child 2 of 5


I’d like to dedicate today’s blog to my older brother Steve, who turned fortysomething on Sunday, just in time to get in the Times and then get laid off the same day. Computer people of the world take note: he will not be underemployed for long, so grab him while you can.

A few things about Steve:

1. All pictures of him as a baby show a butterball turkey who smiled so much his eyes disappeared. This reversed course later in his teens when he became the most feared, draconian babysitter this side of the Khmer Rouge.

2. Once, when I was about ten, Steve sat me down at the piano and used the keys to explain how eventually Sean and I would be the same age, if we lived forever. Something about the convergence of time lines in an eternal future, but it horrified me and I ran off screaming.

3. Steve always gave the best birthday presents when we were growing up. They were always proactive gifts that either floated, flew or exploded. He once gave me one of those rockets that you fill with water and them pump with air. There are probably fifteen such rockets still in the rain gutters atop the house on 19th Street in Cedar Rapids, IA.

4. I’ve oft-said it before, but Halloween is my favorite holiday, mostly because Steve used to make me a robot costume every year out of an old box, spray-painted silver. There were working lights and a little print-out through a hole that said “TRICK OR TREAT,” all powered by one of those heavy 6-volt batteries (the costume’s only flaw). The adults used to put the candy through an input hole, and I’d say “THANK YOU VERY MUCH” in a robotic monotone. It would be another 15 years before a woman would go to bed with me.

5. Steve also has the fairly thankless task of running this blog for me, and stepping in when I’m on top of a mountain or on a remote island. He started this thing back in April 2001 (along with a Pink House blog) and although it took me a few months to start writing, if you enjoy the clutter-free layout, you can thank him. So happy birthday, Steve, and may you always have a tailwind.


around 1981(?)