Sunday, April 10, 2016

National Siblings Day

One of the many interesting nuances of social media is that every day is now proclaimed to be “National Something-or-other Day.” Every morning that I login to Twitter I find out that we’re celebrating something new—National Puppy Day, National Beer Day, National Phillips Head Screwdriver Day—basically if it’s a noun they’ve got a day for it.

I don’t think twice about most of these days (besides, who even uses Phillips head screwdrivers anymore?) but today’s day gave me pause. Today, April 10, 2016, has been proclaimed by the internet gods as National Siblings Day. That one actually makes sense. We have a day to celebrate our mothers and our fathers, so why not our siblings? I have two older brothers and by golly they deserve some appreciation.

Of course, since I’m just finding out about National Siblings Day on the actual day, it’s too late to send my brothers a gift. Had I known about this day in advance I might have gone down to my local haberdashery shop and purchased them each a…um…uh…I don’t actually know what a haberdashery shop sells—Cigars? Hats? Woolen mittens? The point is, in the absence of a physical present, I will be posting this public appreciation for all the world to see. (Or at least for the 37 people who click on my blog to see.)

My oldest brother, Steve, is eleven years my senior. He taught me many things over the years like how to throw a football, why The Planet of the Apes is the greatest movie in the history of mankind, and how to get a Yodel smashed on your back and take it like a man.

Great Steve Brotherly Moment: When I was about 14 years old, Steve took me fishing. We had never gone fishing before, but for some reason I got it in my mind that I wanted to try to catch a fish, so Steve happily took me to a lake to give it a try. I have no idea if the lake we went to was, in fact, intended for fishing, or if there was any kind of aquatic life living in this lake at all, but Steve found a lake for us and we went, brand new fishing gear in hand. We waded into the lake, cast our lines, and waited. And waited. And waited some more. I don’t know if we waited for 20 minutes or two hours, but we never got even the faintest hint of a bite. At some point I started getting upset about our lack of success and Steve started to realize it was more likely for us to get hit square in the mug with a meteorite than it was for us to catch a fish. It was at this point that Steve dropped his fishing pole and started aggressively slapping the water. On the verge of tears, I looked at him and asked what he was doing. “This is how bears catch fish,” he said. My brother is a large man—about six feet tall and husky—and is not unlike a bear in his configuration, so I actually thought maybe this could work. I got out of the water, put down my gear and watched him flail around, grunting and groaning like a grizzly that rides the short bus. Of course he didn’t catch a fish, but his ridiculous display did cheer me up and took my mind off our empty bucket.

Mark, the middle brother, is seven years older than me. It is through Mark that I developed a love for The Beatles, Woody Allen movies, and the finer points of sarcasm.

Great Mark Brotherly Moment: When I was a junior in high school I went to a toga party at my friend Rob’s house on a night when his parents were out of town. Rob was a year ahead of me in school and I actually didn’t know him all that well, but what 16-year-old is going to pass up the opportunity to go to a toga party? Knowing that the party was going to go on pretty late, the idea was for all of us to sleep over at his house. But my mom, whose photo was next to the word “overprotective” in the Oxford-English Dictionary, didn’t know Rob or his parents, so I told her I was sleeping over at Chris’s house. My mom knew his mom, so this seemed like a safe lie. And, since Chris lived around the corner from Rob and was at the toga party as well, I figured close enough. Mark, of course, wasn’t at this party, but he knew I was going and he knew about my lie. I told Mark everything. The party went off without a hitch (other than the odd discomfort of trying to use fitted sheets for a toga) and my cover story seemed to have worked…for about three days. Unfortunately, what I never considered was the possibility of my mom running into Chris’s mom at parent-teacher conferences and thanking her for letting me sleep over her house. Oops! When my mom came home she had a look in her eye that I assumed related to the fact that I got a 16 (yes, out of 100) on my trigonometry midterm. But no, she said she spoke to Chris’s mom and where the hell was I last Saturday night? Trapped! I desperately looked at Mark who knew my lie and immediately went about distracting my mom. I don’t remember what he said or did, what suddenly urgent matter he concocted, but somehow, inexplicably he quickly got my mom out of the room saving me from her instant wrath. This gave me enough time to come up with a more comprehensive cover story for when she came back (Chris and I went to the movies and got home after his mom had gone to bed—I left the next morning before she got up, so she never knew I was there) and manage to avoid my doom. Yep, Mark always had my back.

So on this National Siblings Day I say “Thank you!” to Steve and Mark! Although you’re both taller than me, I still love you anyway.