Thursday, September 13, 2007

Phil the Gorilla

So it has been awhile since the birthday post. Today is my brother, Phil's, birthday. Happy Birthday George Philip Tjardes!

Most people don't realize Phil's actual first name is George, he always went by his middle name since our Dad's name is George. I think on legal documents he goes by G. Philip. Phil turns 45 today, he is eight years older than me... just 20 months younger than our older sister, Jan. It was just Jan and Phil for years, much like the picture on the left, above... they are kind of cute, don't you think? The second photo on the right was taken when I came on the scene (you can't tell in this scan but I have a little mohawk going on... guess I went through my punk years early, huh?) Phil looks cute and happy, just like in the first photo, but Jan looks like she wasn't as pleased at my arrival.
When I think about my brother several things come to mind, the first being basketball. He played basketball from seventh grade through two years of junior college, I can count on one hand the number of games I missed. I don't really remember being into the games all that much, but I must have picked something up along the way, because I LOVE college basketball now that I am a grown up.
Phil was the typical older brother, making fun of me. He used to call me "stoneface", as you can see from the photo above, I was not the most photogenic as a child. Also, much like now I was a chubby kid. He used to tease me and say "Pinch-a-Foot", in reference to the Special K add campaign back in the day that asked "Can you Pinch-an-Inch?" I remember these teasing incidents usually ending up with me crying, and Phil trying to explain to me (before I went and told on him) the concept of "We only tease because we love"... whatever! I do remember Phil being really nice to me one time. When he was a senior in high school he was a starter on the basketball team that made it to the state tournament, and got to play at the Assembly Hall... a very big deal in Gibson City. He bought me an "Elite 8" t-shirt that they has been selling at school. We only had 4 tickets for the game at the Hall in the lower "A section". Our sister, Jan (a college freshman at the time) seemed to think that she should get a good seat, but Phil asked her how many of his games she had been to that season. Answer: quite a few. Then asked her how many games I had been to that season. Answer: Every last one. Needles to say, I got to sit down in A section in the good seats with our parents... they lost the game but I was so excited to finally get treated like a grown up.
Besides basketball, Phil makes me think of beer. I don't know why, he just does. He also often refers to our parents as "George & Marilyn" instead of "Mom & Dad"... not sure why, but he always has, it just seems to work for him. He also always has some sort of story or joke to tell too. Many times the joke or story is naughty or inappropriate, but I always laugh.
One of my favorite things about my brother are his three kids, Ashley, Taylor and Jeremy, and they each have a bit of "Phil" in the them... at times it is scary. Oh, another random thing I remember is having some pictures in a photo album at home of Phil when he was on some sort of Jr. High field trip to a zoo. He is standing in front of a building (the ape house I am guessing) that has a big sign saying "Phil the Gorilla".
Happy Birthday Phil the Gorilla!

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