My brother Dave sometimes takes me by surprise. Dave is a simple man, usually focused on having fun and probably having a drink. He doesn’t take life too seriously and thinks you should do the same. If Dave were only allowed a two-word vocabulary he might choose ‘beer’ and ‘Frisbee,’ or maybe ‘beer’ and ‘Margaret’ (his fiancée). ‘Beer’ would definitely be one. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying he’s a Neanderthal walking around grunting one-word sentences—he’s got the brains of an engineer (cause he is one) and like any good southern boy, knows how to break out the charm. But you won’t catch him waxing philosophical about life. He sells himself as a jokester and a tough guy, but what some people don’t know about Dave is that he’s actually a bit of a sage.
It goes like this. At odd moments, when there’s a lot of beer and Frisbee or something similar going on, Dave will casually make some comment. If you were paying attention you would realize it sounded a bit like Confucius, but then it’s right back to beer and Frisbee so most people don’t notice. Plus, he says it in the same tone he says, ‘pass me that Gatorade’ so it’s understandable that it gets missed. But if you were listening you would’ve noticed that a nugget of wisdom just got dropped in between the game strategy and the story of how so-and-so got a bloody nose. I’m looking around going, ‘did anyone notice that?’ But nope. No one. I don’t think he even realizes he’s doing it. The wisdom of the universe strikes him at random moments and he is a conduit—an unwitting sage.
We were all grown and back at my parents’ house for some holiday and my brothers had convinced me to play a video game with them, which I never do. Maybe it was Halo or something, but I don’t know anything about these things. (Now they’re going to be yelling at me, “Halo?! No, it wasn’t Halo!”) Look, it was one of those ones where everyone kills each other (isn’t that all of them?) that’s the important part. So the game starts and my youngest brother blows me up in the first two seconds.
“GAH!” Dave yells at him. “What are you doing?!?!” Daniel, looking confused and a little embarrassed at being scolded was surely thinking, Did I make a mistake?
“What? I killed her,” stating the obvious, still confused. “She’s not on my team, was she?”
“No she’s not on your team, but you can’t kill her right away. Then she won’t want to play anymore.” Awww, my big brother. Such compassion.
“You have to teach her and help her to get better. Then it’ll be a better game and more fun for all of us.” Such wise words.
“Just help her to get better.” See he cares about me.
“Then you can kill her. Heh.” Yep, that’s my bro.