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Oh Brother, Where Art Thou…Brain? Part II

July 30, 2013

A couple of weeks ago I posted about my frustrations with my youngest brother, Tweedle-Dum, who has dropped out of college and refuses to talk about anything real in his life. Now let’s return to Tweedle-Dee, the middle child. At least with him the picture is slightly rosier. He’s finishing his junior year, and although he’s had to abandon his high school dream of being an engineer after being slapped in the face with the workload, at least he’s passing his classes and having a good time. He even has a few friends, and a part-time job. Yet Tweedle-Dee is actually the one who has caused me the most sisterly angst over the years. Back in the day he was the one who was a constant disappointment when it came to school, mostly because of mediocre grades and the fact that he couldn’t stay out of trouble—usually caused by his big mouth. You see, Tweedle-Dee is smart; anyone who meets him will admit that much. But, like the title character of a Shakespearean play, he has a fatal flaw. Or two. Or five.

The biggest one is without a doubt his pride. This kid has been arrogant since day one—I’m pretty sure his first words were, “I’m running for President in 2028 because the Democrats will have screwed everything up by then!” He has something close to a photographic memory, which results in him being one of those people who are constantly quoting facts, stats, and words of wisdom at you, whether you like it or not. Care to know the batting averages of every player currently in the Seattle Mariners minor league system? Tweedle-Dee can tell you. Would you like to know the differences among numerous branches of Christian theological thought? Allow Tweedle-Dee to enlighten you. Want to hear someone recite the Presidents in order, analyze the music theory behind your favorite new song (it sucks by the way), or tell you how long the Titanic was in feet, meters, inches, or miles? Tweedle-Dee’s your man.

These skills might make him a good competitor on Jeopardy (which he would love—take that Ken Jennings!) but they don’t help him out any when it comes to making friends and influencing people. Don’t get me wrong, in some ways Tweedle-Dee is my best friend. When we do get to talk, we have a rapport that is like no other, and there are a lot of times I can appreciate my brother’s expertise in these areas. He’s not a bad guy, and he can be very fun to be around. But dare to mention one of those subjects I’ve listed, or any one of a number of others, and prepare for your conversation to die, because Tweedle-Dee is about to talk it to death, often in a very condescending way.

Still, in comparison to our youngest brother, Tweedle-Dee is doing well, and he knows it. So why does the thought of him still cause me angst? Because I know that he could overcome these social handicaps, moderate a few of his views, learn to win people over instead of pissing them off, and be AMAZING. Be the kind of guy who really could run for president in 2028 and actually earn my vote. Yet, he hasn’t, and doesn’t seem likely to anytime soon.

When I hear stories from our mutual friends about “another douch-ey thing Tweedle-Dee said,” it hurts, because I know he’s shooting himself in the foot. There were a lot of years when I viewed my brothers as competitors and was eager to see them self-destruct. I reveled in the fact that school came easily to me and that I always had a group of close friends around me. Yes, back in middle school I laughed when Tweedle-Dee or Tweedle-Dum came home with a C- or a referral to the principal’s office, because their shortcomings made me stand taller. Basically, I was a mean-spirited bully.

But now, all I want is for both of them to be the men I know they could be. I want their quirky personalities to shine, but in a way that people appreciate, not avoid. I desperately want the best for them, not because I don’t like admitting that they have flaws, but because I genuinely, deeply, love them and want them to be happy. I’m not sure when this change in my outlook took place, but I’m glad it did. I just find it ironic and painful that I spent so many years gloating over stuff that didn’t matter, and now when I wish I could help them, build them up, make them better, they’re out of reach. Who knows, maybe if I had been a better sister from the start things would have been very different.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 30, 2013 10:51 am

    I think you were and are a wonderful sister. Don’t be too hard on yourself. And both of them are really pretty great too. Sure we all have our issues, but I love both of your brothers and while at times I roll my eyes, most times they’re pretty darn adorable. They’ll figure it out someday soon.

    But just so you know, it’s never too late pull those boys back into your reach. Your opinion will always mean the most to them. For always.

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