Saturday night before the game, we tailgated. While I tried to corral Sean and convince Evan to eat, my brother and a couple of his friends showed up to liberate us of some of the food. Proving that he is growing up, my brother also brought some beer to share. As Sean decided to play in the dirt, I stood talking with one of the friends who was a bit tipsy and always flamboyant. In the middle of the conversation, ranging from his reading only Maxim and his business plan of opening up a baby proofing store, he told me how cool it was that my brother and I got along and how my brother always says the nicest things about me and how I’m the serious one, the one with goals. Excuse me?
If I didn’t know the friend better, I would have thought he was a recent addition to my brother’s circle. But the friend in question has been hanging out with my brother since he graduated high school. And like most of my brother’s friends, my parents know and like this kid. My mom claimed, on Saturday night, that the friend was welcomed to come by even with out my brother. (It should be noted that though they still don’t think things through thoroughly, my brother’s friends are a bunch of comedians. Think the show Jackass but with a cute lovable little brother side.)
So that’s when it hit me. We are truly different from what others see of us.
I. The Serious One. The One With Goals. Ok, granted in high school, I put my head down and rushed through high school, determined to get to the other side, collage. I worked my butt off to get good grades, doing my time in National Honor Society. I lettered in swim team three times as well as drama. I became straight edge and spent many a Saturday night babysitting to make money towards college. I went away for college, working my ass off because I was paying for it and I loved it.
But me serious? I was doing run by knockings between reading Goethe. After freshman year, I adopted the theory that if I didn’t know my stuff by finals, I was in deep sh- anyways, so why stress. I told other students that I had a fake major, one that could be purchased for 500 bucks through a mail course. I did pranks that would later put me on probation, and I ran a miniature theft ring, stealing plastic gems from Disneyland. (All in the name that it was ridiculous to charge five bucks for a bag of plastic that cost pennies to make; not real sound logic and incredibly stupid and self- centered.) Hell, my best friend and I stole the local Republican headquarters’ Bush/Cheney 2000 sign that was 3 by 6 feet and ran it the several blocks back to the car because we didn’t have a car. Before kids, I believed a healthy lunch was a carton of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, and I threw a Halloween party in March. I can quote whole episodes of The Simpsons, and I break out in songs and dances. I’m completely not serious. And if I was good with my goals, I would have a published book by now like one of my college friends.
My brother, now he’s serious. Ok, granted he went through an alcohol-consuming, pot-smoking, girl-chasing phase, but underneath it all was the calculating, logical, serious brother. He has always had his eye on the prize, imagining what business venture would make him the cash he wanted. He’s a math wiz, wanting to major in engineering. He loves cars. He went from engineering to biology to finally business as majors. Business! Does that sound as non-serious as a creative writing degree? He’s getting a minor in Spanish. How absolutely practical, which compares to my two semesters of Italian. He has his goals lined up, and he knocks them down. He may have spent a semester in Florida partying, but he spent a summer working for my husband while selling jewelry on the weekends.
It’s just amazed me that we see each other so differently. We are pretty different. I was the creative writer, wishing to be an artist; he was the designer of cars. (I swear he was the first one to think of a Hummer limo.) He puts people at ease; while, I am completely tactless. He was the cool one, refusing to acknowledge me at school unless he needed a ride, and I was the one hanging out with all the nerds with enough pull to keep people from beating up my brother when he stepped on the wrong toes. School and athletics came easy to my brother; I struggled to figure out how to learn. As we grew older, college fit me like a glove, and my brother tried to understand the new concept of college learning. When I was debating on going and getting my PhD in women’s studies, my brother was contemplating a career in breast augmentation. At one point, I swore there couldn’t be any more different siblings.
But at least it’s nice to hear my brother likes me. I like him. It took years for us to get to this point. At one point we both wished the other would just fall off the end of the earth. We fought viciously to my parents’ horror. But now I call him every week or so, and sometimes he even answers. Really, he’s a great guy. I just can’t believe he thinks I’m serious. I wear fairy shirts for crying out loud.