Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Belated Birthday Wishes

Note: For my 40th birthday, my wife solicited wishes from friends and family.  I received so many wonderful memories and thanked everyone.  This one just came through from my sister, Kaleen, and I thought it was worth sharing.

Rush Hour in Battle Mountain, NV.
My brother Rob is the oldest, and therefore made all the fun mistakes that Jamie and I never got to make. He paved a way for us, then put up cement blockades on that newly paved path so we couldn’t follow. So, yes, if you want some smart and savvy stories about Rob, stories that make him look young and foolish, spunky but stupid, then, yes, I’ve got those. The only problem is that Rob has probably already told all those stories. Again, pulling the ladder up behind him, so he gets there first, with the best toys, to raise the highest flag.

So, yes I could tell you about the time that we were living in Battle Mountain (and you know it’s gonna be a good story when it starts out with Battle Mountain . . .) and our parents were out. Rob’s friends call him up and say something shady like, “Your parents are gone! Sweet, let’s rob a bank!” or whatever teenage boys say to each other on the phone. Rob
The Lincoln Town Car is so large it affects gravity.
agrees to the shady activity, but needs to get into town about 7 miles away. He makes the only reasonable choice of reasonable criminals. He borrows our parents’ Lincoln Town Car. But he can’t leave Jamie and I home alone. Or, what is probably more to the point, he refused to relinquish the parental-granted authority of Being In Charge. So he makes us go with him. We don’t want to. Jamie and I have been told horror stories (by Rob) about children, cars, police officers, criminals, jail, and worst of all, having to confess to our parents. But Rob is in charge, and has always been persuasive. So we all pile in the Lincoln. I should tell you that Rob was at most 14 years old. So, there we are, Rob in the front, Jamie and I squished into scared little sibling globs on the floor of the back seat so no one sees us. Well, correction, so that Rob’s friends don’t realize that he’s being responsible while he’s being a criminal. Oh I could go on to tell you that he then has to fess up that Jamie and I are in the backseat because his friends want to hop in and go for a ride, too, and we did.

Note: I have no memory of these events, nor would I be disposed to discuss such events if they had actually occurred.

But I won’t tell you that story, mostly because it highlights the fact that Rob had a mullet when we lived in Battle Mountain.

The most dangerous creature known to 3 year-olds.
Instead I will tell you the story of how Rob used to dominate my son Alex at Pokémon by using Charizard. My son was 3, a young, impressionable, adorable 3 year old with one love. One goal in his life. He wanted to be a Pokémon Master. Because of his love of Pokémon battles he wanted to beat the best—enter Rob. Think of Rob in leather pants, an evil mullet, driving up in his stolen Lincoln and laughing a mighty guffaw. Or, your other option is to picture Rob in jeans and a t-shirt playing, with kind eyes and an eagerness to spend time with his nephew. But, if you choose Option 2, you won’t really appreciate the end of this story.

So . . . Rob enters the room, swaggering and says to the sweetest-little boy in the world, “Fire up your Nintendo 64! We’ve got some dueling to do!” Then Rob did the worst thing of all—he picked Charizard to be his starting Pokémon. This evolved form of Charmander has a devilish ability to fly up high and then swoop down and pounce on his victims, pummeling them into the ground. A knock-out move every time.

I said, it hurts my feelings when you use Charizard!
How could Alex compete with such a move? How could he defeat a Flying-Fire-Ground attack.

Well he couldn’t.

Rob, mullet waving in the air, just laughed as Alex was defeated. And Alex, true, brave, kind child did the only thing he could. He used his Feeling Words. He said, “It hurts my feelings when you use Charizard.” Pow! A knock-out to Rob. A real-life David and Goliath moment. Rob was down for the count. And from that battle on, Rob has never used Charizard again. Well, maybe once, but that’s another story.

Note: I'm 99.44% certain this was actually addressed to my brother, Jamie, who also had a mullet.

Rob redeemed himself by later teaching my son how to wave a sword and sing “Be a Man.” Going on to chant call-and-response choruses of:

I got my ass kicked a lot, but I was well choreographed.
“What do we want?”
“When do we want it?”

How he invented the all-time favorite game of “Squish the Nephew” with both my sons and how the giggling lasted well into the night. Yes, Rob started out being a rough rogue with a mullet and a pension for danger. But, in the end, his deep love for family and musicals has always managed to surface above his criminal car and Pokémon activity. Don’t let his tough exterior fool you, he loves like he laughs—heartily.

And he does a mean rendition of the Sharks and Jets. 


  1. Okay, now I want to see Rob in a mullet and leather pants! ROFL

    1. I have never now, nor in the past, owned a pair of leather pants.