Friday, June 26, 2015

He's got Bette Davis eyes

When it comes to siblings, I have a sister and two brothers. Maybe. I feel required to explain that statement.

In the past, I have written several columns that involve my sister. From time to time, I may have innocently and lovingly implied that she is much older than myself, and that she might smell bad.

I have also composed some prose about one of my two brothers. I have referred to him as “the black sheep.” This is due primarily to the inexplicable fact that he is a fan of both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys. If given the chance, I’m sure he would have voted for Hitler. Because of these things, I tend to make verbal fun of him. Oh yeah, he’s also kind of short.

And that brings us to my oldest brother, of whom I have never really written. Since he’s not an old smelly girl or possibly a tiny Nazi, he has never really given me a reason to write about him. In fact, except for a mild addiction to anything Iowa Hawkeye-related, he has seems fairly normal. (There are just some secrets that families prefer to remain buried.)

But then came the morning of Thursday, June 11, 2015. My eldest brother and his wife had come to town for a few days to help do some repair and remodeling work on a house that my parents will be moving into. Despite the Iowa Hawkeye impairment, he has always been very handy when it comes to anything that requires handiness.

On his second day of work at the new house, I had come into town from where I work to see how he was doing and if I could be of any assistance to him. When I pulled up, he was on a stepladder out in the garage preparing to hang a new door opener. Dad was sitting on a stool beside him in a supervisory position. Popping in the doorway, asking if I could help, I noticed something different about my brother, but I really couldn’t put my finger on what it was.

My brother, sensing my bewilderment, quietly set his socket wrench down and looked over his glasses directly at me and said, “I might as well get this out of the way and out in the open right now. I broke my glasses last night, and right now I’m wearing a pair of Mom’s.” With that, he stood on the bottom rung of the ladder patiently waiting for my retort.

Not wanting to disappoint him, I calmly and very politely told him, “Wow, those glasses really look good on you! I didn’t know your eyes were so pretty. Plus, those glasses really go well with your blouse.”

He didn’t take the blouse line so well, as he mumbled something and returned to installing the opener. The funniest part was that my mom’s glasses weren’t helping him a bit, and in fact, I think he was getting a headache from not being able to see. And the headache was about to get worse.

Over the next several minutes, I was whipping out every line I could come up with about taking baby steps into the arena of optical cross-dressing. I think Dad was worried that I was going to make him mad enough to pack his tools up and go home. That’s what supervisors worry about.

After about a half hour, my brother’s wife had arrived after a trip from the hardware store with some much-needed supplies. She also had picked up a pair of “manly” reading glasses that she saw on the rack by the cashier. He said thank you, put them on and glared at me with those Bette Davis eyes of his. With that, he figured the hubbub would most likely die down. Yeah, right.

I pretty much let the matter lie until lunch that day, and even then it wasn’t me that brought it up again. No, my sister-in-law ... his wife ... suggested that I write a column about the situation. I said I probably shouldn’t make it public and embarrass him too much. Then she said, “It’s timely. You could compare him wearing your mom’s glasses to the whole Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner thing going on.”

I can still picture my brother staring at his wife, slack-jawed asking, “Why do you say things like that in front of him?” He then looked at me, batting those baby blues, or whatever color his eyes are, and said some not very ladylike things. I think the supervisor was getting nervous again.

Well, I don’t know if this is how Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner got started on his/her current path, but I know I’ll never be able to open that garage door without laughing.

So now I have completed the trifecta. I have written about all of my siblings, or as I like to call them “Old Stinky,” “The Black Sheep,” and “Mrs. Doubtfire.” Thanksgiving should be fun this year.

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