15 Ways A Brother Makes A Mark

Have you heard how a duckling bonds with its caretaker in the first 24-48 hours after its birth? When the duck sees its mother moving around, it learns to follow and imitate her behaviors. This is called "imprinting" and most of the time, this means the duck bonds to its mother.

However, if the mother isn't present, ducks will bond to whatever large object is hanging around during those critical hours - be it a squirrel, dog, or stuffed animal.  This imprinting is irreversible, and ducks who bond to something outside of their species often never socialize with their type again.

When I learned this bit of trivia, I realized I had experienced a similar imprinting of my own.  However, for me, this big impression came in the form of my brother Mark.

You see, Mark is a force of nature; a real-life Cliff Clavin, the original Renaissance man.

Mark didn't just take up surfing, but had to learn how to make his own boards; he wasn't content to brew his own beer, he had to grow his own hops; he couldn't grind his own coffee beans, he had to roast them first (he's a "second crack" kind of guy - as if I know what THAT means!).

I've never had Mark's athletic skills, his grasp of facts, or his rhythm on the dance floor, but he's left his imprint on me in more typical Big Brother kind of ways.  Here are just a few of the major impressions:

1. Burping works best when there's an audience and you're really loud.


2. Always own a dog.3. Never own a cat.

4. Lizards are play things.

5. Farts should be silent so you can deny ownership.


6. Enjoy being the center of attention.7. Wait for the big waves, then ride with reckless abandon.

8. Don't tell Dad.

9.There is nothing more powerful than a well-placed curse word.

10. Shoes are optional. (This one got me in trouble.)

11. Say "I'm sorry" quickly.


12. Don't even think about drinking bad wine.13. Be cool.

14. Laugh loudly at yourself.

15. Love God, love people.

Though I don't follow him around like a duck, Mark's imprint on me is just as irreversible.

After all, I still don't love shoes and this DEFINITELY makes it difficult to socialize with my species!!

For everything my big brother has given me, I am grateful.  I am so glad he was born.  Happy Birthday!