The Brotherhood

Boz and I just wrapped up 9 days of playing tour guide to his brother (A-Boz) and a friend (Joe) from MN. Most of the trip was fairly standard...full of temples, baseball games, Japanese food of every variety, fish markets, Imperial Palace visits, sake and beer. Some of the trip was not at all standard, such as the night the guys sang karaoke from 11pm - 6am and then went out for a breakfast of spicy ramen. I'm convinced I heard Tokyo breathe a sigh of relief when we put the Minnesotans back on the plane.

I can't really do a thorough rundown of the visit (at least not an entertaining one) until Boz, A-Boz and Joey retire...but I trust anyone who knows any of us can pretty well imagine how things went down. What I CAN discuss is my important revelation of the week: brothers are awesome. I grew up with one sister. It was just the two of us and I can't imagine life without her. I've always known that Matt and his bro are also very close, but this visit was my first opportunity to observe them together for an extended period of time and without a bunch of other people around (notwithstanding the millions of Japanese people surrounding us at least 18/7). Here are my key takeaways regarding the brotherhood:

#1. Brothers talk a lot...but they do so in something of a made-up language. Boz and A-Boz communicate via a mishmash of movie/TV quotes, hypothetical scenarios, sports analogies, and off-color jokes. There is seemingly no alternative style of communication and yet somehow many pieces of interesting information, opinions, and feelings are exchanged. There were times throughout the week when I felt like a reporter on assignment to study a small tribe communicating in a vaguely familiar language. They seemed to be speaking English, but I could never confidently pin down the tone or content. It appears to be impossible to decipher. I'm going to stick to learning Japanese.

#2. Brothers entertain each other in a unique version of humor. Boz and I make each other laugh all the time but it is never in that gasping for air/your stomach is sore the next day kinda way. Boz and I find the same things funny...but Boz, A-Boz and their closest pals find the same things hysterical. There is a difference...and it's awesome. I recognize this difference clear as day because I am treated to several bouts of laugh-tilll-you-gasp every time I visit my sister. Those times are priceless to Em and me...and I had a love explosion when I noticed Matt has those same moments with his bro. (read this post if the love explosion comment doesn't make sense: /

#2a. (a sub-takeaway, if you will). This is going to sound a little biased...but I swear, it's an objective fact: Boz is one of the funniest people that's ever lived. If you are reading RV and don't know him personally, you're just going to have to take my word on this. It is the same as saying Tiger Woods is one of the best golfers that's ever lived. (To keep RV well-rounded, perhaps I will do a post on Boz's shortcomings someday. That would be hilarious. Consider it done.) because I normally treat him as an endless well of entertainment, I get genuinely irritated when he says something that's only marginally funny. It is rare, for sure...but occasionally it does happen. At these times, I scowl (for real) and say "sub-par humor, babe", normally followed by "what the hell?" or "step it up". (If any misguided reader ever thought it would be fun to be married to me, I trust we just nipped that in the bud.) Again...anyway...I had an epiphany this weekend. After watching Boz and A-Boz laugh at some things that seemed entirely innocuous, it occurred to me that perhaps Boz is sometimes using "brother humor" on me and it's just not registering!! Perhaps the comments ARE funny but he's accidentally aiming them at me because A-Boz isn't around...and so they're flopping. I'm going to be much more careful before deeming anything sub-par humor from now on. Some things will certainly still deserve such harshness...but, undoubtedly, some will just deserve a "brother humor, babe. Sorry".

#3. Brothers, or at least quintessentially chill ones like my bro-in-law, can (unknowingly) provide very useful relationship pointers. Boz is as Type-A as one can get and it's really difficult for him to let anything less than perfect or "just so" slide. If I make a casual exaggeration, nine times out of ten, Boz will straight-up correct me or say something along the lines of "you know that's not quite accurate, right?". As one might imagine, sometimes this process drives me crazy. Like...literally crazy. There have been inopportune 'corrections' that have seriously made me consider institutionalizing myself for the safety and longevity of my spouse. However, after my week-long exposure to the brotherhood, I have a new perspective. A-Boz said something about volcanoes while we were on the train (exactly what was said has long since escaped me). Boz immediately corrected him on some irrelevant fact...and A-Boz didn't miss a beat. He just acknowledged his brother's comment with a 'yeah' or a nod or something equally brief and kept right on going with his commentary. I sat very still while my brain exploded inside of my skull. I mean...A-Boz has known Boz a LOT longer than I have and has therefore, I must assume, also been receiving these enlightening corrections for many more years. If he has mastered the split-second acknowledgment method  (which seemed entirely acceptable to Boz), then that is most likely exactly where I will end up as well. Rather than fight the process for a few more years, I am now determined to channel the brotherhood and just let Boz do his thing. I get it now. I finally understand how to peacefully coexist with someone even while they are impersonating an encyclopedia. FINALLY. Phew.

#4. And, lastly, the brotherhood bond can just wreck you. On the morning A-Boz was set to leave, I rolled over in bed and whispered to Boz, "I'm really sad". I get really sad every time visitors leave. This is to be expected...and every single time, Boz cheers me up and reminds me of an upcoming adventure and helps me deal. Except this time...this time he just whispered back "I'm really sad too". And this just wrecks the best of ways.

Everyone I talked to this week asked, "How was your brother-in-law's visit??" I've given all the customary answers..."it was so busy!", "it was fun and exhausting!", "we drank too much", etc. But all of that's just superfluous details.

How was the visit? Brothers are awesome.