An Open Letter to My Younger Brother

Yeah I know. I hate open letters like this too, but just bear with me. We grew up together and in that time I’ve seen a lot of things. I’ve seen you eat sh*t more times than I can count, I’ve seen you scared to go ask the cashier for napkins, I’ve seen you eat more food than the average gorilla, I’ve seen you strip wallpaper for an entire summer as punishment, I’ve seen you win, I’ve seen you lose, I’ve seen you lie, I’ve seen you lie again, I’ve seen you lie some more, I’ve seen you genuinely hurt, I’ve seen you laugh, I’ve seen you try really hard, I’ve seen you try less than I thought anyone could, I’ve seen you get away with stuff you shouldn’t have, and I’ve seen you accomplish things you shouldn’t have been able to. My point is that I’ve seen a lot in the 17 years we’ve lived under the same roof. I know you and I know what you can and can’t do (like talk to any adult you don’t know). Then I went off to college. In the past two years, I’ve only been home for a combined three months and I won’t be back home until maybe next summer. I have never been a younger brother, but I imagine that having an older brother for 17 years and then suddenly not having him around constantly is strange, to say the least. You suddenly become the older brother. You suddenly have hidden responsibilities you never knew existed, but I knew you could handle it so I was not worried at all coming to college. 

Here’s the thing: it’s a different ball game now. College is hard, high school was not at all. We’re both good at math, so I created an equation for you: (put in)=(get out). It’s that simple. If put in=0, then get out=0. You get nothing out if you put nothing in. If put in=a lot, then get out=a lot. You got into MSU and USD and maybe others I don’t know about, but realize that a lot of that came from mom riding you like a horse. She doesn’t want you to achieve less than we all know you can, just as much as I don’t want my own blood brother to either. 

Look bud, I get it. I know that you have labeled yourself more as the f*ck up. I was a high achieving goodie-two-shoes and you, well, did other stuff. Ever since that summer I’ve watched your motivation in all things productive decline. If you’re just going to mess it up why try, right? Wrong. In this life, you’re going to be handed piss in a bucket. No one is going to give anything to you. I now realize that being in a school that actually requires me to think above an 8th grade level (Sorry, Becky). You have to kick and pull and claw and fight to get what you want. You have to put in effort. You have to try. You HAVE to try. We have a great head start over a lot of people going to the schools we go to, but it’s so easy to lose that if we do not try. 

No one is going to tell you what to do. You either figure it out or you fail. You’re too smart to fail. You’re wickedly smart, but you just don’t seem to know that yet so I’m telling you. F*ck dude, you’re smarter than I am! Anyways, here's what I do. I know I’m at an expensive university and stuff, so I try every day to cost the family as little as I can. I work ten hours a week while also taking 17 units every quarter. I write for a bunch of stuff. I save money every chance I get. Hell, my shoes have four holes each. I have holes in all of my shorts and pants. I look homeless. I do all of this because I promise myself that I will try as hard as I can to ensure that you and Sam will be able to get into great colleges, regardless of the cost. I am protective of both of you, so the thought of someone taking a school away from you because you can’t pay for it pushes me to do anything. I study my ass off, I participate in every cool thing I can on and off campus, I take advantage of the entire school so I don’t waste a single dime. So you and Sam can do what ever you two want with your lives. So please, I implore you, make the most out of your life. It won’t be easy by any means, but it will be worth it. (Side note: Sam don’t get butt hurt I didn’t write one for you, I know you’ll be fine with your drive, competitiveness, personability, and singing voice.) Also, get a f*cking job, kid.