“She’s like the J. Lo and you’re the Chris Judd.”
--TK on my relationship with Liana
This is a big birthday week for me. One old friend, one new friend, and one law school friend in a three day period. To celebrate this, I shall pay tribute to each lovely lady on her special day.
Today is Liana Banana’s birthday. I met Liana during freshman orientation at college. There’s a special bond that you forge with the people who knew you at 18, when you were away from home for the first time. It’s probably why Liana, Becks, Brian, Janet, Lauren, Roxey, Devon, and Jerusha are still such dear friends and why you can have dinner with any one of them nearly ten years later and still feel as close as you did when it was 4am the night before an exam. But I digress. The purpose of this is not to talk about college. Okay, it’s only part of the purpose.
During my sophomore year in college, Pablo and I went on a major Simpsons kick. I never watched the Simpsons when I was younger, so every night at 7pm, we would watch the repeats. There’s an ep where, during a bus trip, Nelson and Bart start racing an apple and an orange down to the front of the bus. Ralph Wiggum tries to get into the action by racing a banana. As the other kids cheer for the apple and orange, little Ralph plaintively yells out “Go Banana!” I can’t tell you whether it was Pablo or I who started it, but “Go Liana!” in a Ralph voice became a common call. And eventually, we started calling her “Liana Banana” or “Banana.”
Following college, Liana Banana had the curious distinction of being my roommate during my three years of law school. It is no exaggeration to say that I owe my graduation in some part to her. Constant cheerleader in my quest for studying and jobs, she literally would listen every night to the latest shenanigans at school. She learned the names of all my friends before she met them and laughed at all the stupid stories I told her.
I have my fair share of addictions – shoes, World Series of Poker on ESPN, unmentionables, shampoo and baseball to name a few. But there was never any judgment from Liana’s room…. probably because she had her own addictions – Saucony sneakers, World’s Wildest Police Chases, Swatch watches, shower gel, and oh, baseball. Good thing I always had her calling me up during playoffs when she was working the night shift.
We always joked that we were each other’s wives. It may seem silly, but in all honesty, when my classmates were calling girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands, wives to check in, I was calling Liana. One night while I was out for a drink up in Suffern with Kate, my cell rang. “That’ll be your wife,” Kate predicted. She was right – Liana was checking to make sure I was accounted for. My mother slept easier in the years that I lived with Li – she knew that if I weren’t home, Liana would be on the case.
Wife isn’t as appropriate a moniker as super-supportive sister. That’s what Liana is. And aside from all the funnies and kindness she has shown me, she shines it on everyone. Liana is, simply put, the life of the party. And even though she has gotten far more than her fair share of bum shakes in life, no one would know it. She’s a trooper. Happy birthday, girl.