I have a brother, and it is his birthday today. While I cannot verify the authenticity of his birth certificate, and he could very well be a half-Kenyan half-Hitler hellbent on mass Marx-ification and the burning of Lee Greenwood records, I’m going to take him at his word, and that of our parents.
Here is a photo of the hoodlum in his pre-pubescence:
We’re like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito in the movie Twins, except I’m pretty sure we’re both Devito.
When I was little, he and his friend Bart once put my stuffed Alf doll on top of a lamp and burned forever a bulb into his non-existent rectum. The rust-colored fur singed and turned a strange, bright orange. Ashamed, Alf’s spirit was never quite the same. I too changed, having seen the darkness possible in brotherly rivalry. (Why Alf? Why?! He was an innocent bystander!)
The children of divorce, we were often out of each others lives, most of that fact due to an age gap and not living in the same place.
Also, he was in the Navy for several years. Whether or not he was “in the shit,” I do not know. Unless the scenes depicted in photos of him visiting massive bronze Buddhas and standing on the decks of ships with impossibly blue water stretching behind him count as “the shit.” He did bring me back a sword though!
We would reconnect in strange ways. My first summer after college I returned home and worked nights – 11pm to 7am – in a rundown hotel. I drank a lot of coffee, wrote a lot of shitty poetry and feared being murdered by a drifter. One night I received a phone call inquiring about a reservation, something rarely done, as we did very little business except for scruffy guys who worked on the trains, just looking to get drunk and crash where the day’s work stranded them in the middle of nowhere. As I struggled to remember the process of actually taking a reservation, the caller revealed himself to be my brother. He too was working the same shift in a hotel in Round Rock. Bored and on the clock, we were able catch up a bit on lost time.
Three years ago, I was digging ditches and installing septic systems, while he was a sales rep for industrial-size septic systems and parts. Now would be a good time to make a poop joke, but I’m running out of time. See, I have to meet him, and his wonderful fiance Megan, at Trudy’s in less than 20 minutes.
Living in the same town has been good, and we’re as close now as we were as kids. We have not yet realized the dream of starting our family funk band, Stanky Justice (or maybe The Department of Justice, J-Funk, Funk-udicial, Cold Funk Justice, etc.) but have made considerable inroads to starting an Olympic vodka-drinking team. Actually, to be true – differences remain. He’s vodka, I’m whiskey. If I’d had any of either, I’d attempt to extrapolate on that as a metaphor.
Okay. I have to buy my brother a tequila shot now.
Possible drunken update to follow.