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January 27, 2009

Birthday Bro

Today is my older brother Guy's birthday. This is a picture of us when we were little, during the finite window of time in which I was cuter than him:


Later everything changed and I got braces and had my hair fried by perms and massive amounts of Sun-In, and he morphed into some golden god that all my junior high school girlfriends would swoon over while I made dramatic and loud barfing noises.

The metamorphosis has begun.

The best story I have about my brother Guy was in the summer before eighth grade. School was just about to start and we had cheerleader practice every day at Acadian Elementary School and all of us soon-to-be-eighth-graders took it very seriously, with our herkies and clapping and hollering about touchdowns. It was very Important Work.

My family lived way out on the bayou back then and it was a pretty long drive to the school so sometimes (probably as punishment) my dad would make my older brother pick me up after cheerleading practice. He had this giant gold Monte Carlo that he loved and he spent long hours that summer working on his car with his buddies and they had all become brown as little raisins from being in the Louisiana sun all summer in just cutoffs, talking about radiators and gaskets and subwoofers.

One day at cheer practice we got done early and the whole squad sat on the front lawn waiting for all our rides to come get us, talking and gossiping and carrying on. Up drove my brother in his Monte Carlo, windows down, a tape by The Doors blaring from his stereo. A hush fell over the entire group of chatty gossipy cheerleaders, I looked at hem because OH MY GAWD YA'LL IT'S JUST MY STUPID BROTHER, but before I could say anything it dawned on me that every girl there thought my brother was the coolest human being to ever grace the face of the earth and he was in their presence. And the were awed.

So instead of faking barf noises like usual when ever my brother was near, I just got in the car all smooth-like, as if his unbelievable coolness could rub off on me by proximity and familial ties alone and he peeled off in a screech of tire rubber and gas fumes.

He didn't talk to me -- I wasn't cool enough -- but he just looked at me and laughed. He gunned it down the bayou road and turned the stereo up all the way. I remember that day as clear as if it happened yesterday: my brother all tan and lean and young, with his head out the window of his hot rod, singing along with Jim Morrison, "Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel..." Of course it helped that after that everyone at school thought I was unbelievably lucky (barf) to have Guy as my brother and could he take them home on the way, also?

And so he's kind of frozen in my mind that way. My brother, the Golden Teenage God, driving down that bayou with his head out the window with the sun on his face and wind rushing through his hair singing, "I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer... the future's uncertain but the end is always clear... let it roll, baby, roll..."

That's how I think of my brother, even though we spent most of our lives beating each other up with the blinding hate of a thousand fiery suns. There's nothing like an older brother to make your life a living hell one minute, and the next to make you the coolest kid in the entire eighth grade.

Happy Birthday, Guy!

Posted by laurie at January 27, 2009 9:14 AM