My Brother, Myself

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

You might not know this, but I have siblings.

I know, I know. I never talk about them. But they exist.

I have long puzzled over families that have tight sibling bonds. I mean, I like my siblings, but I don’t hang out with them. Heck, I barely see them. I haven’t seen or talked to my sister in at least three years. I’m not mad at her, or anything – just don’t have much to say. I email my brother, but haven’t seen him in at least two years.

But before we go any further, Internet. I have to confess my brother’s name.

Are you ready?

I am Dawn, and he is Donnie. You now have my permission to grip your sides and guffaw. What’s’ worse? Our parents are Donna and Donald. Was that coffee I just saw shoot out of your nose? Laugh it up. The sheer embarrassment of the fact that my family has matching names has, at times, been beyond my ability to bear the cutesy shame of it all.

Thank god my sister, born of a second marriage, has a name that starts with a “J”.

Donnie and I can make each other laugh like no one else can. If I had a male personality, it would be my brother. We both laugh at wildly inappropriate things. Our senses of humor are identical. Much of this was born of being each other’s protectors for the years of our childhood.

Donnie is four years younger than I. It was my job, in our wildly erratic childhood, to look after him. He slept with me until he was four. He would sneak in after our parents would fall asleep and curl up next to me. Donnie cried a lot as a baby and toddler. Donnie refused to speak until he was three. Donnie was a champion sleepwalker. Donnie used to ride his Big Wheel to kindergarten when he was 5. My mother had moved my brother and I to Vermont in 1979 and was working 11-7. I would get up and walk to school in the morning and Donnie, who was in afternoon kindergarten, would ride his Big Wheel about a mile to make it to school. He would do this alone. I would walk him home after school.

In reading Meghan’s post about her “100 Things”, her description of a game she and her sisters used to play sparked a memory of a game my brother and I used to play.

The game was called “Coma”. Yes, you read that correctly ~ “Coma”. The gist of the game was that I was the giver of “Coma” and Donnie was the receiver of “Coma”.

I would touch his head and announce “Coma!” and he would drop to the floor. He would lay motionless for a few minutes. As if a miracle from the Lord, he would stir and begin to recover from his “coma”. I would promptly reach down , touch his head and announce “coma”. He would fall back down into the “coma”.

We could play this for hours.

I am not sure what this says about my brother and I exactly. A fondness for medical terms? A glimpse into the twisted humor we would later develop? A latent psycho-analytical wish for my brother to be in a coma so I could be the only child?

I don’t know. But hey Donnie, if you’re reading…… Coma.

19 Baleful Regards:

Nancy said...

Heh heh. Love the "coma" game. I've heard of kids who would play hide and seek with their siblings, and then wouldn't look for their brothers or sisters when they went away to hide.

(hey, wasn't that a movie -- Coma?)

JenfromBoston said...

yeah, not gonna lie to you, the name thing threw me. Tho I imagine if you were named "Marie" things could have been worse. Half full, is all I'm saying.

If I was in a house full of Dons and my sister got the one J name, I probably wouldn't be keeping contact with her either. Because I am petty like that. Tho I probably would've played the, "ya know, mom and dad didn't really want you - that's why you got the J name," angle to death. maybe you shouldphone her up and mention it. I bet it would open the doors of communcation again.

(Can you tell I am the oldest of 4??)

halloweenlover said...

Who knows what the coma game meant?! I used to pretend I was the dog in the family when I played with my friends. We used to put me in the (clean) fireplace. Kids are strange.

The name thing did make me chuckle. Very cute!

mama_tulip said...

I was an only child, then my dad re-married and I got two brothas from a different motha. They're like, 10 and 12 years younger than me though, so doing fun things like playing Coma was out. I think that's why I like reading about what other people did with their siblings.

The name thing? Yeah. You did see me shoot coffee out of my nose. *wipes screen*

Diana said...

I know someone who was a J, married a J and proceeded to name all three of their children J, J, and - you guessed it- J. They used to sign their Xmas cards The 5 J's. True story. I thought it was cute, but I wouldn't do it to my kids.

Diana said...

and my sister is seven years my senior- i grew up an only child because she always ignored me...i think the only time she spoke to me was to tell me our mother found me in the garbage. we get along great now, go figure. and she sticks to the garbage story to this day.

TB said...

I'll admit I laughed over all the Dons. It's pretty bad, but it could be worse. Have you heard about the family in the south, Alabama I think who is pumping out kids like gumballs? I think they are up to 16 or 17 now and they ALL have J names including the unfortunate Jinger.

I love the coma game. It reminds me of one I used to play with my sisters called "I'm Killed" where one of us would very dramatically pretend to die and then lie there for a couple of minutes freaking the others out.

PS It must be sibling day here in our little corner of the internet.

Lisa said...

My siblings and I get together and make fun of our parents. That is our way of bonding to this day. We weren't close growing up but now that I don't have to live with them (or my parents) I like them all alot more. :-)

Fraulein N said...

Love the "coma" game, and Diana's story about being found in the garbage cracks me UP. I used to tell my little brother he wasn't in the family portrait because we just left him on the floor. (In reality, he just hadn't been born yet.) But man, that never got old. So evil, but hee.

roo said...

I think I'm Donnie.

V said...

I think I'm going to teach Little A that Coma game!! Always looking for games to play where I can be dozing....

Diana said...

fraulein- that is mean! but funny as hell!
"We left you on the floor..."
(shaking my head-stifling the giggles...)

Mama D said...

My friends family are Sharon, Stewart with children Stephen and Shannon. My mother alternated our names between D's and R's and all middle names are L's. Weird. Of course both names I have chosen for boy's and girl's begin with A's and middle names are E's. The apple must not fall far from the tree. My brother was 10 years older. We used to wrestle with four pillows to make the corners of the 'ring'. He would always get me into some kind of submission hold, I would give up and then as soon as he would let me go I'd attack him again. The wrestling match that would never end. Now that I have my second degree black belt I so think I could take him.

madge said...

My brother and I played, "Emergency Room." This entailed me beating the crap out of him. Then, I'd put on my Princess Leia costume (white, you know) and play nurse. I'd give him an ice pack and threaten him against saying a word to our mother.

This game stopped when he started beating the crap out of me. And I grew out of the costume.

Oh, and the names? That's gold, Jerry, GOLD!

marshatm said...

There are a few adults I would like to play 'coma' with, but in a truly sinister way.

i wonder how it would go over at the next PTA meeting.

Beth said...

my sister and I used to play "old-fashioned foot fight". This entailed yelling out "OLD FASHIONED FOOT FIGHT" randomly, and then both of us dropping to the ground and kicking the shit out of each other. i still suggest it as a way to resolve who is getting what from my parents in the will.

jen said...

there are some funny people on the Internet. DAMN. Madge, Beth, Di, HEEEEE. I am gonna probably try "Old Fashion Fight" (my own spin on Beth's classic). "Yeah, HOWDAYA LIKE ME NOW?!"

Meghan said...

It is my opinion that sometimes boredom is good for children.

It breeds creativity and entertaining insanity.

All the aforementioed commenters are proof of this theory.

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