It’s my brother’s 42nd birthday today!

Like I wrote last year, he is extremely curious, extremely knowledgable, and extremely talented in the kitchen (he makes hamburger buns from scratch!), but what I’ve been thinking about this year is how strong his sense of “right” is–that moral compass you wish more people had.

Honestly, if you are prone to (over)thinking like a novelist, considering how one could see things this way OR that way, his sense of rightness can almost be overwhelming. He can’t understand why people don’t see it as clearly as he does; he just knows how things should be and whenever possible, he makes them that way. For example:

When my house was being built, we visited the site one evening. The general contractor had left a raccoon trap set. We both saw it, but before I could even start to wring my hands, my brother picked up the empty trap and tossed it into the construction dumpster.

I, who liked both the contractor AND the raccoons, worried that maybe the contractor would get in trouble with his boss and have to pay for losing the trap? Maybe we could just disable it? And the words weren’t even fully out of my mouth before he said, “No, Karen, traps are awful. It doesn’t matter if he gets in trouble, he shouldn’t have set it.”

And he was right.

He is strong and opinionated and has been right many, many more times. I’m proud that such a good man is my brother. Happy birthday, Alan. I love you.