Brothers Bonifacio – Remember

Piss Off
I remember one New Year’s party where Josh called an acquaintance of my dad “Mr. Gallstone” the whole evening thinking that was his name. His real name is Mr. Johnston. I really burst out laughing when the angry gentleman said, “Piss off kid!”

Ok ok… He didn’t say “Piss off!” But it would have been hilarious if he did. I would say, “No sir. You piss off.”

Ok, some of you didn’t get that.

The Car That Gets the Girl
When we were kids, Joshua’s dream car was a pick-up truck because he always liked standing on the cargo bed while someone else drove. My dream car was a hearse. Seriously. And I had my reasons. First of all most hearses are black, and black is my favourite color. Second is the back can accommodate a fully stretched human being, meaning, I would be able to sleep comfortably in the back while someone else drove. I like sleeping in the car. I remember one time I fell asleep while driving on Edsa and woke to John Magpantay screaming at me while he held the steering wheel. Joe likes to read in the car, and just like my sleep driving, he reads while he drives. He has also recently taken to watching videos on his laptop while driving.

Joseph already has his dream junkshop on wheels.

Our family was never really into cars. To my dad, a car was a utility. “As long as it has air conditioning and can get me from Point A to Point B, I’m happy”, he would say. So that’s the way it’s been with us. Not that we could afford fancy cars anyway, and besides, as Josh recently put, “We’ve never had a hard time with girls.”

Losing My Title
I have these special listening abilities, sharpened by the many dinners with interesting females who think they’re interesting. I know that sounded sarcastic but I really do find them interesting. Of course that’s coming from a guy who likes Sudoku.

Anyway…

I have this skill. I can sit in a room and hear all the different conversations going on and sometimes even the ones in other rooms. I can hear people talking on their phones or to the people across them or whispering, saying things like, “F-bleep. I’m down again” or “Yes, sweety I’m just finishing my meeting” or “I promise I’m in the office” or “I’m sorry. I was wrong. Why do you have to be so difficult?” These conversations trigger all sorts of stories in my head which I file for future use.

There are times though that I hear things I don’t like. While visiting a Habitat for Humanity site at Baseco, Tondo that I used to visit quite regularly, I overheard two people talking, “Yan yung kapatid ng boyfriend ni Rica Peralejo. Mas pogi yung boyfriend niya.” (In English: That’s the brother of Rica Peralejo’s boyfriend. Her boyfriend is better looking.) I was shocked. I was too shocked to correct them. Are they blind??? Just because someone’s been on TV doesn’t mean he or she looks good.

Sorry… I’m being bitter.

So, after about 25 years of holding the title for best looking Bonifacio brother, I have now surrendered it to Joe – but not for long…

Remember
Quite a few people have emailed me saying how encouraged they are with this series. I don’t know how the stories of Joshua’s interest in Pamela Anderson’s breasts or Joe’s straight arrow ways have managed to do that though. I write these stories to remind myself of the people I value most, the people who have seen and experienced the worst of me and still hold me as family. Of course they don’t have a choice. None of us do. I don’t think the stories of my family are any better, or more interesting, or more special than those of others. All families have their stories and it’s pointless to compare. I’m just celebrating the realization that my family is perfect in its imperfection because it’s perfect for me.

Brothers Bonifacio: The Saps

When the Moon Hits Your Eye
I haven’t found Cupid’s passion-tipped arrows, but love is definitely in the air at the Bonifacio residence. Our house has turned into a veritable rubber tree – full of sap. First of all there’s Joe and his new “friend”. Then there’s Josh and his “forever friend”. But the final proof comes from my dad, my hero, the only one who’s ever agreed with me that a Braveheart wedding (horseback, rain, grass, just three people, a lake) was a great idea, my efficient, early sleeping, early waking, running, scheduled, intense father has gone the way of Nicholas Sparks with his “I miss my wife post”.

The Good Old Days
Things weren’t always so mushy. I miss the good old days when Josh would wake me in the middle of the night and ask whether I would rather eat someone’s toe jam or lick the dirt off some thick-necked person. Or when Joe would destroy my GI Joes and hang them from hooks on our windows, as a warning to would be enemies. He even melted one of my guys on the light bulb of one of our living room lamps. I know he looks like the quintessential pastor’s kid but it was his idea to pour alcohol all over our bathroom and set it on fire. I don’t know how many lamps or windowpanes we broke, or how many walls we ruined, or 110s plugged into 220s, or how many cars we crashed. But we were boys, no, we were more than boys, we were the knights of the round table, gunfighters in Ok Corral, soldiers storming Normandy, and…

… I just realized. Joe always got the cool guy, like Wyatt Earp, or the Lone Ranger, or King Arthur. And I got the sidekick, like Tonto, or Robin or the next coolest like Lancelot. We would make a character up for Josh or he would get someone like Sir Bors. Who the heck is Sir Bors??? Joe read all the books and knew all the stories, so he knew which characters were cool. I can’t believe I agreed to be Tonto. “That right, Kemo Sabe.” Crap. Now I feel cheated…

Legends of the Fall
Part of any good brothers story is the rivalry. And we fought for and about everything. Like who was the strongest? Or the fastest? Or the best in basketball? There were areas where superiority was accepted. Joe was definitely the smartest. And Josh was the funniest. I could never win any argument against either of them. Joe would beat me with logic. Josh would beat me by having absolutely no logic. I probably lost in every category, but that’s ok, I won where it counts – looks.

We’re All Saps
As I sit in the patio, the same patio where we had our food fights, where my dad got mad at Josh for drawing a breast before realizing it was half a lime (what’s up with Josh and breasts?), where Joe would shoot cats before they died on the Murrells garage, where WD-40 canisters turned into bug frying flamethrowers, and where we would trade stories about Mang Manny (our driver) the toughest man alive next to Chuck Norris, I can’t help but admit, the oak has joined the Hevea.

Brothers Bonifacio: The Problem with Breasts

When we were very young, Joshua, the youngest if three boys, who was probably not more than 8 years old at the time, asked my mom, “Mom, right, when you’re pregnant your breasts get bigger?” My mother, who was always very patient with us, explained, “Um… Yes, Josh. You see when a woman gets pregnant her breasts produce milk so that adds to the size. Why’d you ask?” Joshua answered, “Is Pamela Anderson always pregnant?”

Goodbye Cable TV.