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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Great Big Brother

I don't believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers. It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at. -Maya Angelou

Big brothers are vital to the development and intellectual growth of mankind. I realize this statement is rather bold, a lofty argument if you will. But with a bit of thought I’ve come to this very true conclusion, so if you don’t have one, start looking. Naturally, I have a big brother of my own. Originally, he and I were more enemies than family but as we’ve grown we’ve realized the bossy big brother and the bratty little sister can actually live in harmony, dare I say as friends? The three most important lessons my big brother taught me, his nagging, annoying and infrequently cute little sister are as follows.

If you spill milk, I will make you cry. Although this saying may be counter intuitive to the phrase many are familiar with, the more modern and brotherly phrase is far more intelligent. Milk is delicious in a big brothers cereal bowl, perfect after a long day of school or work and necessary before, after or during a beer drinking and football watching session. So whoever said don’t cry over spilled milk clearly didn’t have a big brother nor did they understand how precious the liquid truly is.

Second, deer have razor sharp claws. While this lesson may not seem immediately logical, when broken down it is quite brilliant. I learned this cruel yet crucial phrase one night as my big brother scared me out of camping with he and his friends. As I ran home frightened, the deer munching on my mothers roses scurried quickly at the very possibility of human presence. Now that I’ve grown quite dramatically from the time of being easily scared I’ve learned not only that children believe almost anything but also, while razor sharp claws are frightening, I generally am frightening-er, hence, the aforementioned scurrying deer.

Lastly, when running late, lie about your whereabouts. For example, if Sunday brunch is at 11am and my night ends Sunday morning rather than Saturday night as planned, it is best to say I am stuck in traffic rather than still in bed. The underlying significance of this all to perfect lesson is, it is okay to have fun. And sometimes, it is even okay to have too much fun.

Looking back on the somewhat volatile relationship my brother and I had, I’ve come to appreciate it all more than resent it. I learned I’m sensitive, scary and sometimes allowed to make Saturday night the best night of my life. While the big brother/little sister relationship is a hard one to conquer it is most certainly worth working at. A sibling, a friend, a rock to hold onto. Big brothers not only teach you pertinent lessons as mentioned above, but also are the muscle to fight the enemy, the heart to swallow you whole and the humor at those all to frequent tense family dinners.

A grandparent is needed to teach wisdom, a parent to teach discipline and a brother to teach reality and where the best bars are this side of the Mississippi.



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