It is just after midnight when I send my brother a happy birthday instant message. He talks to me for a second, then reminds me that in California, it is only 10:00. He is still 22 for another 2 hours. It is not his birthday yet and I am lame. The next evening, it is almost midnight when I remember to call again on his birhtday. I rush to my phone, and quickly give him a call. Fortunately, it is still 10:00 there at Stanford, and he has two more hours to enjoy his birhtday. I leave a message, becuase he is too busy partying and having fun to answer the phone. Or studying, which is more likely. And this is how my brother's birthdays go. He has to study for a test. His parents send his birthday present too late to arrive on his birthday. His brother forgets to call until midnight, or at all.
This is worse because he would never forget to call me on my birthday. He is a student, and broke, so he doesn't send me anything, but he calls me to wish me a happy birthday at least once, and remembers that it's my birthday frequently throughout the day. He is good and thoughful, and I, as I have pointed out before, am lame.
"This is going to sound really weird, but I was looking at your picture on the website, and I know your brother." I really thought this was behind me. I am now 24 years old, sitting behind a table at a career fair. I have not even lived in the same city as Jason for years, and still people know me as Jason's brother. It used to bother me. Even though I am a year older than my brother, not long after he started high school peple began to greet me with "Aren't you Jason's brother." It's kind of an embarassing thing, in high school, to live in your younger brother's shadow. Younger, shorter, brother. I felt like it said something about me, that I was so uninteresting, so non-descript that people could only identify me by my relation to my little brother. In reality...well, that was partially the case. But also, it said something about my brother. Not only that he is much more attractive than I am. But that people like him, that he is cool and interesting and fun to hang out with. Things that I was certainly not. There was a time that this realization would would have caused me to throw a pink squeeky dog toy at him. That time was the third grade. Later it just caused me to make lots of self-deprecating jokes about being known as Jason's brother. That was high school. And now, I guess.
This person, talking to me about how she knows my brother is his high school drama teacher's daughter. She remembers Jason even though she didn't go to our school. I like to tell people that my brother goes to Stanford. It hints at some things I have learned about him since I graduated from high school, how is smarter and braver than I am, how he organizes rallies and does what he thinks is right and says what he thinks needs to be said. He's not perfect, of course, but he forgives me when I can't even to get the timing right on a simple happy birthday phone call. "Yes," I say, "I'm Jason's brother. He's at Stanford now."'
About the Above story:
I wrote this for my brother on his birthday. I know, some of it is cheesy sappy mush, but I thought it would be a nice birhtday gift, cause I say lots of nice things about him. So I sent him the link. "It kind of made me sad," he said. "I mean it was flattering, but also sad." I was going to make fun of him for completely missing the point, but then I read it again. It is kind of depressing. So that's the last time I write the story at 2 a.m. while I'm feeling guilty that I didn't send my presents in time for him to get them. still, I'm trying to say nice things about him, and he picks up on the line where I call myself lame. This is how nice my brother is. But mostly, I was joking. Sometimes I am lame, and a big dork, and an idiot, but overall, my self esteem is really OK. So just take the complement you dork. And happy birthday.