Friday, September 26, 2014

In Memoriam of Anthony James DiRocco III

On Monday, September 8, 2014, we lost Anthony, our dear brother, son, nephew, and friend. There are so many things that I could say about my brother. And while St. Anthony's Parish doesn't allow eulogies during funerals anymore, so I spoke - with Tommy and Vinny on either side of me for support - about Anthony at the wake.

I never blog anymore, but a few people have asked me for my speech - so I wanted to share it. And, if you have time, watch this amazing video of Anthony skateboarding. (Thank you Chris Carbaugh for putting this together; you'll never understand the amazing influence it's had on my family.)

Anyway, an unedited version of my eulogy is below.  


My brother Anthony was a lot of things.

Anthony was a fighter.

From the day he was born he fought.

As a kid, they were small, petty fights: like he didn't want to eat his vegetables or brush his teeth. In his teenage years, he literally fought during his short stint as a boxer. And as he got older, more often than not, they were big fights. Full of big ideas and, at times, many obstacles. But Anthony held his convictions.

When he set his mind on something, he did it.

Anthony was a protector.

He would do anything to shield his family from pain. He would step in if Vinny was getting made fun of. He took Tommy under his wing.

Anthony was a giver.

He'd give the shirt off his back if someone needed it. And then likely, he would walk around shirtless since the kid would rotate one of three shirts until they disintegrated.

But most of all, Anthony was a magnet.

It was hard not to be drawn to him. His charisma. His laughter. And, especially, his teasing. I would crave the times we sat as a family around around the kitchen table. We would all crack jokes - usually at my expense - and just laugh for what could be hours.

He made everyone around him feel loved. Seeing Anthony was always when I felt the most at home.

But Anthony was clearly also battling something inside him. And he didn't let us in. He protected us from his demons. He gave us the love and attention we so desperately needed. All at the same time he fought - internally.

And this week, he decided he couldn't fight anymore. And, while we will all miss him so, so much every day of our lives, I hope he is now finally at peace. He doesn't need to fight anymore.

And for those that knew him: we ask that you remember the good times. His laughter, his beautiful smile, his gorgeous eyes...his beard and hair. Whatever images you have that warm your heart, hold on to them. Share them with us in days, weeks and months to come.

We thank you all for your support, love and generosity through this difficult time. We wish Anthony could have fully accepted the love of everyone in this room as we have.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Thanks

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and think about all the things in our life that we truly appreciate. Some we recognize and some we take for granted, but one day a year we owe it to ourselves to take a step back and recognize what makes our lives so good.

So, here are the things I am thankful for this year:

  • My huge, amazing Italian family
  • My wonderful friends, both old and new
  • The ability to group text 
  • The fact that it takes me less than hour to get to my mom's house
  • The close proximity of my apartment to my office (exactly one mile)
  • Leg warmers
  • HBO Go, Showtime Anytime, Netflix
  • My apartment...and the accompanying dishwasher, elevator and air conditioner
  • Instagram 
  • Citi Bike 
  • Leggings and that society accepts them as a viable alternative to pants
  • FaceTime 
  • John Boehner (the fish, not the Speaker) 
  • Hats...of all shapes and sizes
  • Open-air markets
  • Dollar slice pizza

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Loaded Question: What Are You Passionate About?

Someone asked me the other day, "What are your passions?" I answered how I always answer. I gave a nervous laugh, made some sort of lame joke and concluded with the mash-up of the things I do in my free time. (In case you were wondering: See friends and family, work out and explore the city.)

Normally I dismiss this question as silly. What am I passionate about? What is anyone passionate about?

I've been asked this question a lot. It's come up in job interviews. I've had to think about it long and hard when I applied about college, moved (both to/from New York) and, really, when I've made any big decision in my life.

And I've always shrugged it off. Answered it the same way I did earlier this week. In a way, I don't think it's a fair question, because I have always thought of myself as someone who doesn't just have one "passion." I have many interests. I like lots of different types of things.

I like the "tapas-style" approach if you will: sampling and tasting many small plates as opposed to committing to and digging into a never-ending bowl of pasta. And why not? There are so many things in this world to learn about, to see, to do, to try. And I'm young; I'm learning my place in life and I'm looking for what really drives me.

But after I was asked the question this time I really started to put some thought into it. I'm not really that young anymore; I should kind of know what my place in life is and this is my defining decade - the time to figure out what really drives me.

So I let myself think about the things in life that really do excite me. The things that motivate me and keep me going.

I think I finally found an answer: people. 

In reality, everything in my life has been driven by getting to know, helping or otherwise interacting with people.

I thrive on conversations with my friends and family. I love getting to know intimate details about coworkers. I like dating because it's a chance to get to know new, interesting people.

My favorite parts of my job including recruiting (AKA getting to know candidates) and listening to my colleagues and helping them with random things.

The books and TV shows I like the best are ones with deep character development. The songs I connect with the most are the ones where you feel like you are inside the musician's head.

Maybe this is why I majored in communications. It's, in a sense, just dealing with people. It's probably why on Myer's-Briggs I score high in the "extrovert" and "feeling" categories. And it's likely why 99% of the time I feel more energized after spending time with others.

I guess I always knew what I was passionate about. It just took me a little bit of time to realize it. Now I finally have an answer if someone asks me this question again.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Love Letter to New York City

I never thought I would feel for a city what I feel for New York. I am nostalgic for Washington. I think of Roma with fondness. But New York. Oh, New York. It's official: The city has taken a hold of me. It wrapped me up, and it will not let me go.

There are so many amazing things I can list about living in New York. But I am not going to do that today. Laura Steiner wrote an excellent piece in HuffPo last December that could say it better than I ever could. When Thought Catalog bloggers aren't musing over the next phase in their lives, they are writing about New York. And nearly every musician from Billy Joel to Jay-Z to Frank Sinatra has put their love of New York to a beat.

So I won't bore you with the reasons why I love New York so much. I'll just share how it makes me feel.

  • Electrified: Whether it's 2:30 in the morning or 4:00 in the afternoon, I feel alive in New York City. There's nothing like the energy of Times Square, the bustle of SoHo or the chatter in Central Park. Which brings me to the next point...
  • Re-energized: If I am stressed out, tired or just plain angry, all I need to do is take one walk around a New York City block and I feel like a new person. It's more comforting than a vent session, it's better than caffeine, and it's the perfect way for a quick pick-me-up. Strolling through Madison Square Park, looking up at the Empire State Building or just browsing the stores on Fifth Avenue, all remind me what's good in life and all the things there are to look forward to.
  • Motivated: Every minute of every day, something is happening in this city. People are doing new and exciting things and, hopefully, making a difference in the world. It makes me want to do something bigger and better with my life. Things like the Freedom Tower allow me to reflect on all of the people who came before me and who helped shape this city - and beyond.
  • Spontaneous: Only in New York can I get what I want - or do what I want - when I want it.  Some might look at this as a bad thing, but we all need to be a little more spontaneous and impulsive in our lives. We play it too safe, work too hard and tread way too lightly at times. So I will not apologize for purchasing art at a street fair on a whim, choosing to walk the High Line for no reason or eating dollar slice pizza at 2 AM.
  • Unique: There are 8.3 million people living in New York City, each one of then completely unique and different. And while you can segment groups (Wall Street suits, Brooklyn hipsters, Upper East Side housewives, etc.), New York just isn't as cookie cutter as some other cities. New York City will let me be exactly who I want to be without judgement or question.
  • Strong: Thick skin is needed to survive in this city. It's not always an easy place to build a career, maintain relationships or find a suitable living condition. So, it demands that all its residents toughen up. I feel like after living in this city for two years, I've become so much stronger in every aspect of my life.

So there it is. How can one not love a city like this? Maybe I'm biased since I grew up in New York City's shadow and have been wanting to live here my whole life, but I'm willing to bet that non-natives feel similarly.

So, New York City, thank you. Thank you for being fast-paced, unapologetic and just downright crazy. I wouldn't want my city any other way.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Ciao from Gesualdo!

Since I've been a terrible blogger lately, thought I would share my recent email to my family and friends on Day 1 of my Italy trip. Feeling inspired to write again. I have really missed traveling.

Friday, June 21, 2013

In Defense of Two Brothers Dollar Slice Pizza

You guys. I hate to admit it, but I love Two Brothers dollar slice pizza. Such a simple concept: pizza for $1 available 24 hours a day. What?! Why doesn't every city in the entire world have this?! (That was a rhetorical question.) 

DC does have Jumbo Slice. But my dear Washingtonians. This does not compare. Here are a few arguments in favor of dollar slice pizza.

It's $1. One. Friggen. Dollar. You guys, come on. What can you get for a dollar these days? Even street meat is more than this! I bought a hot dog last weekend down at South Street Sea Port, and that crap was $3. But at Two Brothers, it's $1 even. There's no tax and no worrying about change. Just give them a Washington and you're done

It's always warm. Even though their doors are open at all hours, the pizza is always warm. Cannot hate on that.

It's everywhere. There are at least three on my way from my office to my apartment. This includes a storefront on the corner of my block. Needles to say, a dangerous (but delicious) place late at night.

Which brings me to the next point....

It's open 24 hours! All day, every day. Even on Christmas (I would assume)! Come on people. What more do you need?

And finally...

The pizza really isn't that bad. I mean it's no brick oven/Grandma/Sicilian/speciality/whatever slice, but it's friggen good pizza. Definitely better than anything I have ever eaten in DC...or most parts of the country. For $1 it could be so much worse.

So, in conclusion, don't be a hater on dollar slice pizza. Never tried it before? Next time you're in the city, your slice is on me. I guarantee you`ll agree.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A List of Random, Absurd Things I Would Like to Do

There are several things I would like to do for no particular reason. I've seen them done on a television show or in a movie, and they are completely absurd, but they look like so much fun. Of course, this goes without saying that there would be no consequences if I performed any of these actions.

Here it goes: 

1. Grab food off someone's plate and eat it. I blame Kingpin for this. Woody Harrelson's character grabs pizza off someone's plate before a big bowling match (game? meet?), and the guy didn't seem to care. And, right, how awesome would it be to just grab a french fry or a nacho off someone's plate and just keep on walking. (Also, pretty unsanitary, but that's neither here nor there.) Of course if I attempted this, it would probably go a little more like the end of the movie.

2. Pull off someone's toupee. I don't know anyone with a toupee. But man I would love to just pull a bad toupee off someone's bald head. See Seinfeld, Liar Liar and Tommy Boy examples here, (:35 in) here (2:16 in) and here (:34 in). It's just always funny. But, it's mean, so I could never.

3. Ride on top of a train. Okay this scares the shit out of me, but it could be so, so cool. I mean how bad ass is that. Look at Angelina Jolie in Wanted. And, well, look at anyone in any action movie ever. If I had the reflexes and flexibility of Ms. Jolie, I'd be all over this.

4. Smack the hood of a car and yell, "Hey, I'm walking here!" I would like to do this for a couple reasons. A) Drivers in Manhattan are jerks; and B) It's a great way to let out some pent-up anger. 

Case in point: Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy.


Reading this back, I realize how absurd all this actually sounds. But, hey, don't pretend you're not thinking some of the same things.