But today I really want to talk about one of my brothers--the one closest in age to me, about five years younger. Let's call him Mark, for the sake of Millenial Modesty. (That's not his name.)
Mark has always been way cooler than me.
How this happened, given our age differences, I cannot tell. How is that an eight year old was more clued into geeky indie culture than a thirteen year old? How could that possibly occur? And yet Mark has always been WAY ahead of the trend curve.
I still remember, in like freaking 1991, a very serious eight year old boy coming up to me with a CD in his hands.
"You have to listen to this. It's cool. It's called Flood, by this band called They Might Be Giants."
This is even weirder when you consider that for most of his life, Mark listened to thrashy metal rap and exhibited traditional American male signs of dominance. He collected beer bottles and played Sega Genesis till his eyes bled. He is not and was not a geek, in either the social sense or the cultural sense. He spent a lot of time lifting weights and driving way too fast and once hilariously owned a fellow student in my grad program by intoning: "I didn't read that book, but I can bench press 300 pounds." He has never identified with geeks, ever, and bringing my geeky friends to visit is much like waving a red flag in front of a snarky bull.
But he knew about TMBG long before I did. And Green Day, and Napster, and a whole host of other things. He gave me a copy of Watchmen when I was 15 and he was 10, for crying out loud. I beat him on blogs, as he's never had one, but that's about it. His coolness has always vastly outstripped mine.
We probably have equally cool jobs. He declined college and went to culinary school and is a very young and successful executive chef. I'm obscenely proud of him.
And today, playing Journey on Rock Band, I remembered an equally serious 20 year old about five years ago shaking his finger in my face and saying with total sincerity:
Journey is the greatest band in the history of the world.
And then busting out in to Don't Stop Believin' in the middle of the street. (This is also much funnier when you realize that most of the time he also exhibits traditional American male taciturnity.)
Which is now everyone's go-to inspirational song and Journey has had quite the renaissance in cool.
My brother and his preternatural sense of awesome. I miss him, I never get to see him since he's on the other coast and we both work ugly hours. But from afar, I want to put out there that he rules, not only because he's way cooler than me, but because he has the ability to say things that are outrageous and sometimes profane but desperately need saying, a courage I've not always had--and what I have I learned in large part from him. Also he's the funniest person I know. This Bud's for him, I guess.
And you know what? Journey is pretty fucking great.