The Bro Game
When my brother was 3, he asked me for chocolate. So I went to the fridge and got a little white cube with a cow on it. I told him it was “milk” chocolate. He said it didn’t taste like chocolate, and he was right. Because it wasn’t chocolate. It was rotten cream cheese.
It took 16 years, but God finally punished me.
After a twist of events that had to be divine, my 19-year-old brother now lives with me. It’s been a month — only two more weeks to go — but, each night, I’ve begged God to switch my brother with a various world dictator. If it was Kim Jong-Il, I wouldn’t even notice.
I can overlook most of the small annoyances. But there’s just one thing I can’t ignore — something that makes me want to send him to fat camp with Tony Perkis:
He mutes me out.
It’s because he always wearing noise-canceling headphones. But even when he’s free of ear accessories, he often ignores out my voice. So when I ask him what he wants for dinner, it goes like this:
Me: Do you want chicken for dinner?
Me: Do you want chicken for dinner?
Him: That’s fine.
This kind of thing happens 30 times a day. It’s like I’m inconveniencing him by making him dinner. Oh, dear brother, I am so sorry I have to disturb you by asking you your dinner preference.
So, about a week ago, I decided to get revenge.
Around 5 p.m., I asked, “Do you want to dog poop for dinner?”
Sluggishly, he took off his headphones: “What?”
“Do you want spaghetti for dinner?”
This satisfied me greatly. So I made it into a game:
Situation: I’m washing the dishes.
Me: “Do you cry when you watch Pokemon?”
Me: “Can you take out the garbage, please?”
Result: He says no.
Situation: I’m cleaning around him.
Me: “You smell like a used diaper filled with Indian food.”
Me: “You need to get your computer cord out of the way.”
Result: He reluctantly moves it.
Situation: I’m cleaning — again.
Me: “I pooped in your guitar.”
Him: “What’d you say?”
Me: “I’m going to move your guitar.”
Result: He does nothing.
Situation: I’m wondering if he can actually hear everything I say.
Me: “Oh my gosh, there is a huge spider on the wall behind you!”
Result: Nope, he’s too busy on YouTube.
**NEW RULE:** I am NOT allowed to say these ridiculous things when he has headphones on. Because, with his headphones on, this is too easy.
Situation: My brother is playing guitar. I’m behind him.
Me: “I think I’m going to eat Rainbow (our dog) today.”
Him: “What are we gonna eat?”
Result: We eat burgers. Rainbow is fine.
Situation: My brother is playing video games. I’m cooking.
Him: “Are you talking to Rainbow?”
Result: I now spend extensive parts of my day yelling, “Poooo,” and he has no idea.
Situation: My brother is playing video games — again. I’m cooking — again.
Me: “You pooped in the refrigerator? And you ate the whole wheel of cheese?”
Me: “I’m not even mad; that’s amazing.”
Result: It wasn’t a whole wheel of cheese, but it was a whole something.
This game got very easy, very quickly. So it got boring and I retired. Now I’m thinking of a new game.
Of course, these ploys are childish and mean. But after each made-up game or each little fight or each ridiculous jab, things end up back at status quo. No matter how many times I accuse him of pooping in the refrigerator — or peeing in the dishwasher (true story) — our grudges fade away within minutes. And for the first time, at age 23, I’m realizing that this cycle is the process — and beauty — of brotherhood.
That said, I’m taking suggestions for new ploys.
For more on things that recur in life, visit the Rec Writers Club.