I started calling Ernie Bean "Ernesto Beanini" after Roberto Beanini's character in the movie "Life is Beautiful." He wasn't as much of a spaz as Roberto's character but his love of life and fervent belief in the beauty of it was just as palpable.
Many years have passed since the days we'd go to the movies at Kendall in groups of 10 and then shoot pool at Flat Top Johnny's. But things are even better now than then: Ernie turns 40 this Saturday. Right now, he's living in Australia (alas, no dancing at Paradise Cafe this year), but the key word is living, living, living. And living well and healthy. Sometimes we forget just how significant this is. I can’t tell his story as well as he can. That said, raise a toast to Ernesto Beanini this week, but most important, visit Bean Down Under, read his story, and blow up his comment box with birthday wishes.