After years of responding to me with barely concealed disgust and something just short of withering contempt, it appears my brother is now able to answer my questions with a modicum of humility and graciousness. My brother, who invented a new type of solar cell technology, knows I’m going to ask him what he thinks are stupid and pointless questions, and I know that he doesn’t want to answer these stupid and pointless questions, but I ask them anyway, because to me they are not stupid and pointless questions, they are just questions. I see my brother maybe three times a year at family functions he feels he has to attend out of respect for our father and the memory of our late mother, and since I am not versed in nanotechnology for device physics, there is not much for me to discuss with him. Therefore I’m resigned to asking him questions like, How are you (to which my brother’s typical response has always been, “The same as the last time you asked me that question”) and, What have you been up to lately (to which my brother’s typical response has always been, “The same as the last time you asked me that question”). I saw my brother a few weeks ago and for the first time he actually made light of my stupid and pointless questions, but he was not rude about it, which, to me at least, was a breath of fresh air. For instance, several months ago my brother finally got married, and recently he became a father for the first time. I too have a child of my own, so when I saw him at Thanksgiving I asked him how it felt to be a father, a stupid and pointless question, no doubt, but one to which he responded with, “I’m sure it feels the same way to me as it does to you.” Then my brother smiled, slapped me on the back, and walked away. I know I should be excited about this turn of events, and I am, but I also know that the brightening of my brother’s mood has more to do with my father’s ill health. As soon as my father dies my brother will no longer feel obligated to attend family functions, and, as such, will no longer have to speak to me or tolerate my inquiries into his daily activities. After all, my brother is a busy man. His research will have long-lasting implications in the field of mobile communications.
A Citizen In Possession Of Extraordinary Capabilities