I got carved on pretty good Thursday. Torn labrum repaired, eviscerated cartilage being regrown, a shaved down femur bone, four arthroscopic cameras inserted into my hip. Rock and roll, baby.
I’d say you should see the other guy, but he is in the mirror.
My brother broke his leg when he was 17, twenty plus years ago. He used it to tear the bumper off of the car of an idiot who did an unannounced u-turn. Bro was riding a Yamaha motorcycle – not a crotch rocket. A cruiser. He was out cruisin’, just a kid having a good time, being young and in love. He was cool even then.
He was in the hospital for 6 months. It is brave for a young man to face something like that. Aside from the more obvious fact that he faced death (I remember blood, oil, and scattered, twisted metal strewn across the darkened highway), I’m referring to more psychologically nuanced fears: maybe never running again. Or never walking without a limp. Maybe never hiking, maybe never climbing a mountain. As much as the next family we had our share of drama. So a lot of bullsh*t iced his unlucky cake.
He was stuck there for 6 months hearing it day in and out. But I don’t remember any melancholy from him. We watched Star Wars together in his hospital room. What could be more appropriate? The meaning of Star Wars is family after all. And when he was healed I remember him taking me to the mall (he always let me tag along), walking with a cane, and him scoring phone numbers from attractive women. He’s charismatic that way.
Me, I was just in the hospital for two days. What is that to 6 months? What is that next to being 17 and having all your dreams flash before your eyes? I was fortunate not to have to face such an awesomely life changing event. But it made me think of him. So bro gave me strength today. I don’t say it a lot, but I really love my brother.
He gave me my first pocket knife.
He also gave me my first pistol and taught me to use it. A Colt.357. He taught me a lot of other things too: how to use my imagination, appreciation for cinema and video games and Krystal burgers respectively...even aspects of science. I still remember his lesson on liquid displacement from when I was 8.
As a boy, my brother physically saved my life… more than once.
He even gave me (or let me long term borrow) this kryptonite rock:
It is a flaw in my character that when I first laid hands on it, at the age of 6 or so I thought silently to myself, “Now I’ve got Superman right where I want him.”
Apropos, the other day the Biscuit said, “I wish I knew how to fly.”
And I said, “Me too, buddy.”
And then I remembered something that brightened her eyes. She calls him Pirate Uncle Robber (private joke) and I said “But your uncle Robber knows how to fly.”
And he does. He flies a powered parasail. It’s wild. It’s a parachute with a fan attached to it. He takes it out on the coast and soars through the air. I showed her pictures online.
And Biscuit said “When I am older, maybe Uncle Robber will teach me how to fly!”
And I said “I hope so, kiddo.”
And I think now about him taking off on his power parasail. It’s not the flying that I think of. It’s that before every take off, to make the speed for launch, he runs…