Widgets (those little boxes on your phone or desktop that constantly update with information gleaned from the internet) are one of my favorite things about modern technology. It is a completely passive way to receive information, like having the newspaper opened to just the page you are most interested in when you sit down to have your coffee at breakfast, and then having someone automatically turn the page for you as you read. My favorite widget (and the only one that I check daily) is the IMDB widget on my phone. Widgets by definition provide only a smattering of information, and the IMDB widget is light even by those standards. It has three entries every day, each one consisting of a picture, a name, and a number. It tells you what celebrities are celebrating a birthday, and how old they are.
Most days I just glance at those top three names to see if I know who they are (this is kind of a litmus test to see how removed from mainstream popular culture I am), but on certain days I click into the list to dig deeper and find out all the people who share this as their date of birth. Today was one of those days, an important and significant date because I love to know who shares a birthday with someone I know. Today the notable (to me) celebrities include: Chris Rock, Eddie Izzard, Garth Brooks, and Charles Dickens. Eccentric bunch, right? The game I like to play is to connect the famous people in some way, and then draw them together with the person that I know who shares the birthday.
Some days this is a difficult task, but not today, these four celebrities are so similar it is uncanny. They are all creators. Quirky inventors of characters with heart. Innovators with heart who bring lightness, humor, and hope to dark subjects. Their clear genius makes it easy for me to draw the tie to my brilliant sister who shares today with them as the day she chose to arrive on this planet.
My sister and I have not always gotten along, some of my earliest memories are of tearing body parts off of her dolls and throwing them in the roof of our house. Some of her earliest memories include me dragging her out of the house by her ankles to make her go on my paper route with me. I tormented her and made fun of her, she nagged and annoyed me. We were kids together, and that is what siblings do. Throughout my memories of growing up though, there is a constant narrative, a narrative of strength and comradery.
I remember the day I threw a rock through the plate glass window at the front of our house. I was trying to break the rock open by throwing it at the brick front of the house (I was a dumb kid) and, well, I missed. I was a mess, I was crying and inconsolable. I was sure my parents were going to kill me. It was not a fear of being grounded or having something taken away, this was big. I knew that this was an offence where if they came home and ended my life, the police would show up with a notepad, ask them why they did it, and all they would have to do is point at the broken window and the cop would snap that notebook shut, turn down the walk and drive away. Justifiable homicide. While this darkest of scenarios was running through my mind, my sister appeared on the porch, holding, of all things, a small porcelain figure. I Precious Moments figure that normally lived on the tall dresser in her room. I have no idea how she managed to get it down. She walked calmly up to me and dropped it on the ground, looked at me and said “there, now they can’t be as mad at you, they have to be mad at me too.”
And that is just who my sister is for me, the person who is there for me when I need someone. Even when I don’t know I need her to be there, she is there. I had no idea that day that I needed someone to be there next to me to shoulder some of the blame, but that ridiculous gesture from the most unlikely source, was what it took to calm me down.
We live thousands of miles apart now, but anytime I am having a bad day, I know she will be just a text away to help me get over myself, even when I don’t realize at the time that is the reason I am texting her. She is brilliant and witty. She is reflexive and compassionate. She is a wonderful mother and a phenomenal writer. She is my friend and my editor, and I could go on and on about the stories we have shared, but I am not sending this to her to edit, so those stories will have to wait for a future blog that she can edit because this is going to be hard enough to read without her edits.
By Tim Kiester, without edits. Check out my sister’s blog she is hilarious.