Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Confessions of a Middle Child: Knot the Favorite

     I tie my shoes like a six year old. There, I said it. This isn't something I’m proud of. It’s actually a little embarrassing. Even though I’m a grown man, I still tie my shoes using “Bunny Ears.” I have tried over the years to make the move to a more mature method, but haven’t been able to successfully switch. It’s no great mystery why I tie my shoes the way I do. Most people probably don’t remember the day they learned to tie their shoes, but I remember it like it was yesterday (SFX: TRIPPY FLASHBACK MUSIC)...

     It was a hot summer day when I was around five years old, and I came home from day camp that afternoon in tears. “The counselors said I have to learn how to tie my shoes by tomorrow!” My mother did not panic -- she knew exactly what to do. Time was of the essence. She had to move fast. She sat me down on our porch stoop and I was given a crash course in shoe tying. It was there, sitting on the warm brick steps, where I first learned how to make one loop, then another, and tie the two loops in a knot. And that’s the way it’s been ever since.
     “So, why in the world should I care about how he ties his shoes?” you’re probably thinking. You might even be wondering, “What the hell does any of this have to do with being a Middle Child?” Stay with me for a minute.
SMILE! You're NOT on Candid Camera!!
     I have always said that being a Middle Child is the gift that keeps on giving -- if you’re like me,the effects can last a lifetime. In fact, there are things about being a Middle Child that you don’t even realize had anything to do with being a Middle Child until long after you’re a child. It’s like peeling the layers of an onion, tears and all. For instance, most Middle Children will tell you all about how there are significantly fewer or almost NO pictures of them in the family photo album. But that's not something you’re aware of when you’re seven or eight. It's usually something you discover when you’re a full grown adult desperately seeking photographic evidence of some childhood memory, only to find you've been virtually erased from the family filmography in favor of your older and younger siblings. Little by little, year after year, you keep finding more and more pieces to complete your Middle Child puzzle.
     In a previous post, I wrote about how much I love getting mail, (See “Stamp Out Middle Child Neglect”), but it was only a few years ago that I realized receiving mail was just one of the many ways I sought to seek attention. Albeit, from total strangers, but attention nonetheless. Writing weekly letters to politicians, athletes, astronauts and sending multiple messages to “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schulz was my way of assuring I’d receive a steady stream of postal platitudes in return.
     It turns out that being a Middle Child is the answer to so many questions. Why did I hate my mother’s strawberry rhubarb dessert? Because my brother and sister loved my mother’s strawberry rhubarb dessert. Why was I a child magician? So I could be something my brother and sister weren't, and maybe because I thought I could make them disappear. And why did I take so many pictures of all my children when they were growing up? I think the answer to that one is pretty obvious. It’s never ending. Being a Middle Child has everything to do with -- everything! And just when you think you've solved your countless Middle Child mysteries, you find out all the loose ends aren't really tied up after all. Even the shoe laces. It’s all so clear to me now...
     You see, my older brother and younger sister tie their shoes like most normal grown-ups. They both use the classic Bowknot (a.k.a. “Around the Tree”) method. Apparently, my parents had all the time in the world to teach their first born son how to properly tie his shoes. No bargain basement “Bunny Ears” for him. Only the best would do! They didn't wait until it was absolutely necessary to teach him this basic life skill. And when it was time to teach my sister how to tie her shoes, they certainly weren't going to let their precious princess be sent home with a traumatizing ultimatum. No siree! They made sure she would never suffer the same indignity as her lace-challenged brother. As for me, well -- I got the forget me knot. They just never got around to teaching the Middle Child, and to this day I am paying the price. Which probably explains why I
live in Florida now. I get to wear sandals a lot.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Middle Children need to be heard!