Similar But Different – Brian’s 50th Birthday

Honora and her Uncle B.

Honora and her Uncle B.

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. Four more to go?

It’s not like we call each other every day, or even every week.  I guess we should, but the beauty of the internet these days is that you can follow the lives of your loved ones through Facebook and comment at will. If anything, I would say that the internet has brought all of us closer together.  I can see pictures of what he is up to and we always seem to be able to comment back and forth.

Brian and I are so close that we even have to laugh about it sometimes.  When I shaved my head, Brian had already done so. If he chooses a pair of glasses, it will invariably turn out we have selected basically the same design. It’s funny enough that I don’t really see us as looking alike until I see a picture of us standing next to each other, then it is pretty funny.  When we were kids, people had a hard time telling us apart. We had the same crew cuts all the way to fifth grade, ironically, the same all-the-way-to-the-skull cuts we wear right now (after fighting for all those years to wear our hair long, and look, we are back there again!). One year we both dressed up for the school’s Halloween celebration and switched classes. Nobody could figure out how it was that I wasn’t Brian, and vice-versa.  When we revealed we switched classes, we had a pretty good laugh.

Grandpop was good for mixing us up, but more often than not, all we would hear from anyone, Mom, Dad, Grandpop, Grandmom, or anyone else was “Michael Shaun! Brian Patrick!” and since we were always together, we would both come running. A few weeks ago I was up at Brian’s and Kati’s puppy, Beowoof, was totally confused by both of us.  It was pretty comical that she couldn’t figure out how there were two of us.  But again, I guess I don’t see it that much, although from time to time, I see a picture of one of us and I can see that same look.

Looks and the job and the value we put on our relationship are about it where we are similar though. Well, there might be some others, but where Brian is funny and friendly, I am a little cynical and sarcastic. Once he introduced me to a new girlfriend. He warned her that I would probably try to pull her chain.  When I met her I said, “Oh, you’re the new homewrecker.”  I don’t think she ever forgave me for that. Brian is close to so many people and I am a little more distant. And while Brian will speak his piece and not feel bad about it, I can be more of a politician.  Brian is the quintessential “nice guy” that everyone loves to love, and I love that about him.  And man, he is funny when he is drunk.

After I moved away, I came back for Brian’s high school graduation and met a bunch of his friends for the first time, and we are all still pretty good friends. What was funny though is that we were at a party at our good friend John’s house (whose last name is omitted for good reasons) and drinking pretty heavily. I was kicking a bunch of their butts in a game of quarters. Later that night, Brian came running to find me: Jeff was passed out and they were thinking maybe he needed medical assistance. I went to see and he was pretty much just passed out.  So I carried him upstairs and we put him on John’s parents’ bed. We were all standing around and everyone was acting a little worried. I just said out loud, “Someone bring me some lipstick. And a sharpie.” The next morning, passed out in the family room, Jeff came wandering downstairs. We were all laughing hysterically; we had put makeup on him, used a sharpie on him, and all kinds of other horrible stuff.

If it wasn’t for Brian, there are a whole bunch of friends I have now that I never would have met before. Tune in tomorrow.  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.

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