This is dedicated to my little brother, on the occasion of his 50-something birthday. Live long and prosper, brother. I invented that saying, so feel free to use it.
On this date 59 years ago, my life changed forever. On this date long ago, you were born. You were brought home and changed life by convincing people you’re all innocent and everything. What a scam. Little brother, you weren’t even two weeks old when you set me up. You knew I’d get blamed, so you blatantly colored on the walls in the dining room. What’s really ironic was that you copied the text from my favorite anthology of balloons called Up, Up, Up. Your cover story was “I’m a newborn, goo, goo.” The twinkle in your eyes betrayed the diabolical plan. You knew that nobody would suspect you, because you didn’t know how to walk yet, and the big blue eyes said you were oh-so-innocent. Those eyes lied. I told our parents that you defaced the walls, but did they believe me? They did not. They believed you and those lying eyes. Wait, “Lying Eyes” might be a good song title. Maybe the Eagles could sing it.
Your subversion continued throughout infancy, and beyond. You took my pocket knife and carved my initials into the new dining room table. You convinced everyone else you couldn’t crawl yet and you were above reproach. I remember thinking you’d probably grow up to be a corporate executive or an engineer or something equally unsavory. Sadly, I was correct.
Sometimes I wouldn’t even be in the same room, and for no reason you’d yell “He hit me.” You even smacked yourself on the cheek so you had a red mark. When I was unjustly punished, you’d gloat and snicker at me. If the parents looked your way, you’d be all virtuous acting and bat those lying eyes.
I remember once you did something evil to me, so the brother code required me to chase you. You climbed to the top of the elm tree and wouldn’t come down. I was worried you might lose your grip and fall. I was trying to rescue you by throwing dirt clods and rocks at you. You resisted by spitting on me. You spit a lot in a really high arc. I hope it was spit. Please tell me it was spit.
Knowing your aptitude for business, I was trying to teach you about unintended consequences of your actions by gingerly putting a stick deep into a bee tree. I told you to pull it out quickly to get fresh honey. I also taught you that you could almost, but not quite, outrun hundreds of angry bees. You need to work on that. Did you or Mom thank me? Not in the slightest. I felt so unappreciated.
It’s like my lessons on being observant. I used your bow to shoot all of your arrows into the woods. You really loved those arrows and spent days trying to find them. The lesson also taught you to deal with loss, but was I thanked? Nope.
You continued goofing up in adulthood. Most members of our family have at least one divorce under their belts. I’ve had three divorces and I’ve lost half my stuff each time. You had to go find the perfect wife the first time out and 40 years later, you’re still happily married to her. You still have all of your stuff. You’ve also raised three highly educated productive Eagle-Scout sons that have never been in trouble. You really need to get with the program.
All kidding aside, brother, I couldn’t be prouder of you as my only brother. If I could have had a choice of any brother in the world, it would be you. Honestly, I would’ve picked Johnny Quest or Captain Kirk, but you get the idea. Happy birthday to you and have many, many more.
In closing, to outrun bees you only have to make 20 miles per hour for a mile or so. That’ll give you a goal. You’re welcome.
Your Big Brother