Most of the time they do stuff like stand on logs and then hit each other with big sticks. I missed that.
And I missed their sarcasm.
I’ve heard people say that sarcasm is an unhealthy form of humor—hurtful, they say. That is purely a case of situational ethics. Because sarcasm, its like a love language around my house. And I missed it more than anything this summer. So much so that I went back and read journal entries just to be reminded that it still existed somewhere, in the after supper conversations of my strangely wonderful brothers.
One evening I read this entry, written before I left…..
This. This is what I missed when I thought of my brothers.
Daniel was bored tonight. It is a rare thing for him, really. All evening the six foot, 150 pound teen boy slouched around the house, his arms dragging behind him like those apes you see at the zoo. A long trail of mumbled sarcastic comments flowed from his mouth as he stalked up and down. Finally, finding the monotony overpowering, he came to the dinning room to seek help.
I walked in about five minutes after he got there. Just in time to hear the tail end of his sob story.
It was something along the lines of, “There nothing to do in this house. I want to do something. Isn’t there anything I can do? I’m sick of not doing anything. I need something do!”
Naturally, loving him and all, every family member present jumped to his aid.
Dad, eyes alight: “ You want something to do with your evening?”
Daniel, catching on to his excitement: “Yes!”
Dad: “What about changing the print cartridges in all the printers?!!!”
Daniel: “Why don’t I just go jump off a cliff?”
This conversation is followed by Dad imitating, in a high squeaky voice, us children calling for his help every time the printers break down.
Which sparked a debate as to why he is grumbling when he was the one to choose to get married and have so many kids anyways. This little rabbit trail continues for a few heated moments, but soon Daniel once again starts up his wail of wanting to “do something”
Esta: “ I know! You could start a blog!”
Daniel, rolling eyes: “What would I do with a blog? I hardly even go on Facebook.”
Esta: “ A blog is different. You write about stuff.”
Daniel: “Stuff? Like girls…..”
The conversation ended there. And we turn to Mom, who always has something to say, hoping she will offer sage advice.
“Why don’t you just take that thing and put it on your ear and see how long you can stand the pain?”
The “thing”, which was in Daniels hand, happened to be a large spring-loaded clamp/tool thing used to pinch wood together while glue is drying. We all laugh of course, but Daniel seems to think that was the best idea yet, even though he doesn’t actually try it.
“Well whatever you do, Daniel”, I say, putting a hand on his shoulder, “don’t play computer games.”
“Oh, but that’s what I want to do!”, he wails
Ah! This sparks a debate all its own that revolves around the hypothesis that video games destroy a child’s creativity. So went the next few minutes of conversation.
Still Daniel remained unoccupied. Mom remembers he hadn’t done his seven minutes of kitchen chores and reminds him.
“Make me”, replies the sarcastic teenager.
To which Mom reminds him, gentle like, that she already did, about sixteen years ago. Daniel blinks stupidly for a few seconds while he untangles the joke and then, smirking, admits defeat.While he is washing dishes, suggestions on how to occupy his time are thrown around the room like darts.
What about Dad turns the stairs into a giant treadmill so he can “just run and run”?!!
Or a punching bag. That would be cool. No?
What about weights? Snap.
Reading? Apparently he had already read every book in the whole house.
Mom, despairing: “Have you read The Harvester? The one about the guy that has the dream about the woman?”
Daniel: “Excuse me?!?!?!”
Mom: “You know, he has a dream about this lady and then he meets her in real life”
Daniel: “Wow, I should try that…. ‘ Hey, you, I dreamed about you….sooooooo…’”
No luck with the book suggestion. Ranting continues.
Mom suggests taking a glass jar outside and dropping it on the cement just to see it shatter.
“You did that once when you were small.”
Daniel reminds her he was punished for that small incident.
Mom states he must feel trapped.
“Well I live with a bunch of lunatics”.
He then starts a little chant/round song about going crazy, which has the potential to drive us all insane in seconds.
I race upstairs and rack my bookshelf for something, anything to help him. Lugging a stack of books I reentered the dining room and plopped them in front of him. He flipped through them, commenting on each.
“Read that one.”
” Wait, this I borrowed from so and so like five years ago.”
” Eww, this looks mushy.”
” Any good fights in this one?”
Finally, picking up a paperback, “Oh, I’ve never read this one. It looks cool”
Just like that, would you believe it, he sits down on the coach without another word and starts reading. Boom. No more complaining or wining. Amazing.
I rest my case, if I had one. That being that there is nothing like a good book to feed the mind.Later, as I was walking out of the dining room, I commented to someone how our past can always be redeemed.
Daniel looked up just long enough to take one last sarcastic stab.
“Well, Esta, may my past, wasted by playing horrible, brain killing video games somehow, somehow be someday redeemed.”
I do hope so Daniel, I really do.
And now I’m back!
Back, smack dab in the middle of crazy supper table converstaions and sarcastic brothers, who get it genetically from both sides.
These days will not last forever and so I savor one more winter of being a part of it all, and laughing.