Saturday, May 4, 2024

Middle Child Extinction: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

          As if the emotional roller coaster of being a Middle Child wasn’t already enough of a wild ride, here we go again…
          Way back in 2013, I first raised concerns about Middle Child extinction in a post titled “Are Middle Children an Endangered Species?” Sure enough, five years later, my worst fears were confirmed as talk of the impending demise of the Middle Child went viral. New York Magazine published a piece called “The Extinction of the Middle Child.” I wrote about it for a second time on this blog in a post titled “Our Middle Child Days are Numbered.” I also addressed this new threat in my first (and only) International Middle Child Union “State of the Union Address.” I even talked about the crisis on the Today Show. Things were not looking up.
          But then, a glimmer of hope? A report from Pew research suggested maybe a comeback was on the horizon. To paraphrase Mark Twain, it appeared as though reports of our demise had been greatly exaggerated.
          Whew! Oh happy day!! That was a close one. We live to fight another… oh crap.
          Just when I thought we were out of the woods, it appears our reprieve has been -- revoked. A recent CNN headline screams:
          And the prognosis is dire. According to the study, the average number of children born to a woman in her lifetime has gone from 4.84 in 1950 to 2.23 in 2021. By 2100, it’s predicted to drop to 1.59! That’s well below the minimum needed to preserve our ranks. We’re a dying breed, my friends.
          Look, I hate to be the Middle Child who cried wolf, but honestly --how many times in a lifetime should we have to face the threat of extinction?
          Not that anybody cares.
          I guess we’ve finally found the cure for Middle Child Syndrome. 
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Tuesday, April 23, 2024


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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Middle Child Memories: My Kosher for Passover Birthdays

          Not every year, but far too many for my liking, my birthday has fallen on Passover. I’m bringing this up now because, well, it’s almost Passover, and this is one of those years. As an adult, this doesn’t matter much to me anymore. But as a child -- especially as a Middle Child – this was a very big deal. And not the good kind of very big deal.
          Before this goes any further, I need to provide some context. If you’ve been following this blog, it should be abundantly clear by now that I have serious Middle Child issues. If the fact that I felt it necessary to create a blog to document the trials and tribulations of my unfortunate birth order position wasn’t enough to convince you, then perhaps knowing I also founded the International Middle Child Union to help raise awareness of our plight should seal the deal. Also, for the purposes of this post, it’s important to know that I grew up in a Kosher household, which means every Passover we dined on special Kosher for Passover plates and only ate Kosher for Passover foods for all eight days of the holiday. Regrettably, it also meant that on the years when my birthday and Passover collided, I had to have a
Kosher for Passover birthday cake.
          Now, here’s something you need to know about Kosher for Passover birthday cakes: they are not very good. Even the “good” ones are not very good. A “good” Kosher for Passover birthday cake just means it’s not awful. This is not just some distorted Middle Child memory of mine. I am not alone in this belief. One review of Kosher for Passover desserts observed “It can be hard to bake desserts that are unleavened and still taste good,” and “many Passover foods taste stale even when they are fresh.” Another critique noted that Kosher for Passover desserts “often taste like they’d been abandoned in the dessert for 40 days and nights.” Still another declared “Passover desserts are not known for being delicacies. How could they be? What kind of baked goods are made without flour?” It further suggested that “Passover is a
good time to try to skip desserts.” The particular dessert being reviewed was described as “seven layers of yellow cake made from potato starch so, yes, these layers are quite dry.” And this was written about a cake the reviewer actually liked! So you see what I had to deal with?
          To be clear, I don’t believe any child, Middle or otherwise, should be subject to such indignity on their birthday. But if I'm being totally honest, it somehow feels even worse when you're a Middle Child. Just one more example of how once again my siblings somehow got the better end of the deal, and I got screwed. My brother and sister got to celebrate their birthdays with marvelously moist feasts of frosting, but no such birthday cake love for me. No fair! I had to just smile and suck it up as I choked down each arid bite of some nut laden concoction I would’ve been more than happy to just, yeah… pass over. 
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Sunday, March 31, 2024

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Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Middle Children Snubbed at 2024 Oscars!

          All the statuettes have been handed out and the Red Carpet has been rolled up. Now it’s time to talk about who got the Middle Child treatment this year from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. For months now, all everyone’s been talking about are the two big snubs:Barbie Director Greta Gerwig was overlooked for Best Director  and no Best Actress nomination for Middle Child Margot Robbie. Of course, Margot should be used to this. After all, when it comes to being snubbed, who knows better than a Middle Child? And this year, Hollywood’s biggest night did not disappoint.
          The 96th Academy Awards were truly a Middle Child Snub-fest. Not a single winner in the four acting categories was a Middle Child. I guess that shouldn’t come as a big surprise when you consider out of the 20 nominees in those categories, only three were Middle Children: Colman Domingo (Rustin),  Sterling K. Brown (American Fiction), and Emily Blunt (Oppenheimer). That’s a measly 15%! Talk about being overlooked and underappreciated.
          The truth is, on Oscar night you don’t have to be a Middle Child to get a taste of what it feels like to be a Middle Child. Take Martin Scorsese, for example. His Killers of the Flower Moon
had 10 nominations and zero wins. And that’s not the first time Marty went 0-10 on Oscar night, either. It’s actually the third time. Yikes. Gangs of New York came up short 10 times in 2002, and The Irishman did the same in 2019. Oh, and The Wolf of Wall Street went 0-5 in 2013. And what about Bradley Cooper? His second film as a director, Maestro,” went 0-7 this year while his directorial debut, A Star is Born,” didn't fare much better at 1-8. Bradley has also come home empty handed each of the 12 times he was personally nominated. Ooof.
          So I suppose if misery loves company, at least we’re in pretty good company. 
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Tuesday, February 13, 2024

New Middle Child Super Bowl Conspiracy Uncovered!

          I’m sure you’ve all heard by now about the latest Super Bowl conspiracy theory where Taylor Swift is part of a left wing plot to sway the 2024 election. Or maybe you’re aware of the Super Bowl logo color conspiracy theory. But after last night’s thrilling (or scripted depending on how much of a conspiracy theorist you are) 25-22 overtime win by the Kansas City Chiefs, I have uncovered a far more sinister scheme that’s gone unnoticed for at least the past two decades!
          Analyzing the game through the distorted lens of a Middle Child, I’ll admit I wasn’t shocked to watch a first born QB, the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, defeat a Middle Child QB, the San Francisco 49ersBrock Purdy. I mean, the Middle Child always gets the short end of the stick, right? (And I’ll put aside for the moment any discussion of the incredible irony of Purdy earning the title “Mr. Irrelevant” for being the last player chosen in the draft. What could be more Middle Child-ish than that?)
          But then I dug a little deeper. It turns out the winning QB of last year's Super Bowl, also Mahomes, defeated yet another Middle Child QB -- Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles
          Hmm? That’s interesting. Could there be a pattern here? I had to go back to Super Bowl LIV (2020) to find the next Middle Child QB to play in the big game, and wouldn’t you know it – Middle Child QB Jimmy Garoppolo of the 49er’s lost to, you guessed it – that Middle Child beating Mahomes.
          That's right: three Middle Child QB’s have played in the last five Super Bowls, and they've come out on the losing end every single time! This can’t be a coincidence!! So I went back and analyzed the results and birth order of the QB’s in the last 20 Super Bowls. Yes, I have a lot of time on my hands. The results are shocking!
          Over the course of the last 20 Super Bowls, there have only been two times a Middle Child QB was victorious against a non-Middler!1 There were two other times MidKid QB’s were actually facing each other, so a Middle Child had to win.2 But that doesn’t count! Beating up on each other doesn’t mean as much. I mean, getting the ring is nice. And all that money. And the attention. I wouldn’t mind all that attention. But still, nothing could be better than a Middle Child actually stealing the spotlight from a first born or last born on the biggest stage for a change. 
          Clearly, the NFL does not agree. 
1. Aaron Rogers over Ben Roethlisberger, SB XLV (2011); Peyton Manning over Rex Grossman, SB XLI (2007)
2. Peyton Manning over Cam Newton, SB 50 (2016); Russell Wilson over Peyton Manning, SB XLVIII (2014)
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Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Hauntingly Horrible Middle Children

          In the spirit of Halloween, it only seems fitting that I strike a decidedly darker tone with this post. It wouldn’t be the first time. In year’s past, I’ve posted about two of Hollywood’s scariest Middle Children: Leatherface, the only character to appear in all nine “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” movies, and Michael Myers, star of the “Halloween” movie franchise. The mere mention of those Mid Kid’s names can send chills down the spine, but frightening as they are, they’re not actual hauntingly horrible human Middle Children. They just play ones on the big screen.
          But not to worry. I didn’t have to search very far or wide to find some horrifyingly despicable real life Middle Children. Throughout history, we’ve had more than our fair share. In fact, some of the most frighteningly evil people of all time were Middle Children. Just check out The Top Tens list of “The Top 10 Most Evil People of All Time.” Six out of ten on the list were living, breathing, real-life Middle Children! Well that’s just swell. As if trying to improve our reputation wasn’t already hard enough. And just listen to the names of the Middle Children on that list. It’s like the Heinous Hall of Fame. A real Who’s Who of horror.
The Wrath of Khan:
one scary Middle Child.
          In no particular order, the list includes genocidal Deutch bags Adolph Hitler and Heinrich Himmler, mass murdering terrorist Osama bin Laden, and brutal dictator Kim Jon-il. There’s also some real OG villains on the list, like Genghis Khan -- one of the most brutal and murderous leaders the world has ever known, responsible for the deaths of as many as 40 million people. After one particularly gruesome massacre, the piles of his victim’s bones were mistaken for mountains. He once disposed of an enemy leader by having molten silver poured into his eyes and ears. That’s one scary, pissed off Middle Child.
          Of course, you don’t become such a deeply feared and twisted figure overnight. His murderous ways can be traced back to his youth, when Genghis killed his half-brother for not sharing his food with him. Even from the grave, the Great Khan remained a deadly force. To keep his burial place a secret, he left instructions that everyone involved in burying him was to be killed.
Vlad the Impaler:
he staked his reputation on brutality.
          And let’s not forget Vlad the Impaler, another maniacal Mid Kid who makes the... cut. Over the course of his lifetime, it’s estimated he was responsible for the deaths of more than 80,000 people – mostly by, well… do I really have to say? His blood thirsty ways are said to be the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. But if these chart-toppers aren’t enough to make you lose some sleep tonight, there’s also serial killing Middle Children like John Wayne Gacy, and “The Green River Killer,” Gary Leon Ridgway.
          Of course, this all flies in the face of what the experts say is our inclination to be diplomatic, peacekeeping types, eager to avoid conflict. 
          But you never know. Bwahhhhhhhhh! 
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Thursday, September 14, 2023

Middle Child Tears Achilles, Gets SO MUCH Attention.

          Monday night was a bad night for Middle Child Aaron Rodgers. Very bad. But his illustrious 19 year NFL career has been mostly very good: a 4-time league MVP (two of them back to back), 10 Pro Bowls, Super Bowl MVP, almost 60,000 yards passing, 475 touchdowns, plus he set a slew of records
          Deservedly, he’s been awarded for his on the field accomplishments with the kind of attention mere mortal Middle Children would die for. But he’s also done a great job drawing attention to himself off the field. From breakups with celebrity girlfriends and alternative COVID-19 treatments to darkness retreats and sipping hallucinogenic psychoactive tea,  he’s certainly no stranger to the limelight. Still, there’s one kind of attention even the most desperate Middle Child tries to avoid: medical attention.
          Well, most of the time.
          I mean, what self-respecting Middle Child hasn’t thought about inflicting some minor bodily harm just to get a little attention? Or at least faking it. You know, like wearing a finger splint when you were a kid for no particular reason. Taping your fingers together. How about a superfluous sling? Or maybe donning an unnecessary ace bandage for a fake ankle sprain. If you were really convincing, that might even get you some crutches! Ooooh. Crutches always get attention.  
          When I suffered my very own honest-to-goodness serious football injury when I was younger (a severely dislocated pinky), it required surgery and a hospital stay! SO MUCH ATTENTION!!
          Of course, it was nothing compared to what Aaron Rodgers is going through.
          But please don’t tell anyone. 
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Monday, August 28, 2023

Is Threads the New Middle Child of Social Media?

          Threads, Marc Zuckerberg’s “Twitter Killer” app, was born on July 5 and welcomed into the world in a big way. Within a day it had over 30 million users. New app downloads surpassed 150 million in less than two weeks, making it the fastest-growing social media platform in history. As of today, there are an estimated 125 million Threads users. That’s pretty impressive for the new baby of the social media family. But to be honest, that 125 mil is chump change compared to sibling social media platforms like Twitter X, with over half a billion users, and Instagram, with more than two billion users. And while Threads came out of the gate red hot, since its launch there’s been a 20% decline in active users. The time people spend on the app is tanking too, down to around six minutes -- less than a third of what it was during the first week. It sure looks like people aren’t paying as much attention to Threads, which makes it feel less like the adored baby and more like a forgotten Middle Child.
          Truth be told, there’s a bunch of other social media apps you’ve probably never even heard of that have more active users than Threads, which might not sound like good news, but I guess the flip side is at least you’ve heard of Threads. So that’s a start. Any Middle Child would be happy to at least be recognized, even if they don’t get much attention. 
          As I’m always sympathetic to the plight of any Middle Child (human or not), I have welcomed Threads into my own social media family, along with Twitter X, Instagram, and the granddaddy of them all, Facebook. I was actually surprised that I was able to get the same handle on all four platforms: @midkidunion Then again, I guess I shouldn’t be. I mean, who else would want it?
          As you can see however, I’m not so sure I’m qualified to assess the popularity of this new platform -- I have a whopping 0 followers on Threads. Not at all what I needed after suffering through another demoralizing Middle Child’s Day. (SEE PREVIOUS POST)
          So here’s what I’m asking: follow me on Threads to take a look at life through the distorted (and possibly cracked) lens of a Middle Child. (But just in case this whole Threads thing doesn’t pan out, you can also follow on Instgram and Twitter X!)
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Sunday, August 20, 2023

A Post-Middle Child’s Day Breakdown (Emotional and Otherwise)

          FULL DISCLOSURE: yes, that was me in a previous post  getting overly excited about Middle Child’s Day 2023 falling on a Saturday. I figured since it was a weekend, there was no good reason for people not to celebrate. Sure, I had high hopes, but I must’ve just been high because my prediction of a “Saturday Surge” ended up to be more like a Saturday slump. I guess I didn’t figure into the equation the fact that people would have to be aware it was Middle Child’s Day before they would celebrate Middle Child’s Day. Ooops. Mea culpa. My bad. 
Middle Child's Day 2023: All talk, no action.
          Oh, it’s not like I didn’t try to get the word out. Believe me, I tried. I spoke with radio stations all across the country. Richmond was a riot. (LISTEN) Hartford was a hoot. (LISTEN) I even made my pitch all around the world Canada Calgary – all to no avail. There was no flood of requests for membership to the International Middle Child Union. Traffic to the blog was hardly bumper to bumper. And #middlechildday didn’t even trend on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. I guess X doesn’t always mark the spot.
          Am I disheartened? Sure. Am I disillusioned? You bet. But am I ever going to give up on my quest to raise awareness for Middle Child’s Day? You wish. Rejection and disappointment were the cornerstones of my upbringing. Being a Middle Child all these years has prepared me well for the rough road ahead. As I continue my uphill battle for Middle Child’s Day recognition, I’m reminded of the immortal words of Chumbawamba: “I get knocked down, but I get up again, they’re never gonna keep me down.”
          It's only less than a year ‘til Middle Child’s Day 2024!!

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Wednesday, August 9, 2023

2023 Middle Child's Day Gift Guide

          Over the years, my annual Middle Child’s Day Gift Guides have mostly featured Middle Child themed novelty items – everything from Middle Child mints and soaps to Middle Child wines and beer. But this time around, I’m taking a different approach. This year’s collection features gift ideas that scream, “Hey, look at me!” These gifts can help the Middle Children in your life attract the attention they so desperately crave. Because after all, to a Middle Child, that’s the greatest gift of all. (Most gifts available on Amazon for easy delivery by Saturday!)
A FLARE FOR ATTENTION: Misplaced your Middle Child, again? They’ll be hard to miss when they’re waving a highly visible signal flare. Order on Amazon 
LISTEN UP: Many Middle Children always feel like no one is listening. Problem solved! With this 20 watt megaphone, they’ll never complain about being ignored again. Order on Amazon.
TOP BILLING, AT LAST: let the Middle Child be the star of the show for a change. Put their name in lights with a customizable sign. Order on Amazon.
WIGGING OUT: Don King, Nicki Minaj, and Donald Trump are just a few of the well-known Middle Child celebs who know a crazy haircut is the shortcut to getting attention. Order on Amazon.
TAKE CENTER STAGE: Middle Children are tired of living in the shadows of their siblings. Give them a chance to be in the spotlight. Literally. Order on Amazon.
             ATTENTION GRABBING GARB: this collection of designs
            has attention seeking down to a tee.
                 Order on Amazon                                                  Order on Amazon

               Order on Amazon                                           Find an exclusive collection of 
                                                                                      Middle Child gifts and apparel
                                                                                         at the Smack Dab Shop.

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Monday, August 7, 2023

NEW Middle Child's Day Greeting Cards!

          Barbie gets the Dream House. Barbie gets the cool car. Barbie gets to be an astronaut, a doctor, even President. It’s always Barbie, Barbie! And as if that wasn’t enough, Barbie gets the number one grossing movie in the world!!
          Being one of Barbie’s middle siblings has never been easy, but with the spotlight shining even brighter on big ‘sis, now it’s harder than ever. That’s why this year’s collection of Middle Child’s Day Greeting cards is dedicated to all the Middle Children in the Roberts family living in Barbie’s shadow. If I forgot any, that would only be fitting.
(Click on image to enlarge. Right click to e-mail.) 

See the entire collection of Middle Child's Day Cards: 
- 2023 Middle Child's Day Gift Guide!
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