Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What are Big Sister's For?

I'm coming out of my cookie-filled, scotch tape abyss for a moment to let you all know a very important, yet lesser-known holiday is today.

Today is my little brother's 30th birthday. Yes, December 21, 1981, I was dethroned as only child and given a baby brother, who was brought home Christmas morning. In a stocking.

All I wanted was a record player.

This day is also significant, as it is the first thing I can remember, chronologically speaking. It was that traumatic. (Like how I can take his birthday and make it about me? It's a talent, I swear.)

Growing up with Ratboy was either irritating or fun, depending on what age you asked me that question. As little brother's go, he was pretty typical...following me around, fanning me with palms, fetching me cold drinks, and handling my fan mail.

Strangely enough, he tells a different story.

He would tell you about the time I rammed his face into the bathtub when we were left alone in there while our mom answered the phone. He was just learning to walk, didn't speak, and when I was asked what happened, all I said was that he "fell."

There's also the story of how I chipped his front tooth with a purse mirror. We were playing around, shoving it in each other's face and saying "look at that ugly face." Except my aim and eyesight have never been what they should, and I got him with the mirror. We both just sat there, stunned, knowing full well we were both in deep doo doo.

This is the pose we all call the "Uncle [Ratboy]" face. I have about 20 of these particular pictures of him. Also, see that front tooth? I did that.

And he may be the only freshman in high school to get detention his first week of school for being late for first hour that many times. I had a car and a first period teacher that didn't care how late we were, and I was his ride. After a few more detentions, he eventually starting taking the bus.

I'm just that awesome of a big sister.

Somehow he survived childhood with me, but even more surprising, he survived me going away to college and leaving him to fend for himself with our parents.

(Although he did visit me in college once, where, as the wonderful big sister I am, I got him raging drunk. I believe we were doing shots in homage to dead pets of ours and our grandparents. "To Pepper! To Benji!" Sorry Mom.)

He's having a big party tonight, and I can't go. I feel bad about this because he came to my 30th birthday extravaganza. (Though, to be fair, I begged him. But it was also a Saturday night and we were doing karaoke. He walked in from the parking lot, did a shot of whiskey, slammed it down, and proclaimed, "Okay, now I can deal with your friends!")

Ratboy now lives in Chicago with his girlfriend and step-dog. He is everyone's favorite uncle, no matter what age...mostly because of his vast collection of obnoxious t-shirts and video game systems. He is the youngest of the siblings when we are at my dad's, and one year, my step-sister asked a table full of nieces and nephews, "Who wants to be like Uncle [Ratboy] when they grow up?"

They all raised their hands, every last one of them.

Happy birthday, Ratty. May this be the year you get to sit at the adult table.


  1. aww, Happy birthday rat boy, may you find cheese steaks as awesome as baltimore, and remember Mr. Boh truly is winking at you.

  2. He is like the little brother I didn't have but kind of had? Does this make sense?