Nothing is worse than being reminded you’re not as smart as others, especially when it’s your younger brother. I’ve never had this problem because my younger brother asks my mother questions such as: Is the St. Louis Arch like the Eiffel Tower? In a pathetic, feeble, half-hearted, fake news deep flail of a stab at trying to show genuine interest in another one of my mother’s blood facing draining, historical site overviews from her trip cross country back to Arizona last summer.
Yesterday afternoon, 5-year-old, baby brother Art Show USA won the winter bouquet adornment contest over his 8-year old big sister by unanimous decision. Daughter asks. So, daddy, whose winter bouquet do you like better? Art Show’s artful placement of pine needles and ferns is a more impressive assemblage of winter land forestry Matilda. But you had more empty space to fill, in your regular vase compared to the IPA glass, Art Show made burst with over the top in your face, beauty greenery. Daughter blurts in a fumed, semi-playful disgust as a form of self-defense from not crying on the spot, “Goodbye.” Seconds later she storms toward my direction and ends up wailing me in the back 4 times in the row at least. I try to diffuse big sister’s bruised ego in the face of her younger brother’s more impressive showing of florist, foraging genius on display. “Matilda, you’ll have to find a way to accept you not always being so equal to your younger brother after all. Get used to it. Big Sister gets up from her seat to wail on my back again with more menace this time around and says in true feminist fighter fashion. “I don’t want to get used to it. You can’t tuck me in for a whole month.”
Reality is, this wasn’t the 1st time big sister has come face to face with her younger brother’s towering genius at work. Forcing big sister to contemplate her diminutively diminished creator stature like every time they’ve had a LEGO DUPLO, builder off. Before each build off, I’ll command, “show me genius”, the way Sid Ceaser did to his dream team of comedy writers back in the day on the Show of Shows, showcasing, an all-star cast of whose who, in American Comedy in their infancy, including, Neil Simon, Woody Allen, Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks to name a few. Now, my increasing concern is about making sure my son’s rising tide of genius doesn’t sink big sisters spirits anymore, leading to more self-defeating thoughts, which can derail their love boat of a relationship forever.
I never had a love boat of relationship with my younger brother. At the same time, smooth sailing has eluded our blood on blood journey through the winds of change, especially when younger brother attempts to take the wind out of your sails, by accusing his unemployed comedian/father of 3 of accomplishing nothing but birthing 3 genius babies. And this is after I’ve written for TV twice. You can blame the lash out on the Adderall all you want. The insult was intended to get a rise out of me. Instead, I replied with: Have a nice day. Thanks to endless airplay of Bon Jovi’s greatest hits in our family SUV. The wonders of getting CD steals at Target as a Stay at Home Comedian/Father of 3. Plus, there’s no denying how my 3 kids keep me young at heart. Why else would be I getting asked for ID at Target with 3 kids in tow at 42 years of age? Whenever daddy can’t resist a 12 pack of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale for only 12.99 a pop. Getting asked for ID with 3 kids makes me feel like a teen mom dropout from Tallahassee. When I get home, I feel compelled to change my LinkedIn Headline to Crystal Meth Homemaker.
So recently, my younger brother got fired from a solid job, which paid 75K, they poured plenty of training into him also. Plus, the name of this company is a solid resume builder also. Naturally, both of my parents did their best to prop up his deflated ego, by backing his assertion of being “sandbagged” at work. Which is victim virtue signaling, loser lame language of the lowest order. Odds are, my parents will still hold my younger brother up on a higher pedestal as usual because he’s got “demons” in his closet. Which possessed him to steal their ATM card in junior high to take more of their mo, mo money for more of his daytrip nose candy visits to Washington Heights, ensuring he only heard last call from the bathroom stall years later in college, before flunking out of Ithaca otherwise known as Cornell’s retarded next door neighbor. I would know, I attended Ithaca College myself, but I studied hard to get accepted into the distinguished Roy H. Park School of Communications. So, I could rip a big hit of strong outdoor and manage not to stutter every other 2 seconds. My point is back when my younger brother and I were spoiled, self-indulgent, burnout degenerates, there wasn’t a sibling rivalry of much substance to toxify our relationship any more than the drugs we were destroying our brains with already. What used to bother me before my 3 kids was born, was my younger brother making me feel like inferior company to his countless girlfriends and boys he partied with. It bothered me because I never asked to hang out with them, I had my own crew. Girlfriends would have to wait a bit later till a summer wind in Cape Cod. When I no longer had to whack it till my fingers bled, it was the summer of 95.
I always resented the idea of my younger brother acting as if he operated on a cooler plane of existence than me, knowing, he didn’t win the International Award during his Masada Teen Tour in Israel nor was he voted Grooviest by his Senior Year Book Staff, last time I checked either. An award, which I inspired into creation, because there’s no way blah breath Sharon Blonder, produced even close to the infinite joy my nickname chants of Bud Man, Bud Man, engendered to the entire senior slump slacking class at large.
My other source of resentment was my younger brother hitting puberty before I did. As a result, I’ve been stuck in a game of perpetual catch up in life ever since. I remember getting a book called 12 Stages of Puberty for Chanukah one year. I bemoan to my mom: Great gift mom, 12 stages of puberty. Can’t wait to confirm how behind schedule I already am. What’s the chapter about losing my virginity called, “Deep Impact?” Hey mom, did you consider, how demoralizing me getting this gift in front of my younger brother would be? Knowing, he got into the puberty party already. And can play with himself, whenever he wants. My mom replies. But you play with yourself all the time upstairs with your GI-Joe figures. If I played with my younger brother a kid it was over Nintendo games of Tecmo Bowl. He’d use the slant passing play with the Chicago Bears for an automatic 1st down every time, which bludgeoned the fun left in more primo brother bonding time soon after.
Big sister, Matilda and baby brother Art Show USA have a far deeper, infinitely more giving, loving relationship, free of any jaded, bile laced jealousy, enshrouded in most sibling rivalry relationships and I’m determined to keep it this way. They’ve been bunkmates for 2 years now. Matilda is the dream big Jewish sister I never had. She’s funny, sweet, wise beyond her years, super athletic but never too Tom Boyish, where she loses her effeminate wonderfulness all together. Picture Tatum O’Neil from the Bad News Bear cross bred with Punk Brewster. Is big sister Matilda into her Barbies a tad much for her younger brothers’ taste? Sure, but I was obsessed with my fantasy land with my epic GI-Joe, wood block constructed battles for the ages, so I get the infinite appeal in getting lost into imaginary playland. I’m still writing blogs for free at 42 with 3 kids to feed for Christ sake. Apparently, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the Daddy’s Long Leg’s Tree of creatively jacked life over here.
Sibling rivalries can be healthy, look at what the Manning brothers have accomplished. Till this day, the image of Peyton in the Skybox with his Hall of Fame Dad, Archie Manning, pumping his fist, cheering his baby bro on as he marched the G Men down field against the undefeated Pats to ultimately derail Brady’s perfect life/season still brings chills of good, good vibrations down my spine today. I want big sister Matilda to always be her younger brothers’ go to pumper upper, regardless if he ends up being commissioned as the futurist architect to build the second coming of Central Mark on Mars one day. I hear Elon Musk will be the 1st to move there, to avoid his clingy model girlfriend in San Francisco because maintaining long distance relationships from Mars is always a stretch. Ensuring genius doesn’t become toxic and ruin the one of a kind bond baby brother and big sister have won’t be a stretch if I continue to pound in their craniums the importance of building each other up versus constant belittling and tearing each other down. Matilda also had her 1st grade teacher admitted to wanting clones of future students molded in her honor. So, her ego isn’t down in the dumps with her winter bouquet creation bust just yet.