Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Growing up with diaperman
This is a photo of my daughter with my brother and his son, Luke, this past summer. Yes, they are wearing life jackets as if they were diapers and bike helmets too. My brother, Brent, donnes the diaperman outfit when he takes his team camping, he's a coach. My daughter and I had just arrived to his house and he brought this out as an introduction, a way to break the ice. As you can see, my brother is funny. He's fun and funny. Back in high school, people used to either love Brent or hate him. When we lived together when he was in college, I noticed that most people liked him and few hated him. I think he had perfected his sarcasm, brought out more of his silliness. I'm not sure how people see him now, but his home is in constant flux as people, students, team members, neighbors, whomever come and go. These visitors are borrowing, lending, fixing, dropping off cakes. Few just stop to say hi, everyone knows that my brother is a kinesthetic guy and any convergence is rapid and with purpose. They hope for a laugh and usually find one.
My brother has a visceral reaction to anything that reminds him of me: theater, the arts, reading. Oddly, I realize that I am just as forcefully repelled by sports. As I've been putting more and more humor into my writing, I realize that I'm breaking an unwritten family rule. Humor is my brother's domain. I'm the serious one, the bookish oldest. Yet, I can't help but put my characters in humorous situations. I feel apologetic when I do this, and this feeling is something no one, with possibly the exception of my brother, could understand. It's part of the paradox of family.