Can You Use It In A Sentence, Please?

My siblings and I have pretty much always been scattered across the world. I was 11 when I left Hong Kong, where my family was living at the time, to attend boarding school in England (oh trust me, we are going to have SO MUCH FUN with that in another post. If I don't have to go into therapy for it first.) There have been a couple of years since then when everyone's school and university and work lives have aligned so that we're all living in the same place at once, but the majority of the time we spend together---and when we spend time together, we do spend great time together---has always been in the summer or over the winter holidays.

That's why I was so excited when my brother Tom moved to Los Angeles last October on a year's rugby scholarship to study at UCLA. I'd been living in the States by myself for about two years by then, and it was a huge novelty to suddenly have a family member on the same continent. Although Tom is only three years younger than me, we'd only really just started to become proper friends. Part of this, I imagine, is that we haven't lived in the same house for more than three or four months at a time since 1991; part of it is likely due to the fact that when I was 15 and he was 12, I tried to sell him my second-hand Hootie & the Blowfish CD for $25. AND HE BOUGHT IT.

It was great while he lived in LA; we held many lengthy coast-to-coast discussions about the previous night's episode of The Real World while still remaining within the bounds of our respective Anytime Minutes---and both actually watching the same season for once---and our other family members were thrilled because there were now two of us to bring back large bags of red, silver, and green foil-wrapped Hershey's Kisses when we came home for Christmas. Two kids living in America means double the holiday candy, obviously! (And yet, curiously, the exact same amount of humiliation when the Customs official unzips your bag to find five pounds of chocolate resting atop your carefully-folded underwear.)

The best part about living in the same country as Tom for a year---and about him living in LA---was that every few days, I'd get a text message saying "Saw Paris Hilton last night!" or "Owen Wilson was at my pool today!" Seriously, it was like having my own direct line to Us Weekly. I almost canceled my subscription (uh, what? I don't have a subscription to Us Weekly! That's crazy! Oh please, please don't tell anyone...) because Tom kept better tabs on the stars for me than Janice Min ever did. Scattered amidst the celeb-watching texts were other random messages---ones that I always kept on my phone for some reason. I was looking through them all tonight, and couldn't help laughing; although Tom is funny and kind and handsome and charming and all his girlfriends have always looked like variations on Kate Bosworth, he does play rather fast and loose with the punctuation and spelling sometimes. Especially for an English major. Especially for an English major related to me, deputy officer in training with the Southeast division of the Grammar Police.

Among the 95 messages I decided I really needed to delete now that he doesn't even have a number with an American area code, were these gems. None of them make any sense to me anymore, but they still make me laugh. And they read like a weird postmodern dialogue if you look at them in the right way:

Hol! I'm in the Viper Room! Where River Phoenix died!
You have been assigned the role of pudding maker. What do you think about that?
How was your evening!! Good curry!!
What does the word fiscal mean?
I love the one about the eyes.
Apparently he lives in a mansion!
Well, I should have said 'when in Rome.' But I still don't know what that means.

By the way, you should know that trying to give the definition of the word "fiscal" by text message is way, way harder than you would think. Try it sometime. I'm fairly sure you'll agree.

Dec 01, 2005

please, if you don't mind, or even if you do, indulge me. write your life history. not in a boring way, but really, why did you live all over the world? and where are all your siblings now? and what is this about boarding school? i am fascinated.

i am also unsure of the phrase, "Good curry!" Because, really, there is nothing good about curry.

Dec 01, 2005

These messages remind me of the bag of passed-in-class notes I saved from junior high, which I re-discovered at my parents' house a few years back. They were full of inside jokes I no longer remember, but they were still funny.

Dec 01, 2005

You're funny and you crack me up, but, what i really like about this post is how much you love your brother. It really shows and it's sweet.

Dec 01, 2005

I hope you saved a few of the more poignant but equally random SMSes. I can never bring myself to delete certain meaningful messages from my phone. For example, pregancy test results texted that end with things like "YOU'RE GOING TO BE A DADDY!" Call me sentimental.

Dec 01, 2005

What a sweet post. I hope when my kids grow up they feel the same way about each other.

Dec 01, 2005

Hey Holly, what's with that picture of you in a wig?

(Do all the kids in your family have that same pretty face? Are you an army of clones? Will I be assimilated? And if I am, will I have your gorgeous smooth skin afterwards?)

I'm sorry, did I have a point? I might've, but I don't remember.

Dec 01, 2005

OK, I am totally happily married and am WAY older than your brother, but just the same I have to say that your brother is HOT! Ooooh baby! (Don't tell my husband I said that.)

Dec 01, 2005

What a great post. It gives me hope that someday my sister and I will become friends. She's 38, I'm 36--it could happen.

I found it hilarious that you succesfully sold your HOOTIE cd to him. Brilliant!

Dec 01, 2005

Bwa ha ha ha ha ha! This has inspired me to look through my OWN old text messages, and although I only found one (I apparently cleaned them all out last week), it was a charmer from my OWN brother:

"Cool...are you gonna have his baby? That would be great."

I have no idea what this means or what the hell we were conversing about.

In other related news, I was preparing our guest bedroom for someone last night (someone who NEVER SHOWED) and figured I should clean all of our personal effects out of the nightstand drawer, where I found a very humorous note written to me by my husband that he gave to me before we got married (we were not living together). It read, simply:

"I have spent the evening pretend humping you in our bed."

Now that kind of love really warms a girl's heart, don't you think?

Dec 01, 2005

Well, I AM single, unlike Nancy (though I am so very, very old at 31), and I think your brother is adorable as well. But what I like best about him are the messages, because they hint at someone with a great sense of humour -- and also someone who loves his sister enough to want her to be a part of the little moments in his life.

Rich White
Dec 01, 2005

Hey Holly, Rich here.... I loved reading your stories, especially the mentions of LA; brought tears, smiles and snorts of laughter. Plus you wrote lovely things about your brother (for the record, slightly suspicious photo- I see him in real life everyday, and it's not pretty! ha ha).

Dec 01, 2005

I saved several IM exchanges between Kyle and me - something about SMS and IM just makes people goofier than usual.

And ditto Mir - what fabulously good genes you and Tom have!

Dec 01, 2005

oh no, and I still have messages from YOU on my phone! What's with our sentimentality towards messaging? My favourite is probaly the one where you tell me what the german word for mitt or glove is (handschuh) or perhaps when you ask if anyone's hand is PULSING! (And yes, you do capitalize the word) I really feel that you should now put a picture of me up.

Dec 01, 2005

I've saved all my text messages too! I haven't gotten that many but still. They're all from my hubby and my oldest daughter (who texted from her babysitters phone so it looks like I'm saving very strange messages from the summer girl! Yikes). I've also saved voice mail messages on my work phone from my daughter as well - for years! - what can I say, I'm really sentimental!

Dec 01, 2005

Yes. I met him once. He`s hot. And too young for me *sigh*

Dec 02, 2005

first - enjoyable post. I've almost gotten to the point where I just delete messages automatically, because otherwise they lose meaning once I forget context (a brief transition).

second - I came here 'cause I read your comment on quesera and just had to say that I think "I'm not one of those women who fakes their pregnancy and then steals babies from hospitals" is one of the most telling, remarkable, romantic and beautiful things I've ever heard a woman say.

third - no, I'm exaggerating. But it was unquestionably funny, and that's superawesome too.

Dec 02, 2005

I'm a Fed so fiscal is second nature to me. Glad you have a great relationship to one of your siblings. It's taken years (I'm 48) but I get along great with my younger sisters. We get together whenever we can and it's always a blast. I have no concept of "Us Weekly."

Dec 02, 2005

So what DID you think about being assigned the role of pudding maker?

And where are the pictures of Susie? And does she know that you have been telling people about the fork in her head?

Dec 02, 2005

I was simply going to write what fiscal MEANS but now I'm shocked and saddened that you have been telling people about the fork in the head story! Well really, I'll never get a date again, small talk is over! Everyone knows about the fork! GOSH!
Fiscal: Pertaining to money, usually involving government taxation and spending policies. Fixed Assets - Possessions such as buildings, machinery and land which, as opposed to current assets, are unlikely to be converted into cash during the normal business cycle.
And now you better put a picture of me!

Dec 02, 2005

Actually, Susie, I think the fork-in-the-head story WILL get you dates, as it is so damn funny (at least the way Holly tells it--take her on your dates and have her tell the story. No, wait, that's not a good idea. Or is it?)

I want to hear your side of the story, though.

Nothing But Bonfires
Dec 02, 2005

Emily -- you should keep the note and have it framed for your 50th wedding anniversary. I think it would be an excellent way to embarass your children. And their children. And THEIR children.

Meg -- I'll get you his number. I hope you have a good long distance plan.

Benjamin -- I just PRETEND I don't steal babies. Really, I have nine at home. Hidden in a closet. It's just so easy to get past those nurses at the reception desk.

Mike -- Having no concept of Us Weekly is an EXCELLENT thing. You should keep it that way.

Susan -- The role of pudding maker was awesome. I felt great about it. It's possible I even made the Porncake.

Susie -- I have already received 7,908 emails from boys who want to meet you and see your fork-in-the-head scar. Not to worry. Also, I know what fiscal means. You need to be telling Tom.

Dec 03, 2005

Little brothers and their funny ways - now I want a brother in L.A.! Mine just lives 4 hours away, and sadly I get no funny text messages about his escapades. There are some things I don't want to know!

He's precious, and y'all must have the most gorgeous family since...the Kennedys.

Dec 03, 2005

What's yellow in color and slippery to the touch?

Ye know too much!

LITTLE BRITIAN *sigh* I do so love thee.

Dec 05, 2005

7,908 eh?? Well I've got aaaallll Christmas vacation..

Dec 05, 2005

You have got to text me if your brother ever sees Tori Spelling. Promise?

Jan 02, 2006

Oh my goodness. That is one beautiful man.

Jan 03, 2006

I resisted the urge at first, but after returning to your site numerous times to read your witty anecdotes, I am compelled to comment: your brother is very handsome.

...I also enjoy your writing, especially about your family, because it reminds me of the closeness of my own family.
(Although 'geographically' mine is closer and yours is more interesting).