In the Light
I visited my brother, Ron, last weekend.
We were discussing our family’s “Five Year Plan.”
This is hard to explain because even though my brother and I are part of it, we don’t really understand it.
For something like 45 years there has been a member of the family born every five years.
Okay, it may not sound odd to the casual observe, but try being part of that cycle.
First, we had to come up with a catchy name.
The former Soviet Union used “The First Five Year Plan.”
At least that’s what it was called on the internet — and the internet is never wrong.
The Soviets liked to unveil five year plans for economic growth and prosperity. The first one started in 1928.
Not sure, but I don’t think it worked so well.
I could be wrong.
“They had good hockey teams,” my brother, Ron, said.
“Who?” I asked.
“The USSR … You know ‘Miracle on Ice’ and stuff like that,” he said.
I pointed out the “Miracle on Ice’ was the United States beating the Soviets in hockey.
“Whatever,” he said. “I’m just saying that was probably part of some five year plan.”
Sports teams have five year plans.
A sports team’s five year plan is a plan to rebuild a team within five years. It usually takes three head coaches and/or managers within that five year span before the team announces another (stronger and faster with better looking uniforms) five year plan.
“The Chicago White Sox: Looking forward to 2022!”
“The Soviet Union never needed a five year plan for its hockey team,” my brother opined.
I don’t usually used the word “opined.” It’s an odd word.
You remember that girl in college who majored in obscure 13th Century French poetry? Or that guy who majored in biomolecular rocket science and astro physics?
They used the word “opined.”
They loved that word because they knew everyone else thought they were mispronouncing “onion.”
I can’t explain my thinking it either.
I hated to tell my brother the Soviets had a perpetual five year plan for its hockey team. It was called the military draft.
“What should we call our five year plan?” my brother asked.
“You’re clever with names and stuff. You know, like the other day when you called that lawn mower engine ‘that thing.’”
I would have punched him, but I needed his help working out the five year plan.
Besides, who has a lawn mower engine just laying around in their back yard?
“I was getting ready to fix it” my brother defended himself.
“It had weeds growing in it,” I pointed out. “Was that another five year plan?”
A little while later, after we recovered from the fist fight and verbal thrashing we gave each other, my brother asked, “How about we call it ‘The Family Five?’ That sounds kinda neat doesn’t it?”
What are we? A 1980s boy band?
I must have hit him in the head one too many times during our … Discussion.
“How about we figure it out first?” I answered his question with a question.
There’s a fancy word for that. It’s not “opined,” but it’s a word that girl in college who majored in obscure 13th Century French poetry or that guy who majored in biomolecular rocket science and astro physics would use.
I asked my brother to get some paper and something to write with so we could chart our family’s five year plan.
“And no crayons this time,” I warned
Like he ever listens.
Here’s what we came up with:
My brother Joe (Chestnut) who is 10 years younger than I am;
My brother Ron (Cornflower) who is five years younger;
Myself (Piggy Pink);
Our aunt, Jeri (Lavender) who is five years older than me …
And that’s as far as we got, even though we both know we have an aunt and/or uncle who is five years older than Jeri, and another aunt and/or uncle who is 10 years older than Jeri.
We just couldn’t figure out who they were.
“Okay, Fred is …” or “How old was Bob?” or “Isn’t Aunt Nan …”
And by the way, my brother, Ron, picked out the colors for the names.
So after he picked Piggy Pink for me we had another … Discussion (stitches were required).
These colors are real Crayola Crayon colors — the best crayon in the world (in case Crayola gets mad at me for using the “Crayola” brand name).
“We could ask Aunt Nan,” Ron suggested.
I love my Aunt Nan — so named because as a wee child I couldn’t say her name (June) — but there was no way I was going to get her talking about family history.
She always ends up telling everyone stories about what I was like as a child.
I don’t need that information on my public record.
And by the way, as a wee child I couldn’t pronounce a lot of words, but at least “Nan” sounded kinda cool for an aunt.
“We could look at the Soviet model,” my brother suggested. “Maybe that will give us a clue.” Where does he come up with this stuff?
We did manage a formula — after another discussion (and there will a cool scar I can show off) — for our family’s five year plan.
We decided that every five years someone would be born to make up for the failures of the person born five years before them.
“Is that why John (another brother) is six years older than you and there’s nobody five years younger and older than he is?” my brother, Ron, asked.
At least I think that’s what he asked. He still had an ice pack on his jaw and cotton in his mouth where his teeth used to be.
“If that’s the case, then Joe would be the end of the five year plan. He would be the one who is … perfect?” I questioned.
After we quit laughing my brother, Ron, decided we should make another chart.
With different colors.
“You know, the Soviets always used the same color when they drew up their five year plans,” he opined.
Another discussion ensued.