Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Brotherly Love

When I was 11, I read the entire Bible cover to cover.

In my Sunday School, those who did so received a handsome Naugahyde bound Bible with their name inscribed in gold letters.

I wanted that Bible. Badly.

I really have no idea why, and I doubt I did then either. Children are not terribly inclined to examine the deeper meaning behind their desires. But I suspect that it was my way of compensating for the feelings on inferiority that I experienced at that church.

We were the poor folks, you see. My sisters, my mother and I wore the same dresses every week, the same kneesocks, the same faux leather plastic clogs with wood grain plastic soles. Our Dad wore the same suit, the same tie, the same tie pin.

Certain other children wore a new, perfectly coordinated outfit every week. They had matching shoes and handbags. And they had leather bound Bibles with their name on the cover.

They sneered at us, nice Christian children that they were.

Anyway....for whatever reason, I coveted that Bible.

So I read.

I read every Chapter painstakingly, stumbling over thees and thous and puzzling over the archaic language.

Unfortunately, it wasn't guided reading. All I had to do was answer a few questions when I was done, for which I received a gold sticker. Who was whom, who did what to whom, what was the moral of the story. If I didn't exactly know, I could usually cobble together something plausible enough to satisfy my inquisitor.

I was not mature enough or worldly enough to extrapolate certain ideals in order to grasp the subtext that is rife throughout that ancient tome. As a result, much of the meaning was lost on me.

But I wasn't after meaning. I was after the goods.

So I received my Bible. And it was wonderful. Oh, it smelled good; fresh parchment, ink and chemically processed pleather fumes. I was in heaven. I carried that Bible proudly for many years. I still have it tucked away somewhere; dogeared and dusty. The binding is cracked and the gold lettering has worn away.

It's a symbol, I suppose. I won the prize, but maybe cheated myself in the process.

Anyway...the point is...

Despite being raised in a Christian home and being made to attend Sunday School every week for years and years, I don't know the Bible as well as some people do.

For example, I know that Cain slew Abel, but I don't know why. I probably did once, but have since forgotten.

So I'm going to offer my own hypothesis.

Cain slew Abel because Abel was so fucking perfect and everything was so damned easy for him.

It's enough to drive a brother to murder, I think, when one brother struggles just to get through each day, while the other breezes through life so effortlessly. It's enought to breed antipathy and contempt when one brother has to watch the other achieve everything his heart desires; to be liked and admired, to succeed in all his endeavors without really even trying, to never stumble and fall.

I believe envy is the byproduct of brotherhood, even if those brothers truly love one another. I believe Cain loved Abel very much. But there's only so much a brother can take.

I wonder, with my sons, when the antipathy will come.

For now, Diminutive One's adoration of his brother is simple and pure, without the complication of envy. But how long will that last? How long can he live in his brother's shadow without bitterness and resentment creeping in.

Already I see signs. And it worries me.

I remember feeling the same way about my sister. She was my mother's favorite and still is. So are her children. She was the "good" one; the one who did everything right, and never screwed up.

For a long time I thought of it in terms of "better" and "worse", she of course, being the better.

But she wasn't really better, she was just easier and more like my mother, which meant that my mother understood her. She didn't, and maybe still doesn't, understand me. I was a challenging child to raise, I think, and I know how that can wear a Mother down.

I get it now. I don't blame my Mother and And I don't hate my sister. On the contrary; I consider her one of my closest friends, my confidant and my confessor.

So maybe, just maybe, Diminutive One won't grow to hate his brother for being perfect. For having it so easy. Maybe the adoration will remain untainted. Maybe they will just love each other.

But it wouldn't hurt if Pubescent One fucked up every now and then.


  • At 7:37 AM, Anonymous Reesie said…

    Oh Honey, be careful what you wish for . . .

  • At 8:39 AM, Blogger Middle Girl said…

    I'm always curious about the dynamics of siblings. Older vs. younger (of same gender) and how different that dynamic might be when older (or younger) is of a different gender.

    Is is different for a couple of boys over a couple of girls? And how does middle child(-ren) fare?
    . . .

    They will just love one another.

  • At 9:27 AM, Anonymous heidig said…

    I am the middle daughter and my older sister was always the favorite for the exact reasons outlined by BA. She was easier than I. She was more like my mother. I never envied her though for lots of reasons. Although she and I were not close when we were younger, she is everything to me now. I couldn't live without her and I'm sure she'd say the same.

  • At 10:43 AM, Anonymous Terry said…

    I know it's tongue in cheek and I know you're joking, but your last line to me reads a little scary even as a joke.

    I know things frequently read very differently then they are intended or felt but it reads a little like there may be the tiniest bit of resentment coming from you toward your oldest.

    Based on even the little I know of you, I'm certain you don't resent your oldest, but that's the way it reads to me.

    I'm guessing your kids don't read your blog, but it is public and if they have access to any computer anywhere they could probably get to it.

  • At 10:48 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Be very careful what you wish for. My son was the perfect one for years and years, and look where he is now. When he fell, he fell REALLY hard and now his sister is gloating to beat the band because finally she's the better student, the better behaved kid, and definately the happier kid. At least right now.

  • At 12:07 PM, Blogger Notes and letters to myself.... said…

    You know in my household growing up my sister was the one who towed the line and was perfect. She didn't screw up, was a great kid, did well in school, followed the rules etc...

    I on the other hand was the class clown, the black sheep, and the general fuck up.

    My brother was the baby of the family and the male child. So he could shit in the middle of the livingroom and it would be looked upon as a piece of artwork.

    We fought growing up -- horribly. My siblings will tell you they enjoyed watching me screw up and get into trouble because I paved the way of making it easier for them -- I was always taking one for the team.

    We are now adults -- in our forties, and we all genuinely love one another very much and we'd defind one another to the hilt.

    Your oldest child believe it or not will tell you that he doesn't feel perfect, and that life isn't as easy as perhaps it appears. My sister will tell you she felt under pressure a lot because of her "perfections".

    DO won't hate his brother -- unless his brother of course is an asshole to him, or DO is compared to his brother and asked why can't you be more like your older brother who is perfect.

    My siblings -- ha ha -- well, because I was such a screw up, the school was thrilled when they were the polar opposite of me, as were my folks.

  • At 1:33 PM, Blogger K2 said…

    Amen. To the rivalry, the envy, the "better one", the antipathy, the LOVE.


  • At 3:15 PM, Blogger Bea said…

    I was teaching a novel this year about the Holocaust. One of the main characters in the novel is the son of Holocaust survivors, and when his parents die he learns for the first time that he had an older brother who died in Auschwitz. It explained so much about his upbringing, suddenly illuminating those moments when it seemed as if his parents resented him for having it so easy. It's a common theme in Holocaust literature - the parents who had children both before and after the war had a hard time not resenting the more fortunate child.

    So when I was reading this post I was kind of taking for granted that parents typically have to struggle against the urge to favour the child who has it the hardest. My sister has serious learning disabilities and in some ways I am only recognizing now how much more space she occupied in my parents' consciousness than I did. Now that I'm in a similar situation, with one child to whom everything comes easily and one for whom everything is a challenge, I can see how much effort it takes to remind myself that the "good" child needs my attention too - that her difficulties in life will be no less real to her because they're less serious than her brothers'.

  • At 2:16 PM, Blogger NatzG said…

    I was the "perfect" child and developed an identity around that. Imagine my surprise and my parents concern when at 30 I could no longer maintain that illusion. I crashed hard. Seven years later I am still rebuilding myself, this time into an authentic self.


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