This is a story borne of desperation. Last year, for my 50th birthday, my brother Brian (who is exactly one year and three days younger than me) lit me up on Facebook with great pictures of the two of us as children. The sentiment was real, it was touching, and it was unbeatable. Â And I don’t have all the pictures, so I have gone to my own personal well. Â I can write.
You first have to understand that Brian and I were raised (by wolves) as twins.Â Gift giving is a challenge when your birthdays are celebrated together for pretty much all of our childhood and into adulthood.Â What do you give the person you are closest to in the whole world, your Irish Twin, whose tastes are pretty much identical to yours? Easily answered, whatever you want given to yourself on your own birthday.
Our gift giving strategy was always pretty well thought out (usually standing in front of something we both wanted), and even translated into other gift-giving celebrations, like Christmas.Â If I wanted some new Hot Wheels, I would buy Brian new Hot Wheels.Â He, in turn, would reciprocate- buying me Hot Wheels for my birthday.Â If I wanted a cool toy gun, it was as good as bought, or if Brian wanted, well, whatever – pretty much our buying power revolved around sports equipment, Hot Wheels and Matchboxes, and army stuff – well, our conspiracy paid off pretty well.
Needless to say, this didnâ€™t always sit well with the Authority Having Jurisdiction (parents).Â However, the classic and ever-lasting memory will be when we were given money one Christmas to shop for one another with instructions to NOT conspire.Â At the Kingâ€™s department store in Lansdale, PA, we were set loose, money in hand, with explicit directions to NOT BUY THE SAME THING. We made our selections separately, cashed out completely by ourselves, and hid our purchases within our individual shopping bags on the way home. On Christmas morning, we brought our total understanding of each other to its highest peak, each of us unwrapping our presents at the same time. Yes, there was a cool army helmet that we both wanted and we both got it. For each other.Â Really! No conspiracy!
I guess parents get tired of seeing their children open their presents and seeing the same two things every time.Â I donâ€™t remember all that much, I remember we were in some trouble over it, but needless to say, looking back on it, those helmets were the gifts that kept on giving. He even sent one to me last year.
Tune in tomorrow when I plan to tell you about another saga.Â This is the countdown to March 17, and a happy 50th to my brother, Brian, the best brother anyone could ever want in the whole world.