Friday, June 29, 2012

GBE2 - Week 58: Strength, a Tale of Eric and Joe

--by Mike Adams

Eric wondered if it was a general lack of good sense or the deprivation of oxygen that had caused his little brother to act so erratically. In truth, the little monkey was acting deliberately. He only wanted to see what his older brother would do in a situation that broke all the rules of Eric's rational world view.

Despite being separated by a seven year age gap, living at opposite ends of the personality spectrum, and sharing no physical characteristics that might indicate familial relations, the two brothers had a deep affection for each other. Secretly, the older envied his younger brother's curious bliss. He wondered, sometimes, if perhaps they weren't actually related. Not that it mattered, his love for the little bug was incredible and though his personality was an outlier in this family, he truly loved every member. His only complaint was that he often felt alone, not due to any lack of being shown affection, more because he was so distinct. He came from a different mold and he felt on some subtle level like a complete outsider.

For years, his cheeks would flame as embarrassment possessed him when a parent reprimanded him for being cruel. He meant no harm, he simply failed to consider that blunt honesty might actually hurt someone. His personality was a synthesis of unemotive computational logic delicately covering a subtle and insipid rage.

He was brilliant, but couldn't understand many of the most important and basic social rules in life. Rules that his younger brother seemed to grasp without effort. The other thing that really struck him about the little guy was his sense of justice and overwhelming compulsion to stand up for what is right regardless the possibility of negative consequences.

As a toddler, Joe would stand defiant against anyone, who he perceived as perpetrating injustice. Joe would affect a look of defiance and place himself between older and larger warring parties. He would hold his hands up, look at everyone involved and say, "You stop that! I don't like it when you act that way, quit being mean, NOW!" Usually the intensity of his ire and the smallness of his demeanor would cause everyone to laugh and say, "OK Little Mister, I'll stop."

This kid, nicknamed "Bear," seemed an anomaly to Eric, who had a difficult time mustering the courage needed to intervene in bullying. If he could bring himself to act, people would listen, there was no doubt. He was generally well liked, and despite his unusually small size, there wasn't a person in the school, who could provide a physical challenge to him. He was fast, strong and had years of martial arts training under his belt. No one wanted to mess with him and he knew it.

So why then, couldn't he intervene as his little brother did? Where did this kid's courage come from?

Was he destined for greatness or for heartbreak? Would his idealistic little brother go forth and change the world or would the world crush him? Eric had no idea, but he hoped that his brother would triumph. Eric always liked an underdog and somewhere deep inside, he believed that Joe the Bear might possess some secret strength that no one suspected.

12 comments:

  1. I think this is the best piece of writing–in terms of the quality of the writing itself–that you have ever done. It is excellent and also funny how familiar these characters seem...

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    1. thanks! Somehow this one was really easy to write too. So many other things I write take a herculean effort and this one came out quick.

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  2. Wow, this is so profound! Reading it again.

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    1. Thanks Phoenixritu! Glad you enjoyed the story.

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  3. Hey! I only had so look up one word this time! he he he You always challenge my vocabulary and I so like your stuff that I just set up dic.com and look up any 50 cent words you so casually use and I so casually look up!
    Great warm story of many a brother or sister combo...one being so different from the other and yet the connection and love is undeniable.

    Very well written and very well received.

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    1. Thanks Jo. I always appreciate your comments so much!

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  4. I like the character study from the viewpoint of one of the characters being studied. Interestingly, I remember having some of these same thoughts about my sister. She never did reach 5 feet tall, but she seemed completely at ease with everyone. I was the socially awkward one. Like I said--good character study.

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    1. It is very closely based on a combination of my three kids and my observations of them over the years. Also a bit of projection on my part as to what they may be thinking in their most private moments. I suppose it may be what I'm thinking. :-)

      Thanks Angela! I really like your post on strength...had to run off before having a moment to make thoughtful comment, but I intend to at some point!

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  5. Gosh, Mike, this is so much liike my two boys -- Ryan my older one is the worrier and analyzer as this one seems to be, and my younger, the "bliss"ful one who seems to have far less cares . And was known even in kindergarten to stand up for the left out kid. He is still somehoe the most secure in who he is, but far less responsible than his older brother. Who isn't so secure, is always worrying what people think of him etc. I think a lot has to do with the order in which children are born, or so I read. I was an only child so did not have competitive issues and was just adored. I liked being an only child but do miss siblings now as I cope alone with an ailing mom. Thank you for your heartfelt comments. Yes, I do try to get my sleep and do honeslty, as I'm so emotionally drained by the end of most days.

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    1. Thanks Sandra! This story is composed closely of my three kids. The eldest is the older one in the story and the younger is a mixture of my two younger kids. It was fun to write. I'll be thinking about you and sending you well wishes!

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    1. Thanks! I really appreciate the encouraging comments!

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Thanks for your comments! :-)
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