Unlike most men my age, I choose not to use the word “bro” in casual dialogue. This preference includes all of bro’s dumb iterations, “brah”, “bruv” … “bruh” and whatever other caveman noises dudes make to one another to convey love. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the expression of love, wherever it’s directed. It’s the insinuation that bro-love is similar or equal to that shared between actual brothers that bothers me slightly. I’ve only ever called one person “bro”, and more recently a second little guy. They are my brothers. I love them in a different way than I could ever love even my dearest friends. Bro.
Cliches run rampant in movies and in lame high school football TV shows; brotherhoods forged on the gridiron, the brotherly relationship between two well groomed Miami cops. Nope. I’ve spent years on sidelines with many a bro, shared heartbreaking defeats and celebrated glorious victories. I even lived with a handful of blokes that I would cut an arm off for. Those relationships are great, we all have them. Enjoy them while you do, as they’re more apt to come and go. Being a brother is special. If you’re lucky enough to be one, treasure it, it’s one of the longest single relationships you’ll ever have.
Being a brother means having the most pride in another human you’ll ever have, before you make your own mini people. Being a brother means always fearing the other is cooler, bigger, tougher, and smarter… and, being a brother means knowing you’re right. A brother gets it without explanation. He shares the same twinkle in his eye and passion for Mom’s cooking. A brother will protect and defend, but a brother will also whoop that ass.
I don’t have sisters. If I did, this post would likely be called, “On sisterhood.” The point is, keep your siblings close. They are the longest tenured teammates or roommates you’ll ever have. They know the most about who you are as a person, and thus, are best equipped to help you through life’s many downs. On the other hand, they’re also the best equipped to celebrate with you life’s many ups.
With that thought in mind, and as I take a break from packing for a weekend with family in Vegas, I remember that today, May 7th, is my brother’s birthday. He’s 23. He’s cooler, bigger, tougher and smarter than I am. I am more proud of him than I have ever been of another human. My younger brother is five going on ten. It’s funny, I’m more aware of my influence this time around. I look forward to applying what little I now know about life to our already strong relationship and watching him also grow up to be cooler, bigger, tougher and smarter. Though, he may already be cooler.
So, go punch your brother in the arm and tell him you love him! I plan on doing so in exactly four hours, at the Hopkins International Airport. Happy birthday J. Let’s party.