When I was a kid one of my heroes was Indian Jones.  Cool hat, coat, bullwhip, hung from a car, went on cool adventures.  I wanted to be him.  I also had another hero, one who was actually a person. Now, while I had an older brother, it wasn’t him.  No offense if you’re reading this.  Oh, by the way, Mom, if you’re reading this, don’t start yelling at me, let me finish.  See, in real life, when you have the older brother, his sole purpose in life is to beat the snot out of you.  He terrorizes you day & night, he beats you up in front of your friends, he chases you up a tree (this really did happen, my buddy Rich was there).

So, my brother properly performed his older brother duties.  Even though he could beat the snot out of me whenever he wanted, there was one weakness that he just couldn’t beat.  My older cousin Jeff.  Jeff was, I should say, IS, the coolest guy ever.  When we were kids he’d play with us.  When we were older he’d drive me, when visiting him, to the comic book store by him, to the toy store, even to the beach.  He looked out for me whenever I needed it, giving me advice, telling me to stick with my dreams.  He was the coolest cat in town.

To have this cool guy listen to his nerdy cousin talk about nerdy things like comic books or movies was the coolest thing.  Even back then I was nerdy, let’s face it, still nerdy now, & he thought it was cool.  Jeff was the Batman to my Robin, the Captain America to my Bucky (yes, Bucky was actually younger than cap back then, they ret-conned this years later making him the same age as Cap, but when first introduced, Bucky was a kid).

I remember one summer my family visiting my relatives in Long Island.  We went to the beach & I remember being out in the ocean, body boarding with Jeff, waiting for the perfect wave to ride in.  I remember being out there, scared because I’m not the best swimmer & that Bruce the shark lives out there, but also being stoked (old words I once used) that I was out there with Jeff.

As I got older Jeff showed me what it took to be a great guy, how to be a great husband, father.

Like I thought back then, I hope I’m as cool as he is.