I'll think of something that's good about my brother at some point, but at the moment, he isn't showing to advantage, and given that I've seen him only fleetingly in the last ten years, his recent gyrations are all I have to form an opinion with.
Firstly, there was the identification of the furniture he wanted. That mom was still alive at the time didn't seem to weigh with him. Then he insisted on being there for the reading of the will: well, given that its only one page, I thought it most convenient to give it to him to read for himself.
He thinks my mom was made of money. Every time he sailed his barque off point non plus, she'd produce the ready and rhino at the drop of a hat. She told me last year that she'd had to sell the last of her investments to save him from bankruptcy owing to a very bad business venture.
The earlier investments were sold because he'd maxed out his credit card and was behind on his (astronomical) mortgage - and those before that - and so on. Mom explained that he'd had his pound of flesh, and she'd bequeath what was left to me. She said it was only fair. She also said she'd explained that to him.
He's acting surprised (although he admits that Mom did have a little talk with him as mentioned above). He's hideously envious of the 'riches' that I'm to inherit - that this consists of fixed property I won't be able to sell easily and that this lot will land me with a whole bunch of taxes and legal fees and nothing to pay them with doesn't stop him from pulling a long face. Oh yes, I got the dogs too, but at least he doesn't envy that. Just thinks I should have had them put down.
I've told him he can have whatever he wants of the contents of the house, and he's making all speed to empty it before I can change my mind - even though he doesn't want or need most of it. Its almost indecent, really. What IS indecent, is the fact that he's pocketed the money my rich uncle sent towards the funeral.
Its not a small amount. I paid those costs, he announced Uncle's generous contribution in the presence of my cousin so that I could thank the family for it, but I haven't seen a penny. I'm not going to fight with him about it. My guess is that its spent already anyway. I wonder how he justifies it to himself?
I seem to remember that the legal term 'prodigal' is used to describe one who is quite unable to manage money in any way: perhaps that's his problem. I'm inclined to think he's just impractical, selfish and greedy. Maybe that's the same thing.
The interesting fact is that we had exactly the same upbringing. I honestly wouldn't have been upset if my mom had left me nothing. All that matters is that she's not there any more. Nothing can make up for that. Perhaps its a convincing argument for nature being stronger than nurture.
Today's pic: One of the beaches near Hermanus - nearly as empty as my brother's head.