Welcome To A Brother's World

Welcome To A Brother's World

is invited, whether you understand our world and can relate or not. We hope you find our world both entertaining and interesting.
If you're a girl, you may have a brother, but you will never have the responsibility of being one. (Being a sister has its own set of responsibilities.)
If you're an only son, you may have sisters and therefore are a brother, but your experience as a brother relating to sisters is different than having another guy (other than Dad) in the house to relate to.
Moreover, if you're a brother who has a brother, but is separated in age by several years, your sibling connection will likely vary from our experience as well.
Regardless of your sibling status or experience, I am sure you will benefit from viewing our brotherhood. If you don't find benefit, I hope you at least find amusement.

Search This Blog

Monday, September 6, 2010

Brothers, Injuries and Pain

Joel, do you remember that time when we were waiting on Mom and Dad in the church parking lot (We waited on Mom and Dad a lot.) and I hit you in the head with a rock?  Of course, I can't remember now what you did to frustrate and taunt me, but I do remember being really mad - mad enough to throw a rock at your head.  To both our surprise I actually hit my target- your head- and became immediately afraid of the consequences.  (Surprised because we were a good distance from each other, at least 3 or 4 hundred yards apart.) Fortunately, for some reason it didn't really hurt or injure you.  (At least, that's how I remember it.)  I actually don't remember the consequences, but I'm guessing I got spanked.

Another event that stands out in my mind occurred a few years earlier when I was in first grade and you were in 5th.  We were walking home from W.E. Cherry Elementary and you were fooling around with a few of your friends.  (No doubt trying to make them laugh by using an extreme "what if..." scenario.)  You were swinging a bag with your thermos in it (hitting a newly planted bush, I think) when I walked too close to the circumference of your full-armed motion.  WHACK!!! Right above my eye.  The blood flowed fast, but you ran faster.  All the way home, you sprinted to get help from mom.  I don't know what amount of fear was inside you regarding the punishment you might get for this careless act, but I do know that you didn't let that stop you from getting aid for your little brother.  Looking back now, I think you might have actually got more attention for your adrenaline-assisted dash home than I got for being hurt, but that's okay.

The last account I want to mention occurred in the field across from our house, when again, a head was hit - my head.  Hit not by a rock or thermos, but by a knee.  We were playing mud football with a group of friends and it was a blast.  That is, until the back of my head was dealt a blow from a speeding knee on the way to recover the ball.  It hurt - bad.  I immediately began balling and had to leave the game.  If fact, I later threw up, which probably means I received a slight concussion. 
I bring up this third story because even though I knew it wasn't you who nailed me,  (Joel Barzack was the culprit, I think) for some reason I blamed you.  You came over to see what happened and asked who fell on me.  I declared through tears, "You did!"  Perhaps I was delirious, because I knew you weren't close to the play, but still I blamed you.  Maybe I was blaming you because subconsciously I believed that it was your fault for letting it happen.  I don't know; knowing how hard I was hit I'm surprised I remember anything at all.

My point in recalling these three stories is simple.  Brothers, injuries and pain go together.  Now, I realize that compared to other brothers we know (say... David and Doug), we didn't physically wrestle or fight with each other very much at all.  (We were never allowed and we were too chicken to get hurt or in trouble.)  Nevertheless, we have received and inflicted our share of pain upon each other.  Sometimes it happened on purpose, sometimes it happened on accident and sometimes it didn't even happen, but still we blamed each other. 

Our lives have moved past these points of blood and pain (I hope) and now they are merely memories.  Fortunately, all the head wounds we caused each other have been healed and forgiveness has been granted.  Nevertheless, I bring them up because these, too, are part of our story, part of our brotherhood.  At least, neither of us tried to club the other to death in a field for offering a better sacrifice to the Almighty.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bonds of Laughter - part II

Joel here... I agree that humor creates a bond... a James Bond. Ha. Some of my most memorable brotherly experiences have definitely involved laughter. The moment Steven described below I remember very well, in fact, I recently retold the story to someone (prior to the blog posting). I still smile when I think of it.

For me, it's always fun to make Steven laugh and anticipate his retort. We once had each other laughing so hard we soiled ourselves. Not really, but can you imagine? And that's one of our favorite methods to make each other laugh... we go to an extreme and actually use the phrase "can you imagine" or "yeah, like (and then explain the outlandish scenario)."

As for the laughter at my grandfather's prayer, here's the story: Steven, myself, and our father were visiting our grandparents. We had plans for later, (a movie I think), and prior to our departure, we were to have a "quick word of prayer" and my father even indicated (to his father) that we were in a bit of hurry. Well, after ten minutes with no end in sight, I couldn't help but think of how funny it was that even after being told of our haste, my grandfather was covering everything, including salvation for the devil (not really, but can you imagine?). I began to giggle as he took on yet another subject and the more he prayed, the funnier it became to me. Finally, I couldn't hold it in any longer so I went to the restroom and laughed out loud.

When I regained my composure, I returned the prayer vigil, still in full swing, and after a few moments, laughed out loud again with Steven snickering as well. The prayer ended shortly thereafter and my father made us apologize. Later he told us that he almost lost it too. Classic.

I too miss having my brother nearby to create more laughter bonds.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bonds of Laughter

Laughing with someone over the same thing is a bond-creating event.  I'm not suggesting that it's a super duper unbreakable kind of bond.  But it is a bond nonetheless.  Perhaps it's like a web strand that connects the participants.  Many things can break it, but given enough of those shared experiences, it becomes pretty strong, at least for a season.

My brotherhood with Joel has been littered with these kinds of ties.  From childhood to adulthood, we have always striven to make each other laugh.  Each of us were successful many, many times.  Moreover, there are several connecting points that weren't merely born from one of our attempts to get the other laughing.  They came about from a neutral source unexpectedly.  Those are the best.

I was reminded last night about one of those times when Joel and I shared an inside joke at an inappropriate time and couldn't keep from laughing.  It was one of those rare occasions when the perfect conditions of a Giggle Volcano was set and ready to erupt.  I don't remember who actually verbalized what both of us were thinking, but we both imagined an unlikely and extreme scenario that struck us as funny.  Once the joke was whispered, we couldn't contain our amusement.  The fact that it was an inappropriate setting to be laughing made it worse.  We sat together, striving to stifle our laughter, but since we kept seeing each other out of the corner of our eye shake under the held-back hysterics, it just kept perpetuating.
There was another similar occasion when we both began to crack up during one of our grandpa's prayers, but I will let Joel share that tale if he wishes.

I love these memories of us together.  Remembering them still makes me laugh out loud.  The disrespect we might have shown to those around us no longer bothers me (I don't know if it ever did) and all that is left in my mind is the recollection of me and my brother sharing a laugh.  Those memories still make my heart light.

I am grateful to share the ties I do with Joel.  I am especially grateful for those bonds of laughter that still produce a chuckle.  Creating such bonds is one of the things that I miss by not living nearby each other.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A few Random Observations About Brothers

 I struggled a while trying to tie these random thoughts into one flowing and brilliantly written essay, but got tired of racking my brain and impatient.  So here they are, in very rough form.  Perhaps some day I will find a way to connect these notes together (but I doubt it.)
  • Have you every noticed the significant role that brothers have played in the drama of history?  Some of the most well-known stories of the Bible hinge around brothers.  Remember Cane and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his eleven, Moses and Aaron?  What about Peter and Andrew, James and John?  Four out of Jesus' twelve disciples had a brother on the crew.  Moreover, in history we also know about Orville and Wilbur / Zues, Posiedon and Hades (Mythology) / Tiberius and Gaius / Adolf and Jeremiah (okay, I made up Jeremiah.)  Then there are current-day famous brothers of entertainment.  Too numerous to compile even a decent list, but to name a few: Alec, Daniel and Stephen Baldwin / Owen, Luke and Andrew Wilson (who's Andrew?), Barack and George Obama (not so entertaining), Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen, and of course, the Marx Bros., Warner Bros., Mario Bros., and the Jonas Bros. (you knew that was coming.)
  • A brother is placed in one's life without needing consent.  (I suppose all siblings are, but this is a blog about brothers.)  My brother, Joel didn't need to sign a permission slip before I came.  He wasn't required to fill out a request form.  He simply inherited me and I inherited him.  This is not a complaint; it is an observation.
  • Brother is an affectionate term used outside of the sibling setting to imply loyalty to one another, and shared experiences or struggles.
  • All brothers start as boys, but not all end up as men... even when they're grown.

Friday, August 6, 2010

To The Extreme

Yay!  Joel signed in and joined the blog (just like I knew he would).  I reread his first post this morning and laughed all over again.  Humor is one area that Joel has definitely lead the way in.  It was Joel who told me my first knock-knock joke.  It was Joel who first appreciated the Far Side.  It was Joel who first laughed at the earthquake that hit Haiti.  Wait a minute; that wasn't funny.  Anyway, he has always been able to crack me up.  I look forward to the ongoing humor that comes from his posts.

Indeed, laughing at and with each other (sometimes at other people) has been a strong bonding agent for our relationship since our childhood.  I suppose laughter and humor is such an agent for all relationships.  Our typical humor is based on hyperbole.  We have always got a kick out of the extremes.  Creative phrases like "imagine if..." and "so imagine if..."  and "imagine..." and "...if" made a great path for laughter.  Even extreme actions would be taken, just to make each other crack up (or at least crack a smile).  Nothing too gross or obscene, just things akin to using the subtle tactic of placing normal background noise in the forefront of one's consciousness by extending its duration longer than expected.  For example, I might stand behind Joel while he was reading or watching TV and brush my teeth... for a long time (longer than the Jonas brothers).  I would keep brushing until he realized that I was being extreme and therefore acknowledge me.  Once acknowledged, the joke was over and I would spit.

Living several states apart and seeing each other less than once a year has somewhat cramped our opportunities to annoy each other with such ploys.  I know we have both tried such antics on our wives, but the response isn't the same.  With them, we are more likely to get rolling eyes and a back hand than a chuckle. Nevertheless, Joel and I have lots of memories to pull from and we laugh about them over the phone as they are recalled.

(By the way, my reference to the Jonas brothers is based upon two things.  First, as I recall my time with them on tour when they were young children, they literally brushed their teeth for a long time.  Apparently, Kevin and Denise are big on oral hygiene.  Second, I am dropping their name in hopes of expanding our Blog's audience to include people who might Google: Jonas Brothers + Teeth + Brushing Duration.)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Heading In Too

I am excited that Steven is dragging me along with him on this blogging experiment, although if he's the one "heading in," that makes me the "rest that follows," which is none too flattering. However, this is our typical pattern... Steven forges ahead and I come trailing behind... he's was the first of us to leave home and go to Christ for the Nations. A few years later, after we had returned home, he relocated back to Dallas a year ahead of me. He got married first, had children first. Yes, he's always a step ahead, until now... I'm going to start a web log for the two of us... wait Doh!

For my part, I shall always endeavor to be honest, truthful, and non-liar-like (HTNLL). And to me, these are three completely separate attributes. I've known many honest liars as well as truthful non-liars who were anything but honest. But you can trust that what I write will adhere to the HTNLL code; although I may exaggerate some things for effect. For example, I find it hard to text due to my fingers being the size of watermelons. This is an exaggeration as I've become quite adept at texting despite my incredibly large (and refreshing) fingers. Did you ever see the movie Big with Tom Hanks? Remember that giant piano keyboard he plays in the toy store? That's the size of my fold-out cell phone keyboard... I have to run on it. When I type ROFL, I literally am... not because it's so funny, but because it's the fastest way to text.

Well, enough for my first entry. I look forward to more serious conversations as well as the silly.

Put your head first and the rest will follow

Apparently the art of blogging has been popular for at least, what? 2 years now?  I am not a complete moron when it comes to the cyber world, but to be honest, I had to look up what BLOG stood for this week, just to catch up a little.  In spite of my ignorance and reluctance, I have had the unction to blog for a couple of months.  Though I really don't know what I'm doing or why others (you) would want to read what we post on a regular basis, I am jumping in to the blogging thing and dragging my brother in with me.  (Man! There's a lot of pressure that comes with creating a blog.)

"Put your head first and the rest will follow," my mom would say.  So that is what I am doing.  You may not want to waste your time keeping up with this blog until we've made our way past some growing pains, but if you do, thanks.  Hopefully we will learn fast and keep you interested.  Besides, most of everything we do on the computer can be chalked up to Wasting Time, so why not waste it here, right?

When I write "...dragging my brother in with me" I mean it.  I haven't even talked to him about this idea yet.  He has no clue that I have started this blog, or that it is about us, or that he is required to be co-creator with me.  I suppose I should tell him soon.  When I do, I will post how it went.  As you may imagine, this might be a very short-lived blog if he doesn't like it.