A Brother in the Band

August 10, 2009

Writing about my dad made me think more about about my family, which inevitably lead me to write about my brother, Andrew. I'm quite proud of him these days because he recently joined a band--not some silly garage band either, but one that actually has a manager and plays paid gigs around the country. He learned how to play bass at age 12 (without any sort of formal training!) and has since then dreamed of becoming a professional musician. After two years of waiting tables at a restaurant with his wife, he decided he'd had enough of watching his bass (and his dream) collect dust. So he put an ad on Craigslist expressing his desire to join a real band.

He received an email the next day requesting him to audition. He went, did his thing, and was made a member of the band on the spot. Now, at 20 years old, he's on the road doing what he loves most and having a blast.

In a way, I'm jealous. I think the kid has a magic wand up his sleeve. He's got a way of winning over people that would make Dr. Phil green with envy. He's insanely talented to boot, and he just barely graduated high school!

If you ever met my brother, you wouldn't believe we were related. He's about three inches taller and at least 50 pounds heavier than I am, with thick reddish-brown hair and a very pale complexion. Our personalities are just as different. I'm fairly cautious and reserved; Andrew acts on impulse and chatters almost non-stop. Growing up with him was...well, interesting to say the least.

Imagine this scenario: my parents--a meek father and a domineering mother--involved in ministry and constantly worrying about how others perceive them, and I--a quiet, obedient individual with near-OCD tendancies--welcoming into our family a fiery, ADHD redhead of perpetual noise and motion. Needless to say, our mother was soon beside herself.

We quickly dubbed my brother "Hurricane Andrew." One trip through the house, and Andrew left a path of destruction in his wake. Once he reached the age of two, my friends stopped coming over to my house to play with me. Andrew demanded constant attention. If I tried to lock him out of my room for a bit of privacy, he laid down in the hallway, put his mouth up to the bottom of the door, and loudly demanded that I either come out or let him in. When he became older, he discovered he had become strong enough to push (or kick) the door open in spite of locks. I clearly remember him bursting through my bedroom door early one Saturday morning, while I was in a dead sleep, to tell me about some cartoon that was on TV. The force of his entry splintered the door frame and sent a large chunk of it flying toward my head. Waking up to eye-poking projectiles in my own room is not my idea of fun.

That's really just the tip of the iceberg. Andrew always seemed to be getting into something as a child: urinating off of the front porch, punching his best friend between the eyes at school, cutting the corners off of MY school certificates of achievement, shooting his BB gun off of the roof, repeatedly flushing his underwear down the toilet, nearly setting our parents' bedroom on fire--the list is practically endless. I'd need a book to accurately paint the whole picture.

At the same time, my brother taught my family to laugh in ways we had never laughed before. I don't mean a chuckle here and there, either. I mean the kind of laughter that causes people to cry, and gasp, and beg for mercy. This happened most often around the dinner table when Andrew cracked a joke--he was brilliant at situational humor--or when I used my unique vocabulary to creatively recount his latest antic. I laughed so hard because of him once that I shot sweet iced tea out of my nose and into my dinner plate (thankfully, I had just emptied it). And to this day, my dad still laughingly recalls my description of Andrew's front-porch bathroom break: "...and suddenly, I heard this rustling in the grass..." I was only nine years old at the time, and gravely disturbed by my three-year-old brother's lack of propriety.

I'd like to say that I started out loving my brother when he first appeared on the scene, but that's not exactly true. OCD and ADHD rarely make good bedfellows. Yet over the years of having few people to depend on aside from each other, we developed a very special bond that I treasure. He's now out living his own life, successfully married, raising a beautiful daughter, and pursuing his dreams in his own special way. I have no doubt that when he leaves this world, he'll have crowds of people lined up around the block just to attend his funeral. That's just the way he is, and I'm proud to call him family. Way to go, Bro.


dannyd said...

This post is really funny and touching, and I look forward to following your blog!

My blog is here: http://dannysignifyingnothing.blogspot.com/. I primarily focus on short story writing, but also comment on current events and post cool stuff.

Hunter said...

I really enjoyed this post. Here's to following dreams!

Kyrie said...

My older brother and I don't look related either. He's not as determined with his passion for music as your brother is, but I have faith in him, and shall support him with whatever he decides to do with his future.

I just...hope he at least graduates from college before I do.

Jason Sparks said...

I found this interesting. thanks for sharing about your brother. I've worked with some bands in music industry doing photography, live performances and studio recording also as executive producer. What band is he with? Jump over to my blog and check out the photos. Leave your comment there- I'd love to know his band. TKS :)

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