Volunteering for the firing squad

That is what it's like to answer the phone when my brother calls. It never starts that way though. It begins with a question. Yesterday's landmine was: I have a question for you. The question involved asking about my expertise in law. So I did what I'm usually (but not at the moment) paid to do… ask questions. Get the facts. Weigh the evidence. Make arguments (but not that kind).To the casual observer this may seem like a logical starting point. To my brother though, and even though he initiated the conversation it becomes a hostile interrogation during which I am accused of never supporting him and how everyone else is at fault and against him.

In all truth, my brother and I should be studied by shrinks. We were raised by the same parents, in the same home, carted around the country together with my dad's frequent work transfers and I think we were given equal opportunities as children. That being said, we couldn't be more opposite. I'm adventurous with travel and food, and my brother is a homebody who likes meat and potatoes. When I'm unemployed I apply for hundreds of jobs. When he's unemployed he applies for zero jobs and complains there are no jobs. I live on my own, pay my own bills, buy and cook my own food, do my own laundry, pay for things on my own. My brother lives with my mother, she pays his bills, buys and cooks his food, does his laundry (I presume), and my brother asks for things he thinks he's entitled to in comparison to things that have been given to me. I have lots of close friends all over the world and I like going out with them and meeting up with them periodically. My brother has few close friends and likes to stay home and play video games. I am passive and generally avoid conflict if possible, though I do have a temper that I sometimes struggle to control. My brother has an explosive temper and lashes out frequently and often without much provocation. I am a rational, methodical, logical thinker. My brother is irrational and bases his arguments on past failures, emotion, and biased, unproven conjecture. Put simply, speaking with him is a challenge and he pisses me off regularly for not being anything resembling an adult.

So as you can imagine, conversations with him that are in any way introspective tend to get explosive quickly. Which is exactly what happened yesterday. He has a disability he sustained from an at work accident for which he received re-training education in a fully funded program of the government. By his account, he was forced into a program he didn't want to do, then proceeded to complete all but one of the courses (he failed it), and now he doesn't qualify to do anything but jobs that would make his permanent injury worse. We (his family) have tried to encourage him to go back to complete the course and tried to argue that he didn't have to get a boring desk job crunching numbers for the next 30 years. But, he can't see the forest for the trees and has refused to make his life easier by simply completing his education. So when he further injured himself at his manual labour job and was put off on disability leave which led to a claim for long-term disability and not working for 9 months which has now resulted yesterday in a denial of his claim bringing us up to our argument of yesterday.

He wanted to know if he should appeal. So I asked questions. Each question made him more angry. Then I got off topic and asked him if he had looked for work in the 9 months that he hasn't been working. Nope. I asked why he couldn't go back and finish that one course. Got some cockamamy excuse. Then, I asked him what his “plan” is, his “goal” and then he let me have it. He said he does have a goal but that everyone keeps shitting on it. He wants to be a truck driver. I told him that it probably wasn't the best job for him because of his injury. He has a non-surgical tear in his shoulder that causes him constant, unyielding pain - so forgive me for thinking getting behind the wheel of a truck for the next 30 years will be taxing on your shoulder injury cupcake! Seems LOGICAL to me! Also, told him that he should do some research before jumping into yet another field of work he'll end up finding a reason to hate and abandon. Told him I could get him a job here, on multiple occasions and probably doing things that he would deem “acceptable.” Has he ever taken me up on it? Nope. Will he? Probably not. I offered to look over his resume. Will he reach out? Unlikely. Ughhhhhhhhhhh… brothers! Am I right?

Next up: Crying in the middle of the afternoon