Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Siblings Have Their Uses
Siblings can be very useful. Give me some time, and I'll think of some ways. Okay, here's one: You always have someone to blame stuff on. A broken water glass, some missing Oreos (I was saving those for dessert, boys!). A defaced bedroom wall.
Once, in 1954 or so (I was 9-ish), in our house in Enid, Okla., I put a paper target on my bedroom wall, and practiced throwing my toy tomahawk. I found some difficulties, though. It was hard getting the head of the tomahawk to hit instead of the handle. (The red handle, by the way.) Paper does not well withstand even a handful of hits from a tomahawk, toy or no. So when I went to the wall to affix a new paper target, I saw, after removing the old, ripped one, that the red handle had made some very noticeable dents, tinted red, in the drywall--punching right through the wallpaper.
Big deal. I made a few more targets, scored some more hits, many more red dents. Tiring of it all (the thing would not stick!), I moved on to other activities.
I was surprised that my mom noticed the dents right away (ah, the naivete of youth!), but since I was sharing a room with little brother Davi (about 6), I had a convenient mule to bear the burden of my guilt. I don't think I really escaped, though: My folks had learned by then that Davi was Innocence; I was Guilt.
Anyway, my two brothers and I blamed one another for things throughout youth (in some ways, I fear, we haven't quit), and a couple of weeks ago my brother Davi (now Dave) visited for a weekend: He was here for his 50th class reunion at James A. Garfield HS in Garrettsville, Ohio. He had a great time. So did we. Until the last night he was here.
I was not sleeping well, so I went downstairs and curled up on the couch for a while. Then--late, late in the night, the hour when Jacob Marley would have been about, if I were Ebenezer Scrooge--I awoke on the couch with some, uh, urgent matters to attend to.
I staggered toward the downstairs bathroom (I have a bit of a vertigo problem these days), and my left arm collided with the edge of a bookcase, a bookcase I've passed by a dozen times every day for the past twenty years (the amount of time we've lived here). I've never come close to hitting that edge before.
In the bathroom I turned on the light and saw red. Lots of it. I'd really gouged myself. I put pressure on it (yes, I was a Boy Scout!), and--slowly, slowly--Niagara subsided.
Next morning ... it was UGLY there on my arm. And so it has remained ugly this entire ten days or so since Dave left.
But it's finally scabbed over. I'll survive.
It was all Dave's fault, of course. He was sleeping in the spare room, the place I would have gone, the default place Joyce and I go when Morpheus refuses to embrace us.
Definitely Dave's fault.
Oh--add insult to injury?--when he left here, he flew to the south of France to join his wife.