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Thursday, March 5, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 5.0° F  Fair
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Oh, brother
Readers weigh in on guy whose sibling eats too much
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Good evening, everyone, my name's Mr. Right, and I'll be your server. Our specials tonight are your own responses to Brother's Keeper, who's afraid his brother won't make it to 50 because the guy eats too much, smokes too much, drinks too much. He's also a great dad, and Brother's Keeper, who's fit as a fiddle, just wants his sib to be there for the long haul. Should he say something to him? You be the judge.

My dad just turned 50 in August. He hasn't had a heart attack yet, but he's in trouble. He's close to 400 pounds, smokes at least a pack a day and eats junk. He recently applied for a job driving semis in the upper Midwest, but when he went for his physical they found that he's developed an irregular heartbeat. He's now on five different heart medications and has a date with a defibrillator. Meanwhile, his new job is on hold. My parents are now scraping to pay their mortgage. And the sad part is that my dad has watched so many other people succumb to heart disease. His father has had one bypass surgery, his mother two. His best friend died of a sudden heart attack last summer at age 52. And yet Dad still acts like he's invincible. Tell Brother's Keeper he should say something right away. Of course, no one but his brother can decide if being healthy is worth giving up the fries.

Damaged Heart Belongs to Daddy

I'd like to respond to Brother's Keeper. First of all, who appointed you? Your brother isn't asking for advice, so any you might give is going to be taken with either a grain of salt or as an insult to his person. The thing is, Keeper, your brother already knows which lifestyle habits are healthy and which aren't. And he chooses the unhealthy ones. That's his prerogative. The only thing you can do is lead by example. Continue eating healthily and continue exercising. And do it for your sake, not his. He'll decide to change his own habits on his own. Meanwhile, good luck to you and your brother. And for heaven's sake, keep your self-satisfied, holier-than-thou, healthy mouth shut.

Right to Choose

The important thing is to tell your brother you care about him. But absolutely do not mention his weight problem. Believe me, he knows he's fat. My obese brother died suddenly of a heart attack at age 53, a few months after he told his loving wife that he didn't expect to live to a ripe old age. He actually chose to keep eating knowing it would kill him. That's addiction. What you should talk about with your brother is the abuse both of you received from your parents. The two of you can become closer by talking this through and supporting each other. If your brother's too busy to see you, go to his son's sporting events and sit next to him. Find a way to be a part of his life. I'm glad I was able to tell my brother how much I loved him before he died. I even videotaped our Thanksgiving, knowing it would probably be our last. And I miss him every day.

Calories In, Brother Out

Question for the 'fit' brother: What do you know that your 'fat' brother doesn't know? Risks? Statistics? He knows, he knows. He's an adult. He's allowed to make his own choices, for his own reasons. If you feel you must say something, how about telling your brother how much you miss your dad, and how you wish he'd taken better care of himself, which might have lengthened his life? Then let it go.

Twin Brother of a Fat Dead Twin

To really let yourself go, write to: MR. RIGHT, ISTHMUS, 101 KING ST., MADISON, WI 53703. OR CALL 251-1206, EXT. 152. OR E-MAIL MRRIGHT@ISTHMUS.COM.

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