Tommy Koponen

Y’know that age old query; what would you do if you saw a bear? Some people say run, others say fight, but only 1 person has offered a third option. Tommy Koponen once told me he would try to become friends with the bear in that situation. If anyone has the capability to befriend a bear, it’s Tommy.

Tommy is a real life version of Joey Tribbiani: the kind-hearted Italian friend who will always make you laugh and has dreams of movie stardom. All your interactions with Tommy will turn into comedy sitcom scenes and you’ll suddenly find yourself bouncing dialogue off him because he sparks hilarious conversations with anyone and everyone wherever he goes. For Tommy, life’s not about what you’ve done but about what you DO. He constantly breathes life into the belief that right now at this very moment you’re living the most awesome moment of your life! You’ve got nothing to complain about so let’s laugh!

He’s got that distinct Italian swag that’s impossible to fake or replicate. I’m not talking surface level stuff – the greasy hair, the loud shirts, the inflated muscles. Nor am I talking mannerisms – the grabbing of the neck, the loud laughing at inappropriate moments, the obnoxious “HEYYYYY!” across a room. I’m talking deeply instilled cultural values and traditions.

Family takes precedence above all else because “stuff like money comes and goes”, he explained to me. I noticed something beautiful during a thanksgiving dinner with Tommy. When Tommy dines with family he unstraps the watch tethered to his wrist then places it face down on the table. The significance, I learned, had nothing to do with an itchy wrist but actually represented his commitment to the people surrounding him at the table and that time was of no matter to them. If you dine with Tommy you can bet your cannoli that you’ll be closing down that eatery because his well of stories never runs dry.

And that, my dear reader, is the key to it all. Tommy once advised me “stories are what keep cultures, families, and friends together”. He chooses to make life a fun-filled tale and people love him for it. I can’t wait to see the stories unfold in his movies as he sets sail on his acting career.

Love – the guy’s got a lot of love. Being roommates back in the fraternity daze kicked ass because he loved everything from partying and dancing to swiffering puddles of vodka and crusty fruit punch during the morning after. That kind of love for life is contagious and will fill you up like a cup of warm green tea on a chilly winter night.

The lucky son of a gun found the love of his life, Theresa, in the halls of his high school. Wise beyond the years of many others his age, he held onto that most precious and delicate relationship by sustaining that love for over a decade. He recently proposed to Theresa in glorious Italian style in front of the Trevi Fountain in Rome. And she said YES to the furry-browed little meatball! If I were a betting man my money would be on the long haul for these two.

Tommy will drop everything at any given moment to jump down into the trenches to fight alongside any of his friends. He’s the type of person everyone wants on his or her team. Spend a day with Tommy K. He’s a friend of ours – a made man in my book.

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