Some May Call It “Brotherly Love”, I Call It Survival

By Ian Noll-

My brother left for college back in 2009, it probably saved my life.

Take the time I was in the garage thinking about skateboarding when the crack of the screen door being kicked in alerted me to the danger lurking behind me. It was my then 12-year-old brother, Sean, with his brand new fully automatic airsoft rifle pointed at my back.

Well heck, that hurt. Guess I deserved that one.

Sean was nonchalant about it. I was just a kill in his day.

When Sean first said he would be heading to Virginia to attend a military college, it came as no shock. The guy knew what he wanted to be before he even knew how to walk. My brother and I were surrounded by military life and talk all the way from the beginning, with my Dad and Uncle being in the Air Force, and grandfather in the Merchant Marines.

Sean and Author Ian Noll. Photo from Ian Noll

So I guess it was in our history but for Sean, it was in every cell of his body.

Growing up with him became a personal living hell, especially since the varsity football and basketball player thought I resembled a mixture of Hitler and Saddam Hussein. So most of his anger, frustrations and pre-military training was directed toward me.  For the sake of saving a few words, I’ll say it wasn’t fun. He even claimed to other people that I was an adopted terrorist, all in an effort to prepare for his military life.

Now I’m not saying I didn’t have my own share of moments with my own joy coming from his pain, but let’s not go into how I broke his toe or chased him with a metal baseball bat around the neighborhood.

Well I shouldn’t lie, having him as my brother wasn’t all that bad. It was pleasant for the most part, I mean I got to hang with him and his older friends, was chauffeured around and most importantly, had someone to save me from my parents wrath. Somehow for some reason I would still get in trouble, even for his problems.

The most memorable fight that I am able to remember would have to be the reason I have a nice visible scar above my right eye. Coming into this fight I knew it was time for redemption. All the times he had stolen my G.I. Joe’s, shot me with an air soft gun, or just straight up socked me, it was time to get even.

It was my version of Muhammed Ali vs. Joe Frazier.

It started as a typical wrestling/boxing match on the bed, involving the typical trash talk, and the typical 7-year-old me trying to mimic the moves the WWE wrestlers did on TV. Honestly I can’t even remember what sparked the fight between us that day, but I do know that by the end of the day I would end up with my skull being glued together in the E.R. The way it happened was I decided I would try and tackle and take him to the ground. Okay, I lied, I had no idea what I was trying to do. I just threw my body at him hoping some part of me would connect with a solid hit on him. After I dove at him and he used what he called his “juke”, but in reality it was a desperate flop to the side of the bed to dodge me, resulted in me becoming best friends with the corner of a door.

Funny thing is, my parents blamed him for me getting hurt. The satisfaction of him getting in trouble overcame the pain from having my skull split.

Now that the summer is almost here, I can start to barricade my door and prepare myself for whatever “fun” he has in store for me now.

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