Note: I have many more stories about my parents to come, but today I'm dedicating this entry to my big brother. Happy Birthday, Maurilio!
The older I get, the more I appreciate a nice, cold beer after a long day at the office. Sometimes I like to pour myself a glass of wine, or two. When it’s a particularly difficult day, I find myself wanting to appreciate a nice bottle of tequila.
I don’t want to make myself out to be a miserable, fumbling alcoholic, not in the least. I’m fully functioning and quite content… most of the time.
One thing I remember from my childhood (and I’ve written about this before here) is how my dad would enjoy a beer in a similar fashion. When my dad started tapering off his after-work beer, my brother, Maurilio, took over the torch with gusto.
While I was still living at my parent’s house, I would remember seeing my oldest brother walk in the front door, nod at nothing in particular, glide through the living room then make his way gliding through the kitchen saying hello to whoever was around. In a matter of seconds his glass, which was already in his hand before he walked in the door, reached the tequila bottle sitting somewhere in the den.
If it wasn’t tequila it was rum or bourbon with a splash of coke. Sometimes Vodka and anything else.
Then sometimes someone would ask “how was work, Maurilio?”
Now, let me pause here and give you some background information. My brother has what most would consider a pretty unassuming job. He works for the county, keeping the waterways flowing and working, getting to know Los Angeles from the underground sometimes.
However, my brother is not an unassuming man.
So let’s go back to ask Maurilio how his day went.
“How was work, Maurilio,” someone would probably ask.
To which he would reply first by taking a swing, shaking his head and saying something like: “**No lo vas a creer… I heard a noise and said ‘whathafakisthat?!’ so I reached into the tunnel and felt a branch. I pulled on it and the mathafaker, no se quieria salir! So I grabbed it with both hands and que crees? A big mathafaken snake in the wash! I had it right there by the cola and it was all moving and going hsss! Hsss!....”
At this point, Maurilio would put down his glass and mimic the perturbed snake’s movements, jumping into the air, moving his body side to side, laughing and hissing through his grin.
Then, someone would probably ask “What did you do?!”
To which he would reply “I tried to grab it by the boca, pero no se dejaba!”
Then everyone in the kitchen would shake their heads and say “Ay, Maurlio!” (This is the proposed title of the sitcom I plan on piloting.) (Insert laugh track.)
These are those types of once-in-a-lifetime stories that you save for your bar or party gatherings when people have run out of things to say and you really need a big laugh, right?
Ah, you would think. This is, I remind you, Maurilio we’re talking about.
Fast forward to oh, two days after his snake story. Maurilio enters my parent’s living room (Roar of applause!) Glides through the livingroom, nods, glides through the kitchen, reaches the bottle of what-have you and leans, nonchalantly, against the sliding den door.
“How was work, Maurilio?”
**No lo vas a creer… I was driving over the wash and I saw these patos. I thought they were patos, but they were people! Just like there in the was (Here Maurilio begins to mimic bobbing movements with his upper body) and I said ‘whathafak are these mensos doing?....”
I’ve got to confess, though, not ALL of my brother’s stories are this exciting after you dissect them. But, my brother’s whirlwind passion for everything and anything (whether he loves it or hates it) makes any one of his stories vibrant.
His additions of “watthefak?!” and “sonovabitch” to most any sentence are pretty supportive clauses to his physical interpretations of stories.
Reciprocially, his interest in what you have to say (whether he loves it or hates it) also makes you feel like your story is as vibrant as one of his great Maurilio adventures.
“Lucia, what do you think of graffttii…” he might ask me.
“I think some of it is art…” I might (boldly) reply.
“WHAT?! COMO? NO! NO LO PUEDO CREER!? How do you think that’s art? Those pinches cholos all with their stupid pants like this (mimics someone running down the street, holding up their sagging pants and waving an invisible spray can in the air)… how is that art?”
At which point he’d run to grab a beer, a chair and sit with his chin in his hands to listen wide-eyed to what I was about to say.
My brother turns 50 today. He’s in Mexico, celebrating with our family down there. I was compelled to send my nephew a Facebook message that read “Please take care of my big brother, make sure he doesn’t get lost.”
Still, I have a feeling that when he comes back and we ask “How was your trip, Maurilio?” He’ll respond with “No lo puedes creer…”
I’m inviting my family to go ahead and wish Maurilio a happy birthday by sharing their favorite “Ay, Maurilio” story in the comments below!
**These stories are as close to or resembling stories I've heard him say. My fits of laughter during his stories may have distorted my memory a bit.