brotherly love

Bridges yet to span.
Dangit. In a shortcut attempt to go back and add a bunch of entries into the “Halloween” category – I wrote a small SQL statement to update the category value for all entries containing Halloween-related keywords. Too bad I didn’t bother to understand how the post-to-category mapping works, and I ended up making all Halloween-keyword-havin’ entries belong to only the Halloween category, erasing any other categorizations they used to have. Owell, add it too my to-fix list.

Anyway, in that vein. Sunday Erik came over and we worked a little on the Halloween props. Since last years witch project ended up being a static prop, I wanted to choose a better location for her this year. The peak of the roof in front was my 1st choice, but I needed a way to hang her a few feet out from the roof so she’d have room to hang freely. Erik came up with a pretty simple solution that incorporated a decorative thingy on the front of my house, and we were both really pleased with the results. You’ll have to imagine her broom and some colored spotlights on her, but here you go:


When I was in Taiwan a couple weeks ago, I was preparing to leave on my last morning in town. It was 6am, and I was hastily bundling items into my suitcase, scouring the floor for stragglers. Before I got on the interminably long flight, I wanted to sync-up my work mail so I could do some offline replying/housecleaning. Staring at the mails piling into my inbox, one from my Mom caught my eye. “Frank,” read the title. I double-clicked it up.

I haven’t written about this before now because I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to say about it, not because it didn’t matter to me. I wanted to make that clear up-front.

The missive went about explaining that my lil’ bro was in the ICU at the local hospital. He’d been “jumped” by some gentlemen the evening prior outside a bar, and was beaten unconscious. He had swelling between his skull and brain, thus the residency in ICU – but all expectations were for the swelling to go down and his condition to stabilize. I read the rest, and decided to call my pops just before I walked out the hotel door to find out the latest. Frank was out of ICU, but fairly well doped up to relieve pain. He’d certainly got a thrashing: a bad concussion, likely broken nose, two black eyes, and a Frank-head shaped dent in the steel frame of the car into which is head was repeatedly banged. He would be laid up for a few days at least, and likely would not have any permanent aftereffects. Well, good, I thought… at least he was alive. But man, what the heck?

So you want the rest of the gory details here, but there aren’t any. He got out, he got better, he’s OK now. But guys, the reason I’m writing this is not to tell you the story of my brother getting his ass kicked (as compelling a story as that may be). The reason I’m writing this is to examine my reaction to my brother getting his ass kicked. And, if I write this the way I want to, I may risk sounding callous, aloof, over-cool, whatever… but I’m just gonna run with it, OK? OK.

My immediate reaction was a bit of a surprise to me; it was almost just like reading about the story as if it hadn’t happened to lil’ bro. I wasn’t scared, sad, shocked, upset; I wasn’t much of anything. My first reaction was to call my parents to check on his current condition. Upon hearing he was doing better, my mom suggested I call him at his bedside – a thought that didn’t appeal to me much at all. I dunno, maybe I won’t sound callous because I can’t really explain it. It’s odd, like, I somehow knew it wasn’t that big of a deal. And, I don’t mean to trivialize it, I just mean… I wasn’t as surprised, looking back, as I’d think I’d have been. If I get brutally honest with myself, I think I know the reason that I wasn’t so surprised. Lean in, I’ll tell you if you don’t think I’m an animal for saying it: I wasn’t surprised because, somewhere deep in me, I half-expect stuff like this to happen to my brother. Bad shit happening to Frank just doesn’t shock me anymore.

No! Wait! I don’t mean it like that. I mean, I feel like my brother has been dealt an undeservedly large hand of bad luck in his life – not that I “expect” this kinda thing because of him or something about him. Also, you have to realize that I tend to have a very hard-to-elicit “shocked senseless” reaction. I wrote about it once, how bombshell news tends to phase me… my almost too-laissez-faire attitude toward ground-shaking happenings. I think my somewhat ho-hum reaction to Frank’s incident is a product of these two aspects of me working together.

I still feel like I need to expand here, because I’ve done my brother a disservice – which is mostly because I do pretty poor at putting down complex feelings in paragraph form. Hey, it’s hard, try it. Bitch. Anyway, like I was saying (poorly), I just feel that, compared to me, my brother has had his fair share of crap. For some reason, I got handed this extremely dumb-luck driven bloom into adulthood, while his has seemingly been one stormy sea after another. Maybe this is unfair; perhaps, perceived from his point-of-view, he’s simply had an enjoyable and hard-won road to grown-upness, much as I perceive my own trip. Maybe it only seems rocky to me, looking in from the outside where I truly have no idea what’s going on. I guess I can’t be sure. But I do know that, wrong or not, it sure seems to me like, compared to my brother, golden apple after golden apple has been presented to me on silver platters, or simply dropped into my lap.

I hate that I feel this way; hate that I feel like I’ve had such an easier go at it than Frank has. But, that’s how I feel. It brings guilt. It’s hard-to-explain guilt though, because I feel bad for feeling guilty – if that makes sense. Who am I, so richly blessed, that I have can afford the luxury of feeling bad for my poor little brother? It’s like the first class passenger who looks down his nose at the poor steerage shuffling past into the Super Saver seats… taking mock pity on the lot that life has given them. What right do I have to even feel guilty, have things been that super-duper for me? It’s bullshit. Frank and I are just the same, he’s dealt with what I’ve dealt with, I’ve dealt with what he’s dealt with. Right? Anyway, all of this becomes immediately unimportant the second I sit down with him and have a couple beers.

OK, enough of that.

Sharaun bought some stretch-top pants at the maternity store on Friday (yeah, her belly pretty much dictates a wardrobe change at this point), and when she got home and took them out of the bag, the store had stuffed all sorts of associated-marketing goodies in. There was some boob-lotion, some Strong Mom vitamin drink, and this little green and white piece of paper. On this little green and white piece of paper were some words, so I decided to read them. The words on the little green and white piece of paper were telling me about this Mastercard I could get. Nothing new there, with the amount of credit card offers we get in the mail – I could apply for three or four new cards every day. But the green and white paper-pitched Mastercard was different from those other Mastercards. The green and white paper Mastercard earned money with every purchase you made – money that went into a fund; money that went into a fund for your child’s eventual college education. I stared at the paper for quite a while, y’all.

College? Hey, Lil’ Chino? Listen up. I think you still have a vestigial tail at this point and Mastercard wants me to think about saving to send you to college? I don’t even own my diploma yet, and Mastercard wants me to start saving for yours. Hey, Mastercard? Listen up. Why you gotta scare a brother like that? That’s just not cool man, totally uncalled for. College?

G’night friends and family.

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