HNC Home Page
News Business Arts & Life Sports Opinion Calendar Archive About Us
PUT AWAY YOUR TOYS: Sunday brought perfect weather for hot-air ballooning over the Old Mendon Highway -- but when it's over, you still have to pack up. / Photo by Nancy Williams

Today's word on journalism

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"Paranoia means having all the facts."

--William S. Burroughs, Beat Generation writer (1914-1997)

Brother's mistake produces joy for one happy uncle

By Chris Williams

September 20, 2006 | Sometimes the biggest of mistakes lead to more joy than things we plan. His name is Tyson and he's the bucket-assed son of my brother.

He wasn't a mistake as in unplanned -- more like his ex-stripper mother and failure-addicted father should have realized their marriage wasn't going to last. They shouldn't have even dated, if that's what you call biweekly drives to Wienerschnitzel for chili cheese dogs. They should have seen each other's faults, but they didn't.

My brother was a sonar technician on a US Navy submarine. You know that guy in naval war movies that starts every sentence with "Con, Sonar..."? Well, that overachiever was my brother. Pretty impressive for someone who never gave two shits about high school. He cared more about getting "air" on his Honda CR-250 than of getting C's in classes like ceramics, English, or math.

She worked in the clothing department of Mervyn's. That's an upgrade from her previous position. Her name was Cinnamon. Was. Now it's Chantle. Whatever name you like, she's horrible with money. When two credit cards max out, it's a warning sign you're living beyond your means. Not to her. Two maxes just meant she needed a third plastic rectangle for her new black leather sofa. She got that card personalized, a bonus excuse to pull it out of her Louis Vuitton handbag. That stylish purse wasn't her picking; she doesn't have that level of taste or class. She noticed the higher-end clients in her store tended to own them. Monkey see, monkey do. Cinnamon saw, so Cinnamon spent. At least she's observant.

There are always warning signs when a marriage is destined for failure, and I don't mean superficial things like a bad wedding song or abusive past relationships. My brother and his trophy bride (God, I'm funny!) went all out to curse their marriage. When they tied the knot, these two love birds decided it was best to keep it a secret and have the Vegas-style ceremony in Washington state. After swearing my oldest brother and me to secrecy we were told of their plans, but no parents knew for five month. I suppose it was an easier way to doom the marriage than renting a black cat, walking under a stolen ladder, or breaking a mirror borrowed from Southern Exposure. I think if you have to hide your marriage from your parents, something is severely wrong with either your marriage or your parents. When your wife's name used to be Cinnamon, it's probably not the latter.

This is the situation they brought Tyson into two years ago. Don't worry though, the last time a child was born into a situation this ridiculous, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes put her on the cover of Vanity Fair. Suri Cruise doesn't have a chance, but Tyson has survived.

It's incredible what stands out in my mind while reminiscing about Tyson. His mother and father fade from thought and all I can see is his finger pointing to the sky every time a Delta 737-400 flies overhead. All I hear is his innocent voice proclaiming "Air-pane!" I forget how he must have witnessed countless fights between his parents. Instead, I think of how he loves being pulled in his red Radio Flyer wagon, the one with giant wheels for off-roading. He loves being pulled fast, and the best way to get a smile is to aim for the biggest bumps and deepest potholes.

Tyson never wakes up cranky and the kid eats anything. He even smiles during diaper changes. He keeps his hands in the air until the baby powder goes on, then slaps down to make a Johnson & Johnson dust cloud. Basically, he's an absolute joy to be around.

My brother never should've dated Cinnamon or married Chantle, but otherwise his greatest contribution to society wouldn't exist. Sometimes mammoth mistakes create the greatest rewards.


Copyright 1997-2005 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-1000
Best viewed 800 x 600.