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Is it Wrong to Make “Grrr!” Noises at my Brother?

April 2, 2016 by Diane

Dear Digby,

I’m not sure if this counts as a squirrelly moment. When I was about nine, I bought a fantastically huge burger from Burger King (I think). I only just had enough money for it and I was so looking forward to it.

My brother asked if he could have a bite, so reluctantly, I held the burger towards him. Then I swear, his jaws opened wider than the monster’s in Alien and it was clear he was going to leave me with nothing but a pathetic crescent moon of a bun. I pulled my hands back quickly, but the burger dropped onto the street, and the bun split so the patty fell onto the ground and beyond saving.

Is it wrong that still now, some forty years later, if I happen to be with my brother and then recall that day, I make “Grrr!” noises in his direction?


Dear Bun,

This is an appropriate response. I suggest you bare your teeth as well. Because after 40 years of repressing your anger over the “burger incident,” a mere “Grrr!” and snarl is a much healthier option than flinging yourself across the dinner table at a family gathering, grabbing your brother by the throat and wrestling him to the carpet.

On the other hand, it might be time to let go of this 40-year grudge. If you were the kind of nine-year old who stuffed his feelings into his metaphorical pocket, try this: close your eyes, breathe deeply, climb into your imaginary time machine and zoom back to that moment. See your brother’s gargantuan jaws open. See your hands yank back and the burger plop onto the ground. Feel whatever emotion rises. Then look your brother in the eye and say whatever is in your heart. Give him a shove if you want. Get it out of your system.

If, after 40 years, you’re still mourning the loss of this burger, well, can anyone blame you? After all, you saved your pennies to buy the thing. You probably lay in your bunk bed at night in your cowboy pajamas and thought about riding your bike down to Burger King and buying it. When you finally had it in your hand, and smelled the aroma, and saw the juices running down the sides of that big toasty bun you could almost taste it. And then…plop.

I know your pain. I had a “sock incident” with my boyfriend. One day I spied him pulling on my favorite pair of hiking socks, stretching them over his big ‘ol feet. “Hey, those are mine!” I said, and tried to pull them off as he laughed uncontrollably. After a lengthy tug-of-war, those socks were never the same. My favorite pair.

However, this is one of my fondest memories. Remembering his impish expression and utter joy never fails to make  me smile. And I suspect that your “Grrr!” is a long-standing joke between you and your brother, recalling that special moment on the sidewalk in front of Burger King when his piggishness cost you a precious patty.

So by all means, carry on.


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  1. Joan says:


  2. Bun Karyudo says:

    Thank you for your advice, Diane. The burger has become something of a joke between my brother and I, just as you suggest. I’ve come to terms with my grief, and put the past completely behind me.

    Indeed, I seldom think about the tragically lost burger these days except when I make a small offering to its memory at the shrine I built in the corner of my bedroom, and of course on the anniversary of the event, when I conduct a short, moving ceremony.

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