Happy Thanksgiving

(At breakfast)

Dan, “I go to Melmark and home and Gran’s and then...

 what tomorrow?”

Ned, “Thanksgiving”.

Dan, “Oh yeah, Thanksgiving. And then …”

Ned, “Black Friday, when everybody goes shopping.”

Dan, “Why we go shopping, we not black? Barack Obama black.”


From A Fellow Sibling

Dan and I receive lots of emails from wonderful people. Sometimes it's difficult to respond to everyone but we'd once again like to affirm that we read and appreciate every word. The words below were sent to me from Sarah Butler, whose younger brother has DS. I rarely hear from fellow siblings and this email was just too good to keep to myself. (GO PHILS)


I'm sure you get these kinds of e-mails a lot, but I wanted to send you one anyway. I came across your blog earlier this week completely by accident. Actually I think I was procrastinating at work and read an article about how doctors were actually happy that the number of Down Syndrome births had decreased due to better prenatal screening, which really made me kind of sad, and in the article your name was mentioned along with the fact that you were creating a documentary with your brother. So after spending another half hour or so avoiding work by Google-ing you and checking out the websites that mention you and your brother (I promise I’m not a stalker), I discovered and started to read some of your blog. Unfortunately I can’t play internet videos on my work computer, but when I got home last night I went back to your blog and started looking at the scenes you have posted. It would be an understatement to say that I was blown away watching them!

Let me start at the beginning. My name is Sarah and just before I turned 7 my brother, Matthew, was born with Down Syndrome. He was pretty sick when he was born; he had a hole in his heart and had to be flown to another hospital with better resources to take care of him. He still has a defective valve in his heart, but thank God has never had any serious problems, nor did he need heart surgery or anything like that that so many children with DS need. When my dad first told my sister and me about my brother, the only reference we really had was Corky on “Life Goes On”. From the time he came home, though, it was never any different than having any other little brother, except that he started going to school earlier in his life than most kids and my parents had to work a little harder to get him what he needed in school. And also I may be a little more protective than I may have been had he not had Down Syndrome (and probably still am).

Matthew turned 18 in June, which is something that I still can’t even believe. It makes me feel old! Looking back on the last 18 years with him, I can’t imagine my life any other way. At the very least, I would be a very different person had he been anyone other than who he is. I have always felt that the world would be a better place if everyone had a Matthew (or a Dan) in their lives. He has brought so much joy and laughter to my family and has made us appreciate the little things in life so much more. Watching him as he has grown up and developed his own interests and personality has been quite amazing. His two very favorite things in life are animals (especially dogs) and country music. His memory on either subject is incredible and I’m still amazed every time we see a dog I’ve never even seen before and he schools me on the breed, and usually its country of origin and purpose, then runs to find it in one of his dog books as soon as we get home and he’s completely right about everything. He’s also like an encyclopedia for facts about country music artists. When he’s home, he can usually be found in our family room watching CMT or listening to all the country music on his iPod, often with a cowboy hat on, strumming along on his guitar. One of his rituals on Saturday and Sunday mornings is to wake up and immediately go on the computer to cmt.com where he checks out all the artists and their bios and videos, always ending his morning with LeAnn Rhimes’ page (like I said, it’s a ritual – he’s a creature of habit and is pretty stubborn about changing his routine). That was an interesting thing I noticed in your videos also – it seems like your brother also has a passion for music. Not long ago I read the book that Chris Burke co-authored about his life and he mentioned that he also loved music and has even recorded a few songs with a few guys he knew that had a band. I just thought that similarity was interesting. For Matt’s 18th birthday, my mom, sister, and I brought him to Nashville to tour the country music capital and he had the time of his life. He has been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to meet a few of his country music heroes over the past few years. People have been so kind to him and it’s been amazing to me that writing e-mails to his favorite musicians have not only been read by them, but have sometimes come with offers of concert tickets and backstage passes for Matthew. My family jokes about “pulling the Down Syndrome card”, but he’s gotten some really great opportunities out of it. We also laugh because now he’s come to expect that he can just say he wants to meet someone or go to a concert and automatically he’ll be allowed backstage to meet them!

Anyway, watching the videos of your brother and your family really struck a chord with me. I found myself crying at certain parts (especially the dealing with death video – Matthew was like that after our first two dogs died and even a year after would suddenly think of it and break down crying while going to bed) and also laughing very hard at others since they reminded me so much of Matthew (like him at school, or handing his business card out in NYC)! And not only your brother, but your whole family and the dynamic you all have with each other reminds me a lot of my own family. When you guys visited NY I couldn’t stop laughing when you’re Dad said how it made his day that you got free parking! That is exactly something my dad would say. I come from a big Irish family with a great sense of humor, and we spend a lot of time sitting around and laughing at ourselves and each other. I was hysterical at some of the stories you were telling about your brother and things he’s said that made you want to crawl in a hole. We have tons of very similar stories about Matthew. For example, one of the most recent stories involves Darius Rucker (the old front man for the Hootie and the Blowfish) and Matt’s gym coach. Darius recently crossed over into country music and has a few songs/videos out on country radio. Matthew adores him. Darius happens to be one of the very VERY few black men in the country music industry. And when I say few I mean I only know of like one other and he was part of a group. So anyway, Matt’s new gym coach also happens to be a black man, and thankfully one with a good sense of humor, since Matt started calling him Darius Rucker as a nickname at the beginning of the school year. My mom wanted to die when she found out! The gym coach seems to think it’s pretty funny. He finds ways to get away with so many things that no one else would be able to! His innocence and lack of sensor between his mind and his mouth make for some pretty funny (and embarrassing) moments.

Matthew is also quite the ladies’ man. My uncles all joke that he’s the smartest one of all of us and that the whole Down Syndrome thing is just an act that he knows the girls can’t resist. He is a huge flirt and loves making new friends. By the end of just about any party you can find Matt on the couch with a pretty girl scratching his leg or his back. I don’t know how he talks them into it! At our cousin’s wedding a few weeks ago he took my camera for awhile and when I got it back it had about 100 pictures on it of him with almost every single person at the wedding, including people he didn’t know and women on the wait staff. The table next to us was full of some of the bride’s family that we’d never met before and by the end of the night Matthew was dragging all the girls out on the dance floor, then after a little while was back at the table hanging out with their boyfriends/husbands like one of the guys. Fortunately, everyone always seems to love him and enjoy hanging out with him. He is a huge ham and loves to be the center of attention, performing in front of anyone who will watch at the drop of a hat. And once he gets a laugh out of you, it’s over…he knows he has you and there’s no turning him off. He is the least shy person I know and also somehow knows more people than I’ve ever known in my life. We call him the mayor. Whenever I take him out, around town or even outside of town, without fail about a dozen people say hi to him and he introduces me to someone he knows (like the Dunkin Donuts cashier, for example). He also has an incredible sense of humor and makes us laugh every single day. A few years ago he fell in love with “Everybody Loves Raymond” and started quoting Frank, Ray’s father. If you’ve ever seen the show, you know that he’s not exactly role model material. On almost a daily basis, Matthew repeats some line from the show. Over the summer we had a bbq for his birthday. While we were all eating, Matthew took the opportunity to try out one of his new favorite Frank lines. He turned to my boyfriend and said “Hey Mark, do you like girls?” Mark responded, “Yes, I’m dating your sister, of course I like girls.” To which Matthew responded, “Oh yea, then why do you walk that way?” My entire family was useless laughing, and Mark was a good sport about it. We found out later that it was a quote from the show that he obviously liked. People who meet Matthew are often surprised by how smart and witty he is. He always knows exactly what to say and when to make you crack up. Even when he’s getting in trouble, he still has the ability to make my dad crack up in the middle of trying to punish him.

This e-mail has become much longer than I had intended, so I have to apologize (and hope you haven’t fallen asleep yet), but I just wanted to share a few things about my own experience having a brother with Down Syndrome. I figure that if I can appreciate your stories so much, than certainly you might appreciate someone else’s. You are so fortunate to have a gift that enables you to put together what you have so far, giving Dan such great exposure to so many people, and giving so many people such great exposure to someone like your brother. I have always wished that I could do more for Matthew, and for Down Syndrome in general, but I just never knew where to start. I think it’s great what you’ve done and are doing, and I look forward to seeing the finished product! I have read a lot of articles and a few books dealing with the subject of Down Syndrome, not really scientific reading, but mostly dealing with the experience of having a family member who has it. I have to say that as much as I have enjoyed reading some of them, your blog is really the first thing I have come across that is told from the perspective of a sibling. Usually it is a parent discussing their child, or in Chris Burke’s case a semi-autobiography. Your blog and videos just really hit home as I could relate 100% to the subject matter. More of us siblings should get material out there for the rest of the siblings out there! It’s just interesting to see someone else face the challenges we face with Matthew, told from the point of view that would be my own, rather than my parents. Matthew attends the same high school as my sister and I did and I’m sure your family faced many of the same obstacles as my family did in getting him this far. He is in his junior year and, since he can legally be in school until 21, will probably have 2 more years of school after this one. The transition from his school to work life is too quickly approaching, and we are trying already to prepare him for it. I wish they had a “life coach” or something similar to what they did at Dan’s school. Matthew’s education does include life skills, but it would be so useful for them to bring him and other students around the community to teach them how to do everyday errands. We do work on things like that with him on the weekends, but I’m sure having more experience like that in school would be very useful. As of now he has been working in the school store at his high school and volunteering at the local animal shelter, which we’ve had very positive feedback about. My parents have also discussed the possibilities of future employment with places like our local Petco store and they seem to be open to the idea. Hopefully by the time he is ready to graduate, we’ll be able to find something which he enjoys and can earn some money and independence for himself. It would be great to hear some more of your experiences with Dan’s transition and what and how he is doing now. Is he still living with your family near Philadelphia? We are in NY…my sister and I both live and work in the City, and my parents and Matthew live upstate a little bit, near West Point (not sure if you’re familiar with NY at all). I guess that would make us bitter rivals until the World Series is over! I hope that you’re not too bored by this ridiculously long e-mail. After looking through your blog I just felt like I had to reach out to you if for no other reason than to let you know that I appreciated your work and look forward to more. I understand that you all must have a very busy life and probably don’t have a chance to respond to every e-mail you receive. But if you do get a chance, anything that you would be interested in sharing would be great. I hope to hear back from you soon, and keep up the great work. By the way I have attached a few recent photos of my family for you to check out. I felt that they were a few that highlighted my family and also Matthew’s personality. Hope to hear back from you soon!


Sarah Butler


Dan's First Screening

Dan instructs everyone to turn off their cell phones

Last night, we screened an hour of our documentary to a full house of friends, family, and fans. I understand there were 70 confirmed guests but just before the movie began people were still showing up and they kept adding seats so I think it's safe to say it was more like 80. The event was held at Pattan in King of Prussia and was hosted by the Montgomery Country Down Syndrome Interest Group, run by Chris and Rose Townsend.

Wee had a blast! Dan was brilliant all night long. He warmly greeted every guest like a true aristocrat, giving extra attention to babies with Down syndrome. He made a bit of a game out of it, trying to guess which children had it and which didn't. We sat behind the audience so we got a full sense of how they were reacting. It was a genuine thrill to hear them laugh at his jokes, cry when he's sad, even laugh and cry simultaneously during some scenes.

The Q & A seemed like it might go south when I asked who wanted to ask the first question and was met with dead silence but once we got going it went on a lot longer than we'd planned. After that, people hung around even longer to meet Dan and share their own stories. It was truly a great night. Hopefully the first of many.

Thanks again to the Townsends for the wonderful opportunity. It was an honor.

Dan and I with Chris and Rose, presidents of MCDSIG


The Strongest Man In The World (NEW VIDEO)

CLICK HERE to watch on YouTube

Dan works at a pretty cool super market. Acme threw a "Circus Of Stars" themed carnival during open store hours. They dressed up, gave out hot dogs and cookies to customers, and even hired a DJ, who setup right in front of the checkout aisles. Dan's role in all the fun is rather self explanatory.


The Luck of the Irish

An Apple IIe Moment
By Ned Drinker

By 1990, I had heard a lot about Apple computers and their therapeutic use for people with learning and speech disabilities. I thought that such a machine with a touch-screen, muppet keyboard, joystick and speech synthesizer would be an extremely valuable aid in Dano’s development. Apple offered student discounts and often donated computers to charitable causes, so I wrote John Sculley, then president of Apple, requesting such a donation. Sculley politely declined so Grampy, Grandee, Diane and I decided to hold a yard sale to raise the money to buy an Apple computer.

We all had collections of old stuff so we had a lot of material for a yard sale. I had an antique photographic collection and darkroom equipment that I was willing to sacrifice. The sale was proceeding nicely, but it didn’t look like we were going to raise anywhere near enough for a computer. Then Grandee came over to me and said, “Mr. Dougherty, here, just donated a whole Apple computer system to us, with all of the accessories you want.” “What!” said I. “How can he do that?”. It turns out that Grandee had chatted him up, in that way that she has, and that he so admired what we were doing that he volunteered to contribute the computer system. He was purchasing a big lot of computers for the Catholic school system, and somehow he could give us one.

Mr. Dougherty delivered the Apple IIe and other components several weeks later and we were in business. I found a state agency near my office in King of Prussia that would lend all sorts of educational software. Dan was around 5 and Will, 4, when they both started using it. Both loved it, though the promise of speech therapy was never realized. Will has been a natural on the computer ever since.
Just as in this instance, good things always gravitate toward Dan and Gran. Dan is forever winning raffles or lotteries and Gran can schmooze her way through anything.


Dan's April Fools Joke (NEW COMIC)

Thanks so much to Mary Cancilla for getting a hold of us and volunteering her talents to our project. I really love how she drew Dan. I also cracked up at how she interpreted Helga as a traditional blonde braided, overall wearing German girl. Hope you enjoy it!

ALSO, don't forget to let us know if you or your friends have talents that might lend themselves to our project. We've had help from musicians, artists, graphic designers... could you be next? We'd love to hear from you.


Oh, Danny Boy! (NEW SONG)

This isn't the first song I've written about my brother but I really love to play this one. I've had the melody for a few weeks now and the other night Dan called to tell me he missed me and the lyrics came instantly. I recorded it this afternoon. I hope you like it. Click the pink circle to play.


An Evening With Daniel Drinker (You're Invited!)

Click image to enlarge

Chris Townsend co-chairs the Montgomery County Down Syndrome Interest Group. In January he wrote me asking if Dan and I would be interested in screening scenes from our documentary at one of MCDSIG's meetings. We gladly accepted and I'm pleased to report that it's officially happening next month. Click the flier above for more details. If you'd like to join us please RSVP HERE.

I'd like to personally thank Chris and his wife for this wonderful opportunity. Dan is going to be so excited to meet his fans. We've never shown any of our documentary to an audience before so it will be quite exciting to see how the scenes play.

I'd also like to thank Daniel Niblock for designing the flier above. Daniel's baby boy, Ozzie, has DS. He blogs about him at Down With Oz. He also just launched DowntownDS.com.

Thanks to everyone for the support. We look forward to meeting you in July!


Dan Stars in My Fair Lady (PHOTOS)

Last night, Dan was in My Fair Lady at the Arden Theater

Joanne Donovan, President of Melmark and Mayor Michael Nutter

Dan takes the stage with great fervor.

I must get me one of those hats.

I'm going to pretend this is a pre-backflip shot.

I'll guess this is where the crowd started clapping for the kick line.

He was so convincing Emily thought he was actually crying. Method.

Taking a bow.

The star.

I love this one.

Hat hair.

Dan the man.
(or as Emily put it, "Ugh, Dan's fake smile")

A very special thanks to my sister for the lovely photographs. I wish I could have attended myself. So far the consensus is that it was an incredible show and Dan was on his game. My dad also tried out his new HD video camera at the show so soon enough we'll post Dan's first scene in HD. Stay tuned.


Dan's First Comic Book

Click on the images to enlarge

Thanks so much to Jaime Crespo for lending his incredible talent to our project. Please comment on this post because I intend to use it to recruit other artists. We're ten pages closer, y'all! Lets hear it one more time for Mr. Crespo! Danke, Danke, Danke.

Speaking of which...

Are YOU an artist? Would you like to join in the fun? Come on, we all want to see how you would draw Dan. We'd love your help telling the off-camera stories that we've begun to collect. If you're interested please send us an email.


Dan Turns 24

Dan's was born on May 9th, 1985. Please feel free to leave a comment and I promise I will read all your birthday wishes to him on Sunday. Happy Mothers Day!


Dan Stars In The Sound of Music

Last week, a friend from high school contacted me after having recently discovered Dan’s blog. She told me how “Dan Meets Will’s Girlfriend” caused her to recall her own feelings from childhood when older siblings brought home significant others. She said Dan was able to articulate what she kept inside. Back in high school, my friend had met Dan plenty of times but she admitted that she didn’t realize how smart and funny he was until she started watching his videos. Hearing this renewed me with purpose. If the way she sees him has changed even a little bit, I’m on the right track.

CLICK HERE to watch on You Tube

This scene contains a moment we can all relate to. It’s an exchange between Dan and Molly, who co-starred with The Melmark Players in The Sound of Music this past December. Dan was still with Sarah at the time but don’t think that stopped him from flirting. As Dan and Molly wait backstage before the show their banter is reduced an awkward pause that is just pure poetry. Keep an eye out for it. We’ve all been there.


Dan and Sarah Break Up For Real

These past few weeks, Dan and Sarah have been breaking up and getting back together frequently.

I just got off the phone with Dan. 

Dan: Will, Sarah and I break up.
Will: I don’t know how to react to that because for all I know, you’ll be back together again tomorrow.
Dan: No. For REAL this time.
Will: Okay.
Dan: (long pause) It’s bad?
Will: That depends.
Dan: On what? Tell me.
Will: Well, if you don’t want to be with her anymore, then it’s a good thing you broke up. If you still love her, then you have to find a way to win her back.
Dan: I want a new one. Will, you help me? New girl?
Will: Are you sure that’s what you want?
Dan: Yeah, I do, Will. I do. You help me.
Will: I’d love to help you. I don’t know how much help I can be out here in California.
Dan: Yeah! I live with you. You help me in LA!
Will: I don’t know about that, dude. I am certainly happy to help you over the phone. We can talk about whatever you wa-
Dan: Will, you tell me your friend’s names.
Will: What do you mean?
Dan: You tell me your friends, just girls. In LA.
Will: You’re really trying to move out here?
Dan: Yeah! I help you. We go shopping. I clean up. Blues Brothers.
Will: That sounds like a lot of fun.
Dan: Yeah!
Will: But I have a question.
Dan: What, Will, what?
Will: Won’t you miss your family?
Dan: No, you?
Will: Yes, I miss you all very much.
Dan: But you fine. You in La, Will. You fine. I fine, too. We older now. We adults.
Will: That’s true, but you have a whole life in Pennsylvania, Dan: Two jobs, a close family, good friends, Harmony theater, and… I mean, you’re a local celebrity, won’t you miss that?
Dan: Will, who famous in LA?
Will: You mean like celebrities?
Dan: Yeah. Hannah Montana, she famous?
Will: Yes she is. And you’re boy Zack Efron. AND all three Jonas Brothers.
Dan: They in LA?
Will: Sometimes.
Dan: Me next!
Will: No way, dude! Have you thought about money?
Dan: Why?
Will: Well, where you live now, Mom and Dad don’t make you pay them anything, do they?
Dan: No, they my family, Will. They my family.
Will: Yes, but you get to live in their house for free, which is a pretty sweet deal. Do you know where I live?
Dan: LA.
Will: I mean, like… do I live in a house?
Dan: No, a dorm.
Will: An apartment. Dorm’s are for college, like Emily.
Dan: Oh yeah! I sorry. I mess up.
Will: It’s fine. But do you think it’s free for me to live in an apartment?
Dan: No. You pay rent like Paul.
Will: It costs six hundred and sixteen dollars for me to stay here each month. But that doesn’t include paying for electricity, which gives me things like light my computer, or gas, which gives me hot water.
Dan: Or food.
Will: Yes, exactly!
Dan: Or medicine!
Will: Right. Don’t rub it in. I can barely afford to live in California.
Dan: I know, Will. Economy.
Will: That’s right. Do you know how much money you make?
Dan: I don’t know, Will, I don’t know. Two jobs. More than you.


Dan Enters First Grade

During each year of Dan's academic career our mom kept a book of correspondence with his teachers. As I mine these documents for stories I realize that certain people might benefit from being able to read the entire collection. So I've begun typing it all up, year by year. There are 17 books in all (and several unaccounted years I still have to find in our house somewhere).

Since there is so much material I've decided to post it on a separate blog called The Dan Drinker Diaries. The earliest diary I have is from first grade. The Drinkers lived in northeast Philadelphia and Dan attended Our Lady of Confidence, a Catholic school. CLICK HERE to see the books I've typed up so far.


Obama's Special Olympics Joke On Leno

This evening on The Tonight Show, Barack Obama made a not so ready for prime time remark likening his bowling skills to the Special Olympics.  It hasn't aired yet on the west coast but I'm already seeing the story pop up online.  

My question is: how accurate a comparison is it?  What are the scores of the top special olympian bowlers?  As much as Dan loves Obama, I wouldn't mind finding out 129 is a crappy score even by Special Olympic standards.


I wrote to Christopher Beam, who writes The Explainer for slate.com, asking if 129 was a beatable score at the Special Olympics.  He delivered.  Click here to read his Explainer.

Kolan McConiughey is a Special Olympian who bowls an average of 266.  

Timothy Shriver, chairman of the Special Olympics, has called on President Obama to "consider" hiring one of their athletes to work in the White House.


Dan's Business Card

Today is the one year anniversary of dandrinker.com. The project actually began two years before that, when I was in college. I was trying to choose a subject for a documentary film class where we were expected to experiment with audio/stills montages as well as found footage. My dad suggested my brother might make an interesting subject seeing as he was a senior in high school at the time and his transition into the workforce was something both my parents had worried about since the day he was born. My mom always referred to the dreaded transition year as "The Year of Dan" due to how much focus she and my dad had to put into setting him up for his post-high school life. I thought that was the perfect title for the doc, but we've been shooting for over three years now and it's no longer about a single year in Dan's life.

So I flew home and shot some footage of Dan at work and at school. I had no idea what I was doing. Dan had always starred in my movies so he was not camera shy. In fact, he loved showing off. This was a bit disconcerting to me because I had already made up my mind that I wanted myself and my camera to be virtually invisible. Every time Dan acknowledged me or that I was holding a camera or that he was famous I got more and more nervous about how I was going to edit out all his pandering.

The project was due at midnight and we were required to submit it by uploading it to a server. I missed the deadline because, quite plainly, it wasn't finished at midnight. I uploaded the project sometime in the early morning. My professor refused to watch it and gave me an F. The rest of the footage I'd shot was shelved and I began to focus on other projects. A year later, I was trying to play catch up for my Film 1 class, much of which I'd missed due to illness. Since I didn't have a final film project, I screened some projects I'd been working on before I got sick. One of them was The Year of Dan. I was surprised at how positive the feedback was. The class discussed it for a solid half hour, and it wasn't even shot on film! My professor pulled me aside and asked what my plans were with the doc and I told him I had none. Since it had received an F, I'd considered it to be a failed endeavor. He disagreed and told me to write the professor about the grade saying he'd also look into it. I did, and soon enough, the grade was changed to an A.

In February, 2008, I rediscovered some of the footage I'd shelved. It was about how Dan copes with death when he learns his teacher's husband has passed away. I was baffled that I'd let this footage sit in a drawer for almost two years. That scene contained everything that was missing from the original because it both showed who Dan really was and I didn't edit myself out this time. Dan acknowledges me and the camera every chance he gets, and it works. I was no longer worried about being invisible. As I continued to cut old footage, I was compelled to shoot more. I wanted to figure out a way to organize all these scenes but wasn't quite sure how.

Before I explain how Dan and I came up with the idea for a watch-it-as-we-make-it blogumentary you must first appreciate my brother's concept of "office stuff". I don't know when it began, but somewhere in his youth, Dan became obsessed with collecting office supplies. Paper, binders, notebooks, pens, staplers, hole-punchers, or as Dan would put more elegantly: office stuff. Dan's office stuff usually filled up two or three large bags whenever he would pack up for a sleep over at his grandmothers. On several occassions I would have to help him carry his bags of office stuff to her car because they were too heavy for one person to take them all. He easily could have oppened his own office supply store. The assumption in my family has always been that office stuff was a way to appear busy and thus feel more normal. The Drinkers are very busy people. Dan refused to be left out.

I understood this completely. Dan developed a routine with his office stuff that truly kept him busy. It takes quite a lot of time to organize all his supplies the way he likes them, pack them in his bags, and carry them off to Gran's car. Then when he arrives, he gets to perform the ritual of unpacking and setting up all his office stuff. This involves turning on the Disney channel and proceeding to transform his grandmother's living room into his office. It's a territorial ceremony as well. Once every available surface is covered with stacks of loose leaf, yellow notepads, and printing paper, it's not hard to figure out who's turf you're on.

One afternoon, Dan stood in my bedroom doorway telling me he wanted a business card. He explained that he was an adult now and if he was going to have real "office stuff" he would need a business card. I asked him what he'd put on the business card and he replied, "I don't know, Will, you?" I didn't have an answer. Later that night, it all started to make sense. I did some research, registered dandrinker.com, and set up a blog.

I distinctly remember us standing in the kitchen breaking apart the perforated edges of our newly printed business cards as the rest of our family looked on with skepticism. The card said "dandrinker.com" and nothing more. My parents were having difficulty seeing what the point of it all was. The idea was simple. Dan knows more people than anyone I know and come on, if Dan Drinker walked up to you with his business card and said, "my website!" you're telling me you wouldn't be booking for the internet?

My mom was worried we were going to run out of videos to post. Luckily, we already had some content for the blog. I'd just completed a new scene called Dan's First Date With Sarah. Dan and I were both quite pleased with how it came out and decided it would be a great way to kick off the site. The year that followed is pretty well documented already but let me just say it's been the best year of my life. So many families and individuals have written us with such kind and encouraging words, sharing stories of their own, demanding more videos. We read every e-mail, comment, and message and apologize if we aren't able to get back to you.

We are much further along with our project than I ever could have hoped but we are nowhere near finished. Stay tuned, there is plenty yet to come!


Sea Isle Stories

CLICK HERE to watch on You Tube.

In the summer of 2006 the Drinker family vacationed in Sea Isle City, New Jersey. Nancy, Jim, and Paul Freedman (Dan's grandmother, uncle, and cousin), along with family friends Evan Cuttic, Lisa Lotito, and Susan Fedynak were guests at our rental house down the shore. During the time this footage was shot, Dan met my girlfriend, Susan.

Photos by Evan M. Cuttic. Click to enlarge.


Feel The Love

Check out Dan and Sarah in Philadelphia's new Feel The Love campaign.


Dan and Sarah in Love Park

Sarah's family took she and Dan to participate in a commercial to promote the city of Philadelphia. In Love Park, couples were asked to make out to capture the essence of brotherly love. Click here to see a photo gallery from the shoot. Just scroll through and you'll find Dan and Sarah hamming it up on the second photo of the second page.

Sarah is a great girlfriend for Dan but he's even more fortunate her family takes such an active and supportive role in their relationship. When Dan started dating Sarah, it was as though Dan's mom started dating Sarah's mom. Making plans, coordinating driving to and from dates, keeping an open line of communication, these responsibilities are naturally not left to Dan and Sarah alone. Any and all success for what Dan and Sarah have must be credited to their parents.

As a ventriloquist, I've been to shows and conventions where there are other ventriloquists. Sometimes another vent will have his puppet strike up a conversation with mine. Several times I've found myself obliging in a rather awkward back and forth between my puppet and theirs. I'm not trying to imply that Dan and Sarah are puppets but that many strings are pulled by those around them and it can be a delicate dance for both our families to perform.

Dan and Sarah usually do the dreaming while Diane and Rita decide whether it jibe's with reality. Just about every day, Dan tells my mom some form of plans he's made with Sarah. He then insists her mother has confirmed said plans, even that she's coming to pick him up. Without fail, my mother calls Sarah's to find she is unaware of any plans.

There's also quite a balancing act when it comes to Dan and Sarah's physical intimacy. A number of mothers are appalled that Dan and Sarah make out in some of his scenes. One mother of an adult with Down syndrome told my mom, "My daughter won't be watching THOSE videos. She won't be going near boys of any kind in any such way". She failed to recognize that her daughter is no longer a child. Dan and Sarah's mom understand that these two young adults deserve all the trappings of a normal healthy relationship and strive every day to provide them with just that.