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  • You were the funniest person I’ve ever known, Glenn. We met in 9th grade, after your Catholic school teachers decided that you were “incorrigible” and sent you packing. You were tall, lanky and threw a murderous fast ball. The baseball field became your church and your rock. After a disastrous stint in college, you were drafted by the Mets in that miraculous, goofy championship season of 1969. You were about to be called up from the minor leagues when the U.S. Army determined that your pitching did not constitute a vital national service.

    You were always insecure about your lack of formal education, yet loved to stay up until dawn talking about life, love and death. You could be quite serious. But not for long. I laughed through my tears then, as I do now thinking about you.

    After you got out of the Army, you bounced around. You tried and failed to sell used cars. Without telling your friends, you worked on a stand-up comedy act. You killed ‘em at a small club and were hired to perform the same material at a much larger venue. You bombed, snuck out the back door after the first set and never returned.

    You finally found a job at a tiny radio station in New Haven. You had a great radio voice, but you wanted to do television. They threw water on your dream, pointing out that you had fat chipmunky cheeks and a weak chin. “Glenn,” they said, “you’ve got a radio face.”

    You became a television star, first in your hometown of Philadelphia, then in Washington, D.C.

    It was only natural that you became a sportscaster, but you were a different breed of sportscaster: irreverent and screamingly funny. You called sports “the toy department of life.” That ruffled more than a few feathers, but the people of Washington took you to their hearts. Washingtonians are notorious for taking themselves very, very seriously, and they figured if they liked you it meant they had a sense of humor, right? You were paid a fortune to prop them up. You were the toast of the town, pal. Your flaws were outsized but so was your love.

    You got into long-distance running and decided to do your first marathon in 1991. But something went wrong. You collapsed at the finish line. The doctors determined that you had had a stroke. Your speech was badly slurred and much of your left side was frozen. You made stroke jokes, even as you battled to regain your former vitality. You made it back. There was even talk of you returning to your duties at the television station. But something went wrong again. You complained about blinding headaches and doctors discovered that you had a fast-growing, inoperable brain tumor. A few short weeks after that diagnosis, you were gone, leaving behind a wife and three young children, and grief-stricken family, friends and fans. You were 44.

    A host of dignitaries spoke at your funeral. You would have loved the attention. Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said he was happy to report that at the end you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior. Your friends collectively rolled their eyes. You had so many drugs in you that by the end you would have accepted Wilma Flintstone as your personal savior.

    They praised you, but only one captured you: Steve, our co-conspirator from 9th grade. This is how he concluded his eulogy: “We said that we would laugh until the end. And we did.”

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