When my twin sister Joy and I were infants, our mom taught our older brother, Franklin, how to tell people how many months old we were.
It was a tip from Twins Magazine about how to make sure the older “single” sibling won’t feel left out.
Franklin was almost two years old when we were born, and didn’t have an identical twin for strangers to fuss over.
“Oh, look twins!” people would say in public, astonished.
(Twins were a bigger novelty in the 1980s than they are today.)
“How old are they?"
This was always the first question everyone would ask.
Instead of answering, our mom would nudge Franklin.
“Five months!” he’d say, and then the strangers would pay attention to him -- “oh what a smart little boy!”
Then they’d ask him how old he was, and he’d just shrug. (Ha. Just kidding.)
It wasn’t easy for Franklin having younger twin sisters who demanded a lot of attention and who always found his toys more fun to play with.
(In home movies, we saw there was indeed a gated off area in the corner of the living room labeled “Franklin’s space” and Joy and I were not allowed to enter.)
Joy and I ruined a lot of things for Franklin.
He got his own phone line when he turned 15, but then Joy and I abused it and it got taken away completely.
His Sega Genesis video game had the same fate, after Joy and I were caught playing Earthworm Jim when we should have been studying.
When Franklin was old enough to drive, we insisted that he---and only he---drive us to parties and the mall because he was way cooler than our mom.
(His girlfriend at the time was not pleased with our demanding social lives).
Even today, we still call him by his nickname “KK” which we named him about the same time he was telling people how old we were.
Clearly, it was all about us growing up.
But not today!!!! Today is Franklin’s 30th birthday!!!
THIS TIME I’M TELLING THE WORLD HOW OLD HE IS!!!!
And today, this blog is all about HIM.
Franklin is actually quite a big deal these days, despite not having someone who looks exactly like him.
He edits movies in HOLLYWOOD and my mom picture messages me the TV screen with his name in the credits. Of legit movies!!!
She’s so proud.
His movies have been submitted to film festivals, he’s jet-setted around the country and Leonardo DiCaprio once tapped him on the shoulder at an after-party and asked him to order him a beer.
If someone told Franklin when he graduated high school that he would be a movie editor by the time he celebrated HIS 30TH BIRTHDAY he would have nodded his head approvingly.
In middle school, Franklin would write his own horror movies and shot them with our dad’s big heavy camcorder balanced on one shoulder.
Early 90s fashion was so cruel.
He would even cast me and Joy in supporting roles.
Despite the fact that we usually played “scared girls number 1 and 2,” saying things like “help me!” and “be careful!” to his best friends, who were the heroes in the movie, they made for some pretty fun Friday nights.
They always centered around scary things like monsters and burglars.
Sometimes, though, he’d made a fake basketball shoe commercial with his Air Jordans.
(Incidentally, my favorite movie he ever did, obviously, was the one where he cast me as an attractive stranger getting out of a convertible. In slow motion. Hahaha)
Franklin is also really funny, and Joy and I would count on him to make us laugh during long car rides, family vacations…or trips on the emergency room.
On one memorable vacation in Tennessee, Joy and I decided it would be fun to race each other down a mountain. (We were ten years old, and should have known better.)
I lost my footing but won the race by tumbling down the mountain and needed to get stitches on the underside of my arm.
We were on an Indian reservation and the hospital there wouldn’t take me because I wasn’t an Indian. I remember my mother screaming.
Fifty miles later, I was scared and nervous and in an odd makeshift hospital waiting my turn and Franklin was making me and Joy laugh.
He pretended to be the doctor, looking in cupboards and drawers with his pants hanging down like a plumber whenever the nurse came in.
“Ok, we’re ready for you to go into the operating room,” the nurse finally said. “You can pick one person to go in there with you.”
“Franklin! I want Franklin!” I said. The nurse frowned and said no.
Since living in Los Angeles, Franklin has turned into an adult way faster than me and Joy. (I’m still waiting…..any day now...)
This can be seen in small things like how he understands technology while both Joy and I exchanged smart phones for dumb ones and have antiquated MP3 players.
Last month I actually called Franklin AGAIN to walk me through the steps on how to download songs to my MP3 player. (It only holds 27 songs.)
And when I accidentally deleted all the episodes of HBO’s Treme on my parents’ DVR list, Franklin got them the season on DVD before my dad could yell at me.
He’s also an adult in that he’s super successful. When Joy and I visited him in Los Angeles a few years ago, he paid for everything. And we let him.
He always gets us really nice things for Christmas and birthdays, as opposed to me...spending no money writing people blogs for their birthday.
Franklin is also level-headed and when I call him and freak out because it’s a Monday. He separates the things that matter from the things that don’t matter, and he’s very good at giving advice whether it be work-related or toolbag-related.
Most recently, however, Franklin was a good brother and friend during the holidays last year a.k.a. the winter of my discontent.
I had just moved to New Orleans and was going through a traumatic breakup and was completely miserable and seeing him both Thanksgiving and Christmas for weeks at a time was a Godsend.
He listed all the reasons why it was great that I had moved home and made me feel better about being single.
And, somehow, he managed to make me laugh.
Thanks for everything, KK.