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Sometimes, All You Can Say Is 'Oh, Brother'
By the time you read this, my brother will be in his new job in Iraq, a move that adds considerable weight to the idea that his initials, P.D., must mean "Permanently Deranged."
Nope. He's Patrick Dennis, and his derangement is only expected to last between four months and a year - the time he'll be getting his mail in care of General Delivery, Baghdad.
The big dope.
Maybe you can tell I wasn't 100 percent behind this particular career gambit.
But it's not my career, and so when P.D. got a chance to flee what he saw as the increasingly silly world of local TV news for a job shooting video in Iraq, he took it. It's the first step in his plan to do something different with his life. I know -- hard to believe he couldn't find fulfillment taking pictures of car crashes, pet shows and some goofy On-The-Scene-On-Your-Side-Nightbeat-Investigative-Storm-Team-News Mannequin getting excited about a two-inch snowfall.
So now my brother is ensconced in the Green Zone while he working as a videographer, although not in combat or involved in any way with the military operation, for which Mom is grateful. She has been half out of her gourd with worry that Professor Dopey is going to get himself blown up while driving to Village Pantry for a pack of Marlboros and some Ding Dongs. I tried to calm her down by pointing out that (a.) they don't have Village Pantry over there and (b.) P.D. never cared for Ding Dongs, being one himself, but in fact was more of a Hostess Snoball guy. For some reason, it didn't work. She still worries.
Me? Well, I have to admit that Iraq is not a place I would choose to go, seeing as how some of those folks don't seem to have received the memo four years ago about the end of major combat operations. And it's not a place I would choose to send anyone's sibling, much less the younger brother who followed Dad and me into the newspaper business and then broke away to make his own way as a TV guy.
I've always been proud of him for that. Although he had ability as a reporter and photographer, he wanted to find another way to use it. He went back to school and finished his degree -- something I'm still putting off -- and started on the path that has led him now to the other side of the world.
I guess this is the part where I should say that brotherly support, like brotherly love, is unconditional. If this is the decision he thinks best, that's that. I have to trust that he knows what he's doing and will be OK.
Even though it's difficult. See, there's also a big brother thing going on that wonders if maybe I shouldn't have grabbed him by the shirtfront, given him a good shake and told him to pull his head out of his hinder and find some other way to change his life. But I didn't.
Instead, I just told him when I saw him last that I loved him, that I'll miss him, and that he is not to stay over there a day longer than necessary. He said he wouldn't. I believe him. I have to.
© 2007 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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