Only because I love you

I've been thinking that perhaps this blog needs more regular features and maybe one of those regular features could be to affectionately, or non-affectionately depending on my mood, make fun of the individuals who don't read this blog, even though through blood or friendship they claim to be really close to me. My little brother Vinnie turned 24 on Sunday so I'll start with him. He's a pretty easy target because as those of you who've visited my parent's house in Alexandria know, Vin used to be pretty chubby. He also had thick-rimmed dark glasses, but not in a cool way. The reason visitors know this is that I like to sometimes sprint upstairs upon arriving home, rummage around in the huge wicker baskets that my mom uses to "organize" our precious family photographs, and find a particularly embarrassing one of young Angelo (his real first name). Then I like to put in up on the mantel or by the fruit bowl, or near the list of chores my mother has left for us to do that day, even though we are adults, even though we don't live there anymore.

Since Vin grew up to be a tall, nice-looking boy I don't feel bad talking about the fat period. It's interesting, because rather than tone down the nerdiness during those poignant years of childhood (peaking at about 10-years-old) Vinnie amped it up with his hobbies, like developing an intense interest bordering fanaticism with the Titanic, as well as only listening to classical music until he learned about the best band ever: Soundgarden. Posters, magazines and albums ensued. Soundgarden or bust, baby. There was no other music in the world that rocked like "Black Hole Sun" rocked. Save Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture," for which he still reserves a special place in his heart and CD collection, I'm sure.

One other item of note is that my father and I used to take it upon ourselves to lie to the boy and he'd always believe us. This doesn't say much for our character, I realize, but it was funny. And it's important to ensure kids get knocked down a few times in life. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before, the story being such a laugh for my dad and I, still, but one night my father threw some clean laundry into my brother's bedroom, onto his bed - not saying anything to disturb Vinnie, as he was probably working hard on something at his computer, something maybe related to the Titanic - and my brother turned around, caught the laundry "flying into" his room and immediately ran downstairs proclaiming that his shirt has floated onto his bed, obviously the work of some deranged spirit - a poltergeist. We had no choice but to run with this. My dad sat down and had a serious talk with Vin, explaining to him how the house had been haunted all along - how he and my mother had known, but didn't want to scare the kids. Vin, naturally, began looking up ghosts on his computer, alerting his friends to the situation and figuring out what to do next while my dad and I congratulated ourselves, in whispers, on our brilliant work. Needless to say, after he'd found out what had happened (thanks, Mom - what? You don't believe in a little fun?) he didn't talk to us for a few days. This might be a good point to end all the story telling, because honestly, I didn't like that, him not talking to me. Because he's my one and only brother, who I love.

Who used to be pretty fat.