I remember the first time I realized you were genuinely funny. This isn’t always a given. You were nine and a half years younger than me. You definitely had the adorable market covered. Kids usually tend to lean towards that way, yes, but not all kids are gifted with funny.
You stood barefoot on the tile in the kitchen area of our condo in Myrtle Beach, aged four. You were eating a red popsicle, which was staining the perimeter of your mouth, spreading leisurely to your face. People were busy with their own conversations. In the middle of a crowded room, you asked a question. “Do you guys want to see an impression and guess what I am?” Oh look, Ryan’s being cute again. Lil Ry –Guy.
You placed your popsicle on the counter and sat down on the tile of the kitchen. You laid on your back and raised your arms and legs in the air. We waited for more, nothing came. You just laid there motionless with your arms and legs raised overhead- frozen. Your eyes were closed and you didn’t crack a smile. What the heck is he doing? It was almost unnerving, the way you laid there so still and serious.
We all just stared at you confused until mom laughed and said something like, “Come on darling. Get up off the floor.”
Your eyes popped open. You didn’t flinch. In one quick movement you were back on your feet and retrieving your melting popsicle.
“A dead fly.” You announced flatly, and you licked your popsicle. Others began laughing, but I remember staring at you through a new lens…noticing how smooth, calm, and serious you were in the delivery of this bizarre impression. You were a strange little bird and I was intrigued.
I experienced these same sentiments when you rounded the corner at age twelve with your gangly adolescent legs, your arms tucked in to your sides tightly, your neck stretched and bobbling. Crrrraaah In all my years, I have never seen anyone even come close to your velociraptor.
You’ve grown up. You are no longer the little baby mom would have slung on her hip at football games.I no longer dress you up like a clown and parade you around the front room as a reluctant participant in my circus acts. You are no longer the awkward kid I stood next to and agreed to be confirmation sponsor for.
You are still genuinely funny. You are still one of the most honest to God, genuine people I know. I am proud to call you my little brother, and more importantly, in the event of a zombie apocalypse, there is no one in the world I would rather barricade myself with in a Walgreens pharmacy store than you. I know it would still be a good time, and we’d be able to entertain ourselves, even with the impending threat of having our brains eaten.
I miss hanging out with you, Pal.