Today is my birthday. I’m 29. People think 29 is still “young,” but that’s a long ass time on this earth, so I decided I’d like to thank a few people for keeping me around for almost 30 years.
To my mom — You’re the nicest and most caring person I know. Each morning I wake up and hope I can be 1/8th of the person you are. If I ever reach that goal my life will be a success. Thanks for everything you’ve ever done for me and will do for me.
To my dad — I’ve always looked up to you. You’re determined, hard working and loving more than you probably ever know. I’m so proud to be your son.
To my sister — It’s incredible the family I was blessed with, and I can’t believe the coolest person I know is also my older sis. Our jokes are my favorite thing in the world, and I’m also glad you’re around so that my “Friends” addiction doesn’t look as strange.
To my uncle Doug — I literally don’t know how I’d be able to live a regular life without you in the same city. If I can be half the uncle to my nephews that you were for me, then those boys are going to be very lucky men. It’s incredible how you lived your life so selflessly and how it just seems natural to you.
To my aunt Diane and uncle Bennett — I don’t know what my grandparents were eating when they created their three kids, but I WANT some of it. Diane, you could make a hungry baby smile, and Bennett, well, you know you’re awesome in just about every way so I just wanted to say screw off for always beating me in fantasy football. Jerk.
To my grandmother — You know those people that know everyone in town and nobody has ever spoken a bad word about? Yeah, that’s my Wawa. She took me water rafting and to Las Vegas before I was old enough to even spell “slots” and is always asking, “what can I do for you” as opposed to “could you do this for me?” Also, I’m pretty sure that “Oh the Places You’ll Go” book was written about her, but I’m not totally sure.
To my four nephews — Each of you are so completely different but share a simple quality that is extremely important - you are sweet, sweet boys that make every ounce of my being smile.
To my buddy Josh — We talk about 40 times a day, but I probably never tell you how happy I am to call you a best friend. If I had to be stranded on an island for the rest of my life and Mila Kunis wasn’t available, I’d probably pick you. I’ve never met a person that doesn’t like you, and I probably never will (strippers in line at Fat Burger don’t count).
To my buddy Andrew — It makes me look better being friends with you. Despite the chin stubble, I will always thank London for introducing me to the best guy I’ve ever met.
To my buddy Chris — You are the funniest and most thoughtful guy out there, and it physically makes me mad that I don’t get to see you more often. You light up every room you’ve ever entered, you are a caring man that thinks of others first (even if you don’t want to admit it), and I love you despite the fact that you still wear those horrible Nike shoes that smell like rotten coyotes. Seriously, throw those away, please.
To my buddy Rusty — Because I never had a brother and you’re the closest thing I’ll ever have to that, despite what “science” says about it. If I make it to 70, I still hope we spend at least one night a year driving around Marshall looking at Christmas lights, drinking skunky beer and just chatting. It’s literally one of my favorite days of every year.
To Chris Berman — You are really funny man! Keep up the schtick!!
To my buddy Justin — You’re a loyal, smart, kind dude and I figured if I didn’t put you on this list I wouldn’t get any more rides to and from the airport. Also, washers.
To Mike Stoops — Nope, never mind, you probably took years OFF my life, but hey, thanks for giving that head coaching gig the ‘ol college try.
To Will and Skylar — I think of college and think of you two exclusively. You make me smile where the sun don’t shine (and also where the sun does shine (hint: my face)).
To my buddy Chuck — You’re really great as long as you’re standing very far away from any moveable grills. Also, this video.
To my buddy Richard — Because I haven’t put any black people on this list yet and I didn’t want to come off as racist. Also, your good side? Really fucking good.
To my buddy Kevin — If someone had listed the characteristics that you’d bring to the table before college started, I would have laughed at that list, and then poured Natural Light on it. Thankfully people aren’t book covers, and that dude that drove the horrible yellow Mustang has become one of the greatest guys in my life. And also, can I get a table next week at SUPPER CLUB for, like, 8 people? Thanks!
To Everyone on the Gateway Tour — Thanks for letting me know I wasn’t nearly good enough to be a pro golfer. Tough lesson but I appreciate it. Oh, and also, don’t be such assholes.
To my sweet, sweet Nikki — You are my mom, just 30 years after her. You once told me in an e-mail that if you ever needed to just smell the ocean I’d be the friend that drove you there and I say the exact same thing about you. I can’t go to Bisonwitches without you in tow (and frankly don’t want to).
To my prom date Maegan — Hey, remember when we said, “If we’re single when we’re 30 we will just marry each other?” God we were dumb.
To Jake, Nick, Daren, Andy, Matt, Matt, Andrew, Ashdon — Never been a better group of idiots. You men are incredible, and also, fucking Jake.
To Candice, Austen, Derek, Blaine, Chris, DJ and Andrew — Because, well, you guys know.
To my buddy Ryan Wilson — You landed me my first pay-per-post job on the internet, and because of you, I’m writing for a living about a sport I love. You, my friend, deserve a lifetime of Zimas.
To teachers like Mrs. Degn and Mrs. Lewis — We grow up with teachers and TEACHERS, and you guys are the latter. A lot of people think they can do what you do, but the two of you proved early on that there are amateurs and there are professionals at this teaching thing and I thank you for pushing me to a place I didn’t know existed.
To Steve Jobs — This iPhone thing is really badass. Thanks for that.