Even a punch from you couldn't pain me so much. I'm floored, still...I'm sure that everyone who has ever met you feels the same, seeing as how many people you have touched. You were like a brother to me. You and I spent countless nights up talking about family, the hard times we have had growing up, the gap in our lives where our parents should have been, and the love we have for them anyway. The OTM family was your family as much as it is mine, and we are all feeling the pain so deep in our hearts that it's still like a bad dream. As you did for all of your friends, you accepted us as we were...all faults aside.
No one in this world could talk on the phone for as long as you could. I used to wonder how the hell you had so much to talk about!!! but looking back, it's those phone calls that I will miss the most. August 8th was the last day I spoke to you...The day after my bday and the day before yours. You and I have shared our birthdays and parties for 12 years. 12 glorious years, that seem more like an entire lifetime than a number...So many words come to mind when I think of you...
Words like character, integrity, laughter, happiness, friendship, pride, camaraderie, love, understanding, family, brotherhood, sense of humor, joy, empathy, sympathy, and mediator. You had a gift of making people calm down, or get riled up. Remember when you broke my ribs and knocked me out? Well, I really deserved that...a few times I probably deserved that, and I thank you for it. (I didn't at the time of course) but I thank you. The amount of crazy women in your life was a constant source of amazing conversation. I will never forget the late night talks about (you know who) and what we were going to do about it. Those were some of the most special times I had the pleasure of spending with you.
You were the nicest easiest going true friend a man could ask for. I always knew what I was getting with you. You never turned your back on me. No matter how much of a douche bag I was being. You were ALWAYS top notch. I could always count on you. I miss Sundays on England, then Deleware, then Alabama, then Hartford, then Cardinal...Although I moved 100 times, my sundays were consistant...and you were always there at least a few times a month.
I have been a wreck man..and I can only imagine all those others I will see tomorrow at your funeral. I know at least 100 people that I met through you somehow. Everyone loves you Bryan. I have been overwhelmed with the out pour of love that has come my way since this tragedy.
I miss all the times...the "too many to list" times, and those "can't tell anyone about" times...Wrecking havoc at The Pen, Hurricanes, La Capilla, Perqs, and late night trips to Hilltop. Glueing Todd's head together, killing all the Jack in the bar, and full bodied budwiesers all night long. You liked to disagree...Bud over Coors, Ford over Chevy, you always liked to playfully argue.
Those late nights where you would walk across the alley and come visit me with some buds and some smoke. It was always a pleasant surprise. I miss sitting in the kitchen with you and Todd, having GUY jump on my leg and crawl all the way up to my shoulder...scaring the shit out of me...
You never judged people. You were the most accepting person I have ever met. Your laugh, your smile, and your high pitched as voice..."I KNOW RIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGHHHHHTTTT?????" I will miss that so much Bryan. Or you screaming ROUGH RYDERS!!!! with Todd and Neil...
But mostly, I will miss those bear hugs. Those rib crushing forehead to forehead smashing of my body bear hugs. Your grip was as strong as our friendship. I am so proud to be able to call you one of my best friends.
You were one of the greats Bryan. No one you met could disagree or forget. You will live on in our hearts and minds forever. If I ever have a son, I hope that he has half the principals you have, and grows up to be the kind of man you were.
I love you Bryan Joplin. You were always undefeated in my mind. (No one cares about Mexico anyway). Say hello to my father up there brother...I will miss you with my entire soul.
Your OTM Family.