Monday, October 08, 2007

Sibling Loyalty and the SWAT Team

My sister posted a comment, and I believe she may have paid someone else to post another one. This is loyalty, people. The kind of raw, inexplicable sibling thing that is clearly unconscious. Siblings do that stuff. They tell you you're a dumbass in one breath, and then they kick someone's ass if that said someone is overheard calling you that same dumbass. I can make fun of my sister as much as I damn well please, but if someone else makes fun of her, I may land myself in jail. It's like some unwritten code. Bylaws of a sort.

When we were little, there was this kid named Timmy that lived in our neighborhood in Pittsburgh. Every childhood has a memory of the smelly kid, and Timmy was that kid. Well, I was about 5, I guess...around that age. And, I was sort of like a gerbil on crack, I've been told. I was probably chasing a bug or something when I walked in front of Timmy swinging a bat - that just happened to smack me in the head. It was one of those solid, aluminum-steel looking things. And, honestly, I don't even know if it was Timmy who was behind the great cranial homerun...I just remember him above all the other boys, as he was, well, really friggin smelly.

I went down with a thud. Out. Gone. And, to a sister that was only 3.5 years older than me, I'm sure I appeared dead. Killed by the smelly kid. So, my sister brutalized him, as I recall. Kids ran to get my Dad to tell him that I was dead, I'm sure, and my sister just wailed on Timmy. This is the story I remember, at least, and I like my version of it. My seemingly dead five-year old body just laying there in the makeshift baseball field, lifeless. And, my sister...beating the shit out of the smelly kid to revenge me.

It's what flashbacks in movies are made of, really.

Turns out I wasn't dead. I know you're shocked, but the big noggin went OUT...not IN. My Dad told me that as a parent, if your kid is hit in the head, you always look to see if a big goose-egg appears. If there's a bump, you're golden. If it caves in, you're screwed. I had the goose-egg. And, Timmy was beat up by a girl. It was a good day in steel town.

That's loyalty. It's the stuff that supercedes even parental love. It's when you get in a huge fight, proclaim your hatred for your sibling, then ask them to go to Target with you 2 minutes later.

So, thanks for the support, sis. I know you'll be first in line when I end up at Borders someday, doing a book-signing for three people. You'll be one of the three. And, I know you'll buy a bushel.

On the subject of loyalty and unwritten codes, we met our new neighbors last weekend. They haven't built their house yet, but they still manage to enjoy their acreage in the form of a big bonfire, complete with beer and friends. I had met the male counterpart before the bonfire and never suspected what he did for a living. He was painfully quiet. Of course, I am not, so he did a lot of listening. I thought, "maybe he's a school guidance counselor."

It wasn't until I was drinking beer and talking about how I had planned on ending the lives of skunks that I realized I was talking to the county's SWAT team. One even pulled his gun out and told me that I could use it to kill the skunk. (He was joking. I think.) Four or five of them....all drinking beer just steps from my property. At first, I retracted quickly, wondering if my record had followed me to Indiana. Then I remembered that it doesn't work that way.

They really are a tight-knit group of guys (and cop wives). They all seem to watch out for each other and have that really cool sense of camaraderie. Sort of like siblings, but without the parental baggage.

First, raccoons, and now, the SWAT team. I've learned to live among what I never dreamed I would have as neighbors. And, I didn't even snort like a pig and scream "I SMELL BACON!!!!"

Maybe I AM maturing.