Happy Birthday, Baby
Yesterday was my brother’s 21st birthday. I’ve said this before, several times, but my brother and I are pretty different people. We have the same parents and sense of humor and taste in music, but other than that, to be honest, he’s sort of an enigma to me. It’s like, “Hey stranger, you’re more related to me than anyone else on the planet! What are you going to do next?” And, for him, it usually involves wrestling some dude named Jank or shaving his hair into a mohawk and memorizing pi up to 80 digits or catching a fish with his bare hands. My friend Tad loves to hear stories about my brother, and he’s always asking when he’s coming to town again so he can meet him. Then he seems torn, and says, “Man, it’s like, I really want to hang out with him, but part of me thinks that dude would just light me up, no second thought.”
In response, here is a one-act play based on this picture of my brother from Halloween 1987:
Me: Happy Halloween! I’m going as a '50s girl!
My best friend Stephanie, who is now a hot doctor married to another hot doctor with a really cute baby: I’m going as a banshee! That’s the Scottish ghost of a woman who wails under the window of a house where someone’s about to die!
My brother: Oh, hey, what’s up, I’m four year old Stephen Brown. You might think I just happened to roll up to the party in this thing, but the fact is that I’ve worn this outfit every single day this year. When I go to preschool, I might change it up a little by pairing the top with jeans, but there’s still a definite Superman vibe. I like to save the cape that velcros on for special outings, like trips to the grocery store. Don’t spread this around, but I even sleep in this rig, because it’s actually pajamas!
In honor of Halloween, though, I’m going to make this fey mincing face and rock this weird early '80s porn star haircut.
Also, I’m not kidding about that catching-fish-with-his-bare-hands part. When I went home this summer, my dad and I were waiting on my mom and brother to get ready so we could all go out to dinner, and we ended up watching the miracle that is Okie Noodling on PBS, where leathery shirtless toothless men named Red just stick their bare hands into holes underwater and resurface with live catfish up to their elbows. My dad and I were sitting there with our eyes and mouths open, struggling to form words, when my brother came downstairs, cargo-shorted and shower fresh and smelling strongly of Nautica Sport, glanced at the TV and said, “Oh, I’ve done that before.” OF COURSE HE HAS. He’s Stephen Brown.