“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

It took a single shot to turn my entire world upside down.

Fourth of July 2010. As fireworks lit up the sky above Lake Berryessa, fifty miles away, Big Brother fired a bullet through his brain. I still remember that night clear as day.

Growing up, I thought I would follow Big Brother to the moon. When he leapt, I leapt. Where he flew, I flew beside him. Big Brother taught me to stay hungry and to stay focused, to endure in the face of adversity, and to love unconditionally.

Big Brother was strong, but he was not superhuman. In his last years, I watched helplessly as addiction took hold of Big Brother and would not let him go. When he finally freed himself that fateful Fourth of July, I realized there was no one left to follow.

I lost my best friend to an addiction, and I will never watch helplessly again.

I will live life the way Big Brother deserved to live his: free of fear, free of restraint, free of regret.
I will free myself from those dark places that trapped Big Brother.

I will fight those same demons and I will win.

Meanwhile, my only addiction will be to the sweetness of life.
To the taste of a new day.

To the rush of a new friend, a new love.
And to the promise of keeping Big Brother’s memory alive.


— Joseph Ferrer