Flim Flam stories from my brother

Exaggeration Was My Brother's Craft

My brother Shawn is a jokester, a goof, and a sound effect master. In his twenties he was jumping up and smacking street signs with his hand-a behavior that started in his teens.

He used to grab my purse and hang off the slide at the park. He would hoot and scratch under his armpit imitating a monkey.

When we would play around with the tape recorder, he would always be chosen to spiel forth sound effects. He could imitate a chicken, dog or electric toothbrush with ease.

Shawn was also an exaggerator. Now that he is in his thirties, he does not exaggerate now but he told some nice stories when he was younger.

One day he came home from school and told me something he had learned that day. He claimed that he had learned in school that if you had a sliver in your finger and that sliver never came out, it would work its way through your body. The sliver would then reach your heart and kill you. I did not believe that falsehood. I have not heard or read anything since then that proves Shawn's exaggeration right. A few times I had a sliver that I could not remove. The sliver worked its way out; it never worked its way up my body to my heart.

When we were children our uncle took us for a ride on his moped. Shawn and I took turns. Years later Shawn claimed that when he took a ride with our uncle on the moped, he fell off. Our uncle then ran over Shawn's head. My mother and I tried to reason with Shawn. It was not possible that our uncle had run over his head. He would have been seriously injured or had track marks on his head. Our uncle was not the type of person to hide an accident like that. Shawn kept insisting it was true, our uncle had run over his head.

When Shawn was a teenager he told me another story. He claimed that this story actually happened. A kid was running down a road during a terrible thunderstorm. The kid then jumped over a fence just as a lightning bolt hit him. The kid remained frozen in midair until people found him. I told him that this was not possible. A lightning bolt cannot suspend someone's body in midair. He still insisted the story was true. This story was supposed to have happened in Bradford, PA. I never heard of this story from other people in Bradford. It was just a fantastical story cranked out of my goof ball brother's head.

Shawn once told me that sticking wires from a dead radio into an outlet could make that radio work again. He then proceeded to test his theory by pulling two wires from his dead radio and sticking the wires into an outlet. The radio did not work again; blue and red sparks flew up the wall instead.

Another exaggeration was that placing dead batteries end to end, touching them together would give the batteries juice again. Shawn tried this a number of times. The experiment never worked. Later my younger brother, Michael tried this same experiment with no success.

Shawn also claimed he could see colors on a black and white television we had as children. He would sometimes tell me the color of a car on the screen. It was either red or blue. I heard that when our father was a child he claimed he could see colors on a black and white television also. I believe if you stare at a black and white image for a long period of time perhaps it will make you cross-eyed. You may perhaps see colors then. Maybe that was what Shawn was doing, I never saw his eyes crossed. Perhaps both sides of his brain were crossed instead.

The stories and beliefs that my brother told and practiced then make me laugh now when I think back. I did not laugh then. I just shook my head and thought my brother was goofed up in his thinking.

I wonder if Shawn remembers some of his exaggerations. The next time I see him, I will mention them to him. Maybe he will laugh at himself.

Short story by Amy Buchanan
Read 854 times
Written on 2007-02-03 at 02:55

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