Generations Apart, Same Generation

minime.JPGI have a little brother. A really little brother, actually. He’s 11 years old. He looks exactly like I did at 11 years old. My friends call him “Mini-Me.” Technically, I’m old enough for him to be my offspring. And quite often, when out in public places, he is mistaken for my offspring.

One of these instances occurred in 2000, when he was just 5 years old, I took him on a personal tour of my newly-completed office. The governor of Rhode Island was present, and I made my brother shake hands with him. It was the perfect photo op for the guv, and flashbulbs lit up the room. Afterwards, the governor turned towards me and said, “that’s a great kid you’ve got there.” I thanked him.

Another time, I took my brother to the Boston Children’s Museum in an attempt to relive my childhood vicariously through my brother. When we got up to the ticket window, the cashier said, “one parent and one child?”

I sternly corrected him: “one guardian and one child, thanks.”

Over the holidays, I’ve started to notice that my brother is finally growing up. But he’s growing up a lot faster than I did. When I hung out with my brother, I found myself saying more and more: “when I was your age…”

In this age of Digital Cable, the Internet, and Paris Hilton, it’s hard to stay 11. When I was his age, the closest I had to those were Saturday Morning Cartoons, an 8-bit Nintendo, and a ball of string.

When I was his age, I was a pro at Super Mario 3. My brother thinks that game is lame, and he can kick my ass in Super Smash Brothers on his Gamecube. He also owns exactly four different video game systems, including 2 portable ones. My Playstation from college (also “lame”) is collecting dust in his dresser drawer.

When I was his age, IMing was just a glimmer in Steve Case’s eye. My brother can not only IM, but he also knows the abbreviations LOL, OMG, and even WTF. I suppose using WTF is preferable to using the actual word. I sure wasn’t allowed to drop the F-bomb in the house when I was 11.

When I was his age, I had no idea what pot was. Our D.A.R.E. program only spoke of drugs in generalities. On Christmas Eve, my brother came into the living room with a cooking pot on his head and screamed, “LOOK, I’M A POTHEAD!”

The older my brother gets, the older I feel. And you wonder why everyone drinks over the holidays.



Filed under On the Road

7 responses to “Generations Apart, Same Generation

  1. Yeah, I cry silent tears as I watch my sister go through her techno faze and think that’s so 1999. Not really, my sister is much cooler than I ever was, she listens to ghetto rap.

  2. I only hope that one day your little brother sees the error of his ways and decides to pick up Super Mario 3. He’s missing out on flying, crazy warps, big world, swimming in a frog suit, and riding Yoshi…

  3. This is the cutest. Our younger siblings are so much more advanced than us. Hell, my little brother showed me how to properly use a one-hitter on my 18th birthday… and he was 14.

  4. Thats a great point about knowing about pot as an 11 yearl old. When I was 11 I remember the school events did not even say drugs, it was refered to as “dope”. And for some reason I always pictured “dope” as looking like a lump of very sinister silly putty.

  5. lol! what an excellent costume idea for halloween.

    ps i cannot believe one would think super mario bros 3 is lame!!! i loved that game.

  6. baredfeetandteeth

    I worked at a youth centre for a couple of years when I was in Uni, and I had the same realization. But considering a lot of the alternatives, you’re lucky your brother’s just putting a pot on his head.

    A lot, maybe even a majority, of kids that age are already recreational tokers. At the very least they’ve tried it out. One of my worst days at work involved confiscating a bag of cocain from a 14 year old girl. I’d never even seen cocain in real life until I was in University.

    -Slightly more entertaining note about general blindness towards the age of youth: my little sister hid her delinquency so well that I only found out she threw better parties at 14 than I did at 18 when she got old enough to tell me without fear of an ass-kicking – despite the fact that the kegs had dented Mum’s new hardwood floor and there were tire tracks on the front lawn when I came home for Christmas break.

  7. emily

    Oh god. My little half-brother is 18 years younger than I am, and our father always gets compliments about his “cute grandson.” When the three of us are walking around, we get the strangest “oh-that-must-be-his-trophy-wife” looks. It’s completely surreal.

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