I have two brothers, which people find fascinating for some reason. “You mean there’s more than one of you? Good God!” Actually, while I’m the garrulous, outgoing type of person, my younger brother is quiet and more reserved. And then my older brother is from Planet Zoot, and no one knows what the fuck he is thinking. To say that he’s socially maladapted is to assume a borderline level of social awareness, which I can assure you that my older brother does not have. He does or says what he feels like, and if that happens to violate every social more in place since the invention of the plow, well then that’s society’s fucking problem, isn’t it? This is how he came to ruin a Christmas Eve dinner for a bunch of old ladies.
One year in the early 90’s, my mother gave an early present to me and my brothers. “We’re going to spend a week and a half in a cabin at the tip of Door County!” she informed us with no small amount of excitement. I, alas, did not share her enthusiasm for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that this “present” involved me having to be in a snowbound cabin in fucking Wisconsin on New Year’s Eve instead of where I should have been: Throwing up on a cop’s shoes in Chicago.
I made many protests and came down with any number of fatal diseases, all to no avail. Before long, I found myself marveling at the Winter Wonderland that is Wisconsin during the holiday season: The bare trees, the snow, the panoply of colors: White, off -white, light-grey, dingy-white, eggshell-white, bone…
Also, my parents didn’t know it, but I had a pack-a-day smoking habit that I had to keep hidden, which was very hard to do in an isolated cabin in the middle of fucking nowhere. I had to keep inventing reasons to go outside, which became progressively harder as the days wore on. “Say,” I’d venture, “Has anyone bothered to take a picture of the cabin from, oh, I don’t know, 200 yards away? I bet that’d make a for a great family memory!” Then I’d bundle my ass up in every piece of clothing I had brought, trudge through thigh-high snow, and quickly power down a cigarette while somehow trying to keep myself from smelling like the Marlboro Man.
“How’d the picture turn out?” my mom would ask as I walked back inside.
“What? Oh, right. Yeah, yeah, yeah, real stirring stuff. Precious memories, the whole nine yards…”
This was before the days of digital cameras, so I didn’t have to actually take these pictures. Instead, every time I used the camera as an excuse to go outside, I’d take a picture of myself flipping off the camera. At the end of the vacation, I exposed the film to the light and it was a good thing I did too, because my mom found the roll and had it developed.
“I’ve got bad news, Greg. Those photos you took didn’t turn out!”
“Huh? OH! Yeah, I wonder what happened?”
“I don’t know, but I bet that’s disappointing. You took a lot of pictures when we were up there!”
About the only thing that kept me sane while I was up there was my younger brother, who was my partner in keeping a non-stop sarcastic commentary going the whole time.
“Look at all that snow!” my mom would say.
“You know, they say that every snowflake is different,” my brother would respond, “but you couldn’t tell that from inside this car.”
“No kidding, this looks exactly like every other thing we’ve looked at for the last week,” I’d chip in.
“Hey, fun Wisconsin fact: Wisconsin leads the nation in suicides,” he added.
My mom would bite. “Is that true?”
“Looking out the window, I’d say it seems like it should be.”
(What was great about the running dialog we kept going is that while it went over my mom’s head, my dad was sharp as a tack, and although he tried hard to pretend he wasn’t listening, every now and again you’d see him trying to stifle a smile. My dad had a wonderful, but very dry sense of humor, so getting him to laugh was an accomplishment.)
To get back to the original point (I do tend to ramble in my old age), on Christmas Eve, my family went to eat at a fancy restaurant. I mean, we wore suits and everything, which was rare for us because having been raised in blue jeans, I reacted to wearing a suit much like the Wicked Witch of the West reacted to a bucket of water. Most of the time my parents were content to forego the battle entirely, as long as I agreed to wear a shirt with something other than the words “Led Zeppelin” on it.
My mother had taken my older brother aside to remind him of a few social niceties that he should probably keep in mind, and rightfully so, because as I mentioned before, he had a problem with that kind of thing. I can’t tell you how many times we’d be watching TV as a family, and my older brother would nonchalantly begin biting his nails. His toenails. (Really.)
“And whatever you do, don’t… You know… Don’t itch yourself down there. Ok?”
“I’m serious. If you need to itch, go to the bathroom!”
My brother has a problem fiddling with his nuts. As long as I’ve known him, and to this very day, he’s a very public nut fiddler, which is just… unfortunate. It’s not a sexual thing. He may start tugging at himself in line at McDonald’s, but it’s not because he gets turned on by clowns. He’s just… Readjusting.
For the benefit of you ladies out there, here’s how this works: Sometimes your boys just kind of get themselves into a bad spot down there, and they require some gentle guidance to get them back into a place where they, and you, are more comfortable. Large-breasted women know what I’m talking about, as I’ve seen you quickly and surreptitiously jam a hand down your bra to whip the girls into shape. It’s a comfort thing.
But because we’re dealing with the Frank & Beans combo, guys usually take their act into the bathroom where they use the “Tuck the shirt” maneuver to quickly put things right. Not my older brother. But he’s been admonished by my mom often enough that he’s subtly changed his move so that he never actually touches himself at all. I guess the thinking is that if he doesn’t actually touch his gear, it doesn’t count and so no one should be offended, much less horrified.
He’s wrong. What he does instead looks much, much worse. It’s a move my younger brother and I named, The Ol’ Tuck & Tug. I’d demonstrate it in a video, but no way in fucking hell do I want that video in general circulation. There’s a difference between self-deprecation and self-flagellation, you know. Instead, I’ll describe it to you, but you need to stand up and act it out in order to gain an appreciation for just how ridiculous this looks to an observer.
- Stand with your feet at shoulder width, and lean forward at the waist about 15 degrees.
- Stick your ass up in the air
- Reach down and grab the crotch of your pants (not your crotch itself, just what’s covering it).
- Pull down on your pants while raising your crotch by standing on your tiptoes.
- Wiggle your hips and ass until your genitalia have worked themselves into a more comfortable position
- Weep with shame, because what the fucking fuck was that?
Seriously, if you haven’t tried this you need to do so now. Try it in front of a full length mirror. If you have a loved one around to watch, you won’t afterwards because this shit looks fucking wrong.
Now, back to Christmas Eve dinner in a fancy restaurant… My younger brother and I have been keeping an eye on our other brother the entire meal, quietly discussing the odds that he will be able to pull off the impossible: Eat a meal, in public, without flagrantly drawing everyone’s attention to his funky zone. A couple of times we thought he’d lost the battle, as he stood up to adjust his chair and he looked really, really tempted to just Tuck & Tug his way to Nirvana, but to his credit, he resisted.
Finally, as dinner was ending and our party was standing up, gathering their things and getting ready to leave, my younger brother nudged me with his elbow. “Look! Look! There he goes!”
Sure enough, my older brother had noticed how everyone at our table was preoccupied, and he decided to Go For The Gold. With his eyes shifting back and forth (and somehow not noticing his two brothers openly laughing at him) he backed away from the table until the moment was at finally at hand (heh), and he went into a full blown Mega-Tuck & Tug.
With his ass raised up inches away and directly in between the faces of two old women seated at the table behind us.
And apparently, the Tuck & Tug was long overdo because it took a frantic dance/waggle session of epic proportions to set things right. Seriously, it went on so long that there were waves of reactions:
- The surprised looks on the faces of the two old women closest to the crime scene
- The disgusted looks that came over these same women when they fully comprehended what they were seeing
- One old lady dropped her fork and rolled her head back as if to say, “What did I do to deserve this, God?”
- Two elderly gentlemen across the table began to grumble (“Hey, now!”, “Oh, for the love of…”, “We’re trying to eat over here young fella!”)
Making matters worse, my brother had gotten some sort of white, powdery substance on his hands (possibly powdered sugar from dessert, we never did figure it out), and had apparently placed both his hands on his ass, leaving large, splay-fingered handprints there for all to see.
The only other people that were reacting were my brother and I, who had our own crotch problems going on: We were practically pissing our pants with laughter. Luckily, my parents were too busy gathering coats and whatnot to notice, because they would have been shamed out of existence if they had witnessed that sorry spectacle.
If that restaurant was a Michelin 3 Star Restaurant, the Michelin folks would have burned it to the fucking ground if they’d seen that display, because it was foul beyond comprehension. You simply do not tug at your crotch like you’re in a taffy pulling contest while waving your handprint-spangled ass directly in the faces of the elderly. It is just not done.
Every now and again, usually over drinks, this anecdote will come up, and if enough booze has been consumed those people unfortunate enough to be in attendance get to see this story reenacted, not so much for their enjoyment, but for mine: Seeing the horrified looks on their faces brings me back to a simpler time, when a man in his twenties could furiously tug at his junk within centimeters of senior citizens and not get rung up as a sex offender. When, oh when did we lose our innocence?