Every year I struggle with what to get my brother for his birthday. No matter what I do, he manages to one-up my gift. For example, this year he sent me 78 episodes of the original Star Trek series on VHS tape. I mean, seriously, how can I even begin to top that...??!?!!
I would just send him cash, but my wife says that would be too impersonal and doesn't indicate I put any thought into the gift. Hmmm, OK. Tomorrow, I'm gonna go down to the Home Depot and get him a gift card. There, I thought about it, personally drove someplace and am NOT sending him cash. Sibling social faux pas averted.
Well, almost. Tomorrow is actually his birthday, and he lives on the east coast, and it's too late to Fedex anything now, and my wife has been telling me everyday this week to get him something, and I've said 'got it covered' everyday this week.
My brother got married this past June. His bride Christy is a wonderful young lady I might add. He definitely married up...but I digress.
At the rehearsal dinner, he got all emotional / girlie on me, blubbering slightly, and saying nice things about me in front of the entire wedding party. 'Yadda yadda yadda I look up to you yadda yadda yadda you're my hero yadda yadda yadda you're my idol yadda yadda yadda Clay Aiken is cute but he ain't got nothin' on you brother yadda yadda yadda' and so on.
[That quote is a paraphrase since I don't remember *exactly* what he said. It was something close to that, as I recall.]
The thing is, I don't deserve any sort of accolades. Well...maybe the one about Clay Aiken...but I digress (again).
I'm just a brother -- one who has great respect for his younger brother. Here is just a sampling of what I have learned from Evan over the years...
1) Younger brothers get the girl. While I was Mr. Geek all during elementary, junior and senior high school, he was Mr. Casanova. That cat always had the prettiest girl. I was jealous, but couldn't admit it. I was the older brother and it would be way uncool to be jealous of my younger brother. It's the law of the jungle.
2) Younger brothers get the jock genes. I was Dennis Rodman playing basketball -- I could do a pretty good job of keeping you from scoring, but couldn't dribble or shoot worth a darn. I actually scored points for the other team once. Talk about embarrassing. Evan was Michael Jordan -- graceful, quick, sly smile on his face when he faked you out and left you to pull up your drawers from around your ankles. He looked good in the uniform, too -- Bruce Lee-ish.
3) Younger brothers refuse to accept they will NEVER win a wrestling match with their older brother. Inevitably, whenever we are together for the holidays, Evan comes up behind me and starts something he can't finish. It's sad, really. It's like Barney Fife (him) vs. Andre the Giant (me). He may be 'wiry' but I outweigh him by, like, 875 pounds or something. Seriously, next time, bring a 2x4 and a couple of your buddies -- anything less is simply an insult.
4) Younger brothers succeed in the face of adversity. Evan is the son of divorced parents (like his older brother and younger sister) and has followed in their footsteps in that regard. He has lived on the corner of Dysfunction Junction for most of his childhood and some of his early adulthood. Even so, he is one of the most positive people I know on the face of the planet. Quick to laugh. Always a smile. Full of the infectious joy of life.
5) Younger brothers won't stop loving you. Many years ago, Evan came over to the house to discuss a matter of great importance. I disagreed very strongly with his proposed course of action. I was verbally brutal, unrelenting. My words may have been filled with truth, but they sure weren't given in love. Looking back on that exchange, I believe he had every right to write me off as both his brother and his friend. Luckily for me he didn't. By his grace and unspoken forgiveness I continue to have the pleasure of sharing his life (although it's not nearly often enough due to the distance between the states of Washington and Virginia).
So...Happy Birthday, Evan...and may that day be filled with family and friends who love you very much.
Andre the Giant