Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Baby Haga

If Merco Classic could wait a month to be typed up, Uruguay can wait a few more days.  After all, today is Shane's 21st birthday!

Who is Shane? Well, he's my twin, born two and a half years later, and my best friend of 21 years.

According to our mother, we were best friends from day one.  I suppose there is some evidence of that....

Growing up in an older neighborhood in Sherman, TX, there weren't many kids around to play with. We made do just fine.  The two of us were always paired up, ready for any adventure.  On any given day, we could be Power Rangers, Cowboys, Indians, pro baseball players, Batman and Robin, ninjas, name it, we rocked it, and our mom has pictures of it.

Not everything was peachy, though.  After all, I was the big brother and I had to make sure he knew his place.  I only told Shane this story and the next one a year ago.  I think I was 6 or 7 at at the time.  Shane and I were getting along just fine, but I could tell I needed to assert myself again.  So I opened up the calendar on my dresser, picked out week a couple weeks away, and decided that would be a good time to give Shane the cold shoulder.  I drew a line through that week, and atop it I wrote, "No talking to Shane." You'll be relieved to know that I failed to carry through on my plan.

Around that same time, our mother was beginning her instructional lessons on how to clean the bathrooms.  She put us to work early! She showed me how to clean the toilet with a paper towel and the cleaning solution, then told me not to flush the paper towel down the toilet.  My young mind interpreted this to mean that it was the cleaning solution, not the paper towel, that should not be in the plumbing. Obviously because of some chemical reaction, right? Hey, I was smart, I knew about that sort of stuff.

As Shane and I cleaned the bathroom the next week, he took care of the toilet, then flushed the paper towel before I could stop him.

"Shane, you're not supposed to flush that!"
"Why not?!" he replied, with alarm in his voice.
"Mommy says not to flush it! Now the house could blow up!"
"But I don't want the house to blow up!" he fearfully choked out.

Thankfully, the house didn't blow up.

After we moved to McKinney and I started getting into the teenage years, I started to dislike Shane because it wasn't cool to be friends with your little brother.

That didn't keep us from wrestling though.  Just good-natured fun, right?  Well, it always started that way. We'd be romping around upstairs, and our mom would hear us.  "I hope you're not wrestling!" That was always about the time that one of us got too physical and it turned into a real fight.  Rule #1: keep quiet, and calmly reply that "everything's fine, we're just running around" despite the hands around your neck.

At one point, the fad was airsoft guns.  These are little mini-bb guns that shoot plastic pellets at a couple hundred feet per second.  Somehow we persuaded our mother to let us get a couple. "Okay, but as long as you promise not to shoot each other with them." I don't know if she was really that naive, or if we were that convincing.  But you know as soon as we got home we were shooting each other the second she left the room.

One summer afternoon, with the parents gone, we decided to have a mano-a-mano war upstairs.  We were smart about it and wore our swimming goggles for protection.  I decided to hide in Shane's closet, and when he opened the door I would attack him in a terrific ambush worthy of cinematic commemoration. I didn't completely think it through, though, as we had purchased different guns.  My gun, while more powerful, could only shoot one pellet before I had to cock it again.  Shane had opted for the less powerful pistol--but it was semi-automatic.

I think you can see where this is going.

He opened the closet door and I got one good shot off.  Then while I was trying to re-cock my gun, Shane stood there pumping round after round into my body, laughing all the while. It was a very short battle.

Ping-pong served as a competitive outlet for us.  We loved to play it, but Shane hated losing, so we would usually only get to play a few games before he stormed away.  To incentivize him a bit more, we started playing Sting Pong, a game we discovered on TV.  Instead of getting a normal point, you instead earned the opportunity to hit the ball at your defenseless--and shirtless--brother, who just stood there and took it as the little ball left pink circles all over his stomach.  Shane seemed to like this game a little more.

Another game we played--once--was Around the World. In this game, the players are running laps around the ping pong table while trying to keep the ball in play.  Fun game, but it wasn't great for our close-quarters upstairs.  The game ended when Shane put his hip through the entertainment center's glass door.  I think our mom took the stairs three at a time to come upstairs when that happened.

Want to know how I made Shane get fast on a mountain bike? I stopped waiting for him to catch up. True story.

The worst part about college was leaving my broski behind.

And then he graduated from high school.

The kid already had a nickname on the cycling team--he'd been an adopted member of the team for a year beforehand as they'd watched him dominate the high school races.  I was Hagasaki, Shane was Hagasita.

The quickest way to ruin friendships can be to move in together.  Well when Shane started school at A&M, we were sharing a room.  If we had similar mannerisms before that, we were certainly becoming more and more alike by living together.  It's like we were connected at the head:

You know all those games we played as kids?  Well, it turns out that the key element is that we have to be on the same side.  Shane, Lee, and I, with our synergistic procrastination, spent an entire evening creating Bike Capture the Flag.  It really is an amazing game.  To make the teams a bit more even, Shane and I would be on opposing teams.

Not a great idea, as it turns out.  We're normally competitive under any circumstances, but there were a couple times that one of us was chasing the other through campus to reclaim the flag.  We'd be in an all-out sprint, jumping curbs, small shrubberies, bounding down stairs.

There were two crashes that night.  They were Shane and I, while chasing one another, each managing to crash into the only two ladies on the team brave enough to come out and try our new game.  Future games had Shane and me on the same team for everyone's well-being.

I could go on forever with more stories, but I'm exhausted from my 127 mile bike ride yesterday, so I'll wrap it up with the best one of all:

To use up the some of our eggs before they went bad, Shane and I hard-boiled several one evening.

The next day, while Shane was in class, Lee decided that he wanted to prank Shane, and get him to crack a raw egg.

"Come on, Lee.... You've got to do better than that! I can get him to crack a raw egg on his face." You see, Shane and I enjoyed cracking hard-boiled eggs on our heads just to be goofy.  I had a plan.

We pounced on Shane as soon as he got back from class.
"Shane, will you crack an egg on your face?  Lee says it would hurt too much to do it and won't believe me that we do it all the time.  I'd do it, but I just ate one and don't want another."

Always jumping at the chance to prove Lee's a wuss, Shane didn't even bother taking off his riding jacket first.

Lee and I had swapped all the hard-boiled eggs for raw eggs. This would be good....

The first warning sign should have been that we wanted to record it on camera.  I don't remember how we explained that one.... Shane should have also caught on to the fact that Lee was barely holding it together.  Our plan was going to work.

As the video starts, we are joking that we should have swapped the hard-boiled eggs for raw ones.

"That would've been a good one! You shoulda done it." Shane jokes.

But seriously, my best friend is now 21 and I would give so much to be there to celebrate with him. To the guy that pushes me to be a better brother, son, Christian, friend, racer, movie quoter, and cook: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Now hurry up and graduate so we can be reunited!