Sunday, April 19

You Know There's Sibling Love When...

Your then 9-year-old brother made money by ripping you off. Seriously. I was just telling this tale to Tita. And this is non-fiction, mind. I was in Form 1, at the awkward age of 13. Other people made friends, and discovered the opposite sex. I was in my sister's shadow, sometimes quite literally (she was getting taller. I was stuck at shorty). I managed to high drama my way out of boarding school. But this is all a totally different story, so I'm skipping this. So, when other people my age were discovering themselves (please insert dirty adolescent jokes here), and new bumps on pinafore-wearing students from the school across the road, I was furiously drawing characters from my favorite comic book, the X-Men. Yes, people, I was, and still am a geek. Though I don't look good in Pink. Well, I didn't draw full figures from scratch back then. I drew using references within the comic pages. God forbid, I didn't trace any of it. Don't you dare utter such blaspheme. So I kept my stack of sketches drawn on white A4 papers. My favorite artist was (and he's still high on the list) Joe Madureira, back when he was with Marvel. I would save my weekly allowance to buy a monthly copy of X-Men from a Mamak newsstand at the base of the steep, almost as bad as Batu Caves set of stairs leading to the primary school (Johannian thoroughbreds would know what I'm talking about). My parents, as a general rule, neither encouraged nor discouraged my hobby. As long as I did my homework and maintained my grades (ie: don't even think about getting a B, much less a C...oh the horror of a C!). I'm getting to that sibling love part. Be patient, please. Anyway, the sketches I made, I kept in a transparent folder. Sometimes I would bring these sketches to school. Other than the major ego boost, I used it as a leverage to climb the social ladder. Judge me as you want. I was less than small...I was tiny (but not where it counts >.<)! I stood right in front of our class-lineup during assemblies, a line set according to height. Up till Form 5, mind! And I was that nerdy kid always sitting against a pillar at the Tarmac, nose stuck in one Dragonlance book or another. The sketches made me some interesting friends. Sad, I know. Anyway, one day, another kid from another class down the corridor saw my drawings when some of my friends were looking at them. Guess what he said. "Hey! I bought a photostat of that for 50 cents!" Yes. You heard me right. And '50 cents' was no laughing matter back in 1993. It's not even a rapper back then. I was honestly puzzled. When I voiced this out over dinner, my brother, the cute, chubby, curly-haired 9-year-old (you'd think I'm describing a regular cherub instead of the Cousin It which he is right now), went suddenly quiet and ate the vegetable on his plate. He doesn't freakin eat vegetables! "Iz, Iz nye keje eh?" "Takdela!" I can't remember the details, but it got ugly. A chasing scene around the oval dining table and up and down the staircase ensued. And finally, he spilled the beans. He secretly brought my folder to school, went out of school to the photocopier down the road near the AIA building, and made LOTS of copies of my sketches. Not only that, he hid my signature behind a small piece of paper before copying the pages. At 5 cents each. And he would sell the copies, based on his assessment of quality, at 20 cents to 50 cents each. And he had been doing it for weeks before he was caught. Just visualize this: he was in Primary School, and a Form 1 student in Secondary School bought a copy. Whatthehell? Mama laughed and praised my brother. I was furious. Not because he did such an awful thing to me, but he made so much money but I didn't get a single cent out of it. He promised to give me some royalty, but till this day, habuk pun tarak. This scheme came from a Standard 3 snot-ridden kid. Go figure. So what can we learn from this, you may ask? Well,
  1. Try to be an only child whenever possible.
  2. If (1) is not feasible, try to be bigger than your younger sibling.
  3. If (2) is not feasible, run real fast so you can chase your sibling and tear his/her hair out.
  4. Never discourage your sibling if he/she shows remarkable industrialism at such a tender age.
  5. Instead, ask for a royalty.
  6. Make sure you get your royalty on the spot. IOUs among siblings don't work.
  7. Don't be such a paranoid about people taking advantage or plagiarize your work (this one goes out to Tita and Kasha). You can always produce more. Look at it this way: if you can come up with one, you can surely come up with another. You are your own limit. On the other hand, those damn pirates depend on you to produce more for them to exploit. Only because they can't come up with their own.
  8. Learn to take compliments no matter what form they are given. My brother never praised my works. Never does. But the fact that he turned my sketches into a business venture, and using photos I took for his business brochure and saying someone else took the pictures...well it was definitely saying something (other than my being a gullible, exploitable brother).
  9. Love your siblings and accept them as they are. Encourage them to be their best. When they succeed, at the very least you could get a fancy dinner sometime.