Hi, how is everyone doing? My name is Jason, and I’m Benji’s younger brother.
Benji is about 15 months older than me, which means I’ve known Benji for all of my life. But there was once a time when Benji didn’t know who I was, because, well, I wasn’t born yet. Because of our particular birth sequence, I sometimes like to pretend that I’m more qualified to talk about his life than he is about mine.
Growing up, when all the other kids were playing outside, Benji would usually prefer to sit in his room and read his encyclopedia. For some reason, Benji really loved world geography and memorizing random facts, which usually meant if you were wrong about something, he would have no hesitations about correcting you. Don’t know what the capital of Uzbekistan is? Me neither. But Benji will gladly inform you that it’s Tashkent.
I once strolled into his room where I caught him studying fervently. When I asked what he was up to, he glanced up with an annoyed look, then brusquely announced that starting that day, he would memorize the entire encyclopedia from A through Z. And with a determined look, he flipped the page to “Aardvark”, dropped his head, and went right on studying. So much for playtime with big brother.
My brother Justin and I used to call Benji the “goody goody tattle tale boy”, because whenever Justin and I would sneak to the computer room to play video games in secret, Benji would immediately march downstairs and report to our mom that we weren’t studying. Our mom would storm upstairs with the terrifying “dra bei zu ze”, my dad’s bamboo back-scratcher, and wave it in front of us in a threatening manner, asking us “Ni yao da le ma?”, which in Chinese means “Do you want to be spanked?”. Whatever answer we gave, this always resulted in a swift quack to the hand. Justin and I never could figure out the right answer to that question.
Benji was such a good boy in fact, that I can actually count on my right hand how many times Benji has ever been spanked in his whole life (hold up 3 fingers). Unfortunately for me, I probably got spanked 4 or 5 times a day. It wasn’t that I was a bad kid…it was that Benji was too good of a kid in comparison. Thanks Benji.
So in comes Irene and everything changes.
I knew Benji was up to something when one day he went MIA for a week, briefly mentioning that he was going skiing with some girl and her sisters. Then out of the blue, Benji calls and tells us that the girl he met was coming to Macon to meet the parents. He then calls 5 minutes later and says actually, the girl’s parents are also coming to meet the parents. This is when Justin and I knew something was up. The Gung family was coming to size up the Ho family, which meant it was time to clean up the house, cut up some fruit, and dig out those old videos of Benji performing his first piano concerto.
Like any properly executed courtship strategy, Benji demonstrated his suitability in a variety of ways. For all you single guys out there, this is the time to start taking notes.
First, Benji started playing the piano. As soon as his fingers hit the keys, an ocean of serenity filled the room, and you could see the Gung’s eyes glaze over as they all looked at each other, signaling their approval. Meanwhile, Irene stood frozen in the corner, trapped under Benji’s spell, with little red hearts sprouting from above her head, her mind somewhere frolicking in the clouds of Benji-La-La-Land. Musical talent? Check.
Next, Benji pulled out his big book of skyscraper drawings that he had been creating since a little kid. Dusting off the cover, he explained each one in detail, meticulously describing the inspirations behind each work. But to be honest, Irene was probably too busy batting her eyelashes at Benji to hear anything he had to say. Artistic talent? Check.
Next, Benji expressed his interest in pursuing a career in medicine. Successful future career? Check.
And last, and by far my favorite, is when we somehow got onto the topic of working out and staying fit. Benji instinctively thrusts out his right hand, gives his bicep a good curl, and demonstrates the sheer monstrosity of what such a bicep could lift. As Benji’s bicep expanded larger and larger, rising up like mountains, Irene’s eyes grew wider and wider until they were as large golf balls, which looked something like this O_O. Hot boyfriend material? Check. Protection from ninjas and thieves? Check.
But securing a great catch also requires a skilled catcher, and Irene certainly had plenty of tricks up her sleeve. It was clear that Benji had fallen for her charming personality, energetic spirit, and her impressive accomplishments. But personally, I think what got Benji was Irene’s killer cantonese impression, where she pretends to speak like a foreigner, fresh off the boat. It’s pretty hilarious if you’ve never seen it. Nothing works better for winning the approval of the Ho brothers, than to order french fries at the drive-through of a Burger King in Irene’s off-the-top cantonese accent, perfectly delivered with a straight face. Justin and I certainly couldn’t stop laughing. Super cool future sister-in-law? Check.
Although some of the sweetest memories are those of courtship, I’m certain that for Benji and Irene, the dearest ones are yet to come. Love is a journey, and the adventure has only begun.
Irene, I’m so happy that you are now part of our family. Benji could not have chosen a better person to match him.
And Benji, I’m so happy that you found someone to stop you from memorizing the encyclopedia from A through Z. Although you may have been the “goody goody tattle tale boy” when we were younger, the truth is I’ve always looked up to you as an older brother, and I’ve learned so much from you. I’m so happy that you finally found someone as great as Irene to share the rest of your life with.
You guys really are made for each other. The proof is in the name. I look forward to lots and lots of Gung-Ho nephews and nieces, and I’m sure Daddy does too.
Thank you everyone for coming!