#69: The Brothers

“My Brother, My Brother, and Me,” also known as MBMBaM, as I’ll be referring to it for the rest of this blog, is one of my favorite things in the world, and it’s only fitting that they earn the title to blog #69. I’m actually surprised it took this long for me to talk about them on here! They’re such a valuable and positive part of my life, consistently filling me with joy during difficult times. Let’s talk about them.

MBMBaM is a family-based, comedy and advice-driven podcast lead by three brothers: Justin, Travis, and Griffin, from oldest to babiest brother. It never fails to provide me with laughter and joy, as the brothers discuss ridiculous questions and give ridiculous answers to those questions. Whether they’re answering a Yahoo Answers question or a question submitted by one of their fans, the comedy never stops. The questions serve mostly as improv stems, as the brothers use them to riff off of each other and build into jokes. They are comedians, but not in the traditional sense; they depend on each other in order to make their comedy, as the interactions between brothers is what sets this podcast apart from others. Because they are brothers, they share a close, familial connection that shines through all of the mayhem.

But probably my favorite part about the McElroy brothers is their openness, tolerance, and general kindness. Every one of them values people and their feelings above all, does not disparage or “punch down” on vulnerable or marginalized folks, and demonstrates good, positive character values. I love listening to them because I know that they will have worthwhile advice underneath all the chaos and laughter, and that they will never betray their values. As someone who sometimes feels like the world outside of my little bubble is breaking down around me, in an existential nightmare, it feels good to add this podcast to my little bubble of positivity. It consistently never disappoints in that regard.

Also, the brothers have worked hard to attract amazing online communities with similarly supportive and generous people, cultivating safe spaces. The teacher page I am a part of is a consistent source of professional inspiration and feedback on questions, while the Wonderful! page provides small joys and a reminder that people can be good. I think part of the reason why they are able to attract these people to their community is because they openly and honestly discuss mental illness as well, primarily social anxiety and imposter syndrome as they become more famous in the world.

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#68: The Bike

No, I never learned how to ride a bike. I failed at pretty much every attempt, and after repeated failures and my father’s growing impatience with me, I resigned myself from ever learning how to ride. It made my childhood feel a bit like I’m missing out on something, because as an adult, it is a bit embarrassing to ask someone to teach me to ride a bike. Like folding laundry, driving a car, and washing dishes, it is assumed you know how to do this by the time you reach 18, in preparation for college. I felt like I had missed out in some small way.

But here I am, riding a bike right now, as I type this blog on my phone. The catch (there’s always a catch with these things) is that I’m pedaling on a sitting bike at the gym. The reason for this blog is to discuss my fascination with the sitting bike, and how it has enabled me to conduct a few important activities in conjunction with exercising. All of these activities make exercising more fun and engaging. For example, I have even more time to write blogs because I can combine my gym time with my writing time. I don’t feel dizzy writing while peddling, nor do I feel distracted or ashamed while surrounded by other, more hard-working gym members around me. They see me sitting on my phone, probably assuming I’m playing a game or texting a friend, when in reality I am in the process of writing a post on my personal blog.

Being on the bike also allows me to read, a DiMartino family tradition. I remember seeing my mom at home on the elliptical, one hand holding onto the machine arm while the other hand held up a book, probably a romance novel or something involving Outlander. To me, this initially seemed like a difficult task, reading at the gym, given the fact that I have a hard time concentrating on and devoting myself to more than two tasks at a time. But after trying it myself, and a little bit of practice here and there, I can say that reading at the gym is one of my absolute favorite activities. It keeps the pace going without interruption, the only end is when I decide to stop pedaling or the timer on the machine. It gives me motivation to keep going, to push further and further into the chapters. One more chapter, one more page, one more line! Although I’m at the gym right now, I plan on reading more later to make up for the fact that I am spending my time writing rather than doing my usual reading. I blazed through all 300 or so pages of The Last Wish because I had time to read at the gym. My next book, Kitchen Confidential, will also have the same benefit going for it.