One of my favorite childhood memories is of eating dinner together as a family. I could say that this is because it was when we used to share things about our day, or because it was the only time each weekday that the four of us spent quality time together, but I would be lying. I loved dinner together as a family, because during dinner, we would have votes as to who was the funniest person in the family, and I was almost always victorious. It drove my little brother crazy. I would make a funny editorial comment on somebody else’s story, my mother would announce a vote, and I would garner 3 out of 4 votes almost every time.
These days, I’ve been relegated to second funniest, behind my husband. I feel certain, however, that when my daughters outgrow ‘pull my finger’ and other jokes that involve bodily functions as a punch line, I will once again claim my place at top of the funny heap. (My husband, who is reading over my shoulder as I type this, vows to never give up the title.)
This is not to say that my brother is not funny. My brother has always been funny. Sometimes it was in a ‘ha-ha’ kind of way, and other times in a more ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’ fascinating kind of way. My brother collected baseball cards, but also toilet paper tubes. His bedroom was like a strange science lab, with jars of gangly potato sprouts and dishes of slowly spreading moss. Like a lot of ninth grade boys, my brother started a band with a few of his friends. They called themselves ‘Marsupial Cannibals’ and they specialized in exclusively playing a cover of ‘Proud Mary’ and making lists of alternative band names. My curly-haired brother even ran for class president using the slogan, “Go with the Fro!” So, he is funny. He’s just not the funniest one in the family.
These days, he has a lot of competition from my very funny kids. On a recent trip to Costco, my older daughter took off on a floor model tricycle yelling, “you’ll never catch me alive” as she pedaled away.
My four-year old has already started writing her own material:
You might not find it funny, but that joke killed in her preschool class.
My brother is amazing in many ways. First of all, he totally brings out my twisted sense of humor. In the early 1990’s when I had dreams of some day being a comedy writer for ‘SNL’, he was an intricate partner in writing my first fake infomercial. Together, we created our own song compilation album called, ‘Waco Rocks.’ Included on our album were only the ‘hottest’ songs such as ‘Burning Down the House’, ‘The Roof is on Fire’, and ‘Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot.’ (Insensitive? Perhaps. But clever.)
My brother is a master with words. As a kid he used to make up funny songs about our family. Now, he is an inspiring poet and song writer who has recently gotten involved with the local spoken word scene. I would link you to his website, but the last time I tried to draw attention to his massive talent he accused me of pimping him out so I’ve learned my lesson.
My brother also wins the award for least judgmental sibling on the planet. After seeing the movie ‘Cocoon’ as a kid (I’m embarrassed to say how old of a kid I actually was), I was having trouble sleeping so I went into my brother’s room to see if I could sleep in his vacant bunk bed. But after a few minutes of worriedly staring at his ceiling I woke him up for a second time and asked him, “are you sure you’re not a pod person?” He assured me he wasn’t, but I returned to my own room just in case.
Finally, I have to give credit where credit is due. As the younger sibling, he had to endure my parents on his own for three years after I went off to college, which must have taken a sense of humor far beyond mine. Even if he’s not “the funniest”, he is definitely the favorite. When my brother shows up at my door, I am invisible to my children, something for which I am simultaneously envious and thankful.