Oh Brother.s.

Do you have a brother? Did you spend any time at a house with brothers? Wait, before you start shaking with the PTSD in remembering all the brotherly behavior, I have a favor to ask you.

There are people in this world that don't have brothers, or any experience with brothers, and with your help we can save these folks a lot of time, heartache and finger-pulling.
Shirt picture from zazzle.com
Let me explain.

Last week, my younger brother had surgery on his arm and his daughter posted some pretty graphic (disgusting) pictures on Facebook of unwanted fleshy bits taken out of his arm. This is totally something I see all brothers getting behind. Grossing out everyone on their Facebook list at a glance.

This is what got me thinking about Brothers in general, and how my brothers shaped my personality growing up. 

I love my brother, but I’m eternally grateful he doesn’t have his own Facebook page, because really, how many fart jokes can a person take in their lives? 

It’s not that I don’t find them funny, but I had TWO brothers and a father who was just an over-grown brother with his pranks and corny jokes, so I passed my fart joke quota before I turned 10. There is not one I haven’t heard, trust me.

I can’t speak for everyone, but in my life? This has been the role of a Brother:
To tell gross jokes
To pull mean pranks
To practicing lying (Harmlessly. Mostly.)

Little Brothers:
More annoying, whining, tattling, copying.

They’re easily manipulated, you blow off steam by handing down to younger brothers what you get from the older brother. Like Middle Management. Then, if you play your cards right, and say it nicely enough you can pretty much make any little brother your bitch.

Older Brothers:
More painful, pranks, lying, plotting.

They’re a little more difficult. They’re older, were there first, they’re meaner, they have more resources.
from wanna-joke.com

Both older and younger brothers are fun, once you get the hang of it:
You do not believe a word they say.
You do not pull their finger.
You figure out how to outsmart them with a straight face.
You get revenge. Later, when their guard is down.

My older brother’s pranks, included everything from 
finger-pulling to 
knocking the back of your knee to
tapping you on one side, but being on the OTHER SIDE, oh I see what ya did there! For the 900th time, to one I recently posted on Facebook about,
I’ll give you ten dollhairs.

He tricked me into picking up my younger brother from school, and when I returned he obviously figured out I didn’t have any dolls, because tomboy, so he said,
“I owe you ten dollhairs, as soon as I can find a doll" 

He went on to 'explain' how he never said he would give me dollars, he said doll-hairs and I agreed to it. Being a pro, he would add,
"Next time pay attention.” 

Oh, I would. I would allright.
I learned to think ahead, and think quickly.

When my older brother would pull his,
“Name 10 beers and I’ll stop punching you”
I panicked at first. 

I didn’t know TEN beers, were there even 10 beers in the 70’s in America? If so, we never had any of them in the house.
We had:
Old Style (Chi-cah-go, it’s our great beer and you CAN have it)
GENERIC beer from the Eagle that came in yellow cans and just said “Beer” in Helvetica font.
I'm not kidding. This is a REAL CAN available on e-Bay.
And you can bet your ass just saying "generic beer" didn't count toward my 10 beers. So I did what any successful sister does, I just started making shit up. It's hard to think clearly while you're getting punched, but you get used to it. 

My fake beer names involved mostly sports terms and large, deadly animals:
“Blue Tiger”
"Grizzly's Revenge"
“Time Out Beer”
whatever else popped into my dome, and he totally bought it!

To clarify, he didn’t actually believe these were real beers, but he was amused enough by my answers to stop punching me. This is how you learn to use humor as a weapon. 

Brothers are the very reason a wicked sense of humor is born. It’s not a natural childbirth, where a doula sings it out and places it gently into a tepid pool of wildflowers. Oh no, this bastard was ripped out of an unsuspecting child’s innocent womb in the basement of a meth lab-slash-cash-clinic with filthy forceps.

If this kind of tomfoolery sounds cruel, you must not have had brothers. I hated them at times, but mostly they were fun and keep me on my toes. To this day, I can think pretty quickly on my feet, and I’m far from gullible. Which comes in damn handy, Mandy, when you start dating guys. Because brother or not, most teenage guys are full of bullspit. You can believe most guys half of the time, but teenage boys? On a date? As trustworthy as a snake babysitting baby rats.

My brother had some good ones, I’ll give him that. One of the family favorites was his telephone trick.

Gather round kids, I’ll spin you a yarn of when people had what they call “land lines” and old timey devices called TELEPHONES. These were magic boxes, attached by CORDS, where people would call each other to talk. If that sounds painful, you don't know the half of it. We couldn't text, or email, if you wanted to make plans, you had to hash that shit out ahead of time.
We had a LOOONGER cord from bittlecom.com
We even had TWO LINES on our telephone, (the price of tons of kids,) so if your brother was on the phone and your friend had a mall emergency they could ring through and you could answer the other calls. 

No, Brothers would NEVER really get off the phone so you could get your call, but you had this option in case of any actual emergency. TWO calls at once, yes it was the worst of times. No social media, no Instant Messaging, just talking.

Anyway, our phone had a really long cord, no cordless yet, I’m that old. Our cord was made even longer by being stretched out,
from classicrotaryphones.com
so you could take your call from the kitchen base into the front room to watch television, while pretending to listen to your friends' mundane problems.

My brother always took the phone to the couch, then when he was done he would try to get us to hang the phone back up in the kitchen. You couldn't just switch it to "Off," you had to hang it back up on the base. FML for real, yo.

At least one time, he just pulled the cord out of the phone. This was before voicemail, though, so if you did that you just missed calls until you eventually hung it back up. 

Then he started pulling the old,
“Someone is on the other line for you” 
so that you would take the phone from him, then when you found out no one was there, he would say, 
“They’ll call back. Hang it up” 
that way he didn’t have to get up to hang the phone up.

Spoiler: No one ever ‘called back’ he just pretended someone was there because he didn’t want to hang up the phone. 

This worked for awhile, then he started acting out the scenario at the end of a call, he would say:
“Okay, we’re getting another call, I gotta go”
and mime clicking over and say,
“Hello? Yeah, she’s here, hold on” and everything.

After you fell for this a few times, he would change it up, adding something like,
“No, really, there really is someone there, watch”
and say into the phone,
“Say your name really loud so she knows I’m not lying”
and pretend someone said something.
“Can’t you hear that? You need to get your ears checked”
and increasingly convincing performances of deceit.

This kind of crap is a big reason I have trust issues, especially with the male species. I would never imply women don’t lie, but I might think they’re exaggerating as opposed to the out-right villainous self-serving duping of my brothers.  

Don't worry, I don't want your pity. This prepared me for life and womanhood in a way no book or shiny magazine ever could. Even with my ear tuned to bullcrap, I still managed to fall for some guy lies over the years. It makes me wonder if the women who keep falling for those pick-up lines from “those” kinds of men, and women who believe the lies of cheating partners just never had to deal with anyone’s brothers??  

Parents, teach your children to spread the word about brothers. 

If you only have daughters, warn them. Have them make friends with kids who have brothers.

If your kids friends don't have brothers, teach them to spread the word. We could start a whole 'Sisters Without Brothers' movement. Million Brother March? Nope, that would be the smelliest, most obnoxious place on earth. I'm not going anywhere near that without a gas mask, and a supersoaker full of urine.

If we are all aware, we can minimize Brother Manipulation worldwide. I should market "Brother Awareness" ribbons, they could be brown with a button that says,
"Please press me"
and when you push it, it farts.

Why shouldn't everyone have some level of the Brother Experience?

My brothers made me what I am today. A tough, wise, quick-thinking smartass. I mean, you didn't think this just happens, did you?

If Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus, Brothers are from Uranus. Mine were award-winning Ass-tronauts.


  1. Neither of us have brothers, but we have each other, so there's that. But we're not dicks to one another. No farting on each other. No lying. No 'here, the phone is for you' pranks. But we do drink the ever-living shit out of some Old Style. Maybe we just got the better end of the stick on this one.

    1. If my brother read that message you just wrote, he would make fun of you and try to give you a swirley, because you're doing it wrong.
      But you guys do have crackheads coming to your house, and that neighbor that throws used condoms in people's yards, so that's kind of the same thing.

  2. I had one sibling - an older brother. We fought a lot growing up and we played pranks on each other all the time...now as adults, we are the best of friends....I think having a brother is the best. I now have three sons and I love watching their brotherly relationships -- most of the time it's physical and lots of brawls, but once in a while there's some tender moments - there's hope for them yet. :)

    1. If they're brawling, they're doing it right! It's a brother thing. I mean, not exclusively, my girls love to wrestle, too, but definitely a brother thing! Gotta love em. No matter how much they beat each other up, they'll protect each other against the rest of the world, that's the beautiful part.

  3. ha! your brothers are hysterical! and so are you! Loved this post -- reminded me of my own brothers!!

    1. Oh, good, then you won't be falling for any Ponzi schemes anytime soon either! They don't even know how much they helped us.

  4. I have one brother, younger by 27 months, and we terrorized the shit out of each other! In a good way. Mostly. But we also played....and played.....and played. He was sort of an evil genius! I definitely got pranked on many occasions! Brothers really are the best! Love this post, Joy. Made me think of my bro.

    1. We did too. My younger brother & I were CATS and DOGS, but we would not leave each other alone. That would be way too boring. Glad you liked it!

  5. Ummmm *tiny tiny voice* I never had brothers. I now have a brother in law, who made me drink with him before he declared me "alright". And he let me shoot his shotgun AND I BLEW A HOLE IN A BUCKET AND IT WAS EPICCCCC

    Does that count enough?

    If it helps, I was a TOTAL bitch to my little sister. Forever.

    1. That totally counts! And you are not gullible, so you're cool.
      Sisters, oh lawdy, that is a whole separate post! My sisters are 9 & 10 yrs older, so they were more like mother figures. Espesh bc my mother worked 17 jobs, so they literaly were. My BFF had 2 sisters and OHMYSTARS those girls were all so mean to each other!!
      Hopefully you get on with your sister now tbough??

    2. Mostly. Though sometimes (not for sisterly reasons - for other, less palatable, hugely painfully awful ones), I find myself holding back from punching her right in the middle of her face (and I TELL her when I restrain myself, and she usually agrees with me, poor love).

      I played the most AWESOMELY mean trick on her when I was a kid though. I must've been about 9 (she would've been 7) and she'd gone to bed, and I went to the bathroom, filled the sink with REALLY COLD water and soaked my hand in it until it was numb and my bones ached. Then I dried my hand, snuck into her bedroom and plopped my hand into the bed across her neck, hissing "This is what a dead hand feels like"

      I don't think she (or my parents) got a wink of sleep that night. And I was in SO MUCH TROUBLE.

      But it was AMAZING.

      I also bit her once. Hard. And I meant it.

  6. Oh Dead Hand is an amazing trick! That would freak me out so.much!
    Do we want to know how old you were when you bit her? ;)

    1. I was younger. Like 7 or 8. I think.

      Dead Hand was SO AWESOME. Finest prank moment EVER!

      But if I was in a fight now, I would bite. Not her, perhaps. I'd just punch. But if it was a proper fight. I tend to be a teeth and nails scrapper. And I choke people. I did choke her once when we got in a fight when I was older. Like 20something. She punched me in the middle of my head.

    2. (I'm not coming off well here...it's too late at night for me to be sharing. I shouldn't do that...)

  7. Anyone with live-in siblings will totally understand!

    1. Of course I'm right! I don't know much, but I know brothers AND sisters IS CRAZY! Your siblings see you at your worst, you LIVE with them. It's like little kids with parents, they're always better behaved for OTHER people, and the parents tend to get the worst of it. Same with siblings, you're with them all the time and plus, you know deep down they HAVE to love you, no matter what. They can make you truly happy, or truly madcrazyangry! They KNOW how to push those buttons, and they DO! It's part of growing up. You're much better for it, Imagine an only child, not having ANYONE to take out their frustrations on? So sad :)

    2. Ah yes...the obligation of blood. Sure lived that one.

  8. This is beyond funny, Joy! HAHA - I had two younger brothers (the one closest in age was only like 15 months younger so lots of punching and stuff there). You know that box you talked about? And call waiting? And that stuff? Well, my brother and I used to do this awesome prank call. we'd call (he'd actually type on a typewriter in the background so we would sound official) and I'd pretend to be the phone company. We'd tell them to not answer for the next 10 minutes or the person on the other end would get a severe shock. Then we'd call back and let it ring FOREVER until they finally answered and then scream. HAHA. Ok maybe we were little a-holes and not that funny. Love me some brothers!

    1. Oh, the prank calls! I have talked about those before, that could probably be a WHOLE SEPARATE post. Kids these days *shakes old, wrinkly fist* they don't even KNOW about prank calls, because: Caller ID. And also we haven't had a landline since my son was too young to dial a phone! That takes me back, I have to think about all of our horrible phone calls...stay tuned :D

  9. This was soooo funny and I totally LOL'd at you making up the beer brand names, Joy! Oh yes I do remember the TELEPHONE. And no message machine either. Most often, the best way to connect up with buddies was to just ride your bike to their house. If they were home, great. If not, you rode to where they were reported to be OR you just rode to another buddy's house to see if they were home. Oh the 70's... :)

    1. I remember MANY a time making plans, we were to meet up at a certain place at a certain time, and if you were late? You missed it! They might wait a little while, but eventually they left. Cell phones are probably a big reason why this generation has no sense of urgency! Man, that made me feel old. I need a nap and an earlybird dinner.

  10. I wanted an older brother in the worst way when I was a preteen, because I just knew he'd have cute friends. I realized later that he wouldn't let me date his friends anyway, and he'd treat me like shit. You have confirmed my suspicions. I'm sorry I laughed at your mistreatment, like, really hard.

    I only have a younger brother, and he was totally my bitch. Until he got bigger, and then he totally wasn't. It was fun while it lasted.

    1. I'm glad you don't feel an emptiness because of it. Some people say GOOD things about their brothers, but because of a series of increasingly unfortunate events, we never got there. I used to pass it all down to the younger brother, until one day I was doing that thing where you dangle spit and say "Don't wiggle, that makes it fall!' (My older brother did it to me) and suddenly, I realized he would be stronger than I was REALLY SOON. That very day my abuse of the little brother got a LOT less physical, and a lot more mental. I think he's still recovering, my little brother.

  11. Oh my! So you're saying I'm awesome because of or in spite of my brothers? I had four. All older. I was the only girl and the baby and heard almost every day of my life that I was the "precious little gem." They did the fart furnace where they farted in a blanket and held my head under it. (to this day, I'm claustrophobic and will NOT put my head under a blanket. Ever. They taught me how to catch by putting me on the basketball hoop. Yes, I straddled the hoop while they took turns throwing balls at me. I can catch. Anything. And I don't throw like a goddamned girl either. I wouldn't change it though b/c I'm with you. Having big brothers made me who I am today. Even if that means I have a sick, twisted, warped sense of humor.

    1. My brothers did that, but called it a "Dutch Oven." Nothing beats the hoop balls-whipped-at-you game. Yeesh. I'll bet you're a wicked goalie, and the most fun to have a beer with!

    2. I discovered recently that that's a VERY specific thing. With blankets. I'll not make the mistake again.

  12. The favorite thing my younger brother ever did to me was to knock a girl up during a one-night stand and then come home and tell us all about it, thus further solidifying that asshole's already-solid standing as Golden Child. My parents LOVE grandkids, whether they were conceived drunk or sober. I wouldn't have minded had I not been in the midst of a series of miscarriages and trying really, REALLY hard with my husband to get pregnant...and I don't even like sex. SIGH. But, all works out the way it's supposed to. Love my niece AND her mom, who, despite at first being a one-night stand, has become like a sister to me. In fact, I think I like her more than I like my brother? :)

    1. Hey, my oldest sister did that same trick! Except sorry about the infertility, mine was much later. I went through a couple years of that, and during that time, yes, sex becomes a scheduled mechanical job, a depressing seems like a waste of time job. At least you got a cool niece and sister-in-law out of the deal. That's good. Your brother was good for one thing anyway :)

  13. Hahahahaha oh how I feel you! I have FOUR OLDER BROTHERS. Yes. Our house was absolutely ridiculous growing up-- but I loved it. We were building forts, shooting our parents' cars with paintball guns, watching Jean Claude Van Dam movies and staying up till the wee hours of the night discussing Plato's cave and the idea of andeluvian. *sigh* It was magic! But no, I never EVER used the bathroom on their side of the house. Gross, just gross.

    1. FOUR? Ohgods, you can pretty much handle any situation life throws at you. You're not the first person who mentioned it, and every person who had multiple brothers is TOTALLY AWESOME. So after all the grossness, some good comes out of it at least.