Butts. Let’s talk about them for a second. Everyone has one, and as they go, Blue, you have a nice one. I don’t know this happened. I thought for sure you would inherit mine. I have a negative butt. It pulls inward, concave, and because of this I permanently sport a plumber’s crack since no belt on Earth can keep my pants firmly planted on my hips.
At one point, your uncle also had a nice butt. You will grow up knowing your uncle Patrick as a responsible, well-adjusted father. This will be because this is the truth and you will know it the moment you meet him. Somehow, he’s the oldest brother disguised as the middle.
But this wasn’t always the case. When he was little, everyone called him “Conan the Barbarian.” As you can guess, he didn’t get this nickname because of his gentle demeanor. Your uncle Patrick, he liked to destroy things.
Now I will tell you about he destroyed his own rear end.
Our neighborhood growing up was set up on top of a ridge. The streets off the main road all ran down like asphalt fingers. We all had our Huffies and our big wheels, and we treated those streets like they were ski slopes. Our street, Malabu, was a blue square. A bit steep, but plenty straight with a long smooth run into a pine tree-lined cul-de-sac at the bottom. A few other streets were bunny runs and green circles. And then there was Arbor Drive.
Arbor Drive was a black diamond. There weren’t any arguments about it. You didn’t go down that street until you earned your stripes on all the other streets. It wasn’t that much steeper than any other street, but about halfway down, the road kinked hard to the left. So as you screamed down the hill, it wasn’t enough to just hold on and keep your wheels straight. You also had to turn just as you reached top speed. If that weren’t enough, towards the bottom of the street there were these huge scars of tar bubbling from between the cracks of the asphalt. At full speed, it felt like you were riding over the spine of a dragon.
Being that he was the second sibling, your Uncle Patrick inherited my big wheel. A word about big wheels. They are exactly what they sound like. A big wheel, fitted to a plastic body and a low-riding seat attached to two other, much smaller wheels. There were pedals to turn the big wheel, but everyone knew they were like arms on a t-rex. Completely useless, especially when going downhill.
And your uncle, he was going downhill. Down Arbor drive, to be a matter of fact. There he was, sitting proudly in his checkered biker shorts at the top of the run in the family big wheel, a late model Kitt from Knight Rider.
We all remained at the top, perched on our Huffies, surveying the street. We went down one by one, expertly navigating the kink and rumbling over the tar spines. From the bottom, we watched as your uncle rocked back on his heels, sprung off his toes, and launched down the hill on the big wheel.
I told him at the top to not go down. To just watch and then walk the big wheel down to the bottom. He wasn’t ready for Arbor and should stick to Malabu.
He rocketed down the hill, wobbling back and forth on thin line of sidewalk next to the road. He exited the kink, turned hard, brought one of the back wheels off the ground, and then slammed it back down. There was the steady clunk-clunk-clunk of hard rolling plastic thumping over sidewalk cracks. Then, without warning, there was a steady scraping sound, like sandpaper being slowly pulled across a piece of wood, as your uncle lost his balance and slipped off the back of the big wheel.
The scraping sound was his rear being dragged across the ground. The faint scent of incinerated biker shorts reached us before he did. He never came to a complete stop, instead opting to jump off his seat into a sprint to help cool the smoking nylon that was now seared to his exposed bottom.
It was a grisly sight, Blue. Arbor Drive had claimed its latest victim, and as its trophy, half of your uncle’s cheeks were smeared all over the sidewalk. The other half was still where God put it, but we would never be the same again.
There’s a sacred bond between brothers, one built out of implicit trust that they’ll always look after each other, through thick and through thin. I’m afraid that day, things got rather thin, and we learned some very valuable lessons as a result. This was my first lesson in the simple fact that the phrase “Do as I say, not as I do” is translated in little brother as “Kill yourself trying to do every thing exactly as I do.” This was your uncle’s umpteenth lesson in “Hey, you’re not immortal” and his first in, “Remember to wear underwear because you’ll never know when you’ll burn a hole through your biker shorts.”
Keep that in mind always, Blue. Also, never trust anything with wheels that doesn’t have a seat back.
P.S. No, this is not my way of saying you have a brother on the way.