O brother where art thou
Below the posting “Hyper-intellectualism as psychiatric condition” you will see that I received a comment from Steve. I dedicate today’s posting to Steve, my one and only brother, 5 ½ years my elder, gracing St. Louis suburbia with his presence and serving Washington University as an employee who is far better than what they deserve.
Steve, at this point, is silently vowing never, ever to return to my web log. But don’t worry man, I’m not going to do most-embarrassing-stories. That would be a mean sister kind of thing. I’m going to say all the great things I know about Steve. Which seems like a decent use for a blog, to periodically display, for my audience of all of five people (ok, maybe six) to see, the traits that I most appreciate in my friends and family.
Without further ado, all the great things about Steve:
1.)Steve has an inimitable sense of humor. Kind of a Dave Berry/Dilbert/Al Franken mixture. Which means, gentle mainstream humor mixed with computer geek humor mixed with angry political leftist humor. And when we were growing up, he made all sorts of inappropriate sarcastic comments during church.
2.)Come to think of it, Steve makes all my major life decisions. For example, I just purchased a laptop (er, technically, my future graduate program purchased it for me) and Steve went to the Dell website and configured the whole thing for me. He’s decided which moving truck I should use when I go to Pittsburgh. And so on. If/when I have children, Steve will name them and decide what religion they will be raised in.
3.)Steve is one smart cookie—he’s smarter than you are, whoever you are—but he doesn’t lord it over anyone, is not hung up on it at all.
4.)Steve is a very good listener. During college I would call him up at 1:00 a.m. whenever I was bored with my homework and he didn’t once complain. People trust him with the details of their lives more than they would trust their priest, their therapist, anyone. He’s just got that kind of ear. Let me know and I’ll give you his phone number and you can try it out yourself.
5.)Steve and I are often irritated by the same things; we are more or less twenty-something-year-old curmudgeons. Mutual dislikes: stupid drunk people, shopping malls, whiny pop singers, the Dubya administration, perky people. As kids we both hated tomatoes. I’m not sure why we both developed the tomato aversion; our parents love tomatoes.
6.)If you’re stuck on a long car ride and have the chance to flip the radio on, there’s no better sing-along partner than Steve. Our greatest hits: What Would You Say (dmb), I Want My MTV (“We’ve got to install microwave ovens…”), Right Now (Van Halen) and anything in Steve’s Billy Joel collection.
7.)When I was, I don’t know, 7 or 8 or 9, Steve saved me from careening down to my mortal fate. We were biking on Jefferson street—the steepest hill in our neighborhood. The scene in my memory places him about halfway down the hill and I’m at the top, starting my way down the hill. Now come around children, let me tell you a story of back in the day when we didn’t all have fancy-shmancy bikes with hand brakes. No, no, we used the pedals to do this adept little foot-braking maneuver. It’s just that I wasn’t all to good at this adept little foot maneuver, and starting bolting down the hill, not knowing how to stop. As I sped past my brother, he thrust out his arm, effectively knocking me and my bike to the ground. I think the first thing I did was chew him out. He then he explained the logic of preventing my careening to my mortal fate. At which point I forgave him and I think I even thanked him.
8.) Nobody feels uncomfortable around Steve. My aunt Jackie once said he was like an old shoe. Which is a good thing. I think many of us have our ways of consciously or unconsciously projecting a demeaning attitude towards some people (I know I do it sometimes, which I realize and then feel bad). But I don’t think I’ve ever seen Steve do that.