Monday, July 20, 2009

Baptism by the Moon

Forty years ago today my brother was baptized into my mother’s religious cult. I know this because that was the only thing I really ever found extraordinary about him. That he was baptized on the day Neil Armstrong placed the first human foot on the moon.

That may sound harsh, but it is true. As a kid, I always wondered why I never looked up to him, my older brother. His name is Troy, named after a tiny hamlet of a town in Oregon, not a Turkish city where Trojans roamed and giant hollow horses were know to graze.

I have since discovered that he is really rather unremarkable, and a kid only fascinated by larger than life sci-fi and superheroes, well being boring is a rather extreme character flaw.

In reality, and sticking with the moon theme, we are pretty much opposite sides of that lunar satellite. Whatever we had in common once upon a time dissipated long ago. I am sure he thinks, just as I am quite the black/dark sheep of my family -- both immediate and extended versions, i represent the dark side of the moon.

We have spent the past 15 or so years embroiled in a non ending fight of which both origins and many skirmishes I will leave out of the public record -- for now. But like the moon has phases, and just as they effect the tides, our, lets just call it a less than ideal relationship, crashes into many shores and recedes to reveal the remnants of life. Good times, no?

Whenever he comes up in conversation with friends, no matter how awful the stories are, and trust me they are awful, and that bubbles up from both sides -- I did break a hockey stick over his back once upon a time after all, most people say they hope one day we can rekindle a relationship. And I just stare at them wondering, how do you rekindle nothing?

I have been thinking a lot about family lately. What it means, Why some people treat their given family with more reverence than those who we choose to become members of our friendship family, etc...

I hold both my mother and father's familial names within mine. I am also the last male relative on each side (my brother is really just a half brother and so has no real connection to my father, and he never was given my mom's family name like i was, plus his only daughter died four years ago). The last hope to let either side carry on through the next generations. Due to some choices on my part, lets just say I am not that popular at family reunions, what with my childlessness and firm commitment to stay so.

Yet what does all this have to do with the moon? Frankly, I am not all that sure. But I go back to that notion that I have never seen my family as remarkable or really interesting. I used to dream of ways that I would discover that I was witness protection programed into this family of mine and the like. But like the oft told tale that a full moon brings out the crazies, my desires were from the lunatic side of my imagination.

And that is just it really. The crux of the issue. Imagination. I have one. I have yet to ever see proof that anyone else in my family does. In fact, as a kid I was often punished for displaying my imagination, of wondering what lies around the corner, rather than accepting what others told me was there -- see that whole religious cult thing up above again, I was also baptized into a world where speaking in tongues was seen as the norm and critical thought was discouraged.

So today, I think of that time long ago when I saw my brother linked to one of the pinnacles of human ingenuity and thought. Then I remember the times since and it is easy for me to understand why so many people think the moon landings were faked.

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