There are two kinds of people: older brothers and the victims of older brothers*. Everyone knows the sting of an older and stronger brother's punch on the arm, frog in the thigh, purple nurple and that famous "accidental" kick in the crotch. What? Everyone does it!
This is not my brother, it's just some kid.
My brother was born seven years later than me. That is bad mojo. What 14-year-old wants his seven-year-old brother tagging along? None I say! When he was born, I had to split my room in two, which was actually kind of cool. I felt excited thinking about having a younger brother and imagined it would be fun. Boy was I wrong. It didn't take me long to realize I had to get rid of him.
This is where we lived in Farmingville, Long Island.
See that pool in the back yard?
First, I tried to get rid of him in the pool. He wouldn't fit in the drain, and my parents and older sister were watching all the time. Not to mention if I shoved him in there, the pool would probably grow a lot of algae and my dad would have a fit. We had great times in that pool. We'd be swimming in the deep end and my dad would be sleeping in a raft or walking around in the pool with goggles floating on the water so he could see the bottom as he cleaned it. Our dog, Shadow, loved to play with us. We would coax him out onto a raft and float him around the water. Good times!
Waverly Avenue Elementary School, AKA DEATHTRAP!
This is the elementary school I went to for nine years or so. Difficult to see but there is a steep hill leading down from the school kind of in the direction of the playground. During the spring my dad and I occasionally took one of those huge Styrofoam planes, the kind with a six-foot wingspan, and had a blast gliding it down the hill. Getting it back we felt like Moses wandering the desert for forty years, the dang plane would fly way the heck out there.
Winter was the season of death, however. When gentle snows blanketed the hill like a snowy blanket, that was when I could make my next attempt at murd--I mean, sibling rivalry. The speeds attained in a sled on that hill broke the snot barrier and it was child's play to "bump" my brother just right so he flew off the back and tumbled down into the drifts below. Tough bugger that he was, it didn't even seem to phase him! Sure, he cried sometimes, but you just stuff snow down his pants if he doesn't stop.
Of course this was good practice for later years when I would suddenly whip our go-cart into a spin and send him flying off into a ditch. Ahhh...thank goodness for no seat belts!
Weep that you never experienced the glory that was Big Barry's Grub 'n' Firewater.
That isn't my family, its a photo I found on the internet.
I swear the kid in red looks just like I used too, outfit and all.
My brother was safe from me in this place. It was always too much fun to worry about torturing him. Close your eyes and imagine an old west saloon with those swinging doors leading to the bathroom, a nickelodeon or player piano strumming heart-pumping old tyme tunes. One wall is covered with an enormous mural depicting our Americanized Old West. You're seated at a wood-hewn table and handed a gold mining pan with a menu glued to the bottom. Spicy wings and juicy burgers are served in gold mining pans, too! Order your steaks by the ounce, just like gold! While you're basking in the nostalgic atmosphere, up to your table strides Big Barry himself! With an exclamation mark!
Barry was seven feet tall, but only because he wore a towering ten-gallon hat and cowboy boots (and an exclamation mark!)! He was maybe 4'10" high and he'd chat you up and down and make you happier than a cow that slipped the fence at branding time. But the best part of all was that he made my shrimpy brother cry like the baby he was every single time! Ahhh...the memories.
Sadly four people or so were murdered in their two locations and they are long closed. Please, send me any pictures you have as we did not take any of our own.
Mystery Mansion = Mysteries, in a Mansion!
For some reason the commercials for this game excited me to no end. Building the "board" out of the carefully decorated rooms thrilled me. Sometimes I took the game out just to look at it, and I know for a fact that I kept the thing in storage until I was over thirty. Yet, somehow, I don't remember actually playing it very much. Now that's
It has nothing to do with my brother!
We moved to Massapequa in 1983.
Opportunities for an "accidental" death were limited in my old place, where I liked to play with matches and fire. Our new place, in Massapequa, offered more because we had a great set of quite solid stairs in the back yard and an enormous basement that wasn't creepy. See, our old basement was never completely finished and there were two rooms that showed bare-bone two-by-fours and concrete floors. The place gave everyone a bit of the heebie-jeebies so there wasn't any chance of tricking someone down there. They were always on guard.
Our new basement was tiled and had a stereo. We put out Air Hockey table and Pachinko machine down there. If you don't know what Pachinko is, send me $5. My point is, that with the illusion of safety, the new basement was a perfect place for murd- I mean, play time.
This is a basement.
Here was my ultimate plan: while my friend Billy Newhouse was visiting, we were playing in the basement. It should come as no surprise to anyone that my brother wanted to tag along and play, too. At the time we had an enormous box from our new refrigerator. As boys are want to do, it became a rocket-ship, castle, coffin and, ultimately, a dungeon. What I did was trick my brother into getting in the box, then folded him in, ran up the stairs, turned off the lights, left the basement and locked him in.
There, now you know why I am going to h*ll!
Enter the toy of the gods, Crossbows and Catapults.
This brilliant game pitted brother against brother in a battle of castle-building, distance gaging and shooting the cr*p out of each other's tower. Nothing could be finer and the tiled floor in our basement was the perfect surface. I wound up not killing him then because we were having so much fun playing that it seemed morally wrong to deprive myself of the fun. I'm ethical that way.
This feeling of "non-hatred" led to some unusual behavior on my part. I actually started watching cartoons with my brother. Most famous at this time was the USA Cartoon Express.
The show played a montage of cheap, older cartoons that we'd never really seen before. Shows like Jabberjaws, which is essentially Scooby-Doo with a shark instead of a dog. Shirt Tales, which was...it totally sucked, OK? But we watched it anyway! Grape Ape was better. They couldn't hold a candle to The Smurfs or Thundercats or Robotech or Voltron. Now those were cartoons that could put hair on your chest!
Always order your Voltron with the 5 lions. The other kind sucked! Heathcliff and his pals were mesmerizing and deep.He wasn't the star. He was the nerdy side-kick.Thundercats are loose!
Also, they ate garbage.
Somehow, to my shame, Thundercats and the Galaxy Rangers taught me some moral lessons that made it impossible for me to kill my brother. What I learned from their moral lessons each day after school was that if I killed him, I would have to "face the consequences." Instead, I could just torture him all the time by farting in his cup and chasing him with a giant rubber spider. Yes, yes, you read that right: giant rubber spider. Sadly, I never did kill my brother.
I don't want to end this article on a low note, so I'm going to tell you about The Good Steer.
This place had it all: a cartoon cow logo, of a steer thrilled at the idea of being eaten, by you, in a restaurant! I still taste, in my dreams, a loaf of onion strings, a crock of baked beans and the delicious-est chocolaty shake served in a waxed paper cup. My mouth still waters, 20 years later!
Do yourself a favor and eat there if you're ever in the neighborhood. And take your little brother there with you. No one's been murdered there yet, but you can always hope!
May the Retro-Force be with you!***What? No, I just said that there are two kinds. I didn't say that there are ONLY two kinds.
** Oh, and please click the thumbs-up if I made you laugh at least once. If you aren't registered, and so you can't click, go register. It's free. They don't send you any spam or anything. I'm personally inviting you. There. Go. Do.