Blogging in E minor
Usually just a bunch of silly crap.

Elba, Part I: Ascent into Madness on a Department Store Escalator

There have always been strange parallels between the life of my brother and that of Napoleon Bonaparte. The earliest signs of such an anomaly are visible in the family photo album. My brother, Mac, at age nine is pictured with his right hand tucked between the buttons of his powder-blue, 1970’s-era suit coat, similar to the famous portrait of the infamous dictator. His hair is wetted down in an attempt to make curly hair lie flat. Of course nobody prompted him to do this; one simply doesn’t think to oneself “Hey, let’s pose him like Napoleon Bonaparte in manner akin to those annoying photos of dogs dressed up as historical figures!” No, he did this on his own.

          Rather than hang around kids his own age, Mac would tag along with me, who was four years older, and attempt compete with my peers. He seemed like a little guy who was always trying to keep pace with the bigger kids, usually to the frustration of all involved.

         Of course, I usually resented such impositions, particularly the first one where he brought my only-child bliss to an abrupt, screeching halt by the mere act of being born into the world. To make things worse, my parents were entirely unsympathetic to my plight. They insisted that we keep this kid around and that I not abuse him.

            An early episode of passive-aggressive sibling rivalry occurred when Mac was first starting to walk. My family was shopping one evening at a Sears department store — the one with that annoying, continuous binging sound. As my parents were momentarily preoccupied looking at merchandise, I noticed that my brother had ventured away from them and hobbled aboard an escalator. As Mac floated upwards on the magical moving staircase, I was delighted at the prospect that he would soon be gone forever! He disappeared into the department store ceiling without a trace. It seemed such a painless, trouble-free solution to a difficult predicament. It was almost too easy.

            In a matter of seconds, my parents had noticed him missing and began looking for him frantically, with the constant background binging adding to the tension. And just as easily as Mac had disappeared into the heavens, he descended upon us via the down escalator, this time in the arms of a store employee.

            Several months later, during a guilt-ridden sleepless episode (the variety of which would later prove to be characteristically episodic) I confessed to my mother in tears that I saw my brother, those many months ago, get on the escalator at Sears. “He might have been gone forever!” I cried. She confirmed that I should, in fact, feel badly over this.

           As years progressed, I got used to the idea of having a lil’ bro’ and even made attempts to fashion him into a little buddy. The problem was that due to the seemingly insurmountable age difference, he simply could not keep up with me and my friends. Sports were always a contentious undertaking. Mac would get frustrated whenever he started to get beat and quit. This became exceptionally annoying whenever we were the only two playing. So, if I wanted to play with him, I had to hold back and be careful not to beat him too badly.

            One seemingly harmless afternoon baseball game comes to mind. I had pitched to Mac for quite a while, patiently allowing him to miss time after time after time and applauding any and all contact he made with the ball in order to keep him encouraged. Eventually, I got a turn with the bat. On the first pitch, Mac tossed up a grapefruit on a tee, a slow-moving pitch right over the middle of the plate. I took a half-hearted swing, doing everything possible not to crush it; nevertheless, the ball found the sweet spot of the bat and left the yard in a slow arcing motion. Before the ball hit the ground in the neighbor’s yard, Mac was on his way in, quitting like Sarah Palin. At first, I apologized, promising not to hit any more homers if only he’d throw me a few more pitches. When that didn’t work, I beat the crap out of him. 

            Later, as I was being severely punished, my parents cautioned me about even trying to play with him. “You are too old to play with Mac. You need to play with kids your own age.” No sympathy!

            The ironic thing about all this was that after playing with kids older than him, being pummeled frequently by his older brother and being routinely thrown into ditches by brother’s friends, he became hardened and quite an athlete. Mac began to excel at all sports, starting with little league baseball, then moving on to football, track and power lifting in high school.

            Furthermore, Mac was much closer to my father than I was. They hunted together and had many common interests. To the other extreme, I had no desire to hunt, fish, camp, canoe or do anything that had to do with dead animals or shitting in the woods. Instead, I had grown long hair, played in bands and tried my best to live my life as an irreverent anarchist. Thus, Mac was like the son my father never had.

            So Mac was the most negatively affected when my parents, after years of marital neglect, poor communication and growing apart, decided to separate. Dad moved out, would try to reconcile with my mother, and then acted psychotically when that didn’t work out. Eventually, Dad turned his back on a losing situation and moved on. As a result, Mac lost his father, his hunting buddy, and his most important male role model when he needed him most. He was bitter, misanthropic and enraged. Thus began his Reign of Terror.

            End of Part I. Stay tuned for sex, violence and a closet full of rotten peaches!


One Response to “Elba, Part I: Ascent into Madness on a Department Store Escalator”

  1. I’m so proud and thrilled that I get to pop your “comment cherry” — hee heee!!!

    Good work and great job — funny shtuff, dude. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for a guy who knew how to use a semicolon ::wink::

    Staying tuned fer shure!

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