Author: Mark Joseph Kevlock
I needed a big brother, so I disguised myself and went back in time to become him. I’d lived all this before, as my kid self, so it was pretty easy. I just had to remember the details along the way.
First was a mustache like the Village People. Then long hair like Jesus. I’d have to remember to buy 8-track tapes and wear sandals. I’d need a Camaro and some iron-on patches for my jeans.
I didn’t need to be there right from the day I was born — the kid me, I mean. He wouldn’t remember that far back anyway. I could drop in when he was four years old, say 1972, and no harm done. He’d just assume I’d been his big brother all his life.
What you have to understand is that we build the past we want to remember, so it changes all the time. I had to be the big brother my kid-self expected, or nothing would work out right in my life.
I showed up and started throwing together what I needed. The most important thing was the comic book collection. I had to picture my big brother self as a kid, traveling thrice weekly to the city newsstands within walking distance, purchasing for twelve cents all the newest Marvel Comics that week. 1961. Where Stan Lee’s universe all began.
Okay then. I had a comic book collection spanning a decade of the Silver Age. I quit college and took a construction job for the money. I played golf and softball. I bowled and shot darts. I watched all the Star Trek reruns. Little brother, here I come.
Holy cow! I almost forgot my high school sweetheart, Nora Elvert. Let’s give her a matching Camaro and an engagement ring for after graduation.
Earliest childhood memory: sitting on the trunk of the Camaro where it was parked blocking the narrow dirt alley across the street. Elton John on the radio. Cut-off shorts and twin popsicles. Twilight, with the kitchen light shining out through the screen door.
Just like that, I’m in. I’m the big brother my kid-self expects me to be. The first couple of years run smooth. Lots of miniature golf. Then off to Long Island to see NHL games. The Islanders are gearing up for an epic Stanley Cup run to begin the next decade. But this is only the bicentennial summer when “Afternoon Delight” plays every five minutes on the radio. I wear cool sunglasses with a see-through fluorescent visor.
The kid worships me. I buy him every Mego super-hero doll that comes out. We play Stratego all the time. He never wins.
It’s getting close now to enough — enough to imprint upon him, for a lifetime, how great big brothers are. 1977 should just about do it.
“Let’s go to the movies,” I say. Then a downpour hits. Then we run out of gas. I hike down the road to fill a gas can then hike back. I look like a cool hero to my little brother. We arrive late at the movie and stick around till the next show to see the beginning we missed.
The name of the movie is Star Wars.
Now I’m set. It’s all in place. I played out the crucial years. Later I become an executive, and who needs that?
All my dreams are set to go. My innocence shall remain lifelong intact. Nothing can ever truly hurt or discourage me.
So let’s go save the world!