Happy Birthday to my Big Brother, Johnny
(who is balder and older and will reach senility before me. ha!)
I’m writing this and it may embarrass my brother. He isn’t on Facebook, so won’t see this until later, but you know, tough shit, because he HAS done that to me before.:
< Exhibit A
I shall make many claims here, BUT I will back them all up with evidence.
To begin, I’d like to say, he really is a good man, a species that unfortunately is a rare breed among us. I mean, I am in no way saying he is perfect. Growing up (um, and as an adult, too) he can be goofy at inappropriate times and often enjoys making jokes that should be left back in third grade. (Maybe sixth, tops). Sometimes he thinks he knows it all. Sometimes he’s bitchy and doesn’t listen.
AND you can locate him if you lose him in a store because he makes “dad sounds” he isn’t even aware of: whistling, humming, unnecessary clearing of the throat, singing, etc. Other family members will testify to that.
Actually, now that I think of it, that’s kind of convenient.
He’s all those things but also honest and good. He’s smart. And one of the funniest people I know. Don’t believe me?
Ask him to tell you the true story about when he had an accident by hitting a bear with his motorcycle. One would not think this would be funny. In life it maybe wasn’t at the time. But later on, the story was. It was. Very. Ask him to tell you. Do it.
He’s there for his family. His friends. He serves his community. When he finds a person, place or situation, he leaves them improved. He trusts people because he himself is trustworthy and trusts others because he assumes everyone is that way, too. They’re not. They’re totally not. But it's a virtue, I think, to trust others. We had a special bond as kids, like I know not all siblings do.
I remember as a kids if one of us were punished for something we had done, sometimes we’d sit around feeling sorry for ourselves, bottom lip stuck out like a sad mouse in a cartoon, eyes welled with tears. If it was me in trouble he would console me and vice versa, but without talking because some siblings can do that.
The unspoken conversation was only in looks. It usually went like this: “I’m sad you are in trouble” and the response was always “Me too. Thanks for being on my side.”
Because, I knew, and still do, that he would never NOT be on my side, even if I don’t deserve an ally and I will always be on his. Unless he needs bail money. I’m too broke for that shit. Call Dad.
< Exhibit B There were times he was there when he didn't want to be. Even if I was in a beret, orange-ish pantyhose, and a "pirate shirt" worthy of that Seinfeld episode AND I was about to march down a public street.
He complained but showed up. But of course, later that day at home, after the parade, he did an energetic impression of my crooked ass parade-march. I was what they called “pigeon-toed” back then. Yes, my walk looked like it sounds. He did that impression for at least an hour. Soooooo hilarious, jerkface! (Actually, it was) He was just doing his job as a brother. It’s fine. Speaking of which, tormenting and general picking on me when we were kids was in his job description. Like in all things, he was dedicated to that duty!
For instance, there were those times when he’d hold me down and act like he was going to spit on or fart my head (this happened frequently for some reason) leading to my inevitable screams of “Moooooooom!” and then his, “I didn’t do anything! She started it!” And both of us getting in trouble, each of us blaming the other, naturally. Then, we would retreat to separate parts of the house and NOT talk to each other, because JUDAS!
These times of civil war lasted for at least a very long half an hour and right as it seemed the rift between nations would never be mended, the feelings of betrayal and “I HATE YOU’’s” would pass into thoughts like I am bored and he/she has to be over it because we are siblings and that’s the inborn contract to get over it, so, I’m going to see what my brother/sister is doing. Which leads me to my next point.
He didn’t care to play with me. (at least when his friends weren’t around) He often slung me around the kitchen singing (poorly) a version of “Let’s Dance” forever etching David Bowie into my childhood memories.
< Exhibit C
My fondest memories of us playing were the stupid parts that don’t make sense even now. Remember when Billy Crystal in the movie “When Harry Met Sally” said to Sally, “We’re going to talk like this the rest of the day.” Then, he put his tongue behind his bottom lip, saying, “Waiter, I whoold like to order da pec-haaaan pi-eeeeee.”
The writers must’ve stole this from my brother. Ok, it's probably the other way around but anyway, he would say, “let’s talk like this!” and he’d do the same thing as Billy, while singing nonsensical made-up songs like, “I say may, you say may. Everybody say maaaaay.” He did this with his tongue behind his bottom lip. Try it. Now sing your favorite song. Weird, right? Funny. But weird. And our parents were so happy he did this on the hours-long car ride to the beach. And of course, it was worse, because I had to copy him and do it, too.
This brings me to my next point, sociological research shows when people laugh, they often look at the person in the room who they view as an authority, maybe in humor or wisdom, someone they look up to, to check if they’re laughing too! Because laughing isn’t nearly as fun if your closest friend isn’t laughing with you, right?
Exhibits D, E, & F:
One example of that is Exhibit D < where we are playing “Chopsticks” (badly) and I laugh at us. Our mom sneaks a picture from around the corner. Neither of us are aware, so a genuine moment is captured of a little sister looking up to her brother. Look at him all oblivious. Pfffft. Some things never change.
I was in elementary school in <Exhibit E doing the same thing.
Below, my favorite example. In Exhibit F, I’m high-school-aged, yanking thermal underwear up my butt while wearing heels (because I think I’m hilarious. I am. Don't you judge me) and again, looking at my brother to see if he’s laughing. From his face, we see, he does not always think I’m funny. And even with his disapproval, I laugh my ass off, because, you know, being irritating little sister—it’s my job.
I cared if he was laughing too because I love my brother…see?
< Exhibit G
and H >
Let’s not forget, however, even liking him was not always easy, because….well, < Exhibit I.
Here, he’s standing behind me as I sit with Mrs. Claus. He’s holding Gonzo, whose pants he has purposefully pulled down for the picture. PROOF of his skilled pain in the ass-ering.
But I admit; I’ve been a MAJOR pain in his ass, too, for exactly 38 years now. Yep. Major. Significant. I’m smarter than him, duh, so I’m better at it (among other stuff). I’ve been a horribly annoying, bitchy, moody, aggravating little sister who at times likes to give him unwanted advice, which I mean, clearly, is just because I’m smarter than him (he’s in denial about that). I also have blessed him with many eye-rolling’s, “You’re a dork’s!” and “DERP’S!” when I want to say, in one word: “You’re such a doofus!”
In spite of all that…I know he’ll always be around, no matter what bullshit or sorrow happens in life, to give me that pitiful look of, “I’m sorry you’re in trouble or what BULLSHIT!” and I will reply, “Thank you” without even talking. Because…
he loves his little sister and he’ll never not be on my side. I give you < Exhibit J You can’t fake that smile.
Happy Birthday to my big brother! Love you!
Signed, your little sister, who you nicknamed when she was born….and still refer to as...