Look Who’s Coming to Dinner: Text Messages (and Some Annotations) of the Night My Brother Got Frosties with Bon Iver

Look Who’s Coming to Dinner: Text Messages (and Some Annotations) of the Night My Brother Got Frosties with Bon Iver

My brother’s text message reached me just before 6 p.m. on Labor Day.

(5:59) “Bon Iver might be coming over to my house for dinner tonight.”

Okay, so this wasn’t normal. Some cats in Minneapolis/St. Paul pride themselves on playing twice-a-month bocce ball with Justin Vernon or something. I don’t know. Not us. We’re “off grid” for local celebs. We once saw Scottie Pippen in the Saks 5th Avenue downtown Minneapolis and went through a hormonal change.

But now in fairness, my brother uses that Siri voice-activated deal, so I thought maybe my brother meant, “I’m going to Long John Silver’s tonight!” or something and not that a Grammy-award winning cult demigod pixie oracle was dining at his new house in south Minneapolis. I mean frequently I’ll receive text messages from my brother alerting me to “the pawn of New Jersey conduits Marvel fitzgibbons” and he’s asking me to meet him at Arby’s, so I waited with baited breath.

Then the second text came.

(6:02) “Haha nobody else cares.”

Okay, now I was pissed. Because obviously a) Bon Iver WAS coming to dinner and b) nobody was prepared to make the Eau Claire Elvis feel suitably uncomfortable for stepping outside his comfort zone. It seemed my brother’s friends knew Bonny Bear was coming to dinner and were going to try and “play it cool.”

Nothing pisses me off worse.

(6:03) “SERIOUS?”

My brother’s response is quick and explanatory: (6:05) “Hes like kinda dating removed to protect the innocent’s friend.”

I mostly ignored any notion of “playing it cool”: (6:06) “Ask him if he knows Kanye.”

My brother’s response revealed he sensed I still didn’t take him seriously and thought he had actually asked me to Arby’s and Siri inadvertently sent a weird Kanye-related message. He gave me empirical evidence:

(6:10) “Haha yeah she’s like asking if I want to eat fish tonight and she’s like how hungry are u? And I’m like not super hungry why. And she’s like well I think it’ll be you me removed and justin Haha I was like who’s Justin Hah I doubt he’ll come but I’ll try and get out of the house if he does.”

At this point I threw my iPhone across the floor in disgust. I couldn’t believe it. So jealous. I sulked a bit. Then got really sycophant-ish:

(6:20) “Ask him if he’d listen to your demos.”

No response.

(6:35) “This is like a Samuel Beckett play.”

No response.

(6:37) “Hey tell him about my cd/car problem.”

(Ok, full disclosure, in a fluke of automobile manufacturing and deterministic forces beyond my control, my Bon Iver, Bon Iver is permanently stuck in my car’s CD player, playing out on a kind of existential level a game of musical Russian roulette. Often “Minnesota, WI” comes on when I’ve just gotten dumped by text message or gone through Taco Bell at 2 a.m.)

At this slightly outlandish request, my brother shot back a calm-down-man message:

(6:45) “Hey I don’t even know that he’s coming.”

At 6:47, I doubled-down. “Ask him what it’s like to be a douchebag on twitter.”

Surprise surprise, no answer. So I kept texting:

(6:52) “Kidding.”

No response.

(6:55) “But seriously.”

Finally, my brother responded:

(7:02 p.m.) “Haha it sounds like he is coming”

Then we enter communication blackout. I go for a run, make spaghetti, and sit patiently by my phone. At 8:53 p.m., it comes in: “He reminds me of a mutual friend. Wisconsin tattoo. And more friendly than he needs to be.”

I can only imagine what Mission Control must feel like communicating through the black box of radio to astronauts when they did (or will, whatever) interact with alien life forms. There is only the picture the words convey. So I ask more questions.

(9:01) “Did he ask if the fish is “wild” or farm-raised?”

No response.


Still nothing from him. Then around 10:35, my brother comes in:

“Haha he’s nice he calls me Removed but it’s my brother’s first name and that’s making me supremely jealous because Bon Iver has been stuck in my CD player for 9 months and now he’s on first name basis with my little brother.”

I’m sullen, so I don’t respond to his next text:

(10:12 p.m.) “We are going swimming.”

Now he was just showing off.

I downed some wine, left the spaghetti on the counter, and became disconsolate. I’ll let the texts I all sent speak for themselves:

(11:12-11:15 p.m.)

“God I’m jealous.”

“Instagram that shit.”

“Tell him I lectured my class on the meaning of ‘Calgary.’”

“Can I tweet at him?”

“I WON’T!”

“But can I?”

“Are you guys drinking Pacifico?”

“Is there a dog around cuz there’s a dog on his Instagram?”

“And a bottle of Pacifico.”


None of these texts receive a response. By 12:30 a.m., I’m passed out asleep.

The next morning I wake up thinking it was all a dream. I reach for my phone to check the weather, and there’s this:

(2:36 a.m.) “He was super nice. We went to Wendy’s for frosties.”

I then got into my car, turned on my CD player, turned it up loud to “Beth/Rest” and cried all the way to work, wondering if I could start up a text conversation with Justin’s brother Nate to sort of even the score and make those two assholes jealous.

Dunstan McGill