TWITTER: @sirbacon123

11 April 2010

Brotherly Love

When it comes to Black and White, two things immediately pop into my mind:
  • The classic music video of Michael Jackson’s song where the faces of all different people morph into one another, implying we are all the same
  • And the Seinfeld episode where Jerry describes the classic Black and White cookie as “two races of flavor living side by side… nothing mixes better than vanilla and chocolate and yet somehow racial harmony eludes us.   If people would only look to the cookie all our problems would be solved.  Look to the cookie Elaine.  Look to the cookie!
Before I get to how this relates to today’s story let me take a step back.

A few days ago, I had lunch with my brother, who is fourteen years older than me.
He lives 1,000 miles away, but for 90 minutes, we just happened to be in the same city at the same time.
My brother is a human, not a cat, but he has lived nearly nine lives.
A year out of high school, he moved to Hawaii to quench his thirst for surfing.   He bussed tables so that he could afford to ride the waves.
From there is was off to college where he would graduate a couple of years later with a degree in Liberal Studies.
Before putting his degree to work, he had one more hobby to conquer and that was skiing. 
He moved to the mountains, where he worked as a chairlift operator at a Ski Resort.
That job gave him the opportunity to ski for free in his free time.
As you can tell, he wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth.   He worked hard so that he could play hard.
After he got tired of playing, he joined the working world.
At age 25, he moved back in with us.
Not because he was out of money.   It was because he had cancer.
Clearly, the games were over and it was time for reality.
That’s where the black & white comes in.
At lunch, 30+ years removed from his battle with the big C, my brother told me that while he was fighting the disease, he looked at life in two simple terms – black and white.
Black=bad.  White=good.
The goal was to make sure that you didn’t allow any black thoughts to consume you, instead spending your time on positive possibilities.
Negative thoughts were not only a waste of time, but a tremendous waste of energy -- something in short supply when you were battling what he was.
I was in my early teens when he was sick and I can clearly remember my brother being a very positive thinker, but I had never heard him put life in the black and white terms, until now.
Since we don’t see each other in person very often, it was really great to spend some quality time with him, even if it was only an hour and change.
He is older than me and wiser than me and definitely someone that I have always been able to count on for taking me down the right road.
I don’t know if he had a formal agenda for our lunch, but I could tell that he wanted to take advantage of our face-to-face time for a little unemployment pep talk.
Even if he never mentioned the “u” word.
After all, he does read the blog, so he knows exactly where I’m sitting these days.
Considering his success rate as a black and white thinker, I’d say that he is someone that I can really learn from.
He beat cancer.
Years later he beat a brain aneurism.
He has helped raise a mother with a bipolar disorder.
All the while running his own successful business.
I’ll have what he’s having.


Ruth said...

I think your story is so sad, but unfortunately there are so many people struggling right now. I feel like I should write my own book from rags to riches and back again. We just about lost everything, when our dream of living on a beaur=tiful island turned sour. i lost my job, my kids were almost killed in a car crash, we lost our home our life savings, returned to san Diego where life is not easy and we could end up homeless. we feel closer daily to this situation and with two teenagers, what are people like us supposed to do?? We lived the dream and believed that buying a home investing in our future was a good thing!! But now we have nothing. We struggle to retain our dignity and to move forward, but from always being a successful person, to feeling like a failure is not good. i wish you all good things, it must be meant for some reason as yet we know not why. Look you have done it once, you are not old!! You have had so many wonderful things in your life, things that others will never have the chance to experience. you are obviously highly motivated, intelligent and caring, for why would you share your soul with others. You and your family can survive. do not fall apart, stay with the love that you had. remember "money can't by you Love" But as my father said G-d rest his soul "Money doesn't matter until you haven't got it" . we can survive, i feel like I could write the movie, for so many peoples lives have been changed through this economic disaster.
Please please can our lives improve? They must, it's only a temporary situation...Take care best Wishes Ruthx

Suzanne said...

Am I remembering the Seinfeld episode correctly? After extolling the virtues of the black and white cookie, and eating one, Jerry got terribly sick to his stomach. Something about the black and white not getting along. How does that work with your analogy? Just wondering.