Stuck In The Middle

Riding Hard

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I wasn’t a momma’s boy, nor was I a daddy’s boy. I was a middle child with a brother two years older and a sister 4 years younger. Let me give you some idea how invisible a middle child is. When I was twelve it was six o’clock and we were sitting at the dinner table (my father NEVER ate with us) and I wasn’t going to mention it but when and I was told it was my turn to wash the dishes again (as the middle child it’s always your turn) I blew a gasket. “Does anyone know what today is?”

“It’s Thursday you dummy,” said my arrogant brother.

“It’s December 27,” said my mother. “Oh my gosh,” she finally remembered and exclaimed, “It’s your birthday!”

That it was. Only instead of getting to have my favorite meal served, (which was hamburgers) I had to gag down my brother’s favorite meal which was corned beef and cabbage. On MY birthday! Not only was there no birthday cake, I didn’t get my mother’s wonderful traditional birthday coffee cake for breakfast either. I was going to try and see how long it would take them before remembering my birthday. If ever. I’m sure it would have broken the Guinness record.

Such is the life of a middle child. Of course, my mother always denied the charge that she always liked my brother best but then I’d go to the hard evidence. In my brother’s baby book every little event is recorded; the first time he had solid stools, the date he first walked and talked, when he first used a potty chair… well, you get the picture. Which, by the way, his baby book was also crammed full of, pictures that is. There’s a complete inoculation record, all his grades in school and his yearly Little League batting average. Then I’d turn to my own baby book and show her where she only wrote half my name before she got bored. And that was it! The sum total of everything in the book! And I’m not exaggerating!

So I was condemned to a life of wearing hand-me-downs, washing dishes and sleeping on the porch. Again, I’m not exaggerating. My brother got a room with a bathroom all his own, my sister got the biggest room in the house and since there were no more bedrooms, I ended up sleeping on one end of the enclosed back porch with a slanted floor. On the other end of my “room” was my mom’s sewing machine and all the accoutrements she needed to make a living sewing for folks to feed our family.

Then there was the issue of the truck. When I was a kid all pickups came with one bench seat that would hold three people. There were no club cabs. So let’s see, there was the driver (early on my dad), my mother and my brother because he was the exalted Prince. That left me to rattle around in the bed without any kind of seatbelt, box to sit on, or padding. If there was a head-on I was the one getting thrown out of the truck. Then my sister came along and it was my mom (the driver) my brother and of course, my sister who was spoiled rotten because my mom always wanted a daughter. I had to buy my own truck to finally ride in the cab.

I tried running away to find a family that would want me but I never got further than my grandparent’s house. I had to do something to distinguish myself but my brother was the better athlete and a genius too, and my sister, well, she was the spoiled baby. The only way I could get any attention was as the jokester of the family, which was easy because my kinfolk were very somber and morose. And that is how I became a humorist for a living.

In the end I proved to be the hardest working, most sensitive, least spoiled, the richest and the only one who had built several businesses. And I’m the only one with a sense of humor.

You’d be surprised that a lot of our funniest comedians were middle children. Research also shows that we make great husbands. My theory is it’s because we seldom got the chance to express our own opinion as children too.

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