Every once in a while, to make my parents happy, I spend time with my brother. This is hard for me because he's majorly mentally ill and there's a lot of bad history between us. Also some hilarity. Because with mental illness you have to have some hilarity.
As long as I treat him like a 5-year-old I can almost deal with it. If I have some wine then I can totally deal with it.
For his birthday, he wanted all of us to go to dinner.
Dad: Here we are, all together. Isn't this wonderful?
D: [stealthily fills my wine glass first]
Dad: Now, Laura, don't put this on the internet!
Me: Oh, Dad....
Mom: What should I get? Everything is so rich...
Me: Get something that's not rich. How about a light wine sauce? You always order the wrong thing.
[Mom orders something in wine sauce and then hates it, saying, "I always order the wrong thing."]
Brother: I'm getting AlfredosaucewithscallopsIloveAlfredosauce [His speech is really rapid. Then the food comes and he shovels it in] This is the BEST Alfredo I have ever had. These scallops are the bestIeverhad. Except they taste kindoffunny, theyhavea funnytaste when you first bite them. And they're crunchy.
That's a ringing endorsement for the scallops.
Brother talks about how he's going to get a job from some guy who took his number and said he would call him. Brother doesn't know he's pretty much unemployable these days and that some people would rather just be nice to him rather than tell him the truth.
Sad for him, yes, because he wants to work and needs money. Sad for society because we're all paying for him to sit at home and do nothing. Yeah, we've tried to get him volunteer gigs but he doesn't last at them. The illness always gets in the way. Also sadly some people don't really want to be around him very much.
I am one of them. More wine please.
At this moment I am calling him to ask that he work in my yard this weekend. This work consists of me picking him up at his apartment, then telling him what to do, then cheerleading him on for a few hours, working alongside him, and then paying him way too much, putting money on account for him so he doesn't take the cash and immediately walk into a bar with it.
I shouldn't complain. It could be much worse. There are tons of mentally ill who can't work at all, who have no place to live, no opportunities, no support system, no older sister who braces herself and cheer-leads them on through her gritted teeth.
I could say it's not my problem and totally walk away but it is my problem. If it's not my problem, then it becomes even more of your problem.
It's a tough nut to crack. So to speak.