I know, I know: it’s been a while since I’ve been here, creating. To be honest, I may finish this, and I may lose interest. That’s my brain, one year post-Covid. If you’re reading this, though? I deserve a gold star. It’s the first thing I will have managed to actually create in many months. So, let’s not speak of absences; instead, let’s be glad that I’m trying.
I both love, and hate, Facebook Memories. Right now, they tend to hit me right in my tender, raw heart, but I will always be grateful for the reminders of good times. My brother was one funny motherfucker.
If you didn’t really know my brother, this photo is all you need in order to say that you do now. This was taken in October of 2019 – a time that will be heretofore referred to as The Before. This was during the Human Cheeto Days, but Before the fictional Upside Down World, from Netflix’s Stranger Things, became reality.
Behold, His Majesty, King Cock Schnozz, Righteous Leader of the Horse’s Ass movement and benevolent admirer of all things mammary.
Back when he was about 17 or 18, he had become obsessed with referring to his favorite part of the female anatomy as “hooters.” He found it hysterical, and would alternate between delightedly squealing it, or just uttering it in a sort of creepy, demented, euphoric way. He was an equal opportunity admirer who would comment, “Nice hooters,” in a conversational tone about any woman who attracted his attention. This included me…and our mother.
While she was more apt to shout at him, I realized that not only was he dealing with hormones and not understanding them, but he was completely unaware of social mores that decreed that a brother must not admire his sister’s breasts; at least, not in Pennsylvania. Once I sat him down and explained to him that any woman he was related to was explicitly off-limits where his hooter-ogling was concerned; and that furthermore, it was unacceptable to comment in such a way to ANY woman, he understood. All you really had to tell him was that something was bad, and he’d get the message. Rules were important to him, and this was a hard and fast one. Our mother lacked the patience with him to “have a conversation” about anything related to sex; once I could get him to stop giggling, I drove the point home and he incorporated these rules into his inner dialogue of Shit That Ain’t Funny (and could get you grounded, punched, or arrested).
He still enjoyed a nice pair, although we knew that he would never actually touch a boob, due to his extreme squeamishness and discomfort with his own person being touched. This was a guy who refused to touch his own peen, even to go to the bathroom. He perfected a way of standing that aimed things right into the toilet bowl; it was a harrowing sight if one stumbled into the bathroom when he was in there. He also never closed the door.
Still, he was a red-blooded young man who, despite his autistic super powers, deserved to be able to admire the objects of his affection in the privacy of his own room, so I set out to create an “outlet” for him. My sister-in-law had recently split up from her latest guy – a man she met in a bar and impulsively married a month later. The marriage had lasted a year, which was nothing short of a personal record for her; we never knew who her kids would be calling “Daddy” at the next family function. I knew this guy wasn’t going to stick; he had stopped all activity except sleeping in the marital bed less than a month after the honeymoon, much to my sister-in-law’s extremely vocal complaints. She begrudgingly accepted his explanation that he was just “stressed out and exhausted” from his job as a used car salesman.
That is, until she had been awakened one night by frenetic movement on their bed, only to find him having his way with himself, while a porno magazine provided inspiration. She kicked him out of bed, then out of the house. When she was clearing out his belongings from the bedroom, stuffing them into trash bags and throwing them out the second story window onto the front lawn, she discovered about 100 “dirty” magazines under the bed, pushed back into the shadowy darkness. She’d called me, furious. “You have got to come see this.”
I didn’t want to go see anything having to do with her, the soon-to-be ex-husband, the scene of the crime, or his nasty, little secret. Unfortunately, they lived across the street from us, and I lacked the ability/spine to say, “Fuck no, I don’t want to see shit.” Instead, I made my way across the street, dreading what I was about to encounter. I imagined some sort of secret, apocalyptic shrine to porn, with discarded tighty whiteys the size of a trash bag (they were a plus-sized couple), scrunched-up, used Kleenex, and jizz streaks all over the walls and floor. What? How was I supposed to know what had caused her so much shock that she needed a witness? I told you that I was young; my brain still couldn’t process the fact that he’d had the audacity and sheer depravity to wank himself right there beside her as she slept. Dude! Retire to the bathroom, or shower, or to your apocalyptic shrine to porn. Have a little respect for the woman whose tits you had motorboarded at the bar the night you met, shouting, “I gotta MARRY you, Baby!”
Instead, I walked in to their house, only to find her at the dining room table, a stack of magazines in front of her. And by a stack, I mean a mountain, a veritable mini-library of porn. There were so many of them. Wordless, I sat down, staring at the tower of smut and filth before me. “These were all under the bed. He hid them up by the headboard. They’re disgusting!” I didn’t want to touch them; I mean, he had used them, all of them; and there were so many of them. She must have read my mind, because she said, “They’re not, well, there’s no cum or anything.” Okay, I’ll take your word for it, but you voluntarily let that man’s peepee reside with you and in you.
As I looked through the titles, I was struck by the hilarity of them:
There were Hustlers, and Playboys, and Penthouse, but it was clear that this guy liked to have a wide variety at his disposal. Mostly, it was just gross, but we did have a laugh at some of the, uh, spreads. She said she was going to put them out in the trash. Why not just let him take them? I asked. “Fuck him,” she said. “He can go fuck himself.” Well, that’s why he needed the magazines, I thought.
Later, as Charlie sat in our living room, watching TV with my kids, I was suddenly struck with an idea. I excused myself and ran over to my sister-in-law’s house. “Can I have some magazines?” I asked. ” I have an idea.” I explained to her what I planned to do. She cackled, and waved her hand dismissively. “Take’em all!”
I took a stack home and hid them well, because five kids can smell the secrecy on you and will find the contraband that you are concealing, if you aren’t extremely wiley. Over the next couple of days, other materials needed in order to produce my great idea were procured. I had to work when the kids weren’t home or in bed, so it took a few days, but when I was finished, there was a LOT of giggling. When I showed it to my mother and explained what it was for, she giggled, too.
I waited until Charlie was out on one of his epic walks, and then Mom and I installed my work in his bedroom. When he returned, we casually said that he ought to hang out and play Nintendo in his room for a bit. He easily agreed, and we stealthily followed him. And waited.
As we walked into his room, he stood, staring at the wall where I had hung the largest collage of ta-tas that I think anyone had ever seen. I had painstakingly cropped hundreds of boobies from those magazines and glued them artfully to the poster board. Letters spelling out HOOTERS had been layered in there, too. Charlie turned to look at us, his face lit up like it was Christmas morning. At this time, he had been growing a mustache, and, in his parachute material track suit, he resembled a 70s porn star. You could almost hear the “Bow-chicka-wow-wow.” His smile was of pure delight. Then, he did a high-pitched, trademark Charlie “Geek!” squeal and started a little prancing move; just like that, he was my little brother who had just been given a new Star Wars figure or a game for his Nintendo. Except that he was becoming a man, and while these were “toys” he would likely never even glance his hand across accidentally, he could still look, in the privacy of his own bedroom.
Charlie kept that monument to breastage for many years, and even ate at a Hooters restaurant when he was on a trip with friends from his workshop to the Eastern Shore one summer. He never lost those liquid stars in his eyes when he would see a “foxy lady,” and Kamala Harris was his last crush.
“Wow. Beautiful,” he breathed, watching her on television. “Nice hooters.”