Thursday, July 8, 2010

Why Every Girl Needs an Older Brother

Note two things typical of my brother:
1. the peregrine falcon on his hat
2. smiling for the camera is not allowed (all that money to the orthodontist and who'd know it?)

I've been thinking about my somewhat stinky, irreverent, big brother lately. (Yes, I technically have two older half brothers, but when you grew up in the same house as Mom's kids, there's something about shouting "I'm going to kill you!" whilst chasing an individual with a blunt object in hand that tends to bond you for the long term.)

Richard, Rich, Rico, Ricardo the Retardo: call him what you may, I kind of like the guy. In spite of the "covered wagons"--or that entire summer he worked the rides at a local amusement park, then chased me, hand extended with a freshly removed sweaty, smelly sock at the end of each dry-heat-of-July-please-keep-your-arms-and-legs-inside-the-ride-at-all-times day. I will never forget the odor of 16-year-old boy feet. Sometimes it walks into my classroom and gives me the dry heaves.

But, merciless teasing and obnoxiousness aside, I'm glad I had an older brother. Why, you may ask? Because I'm convinced he made me exponentially cooler. Take for instance music: the day my big brother walked into my Donny, Jordan, Danny, Jon, and Joey (NKOTB, anybody?) plastered bedroom and shook his head in disgust, I felt entirely ashamed. While he made out with his girlfriend in the other room while "watching" Pink Floyd's The Wall, I was removing posters from my wall. Richard introduced me to R.E.M., The Smiths, Depeche Mode, and artists far cooler than my tweenish Bop! musical preferences allowed. And while I've yet to "get" jazz or his leaning toward the heavy metal genre, I never feel so music-taste-inclined as when my brother asks for the name of "that band".

An older brother also introduces a girl such as myself to The Man Classics: Movies Every Red-Blooded American Male should Watch Before Dying. Had I not obediently viewed every episode of Star Wars, I'd probably be disowned. I also seem to recall spending hours watching James Bond marathons on TBS because he insisted it was an "important part of [my] education". Yep, I'm the girl who catches allusions to "Jaws" as a film character, not only as the classic 70's thriller. A few years ago I spent a week recovering from a back injury. Richard sat me down to watch the entirety of his extended bonus edition The Lord of the Rings Trilogy including all bonus features, interviews, makings of, and so forth. A week of Middle Earth and muscle relaxants with my brother. He repaid the favor by watching all of the 6-hour BBC Pride and Prejudice. (Don't let his love of comic book film adaptations fool you, he's a softy-romantic at heart.)

The coolness my brother instilled in me lies not only in my thorough education of man-oriented pop culture, but in so much more. He made snow forts with me in the winter. He'd sometimes agree to play Barbies with my sisters and me (always taking the roll of the one-armed, one-legged bald Barbie who'd overcome her disabilities to become an architect--designing our Encyclopaedia Britannica house). He allowed me to play "swords" (read: my mother's carved down broom handles) with him, attacking dragons (bushes) and like tomfoolery. I have scars because of him. He let me tag along on dates with him and his many high school era girlfriends. (Granted, his kindness to his baby sister probably helped him sell his softer side to the ladies.) As brothers go, he wasn't that bad.

So, Richard, if you're reading: even though you enjoy bird watching and online gaming and tell dirty jokes in mixed company and unwisely disagree with me politically and stink more than most and didn't do the dishes when you were supposed to growing up, I'm glad you're my brother. There is so much good in you, and I hope you remember that.


Wendy said...

Awww. Hilarious. Gushy. Loved it!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...why does this feel like an obituary.

Anonymous said...

No, but really, you will be writing my obituary, mkay?

Rie Pie said...

I love this!! And might I add that you look so pretty! I've always wanted a brother. I guess I'll just have to hang out with older men to fill the void...darn.

Mrs. Bennett said...

This is why a big brother was always wished for when I was growing up. No brothers at all made us shy around boys and ignorant of lots of man stuff. And now the universe is having fun with me in my all man home.

Alice said...

I missed out on the joys of a big brother.

"Brooke, I'm poo-ing!"

Guess I get to enjoy yours sometimes instead.