Monthly Archives: July 2012

Alpha and Omega

Did you know I’ve got a twin brother?  Yeah, he’s the older, by about 15 years.  Other than that, and the four siblings born between him and me – yeah boy, we’re fraternals.

Altogether I have five siblings; all older; Len, Sharon, Tommy, Cathy and Gail.  We love each other but we don’t have very much in common, except, I guess, for Len and me.  He was born in early 1955, a baby boomer by any standard, and I was born in the fall of 1969, the last gasp of the decade that defined his generation.  I don’t remember ever sharing a house with him; by the time I was old enough to remember, he was grown and gone.  My earliest memory of him is a small framed picture in the living room, a newspaper clipping announcing his entry into the armed services.  The Air Force sent him overseas and we got back hilarious letters telling of Turkish customs that seemed so exotic to our country sensibilities.

Elton John had a song out about that time, Daniel, which tells of a traveling older brother.  There’s the hint of a backstory, a mystery; the singer is torn between missing his brother and wanting his happiness.   I associated that song with my own absent brother so strongly that even now, over 30 years later, I still can’t extricate the two.  I don’t think I’ve ever told him.

My brother is back now – back from Turkey, back from his travels, back in my life.  We talk sometimes, and it’s always a joy.  For two people raised in different eras, in different households, with utterly divergent paths in life, we have an extraordinary amount in common.  We have a similar sense of humor and sense of the absurd.  We each have unrealized artistic ability, though he has more natural talent than I do.  We hold similar (unpopular) religious and political beliefs.  Our minds run along the same paths.  We like the same music, the same comedians.  We’re thinkers in a family of doers (that sounds insulting – both ways – but it isn’t meant to).   We get each other.   Our mother jokingly refers to us as Alpha and Omega, which bemuses him and tickles me.

So, okay, he’s not really my twin.  That’s all right; he’s a swell brother and a great friend, and he doesn’t know what he means to me.


“Least said is easiest mended”

That’s my mother’s favorite expression, and I was raised on it, or at least her interpretation of it.  Never argue.  Never confront.  Never have an opinion, or at least, never express it.  Non-confrontation was her MO and she passed it on to me; I’ve spent years in self-rehab for it.  Confrontation isn’t pleasant, but it’s necessary.  You can go through life without ever confronting anyone, but the flip side of that, too often, is never standing up for yourself.  My mistake was believing that assertiveness is synonymous with aggression, but it turns out you can possess a backbone without devolving into an ass.  Luckily, they’re not the same body part.  🙂

I still try to live by Mom’s motto, but with my own interpretation.  Speak your piece simply, and resist the temptation of embellishing it.  Say what you need to say and be prepared to own it.  The owning is easier if you consider your words before you say them.  (More politicians should try it, but that’s another post for another day.)


So this is a blog

First one, huh?  I’ve been meaning to start a blog for years – tried a couple of times, but nothing stuck.  Maybe this will.  Writers gonna write.