Remember a while back when I told you how bad my memory was? The evidence I used at the time was that I forgot that Kelly Smith--a friend that went to grad school with Sara--was no longer Kelly Sanders, and I asked my parents if I could borrow the truck that they had traded in a few months before. I now have additional evidence:
Roughly 25 times yesterday, I thought to myself, You need to call Joe. It's his birthday. I'm not exaggerating. I thought it first thing in the morning. I thought it during all of my classes. I thought it during baseball practice. I thought it when I was playing church league volleyball last night. However, I did not call him. I had a million opportunities, and I thought of it a million times, but the opportunity and the thought never intersected. That alone makes me a bad person and proves that I'm absent-minded, but you haven't heard the worst part yet: I saw him yesterday. That's right. Joe was in town for the weekend, and he stopped by my classroom on the way out of town yesterday. I talked to him about his weekend, I told him it was good to see him, I gave him a hug, and he was gone. It wasn't until 6:15 this morning that it occurred to me that not once during that exchange did I make note of the fact that it was his birthday. Could I possibly be a worse brother?
So I'm fixing it with a blog. As Nicole Beckford said yesterday after Joe left, "So I definitely think Joe is my favorite Baker." Of course he is. He always is. Here are 20 reasons why:
1. He says, "It's fine," and he makes it funny.
2. He sings "Caro Mio Ben" so perfectly that I insisted he sing it at our wedding even though I'm pretty sure it's a song about death.
3. He paints. We have two of his paintings hanging in our house and I'm seriously considering paying him to decorate our new place with a bunch more.
4. He was an awesome George Gibbs in Our Town.
5. He has, for all intents and purposes, taught me how to dress myself properly.
6. He introduced me to edamame.
7. He says things like, "What's on the docket?"
8. He is part-owner of a Chihuahua named Mischa Barton. (I am not making this up.)
9. He is an excellent conversationalist.
10. He was an awesome Claude in Hair.
11. When we went to Chicago for my wife and sister-in-law's 30th birthday, he got up on stage at Second City for one of the sketches. If someone asked me, "Of all the people you know, who would be the best at getting on stage for a Second City sketch?" I would say, "Joe Baker."
12. 95% of the world calls him "Joe Baker." Not Joe. Joe Baker.
13. He watches Silence of the Lambs to help him fall asleep at night.
14. He loves his nieces and nephews. Mostly Charlie.
15. In his own words, he was an awesome "male prostitute addicted to crack who was obsessed with himself and Al Pacino movies" in a play in college, the name of which is not coming to me right now. Polaroid something. (I repeat, I am not making this up.)
16. He moved back to the Midwest because he wanted to be closer to his family.
17. He's been telling his co-workers that he's 25 for the last 3 years--now, it's finally true.
18. He thinks Charlie Baker is the "most interesting person [he knows]," and Charlie Baker thinks Uncle Joe is the most entertaining person he knows. (Charlie said so himself.)
19. He once taught Matt Greben how to pretend to ride a horse for our production of Story Theater, which led to nearly all of my actors prancing around the auditorium like miniature Joe Bakers, then falling down on the ground laughing.
20. No one--and I'm being literal--does not have more fun when Joe's around. And that's a fact.
So there. This blog emerged from my guilt for not having mentioned his birthday, but there's not a word of hyperbole in the whole thing. Joe Baker is just as awesome as awesome can be.