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Friday, February 10, 2012

My Big Bruv'

 
The biggest moocher in town, serial philanderer, talented landscape painter, brilliant guitarist/lead singer, qualified chef and (last I heard) currently married to wife number five.




He frustrates the life out of me. Everyone unrelated to Ian loves the pants off him (far too many literally). He has that easy charm and killer sense of the ridiculous that people are irresistibly drawn to. He missed his vocation as a stand up comedian, ask anyone - my big bruv' is a regular bonus to be around.

I love him dearly, but I have never invited him to visit us on the island. The last time I saw Ian was at our fathers funeral, over fifteen years ago.

Even that was hysterically funny (sorry dad, but it was). We waited as long as we could for him to show, but the vicar eventually had to ask us to proceed without him. Halfway through the moving eulogy, as everyone wept  in to their handkerchief's, there was a crash as the huge wooden doors burst open wide, and a shrill, alien voice cut through the service to pipe, 

"'Ere, are we at the right one, Ian?"

I could hear poor old dad begin to rotate (he'd disowned him years ago). 

Ian and his latest floozy, sling-back heels clacking all the way to the front, finally took their pew.

Ian and I have shared a lot of fun times together, but every memory I have of them, it's always been me who's picked up the tab for it, and not just financially. When I bought my first place in London, he swapped wife #2 (or was it #3?) for my couch. A temporary arrangement that lasted a year.

I threw him out three times, but he had a spare key.  It wasn't him I objected to quite so much, as the bevy of bimbo's rotating through my bathroom.

One of my agencies specialised in suppying contractual staff to the catering industry.  I landed him several plum  Head Chef assignments in London's West End.  Unfortunately, he sailed past every interview, and breezed through these jobs like there were no tomorrow. Blessed with a sister in recruitment, he felt no desire to hold on to any single one of them.

In the end I felt too embarrassed to claim any blood-line to him.

It might have helped if he'd paid a little board and keep for his sins. As far as he could see, I was doing pretty nicely on my own. Besides, being family, it was the least I could do to help him out for a bit.  His friends hit on me. They cluttered up the living room, spilt cans of beer on my carpet, and kept the neighbours (and me) awake with their frequent late night jamming sessions.

 Not to mention cramp my style. I didn't have sex in my own flat for over a whole sodding year down to him and his friends.  He had the bare faced cheek to WAIT UP for me! (Keep in mind, he slept on my couch.)

He gets away with murder because he always makes me laugh. It truly isn't all his fault he's turned out the way he has. Being the eldest, Ian had it the hardest growing up. For those few who don't already know, our mother was a diagnosed schizophrenic, and our father a very abusive alcoholic.   Ian left home as soon as he was able, and soon learned to survive by his wits.

He's Peter Pan, he's never been able to grow up.  And yet, he has SO much talent. His art has found a market, people pay good money for his paintings, and he is wholly self-taught, it's instinctive.  He can't read a note either, but he composes all his own music, and can set some incredible lyrics to it. Every woman he meets wants to save him, and he always breaks their hearts. He usually breaks their banks, too.  Most of them are doing pretty nicely when they first meet, gainfully employed with their own property and transport, yet by the parting, and vitually without exception, they are all left penniless.

Oh my, can he spin a tale!  He's milked me dry more times than I care to recall.  The last time I bailed him out, he had to leave town to avoid a beating from someone he owed money to.  I allowed him to lie low under our roof for a week (by now I was married with a young family). 

The mistake I made was to give him the cash he needed at the beginning of that week.  He went out 'til the wee small hours partying every night, and happily blew the lot - only to turn on me, totally thunderstruck, when I refused to cough up what he'd squandered, before he left.

The fall-out was brief, his grand exit marred by him apologetically coming immediately back to borrow my car and jump-leads, to help him kick-start his broken down, old jallopy.  

Yes, he is on self-destruct. He is also a functional alcholic, which is why I can't have him around me anymore. Something is broken inside of him that no one but he himself can fix, but so long as there is always someone out there ready and willing to save him, it's rather doubtful he will.

Most of his wives have been Nordic, his current one is Danish, and is fluent in five languages.  These women are far from stupid, except for that blind spot for him.   I hear tell they have just bought a house in Bosnia, and I really, really do wish them well - if at from a very far, safe distance.

I doubt I am alone here, perhaps some of  you have also had to cast out a lovable, but shameless rogue, some black-sheep in the family you can no longer carry?  It's a hard choice to make, but sometimes it's the only sane one left.


46 comments:

Akelamalu said...

Your brother sounds a riot and a right pain in the a***, if I may be so blunt LOL

I have two brothers and thankfully they are both lovely. :)

mythopolis said...

This would be soooo funny if it wasn't true. They say blood is thicker than water, but that just means its so much messier to mop up (as Paige knows so well).

You should fictionalize the people in this post and write it as a novel. I am not kidding! Your brother has such a scoundrel-like quality. A lovable yet worthless flamboyant womanizer who can charm the bloomers off any gal and empty her purse at the same time. I am not kidding...you've got a novel here! Get busy, Shrinky!!! Don't make me come over there and sleep on your couch!!

Shrinky said...

You are right on both fronts, count your blessings, Ake (wink)!

Chantel said...

I agree with Myth, but I also know that writing our pain down for all to read...is rather difficult at times. (for we all know that we share the laughs, but the emotions that are beneath are much more tender) And sometimes the guilt we feel is all messed up with the anger....lol, do I sound like I've been there? You did an amazing job describing him, and I do wish him well.... Love you

Shrinky said...

Oh Dan, and don't I know it (suppressing a chuckle), you sure do have a wonderful way of reading straight to the nub of it. He always sends his love via any phonecall he has with my sister (the only one who still maintains contact with him), and expresses no hard feelings I keep him at arms length. In his heart, I think even he is surprised I allowed him to get away with so much for so long!

You have a point, this sure could turn into a wonderful sit-com.

And for the record, there will ALWAYS be a place reserved on my couch for you (grin).

mythopolis said...

Love is complicated. There are people you love. Then, there are those you hate. And then there are those you love to hate. And those you hate to love. You should call your bro and talk to him. Just know your boundaries. (You will feel good if you do this...)

Now back to this book you need to write on some other dedicated blog site. So, get this picture. I am loafing on your couch, scratching myself and eating potato chips and drinking beer. And every time you glance over, I say, "Shrinky get back to writing that story!!!" :)

.

Bijoux said...

Wow! That is crazy stuff! Along the lines of mythopolis, I was thinking that this might be one of your works of fiction! But as they say, real life is always stranger than fiction!

Barbara Shallue said...

Doesn't it seem that often the smartest and most talented people you know are also the worst rogues? And it's also true that we'll someone a lot if they can make us laugh.
Yes, I have nephew who finally used up all his chances with me a few years ago. Unfortunately for him, he didn't make me laugh or he might have gotten a fifth (or would it be sixth?) chance. My sympathies, Shrinky!

Leslie: said...

I echo the sentiments of those who suggest making it a book (or sitcom). I could tell YOU stories, but that's for another time! :D

Shrinky said...

I think you understand, Chantel, yes. Mind, we are all a sum of our experiences, the funny, sad, ridiculous and painful, and as these shape us into who we are, so the people who flit through our lives also influence how we think and write. I do believe Ian has unwittingly contributed to certain character traits I've occasionally pulled upon when shaping a few of my characters. (x)

Shrinky said...

Haaaaaaaaaa, oh Dan, what a picture you paint, it's enough to drive any girlie back to focus on her "other" dedicated blog site. You may be a slave driver, but a very encouraging one (hugs)!

Shrinky said...

Isn't that so very often the case, Bijoux? (smile)

Shrinky said...

Ah Barbara, I think you know of what I write, too. Yes, isn't it sad how often those who are the most talented are also often the most careless of those who love them?

Shrinky said...

I do believe I may well take you up on that one day, dear Leslie!

JeannetteLS said...

Ian sounds like the guy my best friend finally ditched. Brilliant, with a guitarist's hands and full of zen-sounding sayings that he unfortunately does not TRULY follow. This Ian has landed on his feet and has been willed his late stepmother's house, paid for. She struggles on the brink of bankruptcy.

She blames herself, mind you, as much as she blames him... but having watched the dissolution, the fallout is not funny.

YET... with the right writer, one COULD see it on the screen and laugh and cry.

I'm all in favor of memoir or fictionalized memoir, as you would fair know! You did a STELLAR job of relating the charm while not withholding the wounds and the flaws.

Feh. Brothers. You have been a good sister and that is not lie!

Portia said...

Wow what a brother! Now mine, on the other hand, is a surly old bastard who has come here to visit us (includes our parents) exactly twice in 20 years. With Mom's Alzheimer's you would think he could make time to see her perhaps once a year? Once every other? So sad. I am sad for my parents who know he doesn't give a damn and is waiting to inherit.

mythopolis said...

Write it!!

mrsnesbitt said...

I am an only child - I draw on my independence - thank god! You seee..............I have a sister in law from hell! Currently..........she doesn't want to talk to me! Hnnnnnnnnnmmmmmmmmm

Kate said...

I've had many alcoholics in my life I've had to kick out....er....let go of. It's necessary to walk my own thin line of sanity. It grows narrower every year. love you, Shrinky!

Secret Agent Woman said...

I have one brother I don't even talk about.

bill lisleman said...

My brother and sisters are fine and we can and do occasionally enjoy a laugh together. Now I have an 80+ uncle that had a wild life. We all love him now but he had been thrown out of a number houses/bars/cars, just about anything you can be throw out of.

Hilary said...

So sad that you no longer see your brother but I can so understand why. I'm sorry for this loss but it sounds like you're doing the best you can.. including holding on to the fond memories.

Ms. A said...

I know some people like your brother. One, quiet well. He has managed to keep a steady job for about 13 years, but has NO CLUE how to manage money. He always manages to have the latest toy, or whim, to heck with paying electric bills, etc. He's charming, too, I just don't fall for it anymore. I can't afford to.

Sage said...

Wow, sounds like a character that one couldn't make up! Lots of pain with the laughs.

Margaret Benbow said...

Oh Shrinky, he does sound a right pain in the butt. But I bet you would be surprised at the love and fond memories he has of his little sister (you, girl!) somewhere in his outlaw heart.

Ami said...

I love everything you write. Just thought I'd make sure to tell you that.

~Babs said...

Yeah, I think we all know, (or have known) at least one Ian.
Always very clever and talented, and often also very beautiful.
It's such a shame,,,wasted life, but I wonder if he'd go back and change anything if he could? I think
that often they'd say no.
(aren't you proud I kept this comment so short? Well, for me, short)
But yes,,,do write it,,,,it's something people would relate to,and I'm sure it would sell.

#1Nana said...

I think every family has one. I always wonder what my charming brother could have been if he had taken control of his drinking and drugging. He, too, is a talented musician and every so charming.

Shrinky said...

Aw Jeannette, thanks for that! Yes, sadly the wreckage these types can leave in their wake is often horrendous - and the infuriating thing is, they rarely even see, never mind acknowledge it. I hope your friend comes out stronger and wiser for the experience.

Shrinky said...

Oh Portia, I would surely want to THROTTLE him! I truly believe these personality types are tinged with a large sprinkling of sociapathic narcissism, don't you?

Shrinky said...

Ach Dan, I'm trying - honest Guv'!!

Shrinky said...

Awww Denise, that sucks - there is always ONE, isn't there?

Shrinky said...

Ha! I empathise, Secret Agent - my eldest recently asked, "Does this Uncle Ian of ours actually EXIST?" He has no recollection of ever meeting him, there isn't even so much of photo of him up on display.

Shrinky said...

I think I would love this Uncle of yours, Bill - but then, I've never had to bail him out of stuff!

Shrinky said...

I've been selective with what I've shared of Ian in this post, Hilary - there is another side to my brother which frankly scares me - I do not want him around my children (shrug).

Shrinky said...

That sure sounds like the voice of experience, Ms. A, sadly, I totally understand where you are coming from - but I wouldn't lose any sleep if I were you, his kind will always find someone else to move on to, and milk dry!

Shrinky said...

I think what pains me the most Sage, is the incredible potential he wastes. He could have done so much more with his life..

Shrinky said...

Sorry Margaret, but no, I've outlived my usefullness to him. People in his world exist to be used, if they are not for him, ergo, they are against him - and therefore the enemy!

Shrinky said...

Haha, oh Ami, you always bring a bright shaft of sunlight into my site - thank you, dear lady!

Shrinky said...

My dearest Babs, I LOVE you take the time to leave such great observations from my posts, would that there were more of you around! And I suspect you are so right, the only regrets I believe Ian has, is of the wells he's run dry..

Shrinky said...

Frustrating to the nth degree, isn't it #1 nana?

Joanna Jenkins said...

I yiyi, families are complicated, aren't they.

This is a wonderfully told story albeit it a tough one.

xoxo jj

Dave said...

Another well written story Carol. Is it really true I wonder? - Dave

Shrinky said...

Hi Dave, sadly, my friend, every word in here is totally true - life is often stranger than fiction, isn't it?

Shrinky said...

Aw, thanks JJ (smile) - yup, family is often a complex and frustrating mix of the good and the bewildering..

Suldog said...

He sounds like a piece of work, but I know what you mean. There were quite a few lovable rogues in my family. I probably qualified as one myself, twenty years back. Here's hoping he gets onto the path both he and others need.