I've been thinking about my baby brother for a few days now (not so "baby" anymore since he's 33). Apparently he and his wife have pulled a vanishing act again. They do this periodically. The phone gets disconnected for non-payment of bills, they don't respond to messages left on their cell phones, they just drop off the face of the earth for months at a time. They usually resurface about the time they need something (money, typically) from my parents. Most of the time they vanish to avoid bill collectors, but the rest of the time it's to avoid my parents. My sister-in-law (SIL) looses her cool very easily (hot Brazilian temper) and my Mom is just the one to push her buttons. This last disappearance was precipitated by my parents' refusal to allow my SIL to use their credit card to charge some vacation wear on the internet. You see, their credit cards are all maxed out...or they may have declared bankruptcy by this point. Not entirely sure on that one. At any rate, no one has heard from them since Christmas. They have been known to hold a grudge for as long as 2 years. Uh huh.
I wonder sometimes if my brother's inability to manage money and other screwy problems might, in part, be due to childhood trauma suffered at the hands of yours truly. I really do feel badly for taking such advantage of a toddler's devotion to his big sister. I recall paying him a penny to be my ottoman as I watched TV, paying him another penny to go change the channel for me, and yet another penny to fetch me a slice of cheese from the fridge. Something about a free market economy and slave wages is haunting my subconscious there. As we got older, he went from devoted slave to frequent pain in the shins. In retaliation, on "date night" my parents would leave me in charge of the little booger and I would, through the course of the evening, pretend to call the boogey man to come and get him when he was sleeping...or I would feign sudden illness and "die" on the sofa in a most dramatic fashion (tongue hanging out, eyes rolled up into my skull so only the whites were showing) leaving the little pest sobbing uncontrollably while he shook my limp form gasping, "Rebecca stop it...sto-snork hic sniffle-p it...please cut it ooooout...come on...Stop it!" Then there was the dreaded fear of exposure...I could tell his little friends at ANY TIME that he was a bed wetter until he was 10. Harsh.
I should tell him I am sorry one of these days. If he ever gets his phone turned back on. The little booger.
Just a few funny stories about my brother:
1. He was diagnosed with ADD in 3rd grade and was put on Ritalin. His 4th grade teacher took a strong dislike to some of his antics in class. In retaliation, he brought in a ziploc full of dog poop and emptied it into her desk drawer. She accused him (without proof) and had him expelled. He swore up and down that he was NOT responsible and my parent fought the school to get him readmitted. The school agreed as long as he would submit to counseling. It was only this past Christmas that I got him to own up to the truth, over turkey dinner. My parents were stunned. Little booger.
2. He was 14 and one fine day went with my mother to the mall. She was getting her hair done, he was bored. He asked for the car keys to go get his school books out of the car so he could do his "homework". Fast forward...I get a call at home later that afternoon. "Is this Mrs. R? No? Well, we have Michael in custody at the Waltham police department. I'm afraid there has been an accident..." Yep. He stole our Mom's car and drove 6 towns away to pick up a buddy to go joy riding. It began to rain, he lost control and plowed into some poor soul's front yard. Thank goodness for the big oak tree out front or this guy would have needed some serious remodeling to his living room. My Mom calls in the mean time, "Rebecca? I am at the mall and I can't find your brother...tell your Dad..." "Mom? Mike has been arrested. He stole your car. He's at the police station in Waltham..." "That's not funny Rebecca." Oh hell YES it was.
3. He was caught and arrested for B&E (that's Breaking and Entering for all you non-Law and Order fans). His excuse to the judge? "My friend told me it was HIS house and he lost his key. I had no idea it wasn't his house." He actually got off with a warning.
4. He was arrested for grand theft of a motorcycle. His excuse to the judge? "My friend told me about this buddy of his who was selling his motorcycle. I went over for a test drive. The buddy wasn't there, no key, so my friend suggested we hotwire the bike. His buddy wouldn't mind. He was eager to sell it." Riiiiight. Once again he was let off with only probation. Little booger.
5. Last one...my brother experimented a lot more than I did in high school. Drinking, recreational drug use...if my parents only knew. I tried to tell them once, they didn't believe me. I had moved into my own apartment and who shows up on my doorstep late one night? Yep...booger and his buddies. "Come out with us and buy us booze..." "Sorry little bro, I have to go to work in the morning. I am IN for the night." "Well...do you have anything here we can take?? You gotta have SOMETHING...!" "Um...wait. Yeah, I have a bottle of something a friend gave me as a house warming present." I pull out a jumbo sized bottle of Glenfiddich - 15 year old scotch whiskey. I knew I was never going to drink it. I didn't appreciate top shelf liquor back then. Mike says, "OK cool, we can mix it with coke or something." And the yack-factor on Glenfiddich and coke? Very, very high. [insert evil sister laugh here]