Breaking News: My Brother’s Got the Scoop

My brother and I have this thing. Call it one-upmanship. Call it a contest to see who can be first. Call it sibling rivalry at it’s worst. He actually started it, many years ago, and in the beginning, I didn’t think anything about it. But, suddenly it dawned on me, and, when it did, I said,

This is how I learned that my idol, Nora Ephron, had passed away.

“Game on!”

And, ever since, it’s been a mad dash to the finish.  Everyone at work is privy to this race of ours, and some have even tried to help me win. But I rarely do. You see, my brother is quite adept at this and he definitely has an advantage, he being in a time zone that is two hours ahead of mine, so I’m often still asleep when he awakens and gets the latest scoop.

Still haven’t figured it out?

My brother loves to be the first with breaking news. He’s a regular news wire, Twitter feed, CNN junkie all rolled into one. He has his finger on the pulse and the other hovering over his smart phone, at the ready, to send out a text to all the family with the latest news.

Plain and simple, my brother was born to be a journalist, a muckraker, a newspaper reporter, a newshound. Yet, he’s none of these.  Not by profession, anyway.

Mostly, he has a zeal for being first with breaking news about celebrity deaths, but on occasion he’s been first to tell me breaking news about celebrity, well, breakups (for example, think Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes).

This goes as far back as Princess Diana. In those days, neither of us had cell phones. I’ll never forget that evening. It was late August, kids were still out of school, enjoying the last days of their summer vacation, and we had spent the entire evening doing one of our favorite things, exploring our local bookstore. We had just returned home, each of us having added two to three books to our personal libraries, when the phone rang.

I picked it up. It was my brother.

“Watch the news. Princess Diana is dead!”  He blurted, and then hung up.

No, wait. This actually started further back than Princess Diana. It was in 1994!

A Friday evening in early June. I remember because I was sick to my stomach. I had gone out with friends from work to celebrate someone’s retirement and we had eaten at this Greek place and though I love Greek food, I got sick. Really, really sick. I couldn’t-keep-anything-down I was so sick. So I was home in a near coma, laying on my bed in a pool of sweat and drifting in and out of consciousness, when the phone rang.

“Turn on the TV. OJ’s being chased by the police!”

That’s all my brother said and hung up. In my delirium, I did what I was told. I dragged myself out of bed and turned on the TV. I watched for the next several hours, what would turn out to be the most incredibly slow chase in history. I wasn’t sure whether my eyes were deceiving me, and to this day, I still wonder how much of that chase was real and how much of it was part of some surreal Fellini-like dream that I was having as a result of my debilitating nausea.

In any case, over the years, my brother must have told me of about 277 celebrity deaths, including Phil Hartman, Whitney Houston, Dick Clark, Donna Summers, and Elizabeth Taylor.

Trisha tried to help me be first with news about Andy Griffith.

About a week ago, Andy Griffith died. My friend, Trisha, tried to give me the heads up via text, hoping I’d be first with the news. But she doesn’t have the practice, the experience and the tenacity, that my brother has and so, she couldn’t compete. He beat her text by mere minutes.

But, there’s always the next time. Like this past Sunday, when Academy-Award winning actor, Ernest Borgnine, passed away. I happened to be on my computer when the email alert from The Washington Post arrived with the news. I immediately looked at my texts to see if I’d received one from my brother. Nope. I then went into action and sent a text and an email, not only to my brother, but to all my siblings so they could have proof that I was first with the news.

Well, as macabre as this contest might seem, I’m in it for the long haul. So, until next time, Bro!

43 thoughts on “Breaking News: My Brother’s Got the Scoop

  1. Too funny. My sister and I are the opposite, she calls and says, turn up sound on the News ( I watch it with the volume off) and the proceeds to tell me the latest breaking news I must surely need to know before I can inhale my next breath. OK, I am not current and it’s a force for me to read Publishers Weekly everyday, but i do. In our family, it’s ‘who discovered this artist first’ – Dad passed down to my sister and I, and we’ve passed it down to our kids.

    • I’m with your sister. I love watching the news–with the sound up–and yelling at it when I hear something I don’t like. It often causes me great anxiety but I can’t help myself. I have to know! I love art, too, don’t get me wrong. But I’m a politics hound, for sure.

  2. OMgggggggggg, this is HILAREOUS….Monica.

    I have a girlfriend like that…I remember when I was about 15, she called me and said DID YOU HEAR ABOUT ELVIS PRESLEeeeeeeeeeeeY?

    She told me about Micheal, Farrah, & Whitney….too.

    When I see her number on the ID caller, I’m like, SHiiiiiIT, what happened now.

    XXx Kisses

  3. I love this post, Monica. What a fun contest. I think I get a kick out of it, as I am sort of news junkie, as well. I’m not as good as I used to be, as Sara tires of CNN, but I love the stuff–just love it. Have wondered if I shouldn’t have been a journalist. When I say this to Sara, she says, “You’re a writer–not a journalist–not even a blogger. You’re a writer.” Whatever that means!

    At any rate, thanks for the laugh! And have a wonderful weekend, my friend! If you let me know how to contact you, I will try to help.


    • Kathy, just another reason we’d get on so well! I’m a bit of a newshound myself. I usually keep my TV on CNN on the weekends, just so that I can turn it on at anytime and find out what’s going on. But when it comes to celebrity deaths, my brother always seems to have the inside scoop. It never fails.

      Glad I could make you laugh!

    • When I was living away at college, my mother would mail be news clippings about celebrity gossip. She was my source to the world (pre-cell phones, internet, etc). I’d get an update in the mail every week!

  4. Too funny, Monica! Sounds like your brother missed his calling, though. Anybody who loves breaking news the way he seems to should have been in journalism. And don’t worry about not being able to beat him — you’ve got that time zone thing in his favor!

    • Thanks, Debbie. Yeah, I agree. He definitely missed his calling. Being first has really reached fever pitch in our family. Already the next generation is getting into the act. We keep trying to scoop each other and it’s insane!

  5. You could trump him, you know…if you could just find a celebrity who wants to have a near-death experience: “Johnny Depp is dead! And now…yes, yes, wait for it…he’s alive again!”

  6. First to know about everything – sounds like a guy I used to work with who went from office to office blaring the latest and usually scaring us out of our seats. At least with your brother, there’s no audio 8).

  7. That’s absolutely hysterical. And all I could think of as I was reading these exchanges was this:


    (Translation: What would the Grim Reaper’s text messages look like?)

    And here’s hoping I’ll never be famous enough to show up on your bro’s radar…


  8. My sister is like that. She called me when Michael Jackson died. I don’t try to compete with her though. I told her she should start a gossip blog since she’s heavily into Hollywood happenings. Ask your brother the wedding date for Jolie and Pitt. And you know Halle Berry’s getting married for the third time, although she’d sworn off marriage. Pretty as she is, I think something’s not quite stirred up too well in the mix. And ask him too, what really happened between Katy Perry and that crazy fella she was married to. Also, has Dr Phil ever cheated on Robin? Is that why she’s ALWAYS sitting in the audience? I wanna sit there.

    • Totsy, Looks like many of us have someone in the family who loves to report the latest. My brother is most interested though, in reporting on death and divorce. The two D’s. 😉

    • Bassa, It only becomes stressful, when news of someone’s demise breaks. 90% of the time, though, I don’t even know about it until he tells me. At which point, there was nothing to get stressed about, considering I didn’t know. 😉

  9. Now that sounds like a race to the finish.

    I have no brothers or sisters, but I do have friends who like to be first with the news and treat it as a race.

    One friend who will remain nameless when a big story breaks he texts both my home and business mobiles, my home and business email addresses then for good measure rings me as well. I am wise to this and just delete and don’t answer. Mind you his wife thinks he is a bit over the top as well, so not just me.

    Enjoy the race Monica, and if you get really desperate you could move so your ahead of him time wise!!!!

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