Today is a lousy day for a lot of people. Especially a lot of American people who are pretty unhappy about their change in leadership. For me, though, January 20th is a happier day. It’s the day when I get to feel grateful for having an older sister.
My older sister was born about a year and a half before I was. This is important because she was old enough to understand and experience jealousy before I was old enough to comprehend such complex emotions, so I don’t remember anything about how much she hated having me around those first few years. Later, she would become old enough to understand empathy right around the time that I began to understand that I could shield myself from having to take responsibility for anything by just letting her be the responsible one, so things worked out great. We have maintained this arrangement to this very day.
We were lucky enough to have wonderful parents who made sure that there were always hats and moustaches around when we needed them. For a long time, my only real job was to follow my older sister around and not talk while she did all of the talking. She was good at talking. She was good at talking a whole lot.
My sister and I started to party pretty young. Here we are, drunk, trying on grown-up shoes. Having now walked in the shoes of a grown-up for a number of years, I can affirm that we were idiots. Walking in a grown-up’s shoes isn’t fun. It’s the worst!
We grew up in the 1980s. This was a very good decade for many reasons, one of which being that my older sister had a mullet and I looked to Fred Savage for styling advice. If you look very closely, you can see that I am throwing the devil horns with my left hand, a chilling sign of things to come.
It may not look like it in these photos and she’d never admit it, but we were pretty good buddies. I mean, I was her default playmate, and I like to think that – although she had no better option – she was grateful that I was around! I was certainly grateful that she was around. You see, she was very tall and could reach things on the counter-top that I could not.
At some point, my little sister was born and the dynamic of the household became exponentially more complicated. This is another story for another day. Luckily, my older sister knew that I wouldn’t learn to like my younger sister for about 18 years, and she did me a solid by sharing a room with her so that I didn’t have to. Here she is holding a Speak ‘n’ Spell, the world’s greatest Stephen Hawking-based toy.
Under the watchful eye of my dashing father and my dazzling mother (who is history’s greatest saint and I will stab anyone who holds a different opinion), we grew up to be reasonably well-adjusted and ludicrously attractive adults. My older sister may wear hats less than we seemed to as children, but she has never wavered in her ability to be a generous, dependable, trustworthy and hilarious individual.
I moved away from home, because I am a piece of shit. Okay, I’m not a piece of shit for having moved, but that was too fun to write. So I’m keeping it. I miss spending time with my sister. She liked to listen to profane hip hop music in her car, and that always made me laugh and vomit. I can’t rely on her for rides all the time now, but whenever we get together, we do our best to make up for lost time by drinking enough to lose our memories of the time we’re spending together. We’re still really good at partying, but it is generally between naps. Because we are old now and our grown-up shoes are absolutely suffocating our party feet.
My big sister is the gift that keeps on giving. First, she gave me a brother-in-law to argue with at family functions. Then she gave me a nephew who is basically just me all over again. Then she gave me a niece who is so sweet and cute, I can barely stand it. I really don’t know how to thank my big sister for all of this.
In return, I’ve tried to buy her kids as many noisy toys as I can afford. I really wanted to turn my nephew into a punk drummer at one point, but it turns out that he’s into sports for some reason. He’ll be thirteen eventually, though, and that’s when he’ll realize that his anger can be funneled into juvenile screaming and smashing. And that’s when I’ll buy him a real drum kit. You are welcome, dear sister. I love you.
I have already made myself want to puke about ten times while writing this. But my big sister has been there to give me a shoulder to cry on or a couch to crash on for longer than either of us would care to admit (because of oldness), so she deserves this complete derailment of this otherwise totally professional WordPress blog in her honour on this, the day of her birth.
I give having a big sister 9 STARS out of a possible 10 STARS. I would give her the full ten, but then she would feel like she doesn’t have anywhere to improve and that means that maybe she’d stop being so nice to me.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BIG SISTER.
Have a slug of bubbly for me.