Friday, December 27, 2013

Michael, Michael Motorcycle & Skinny Belink the Barber, This One's For You.

Almost two years to the day older than me, my brother Michael is having a birthday tomorrow.

God, what a dick that kid used to be! We never played nice when we were little. I was jealous of him and his congenital heart defect and he was jealous of my everything.

We fought and yelled and screamed and pretty much wished the other one would evaporate for most of our lives.

It was bad. When he was bed ridden post open heart surgery, propped up like a prince on our brand new couch (set up along the wall under the big window so HE could suck in all the sunshine) I walked into the living room and paused behind our dad's massive olive green lazy boy and glared. I was so angry! So angry that I slammed my foot into the floor, loudly. It got my dad's attention (took it away from my brother) and I limped around on that fucker for weeks. Even got an ace bandage and a pair of crutches out of the deal. A small victory.

Once when we were in middle-school, he pissed me off so badly on Christmas morning that I dropped (threw) his Galaga hand-held game on the floor and he promptly pushed me down a flight of stairs (at least they were carpeted).

I remember the day our mom whacked him over the back with a broom stick. That same day I decided to never be mean to her. No talking back. No nonsense. No way.

When I was little, 6 or 7? And it was Easter and The Wizard of Oz would be on soon for its once a year broadcast and I was in my room lighting the matches my uncle left there (we shared my room then, he slept in my bed during the day after his night shifts and I slept in it while he worked). My brother came in the room and saw what I was doing: lighting a match, blowing it out and carefully putting it in the ashtray. That kid FLEW down the stairs to tell our mom. Not only did I not get to watch The Wizard, I also got the beating of MY LIFE with a spatula. Thanks, bro.

Now, I'm sure he's got as many, if not more shitty stories about me. How could he not? We were parented by the same damaged people. Lived in the same loud-screamy house together. We were just grabbing our piece of the pie. Right out of each other's mouths.

So the summer day when I was in my mid-twenties and he came to visit me to go to a party in New Paltz, I just assumed the fight we ended up having would be the last time we'd ever talk to each other.

Nope. Wrong. Dead wrong.

That argument changed everything. He had so much to say and so did I and we listened to each other. And we realized how much alike we are. How much we like each other, need each other and love each other. And it's been that way ever since.

My brother is one of my rocks. He's totally nuts and emotional and he's funny and he loves my kids for who they are, accepts them unconditionally and he digs my husband.

He's loyal and handsome and he's a champion of our beautiful and wild extended family. He's a cheapskate and a homebody and an amazing red sauce-meatball chef. Unfortunately, he's also still a Red Sox fan.

Happy birthday, big brother. I love you. So much.

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