for me. Being there and being part of it was an honor, plus it was a beautiful wedding in a great spot overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I’m so happy for the life they have built together. Along with their son, Felix, they have created quite a niche for themselves in Southern California.
They always come out when we play music in California and Mark has been an amazing supporter of my musical endeavors. He encourages me on a regular basis to do my thing and I hope he knows how much I appreciate it. He’s always been great at knowing when to give me a shout and a pick me up.
Over the years, Mark has always been there for me and I hope he feels the same way. It’s hard to believe we are getting close to forty years of friendship. I don’t see him nearly enough, but when we do get to hang out, it’s as if no time has passed. Last year, he came to Maine with me and we drove from Maine to Chicago together where we got to hang out with our brother, Brian. That is a journey I will never forget, for sure.
I look forward to many more adventures before all is said and done. Happy birthday, dear Markus. I love you.
See you tomorrow.
Last October at a brewery in Portland, ME. We had flown all night.