My brother, Doug, and I are 326 days apart in age. So, for 39 days we share the same age. Growing up, in my family, these 39 days were made into a big deal. I know the intent was to taunt and tease me, and to insinuate that I wasn’t older than my brother during that short time every year. While, Doug is my “little brother”, he towers over me at 6’4″ combined with his build of a d-line football player (cause he was). When I stand next to my brother I feel very small. I also feel very protected, safe and in a good place.
Flashback to 30 years ago: Doug and I fought like there was no tomorrow. We really were Ultimate Supreme Fighting Champions! Our parents tried every trick in the book to stop our constant bickering, hitting, yelling and teasing; but alas, our parents were powerless to overcome our sibling rivalry. Outside of Atari and watching some of the best TV in our lifetime (Batman & Robin, Dukes of Hazard, CHiPs, Fractured Fairytales and the Super-Friends Hour), fighting might have taken up the majority of our waking hours. There were times in my youth I really “disliked” Doug a lot (I think the feeling was mutual)!
Today, I’m incredibly proud of my brother. I’d brag about him all the time if others didn’t get tired of listening to me. He’s married to a super gal I’m proud to call a friend and father to 3 awesome kids. He’s the senior pastor of a church in South Dakota, an area that just skims the Bible Belt of America. The world is really churchy over in that neck of the woods and my brother is pretty progressive in his teaching style, you can tell he has California (and God) in his blood. Before he “grew-up”, he was the very best youth pastor I’ve ever known. He makes amazing connections with kids; and my brother is hands-down, no questions about it, laughing till you cry and your stomach hurts, kind of funny. Heck I just look at my brother and crack up! He’s a Fungi! (fun-guy)
Anyways, Happy Birthday Dougy – I love you oodles!
In my best Casey Kasem impression voice: “Doug, this song goes out to you from your sister in California. She loves you and wishes you a great birthday. She also wants to remind you that she IS older, and that she WAS the one that slammed you into the car door when you crossed the imaginary line on the back passenger seat. Doug, this long distance song dedication goes out to you on this special day. And now, by Five Iron Frenzy, the song: Blue Comb ’78
~~LYRICS~~ Summer of 1978, my sister and I in the back seat just wait. We pass the time by making lines on the seat that we can’t cross. A thin line like dental floss. She threw my new blue comb out the window, somewhere on I-70. Dad said, “I’m sorry, but we can’t go back” We’re never going back to get it.
It was the first comb I ever had. Got it just that morning from my mom and my dad. Light blue in color, I could never find another, comb like that, big and fat…
CHORUS: So tell me, have you seen my comb?
Last time I saw it, it was in her hands, And then it was bouncing down the road. It wasn’t fancy, it wasn’t brown, But now it might be from lying on the ground. So tell me, have you seen my comb?
Driving down the road in September, I was only five but I still remember, Where the highway turns at the bottom of the hill, My parents both up front ’cause they loved each other still. Maybe just a comb made of plastic, Or an action of a sibling lacking couth, But something that was thrown out that window, Was the last great symbol of my youth.