When I moved away from Delaware County 18 years ago I was known far and wide (well, wide at least). And everyone I knew knew me as Jack Huber.
Simple enough. Nothing strange about that since Jack Huber is my name. Well, the truth is that my formal, official name is John Huber, but we should save that topic for another day.
Now that I’m back, I find that the simple truth of my name has changed in many circles. In my time away, people have come to know me (or more accurately, to know of me) by a different name or description.
I’m known as “Eddie’s brother” or even “Eddie’s other brother.” Some people actually address me exactly in that manner, as in: “Yo, Eddie’s brother, settle a bet for us here.” Or indirectly, “Let me ask Eddie’s other brother about that.” It’s like when you were a kid and you asked your friend’s mother, “Hi, Tommy’s mom, can we go on your roof and get all the balls we hit up there?” (A question always followed by a rapid “no.”)
Not that there’s anything wrong with being Eddie’s brother.
It seems that while I was hobnobbing with the social elite and scratching my way to the middle there in Our Nation’s Capital, my 10 years younger brother was making quite a name for himself.
You may think that a brother of mine might become notorious in a “we-don’t-like-to-talk-about-it” way … or well-known for setting some kind of tavern game record. But that’s not the case. Not at all. Not that I know of.
Eddie runs a backhoe.
In fact, I’m told he’s one of the best at running a backhoe that there is. That might not seem like a way to become popular in a community, but think about all the times over the course of a couple of decades that someone needs to get to a power line outside a home, or dig for a septic tank or pool, or knock down a dangerous wall, or plow snow from a parking lot or schoolyard, or …
You get it. They call my brother.
That’s his job, but Eddie’s fame comes from the kind of guy he is. He’s the total stranger who stops to give you a jump when your battery is dead. He’s the go-to dude who knows how to fix your flat tire or your clothes dryer … and is happy to do it. People really like that kind of thing. Or so I’m told.
But I don’t want to leave the impression that “Eddie’s brother” has become my only new identity.
Among almost as many people -- most notably in Delaware County it’s St. James alumni and fans -- I’m “Dan’s brother.”
Dan is the one who has gotten “Eddie’s brother” most often in Delaware County until now. He’s the reason why the “other brother” description has occasionally fallen to me.
[I know this is all a little confusing, so you may want to pause here to re-read the last few paragraphs. I certainly had to.]
Dan lives in Delaware, so he had the advantage of location on me, which I have now reclaimed. Also, he makes some amazing videos as part of his business … and one of his best was about our home town, utilizing lots of local talent, which you can see here (and which is another unfair advantage in getting known locally, but, as Tony Soprano used to say: Whattaya gonna do?).
Also he was an outstanding athlete at St. James, captaining the football team and being named All-Catholic in baseball.
But enough about them.
I’m on a mission to reclaim my identity. I thought about trying to make a big splash by winning the Wing Bowl -- the World Series, World Cup, Super Bowl and National Championship of Gluttony – held every year at the Wells Fargo Center.
However, I realized just in time that, sure, I’m a very talented amateur when it comes to stuffing my gullet, but I’m no pro. And I was right about that, too. It seems that Molly Schuyler, a 5-foot-7, 125-pound mother of four, gorged a hard-to-fathom 363 wings over 30 minutes to win the crown. To put that into perspective, that's 181-1/2 chickens that could no longer fly, if chickens could fly in the first place. She’s probably thankful that it’s a crown and not a belt.
So I’m still working on that reclaiming my identity thing.
If I sound bitter I’m not. Really. Honestly. No kidding. For sure. (No, I am NOT protesting too much, thank you!)
[NOTE: A sentimental paragraph follows here. If that sort of thing makes you uncomfortable, please skip to the next one.]
To tell the truth, “Eddie’s brother” or “Eddie’s other brother” or “Dan’s brother” are just about the coolest things you could call me. They remind me how lucky I am to have Eddie and Dan as brothers and lifelong friends.
Now with my sisters Jayne and Patti, it’s a whole different story. Their circles of friends didn’t even know they had a brother so much older (11 and 13 years) and, in fact, very often think I’m lying about being their brother for some mysterious reason.
More on that later.