Monday, October 25, 2010

He ain't heavy. He's my brother.

My oldest brother is a shit. Don't get me wrong, I mean that in the nicest way possible. He's smart and he's funny, and the whole world thinks he's charming, but he's a shit. That said, though it pains me to admit it, he's also a very good big brother, and I love him to bits. At least I do now, anyway.

You see, growing up, he was the bane of my existence... even though the funniest moments of my childhood involve (and often revolve around) him. In fact, it wasn't until he’d left for college that I realized how much I actually missed him. Lucky for me, he didn't go too far away, so I still had front row seats to his stupidity. One time, while he was pledging a fraternity, he called my mother and said, "I'm naked, and I'm at a pay phone. Can you please come pick us up?" My mother said, "You're in a phone booth... and you're naked? Why… and exactly WHO is the US you want ME to pick up?" My question was... where the hell did he pull the quarter from so he could make the call.

With all my heart I hope he's reading this, and I truly hope I finally get the answer I've waited so long to hear. Butt I digress...

The point is that I can't remember a time when we weren't at each other's throats, even though we always had each other's backs. My earliest recollection is probably when I was in fourth grade and he was in tenth. I was just starting to care about my appearance, and he had a full length mirror in his bedroom. So, one day, I went into his room to look at my outfit, and I noticed that his mirror was crooked. Being the anal-retentive person that I am, I straightened it. Lo and behold, a Playboy fell from the back. Please note that, while I had NO idea what it was, I was certain my mother would and that she would be pissed. So I did what any good, little sister would do... I put it up my shirt... carried it downstairs... put it into an empty coffee can... went into the woods behind our house... dug a hole... and buried it. Then I proceeded to draw two treasure maps: one for him and one for my mom.

Given that our mother was always home at exactly 5:30 PM, I waited until 5:20 to hand the map to him. When I explained what I had done, he threatened to kill me. Then I reminded him that mom's copy was also finished and his ten minute lead was a courtesy not a requirement. I believe the phrase I used was, "TICK TOCK." Needless to say, he found it before she got home. That night at dinner, as he passed my plate to me, he blew on my food. When I asked him why, he whispered, "Because revenge is a dish best served cold." I had no idea he meant that literally.

Now, growing up in Appalachia has certain drawbacks; however, it also has certain perks. Every house sits on a hill… every yard gets several feet of snow… and every kid is guaranteed at least two snow days each winter. Our childhood was no different. And that Christmas, after the Playboy “incident,” instead of getting coal, we got new sleds, specifically the kind of sleds that had brakes. If you've never seen them, they're AWESOME! They’re your run-of-the-mill plastic sled, but with hand brakes, like the kind you see in a car, except the brakes are on each side of the sled. When you pull the brakes up, they dig into the snow, and they slow you down until they stop you completely. And when your front yard is a one acre long, forty-five degree slope, brakes are a VERY good idea.

Anyway... there we were, ready to go outside. But this was the 1970s… you didn't wear North Face, Patagonia, or Marmot. They didn’t even exist yet. Instead, you wore three pairs of corduroy pants, an L.L. Bean sweater your grandmother gave you for Christmas, and a snowsuit that you had to lay on your kitchen floor and be zipped into. You honestly walked like Frankenstein after he’d shit himself, but you didn't care because you were warm, you had a new sled, and you were getting ready to use it. And better than that, it was a snow day.

In other words, you had two feet of snow and no school.

After zipping up our snowsuits and handing us our sleds, our parents went onto the front porch to watch their DNA in action. My sister went first. My brothers went next. Then I took off... The last thing I remember hearing in my head was Orson Wells saying, “Rosebud.” It was like Jackass meets Citizen Kane, the home edition. My brother… the one who is a complete shit… had sawed off one of the brakes on my sled… just one. It went something like this:
1. I took a running start.
2. I landed on my sled.
3. I accelerated.
4. I caught air.
5. I landed.
6. God reminded me that he hates me.
7. I pulled the brakes.
8. I went into a NASCAR-esque tailspin.
9. I flew OFF the sled… ACROSS the yard… and INTO a bush.
10. I lay there… unconscious… peeing in my pink snowsuit.

Thank GOD my dad got it on film. Because, clearly, there's a moral here that we need to be reminded of every holiday: when you bury your brother's porn, it's a slippery slope to violence.

Talk to you next week.

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