I've been working really late these days, gearing up for one of my biggest job responsibilities of the year: a fundraising gala. Conveniently, as many of you know, my folks still reside in my childhood home a mere 3 minutes from my office. Last night, finally locking up this joint at 10:30, I drove up the mountain, stole some leftover pasta (an incredible pesto strozzapretti!) and dug through my brother's old dresser until I found an acceptable sleep shirt and ancient boxers.
Alex's room is much like a museum, one sad step away from a velvet rope across the doorway where visitors might merely peek inside and catch a glimpse of where Alex spent his entire, historic childhood.
My room's an office.
Alex was as weird a kid as the rest of us, and his room, again, untouched since 2001, is a reflection of that. The nights before his football games, he'd close his door and create what can only be described as a floor shrine. His jersey was delicately laid on the rug, then above it his helmet. Around that was a bizarre collection of mementos, the 14 year old version of lucky troll dolls. I don't know if he prayed to the shrine, lit the naked lady candle my uncles gave him or did nothing, feeling that the effort in the construction of the shrine was enough to secure a win.
I always had a double bed, my parents perhaps sensing my penchant for whoredom, but Alex had some specially ordered tall people twin bed. He was 6'5" when he was like, 11. His arms were somehow able to knock things over in other rooms, he was that awkward. But I guess I'd be really awkward too, if my only home companion was a chubby, over-informed, teenage girl with purple hair and a strong desire to be angry at society.
And lo these years later, I occasionally end up crashing in the middle of his Smithsonian-esque boudoir. It's always a delight for me when my huge feet don't dangle over the edge of the bed, a big bonus of crashing on Alex's (again, specially ordered) mattress. I snuggled in, wrapping fancy covers around me and scoured his looming bookshelf, filled with the library collection of a cross between Ashton Kutcher and Rick Reilly.
Oh, Alex, what frat boy-esque literature or 'family-friend-gift' high-brow shit do you have for me tonight?
I find approximately 748 moments a day to remember how much I love my brother. But yesterday, moment 749 was when I pulled the book that would lull me to sleep in his discarded bed, in his discarded clothes and without his permission, from his discarded bookshelf.
You guessed it.
Toilets of the World...