Well, he's not a doctor yet, but he'd sure like to tell you he is. He has been acting like one for years. (No, he will not write you a prescription. You don't have ADD; you're just lazy.).
All jokes aside, Luke (or Alok, or George, or Luke-George, or the boy, or Doc) starts his surgical rotation today, at 545am. Someone recently remarked that they weren't ready for my little brother to be a doctor yet (happy birthday, by the way, Betsy) and I initially agreed. After all, I still remember when he was telling bad jokes, rolling his eyes at me, and acting like an elitist. What's that? You're saying that was not that long ago? It was actually how he spent Christmas break? Oh, well, let's move on.
That kid, who put off getting a haircut for nearly 2 months, is going to be a doctor? That didn't seem right. The same kid who hid my bike helmet under his bed so we would get driven to elementary school is going to be scrubbing in later this morning? The guy who gave our mother a Mother's Day gift in November (when he was 23, even) is going to be removing people's gall bladders? Turns out, he's ready, and then some. He's surely smart enough and he definitely works harder than anyone else I know.
I told him today how proud I was of him. If you're not an older brother (or sister, I suppose [I've been called worse than a sexist, thank you very much]) you won't really get this till you have kids, I think. By way of background, I've always been the "big" in big brother. I've tried to look out for Luke. He only got a bad time if I was the one leading it on. Ask him about the time he was hoisted by his shirt collar, only to be put down and have his collar straightened on his first day at SJS, when he announced his last name. I protected him. I tried to, at least.
I have a photo on my shelf of the two of us in the Bahamas. He's 6 or 7, I'm 8 or 9. The white sand and blue water are in the background. He doesn't even come up to my shoulder. I've got my arm around his shoulders, and he's hugging me and showing his gap-tooth smile. He had lost three teeth in one day (quite a feat but not the point I'm making here) but he's still smiling. It's a good memory, no doubt, but a memory of a little kid. My point is, I often remember him as that little brother, the young child, the one who threw the second water balloon, who was there to play video games with, the one who played one on one with me in the driveway, the one who played neighborhood football, and on and on.
That's not to say he's still not those things (other than a little kid [he's almost 25 years old and he's 6'1, for chrissake!]). But, he will be operating on people soon. And he'll be a doctor (because Baylor College of Medicine and the American Medical Association say so, not just because he says so or tries to charge you $1200 for 2 Dayquil and a glass of water[which he tried Saturday!!]) sooner than you know it.
So, on the rare chance you see him (he's gonna be at the hospital for the next ten years), tell him congratulations. Or send him an email or text message. Tell him he needs a haircut. Make some joke about him NEVER smiling in photos since the age of 10, or about him complaining about his old bones at the age of 13. But don't forget to tell him you're proud of him. Proud of the doctor he will be. And the man he already is.