I want to thank you all for joining us this Saturday as we celebrate my brother Tom’s last day as a free man. Many of you don’t know Tom very well—he’s not an easy man to know—which is why, in close collaboration with his psychotherapist, nutritionist, life coach, spiritual guide, and second psychotherapist, I’ve written up the following guidelines.

For the love of God, read them carefully.

We’ll kick things off at 11:00 a.m. sharp. It’s probably a bit earlier than you expected, or might care for, but it usually takes a while to coax Tom out of his room. We’ll beg through the door for a few hours, sing some happy songs, and loudly pretend he’s missing out on all the Cheetos we’re enjoying. When he finally lets us in, no more than three of us will be able to occupy the room at any given time. The room is very small, and one of Tom’s chief fears is that bandits are always out to surround him. So while a few of us are partying in Tom’s room, the rest of us can chill out against the wall in the hallway.

No strippers, fellas. Sorry! Tom’s under the impression that pregnancies can—and usually do—occur via lap dances. Over the years, I’ve tried explaining biological realities to Tom using a variety of books, charts, and anatomically correct hand puppets, but no dice. For the record, he’s also worried an impregnated stripper would somehow use the baby as leverage to steal his collection of unused plastic straws.

No alcohol, either, I’m afraid. For reasons Tom has never made entirely clear, fermented things make him sulk. The chemical enhancement for the evening will be Gatorade. The electrolyte boost usually makes Tom see tracers, which is always good for a giggle, until it becomes horrifying.

There will be no goofy hats, Hawaiian leis, X-rated Mardi Gras beads, ironic pimp canes, feather handcuffs, or blow-up booby balloons. Tom deeply mistrusts party favors.

There will be music, though. Tom’s learning to play the spoons, but as a beginner he only plays one real spoon against an air spoon. So, that’s what I mean by there will be music.

Tom’s highly allergic to more than a dozen common foaming agents found in shampoos and soaps. I’ve listed each of them on the back of this brochure, so compare those to your bottles at home. (Tom has indicated that Prell within ten feet will kill him, outright.) Honestly, it’d be best if you didn’t wash your body or your hair within at least 48 hours of the bash, but if you must, consider the homemade rinse (recipe also on back) fashioned out of honey, purified water and other natural, organic ingredients, including highly-processed New Zealand bat guano. Not cheap, but I can promise you, worth it.

Avoid prolonged eye contact with Tom. He thinks that people look him directly in the eye because they’re peering straight through to his brain, which they covet.

Don’t say the word “nonpareil” in Tom’s presence. Just don’t do it.

Finally, you might not want to ask my brother about the bride, Mary. Even if he does answer, he offers very few details other than “she’s a good speller” and “it’s hard to tell from a photo, but she seems to be about my height.”

Those are the basics and should be enough to get you through the early afternoon. Generally speaking, if Tom tenses up, licks his lips furiously, makes furious clucking noises, or rams his head through the window, just backtrack a little and change the subject to something he enjoys. We don’t know what that is, but, hey, you could get lucky. You had better.

We’re gonna have a blast, dudes!

— Keith