Monday, October 31, 2011

Brothers here and now.

I'm a proud subscriber to Steve Dahl's podcast.  I became a fan of Steve when he was on WLS-FM in the early 1980's; My family moved to the Chicagoland area in 1981, and I discovered Steve and Garry in 1982 when I spent my summer behind a large lawn mower.  When I transferred to Western Illinois University in the Fall of 1984, one of the bonding points I shared with Artist James was our mutual admiration of the Stever.

A few years later, we went to see Steve and Garry at a live show, somehow scoring 2nd row seats.  Right in front of us, Steve's younger brother, Rick Dahl, sat and drunkingly heckled Steve throughout the entire show.  Steve probably didn't mind, as he was drunk, too.  I could have been.

Steve later conquered the majority of his addictive demons, becoming sober in 1995, and in the past year, got a handle on his food addiction, dropping over 65 pounds and is happy to be maintaining  a sub 250 weight.  He had a huge CBS contract, which paid him until July of this year, even after they took him off the radio 3 years ago.  Instead of finding work back in Chicago radio (which has fallen terribly since the late '80's to late '90's Golden Age), he has decided to subscribe his daily podcast - about 2 hours a day of distilled Steve commercials, no breaks, just enjoyable banter.

Steve's brother, Rick, passed away last week at the age of 52.  Steve has flown out to LA, where Rick had been living with their father for the past several years.  As Steve described it, he and Rick shared many of the same demons, but Rick was unable to conquer his.  Steve's widowed father had been Rick's caretaker for many years, and now he and Steve are trying to clean up loose ends and figure out the future.  While they were not exactly estranged, they lived different lives, especially since Steve cleaned up his act and became an almost normal husband, father, and now grandfather.

This news provides another sign to me, that perhaps I should reach out to my estranged brother.  I spent many years reaching out to him, trying to find him a job, trying to provide some sort of example of a normal, responsible life.  He has two children from a now-failed marriage, his ex-wife and kids live in Ohio (I think), and my brother lives in the suburbs in an apartment near the painting company where he works.  He has lost his driver's license due to repeated DUI's, and with all his outstanding debts, I have no idea how he survives financially.  He has misbehaved to the point where I can no longer get him a job, and I haven't seen him in five years, since we moved my father to Illinois from Indiana.

My brother worked hard to earn my ire.  I won't detail his transgressions, but he let me (and my father) down when we really needed him to be an adult.  I'd like to forgive him and move on, but I'd also like to punch him in the nose.  Of course, I'm sure my heart will melt when I finally do see him...probably at my dad's funeral (whenever that will be).

Forgivness is the hallmark of my faith.  I have forgiven a woman who almost killed my son while driving drunk.   I'm sure I can forgive my brother, as well.