Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Middle Child's Day is in Jeopardy!

     Actually, it was on Jeopardy! On November 14. Day 6 of the Teen Tournament. Season 35, Episode 48, to be exact. That’s right, we got us some nationally syndicated game show attention!!
The category was “SIBLINGS,” and the answer was:

      And Claire Sattler, a Senior from Bonita Springs, FL, nailed it! (She went on to the finals and won, by the way.) Without hesitation, she asked “What is Middle Child’s Day?” -- a question millions of people have no doubt asked countless times before. Which is the whole point of this post.
     As you know, raising awareness of Middle Child’s Day has been the primary mission of the International Middle Child Union since its inception. So this is a big deal. I mean, everyone knows how hard it is to get on Jeopardy! (Lord knows, I’ve tried and failed. I did make it onto “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” in 2003, however.)
     Granted, this was only the Teen Tournament, when you can play along at home and feel like you’re really smart. But still, it’s a start. To quote Johnny Gilbert, “This is Jeopardy!” It’s not some one-season wonder. According to, Jeopardy! is “the longest-running game show currently in production - not just in the United States but the entire world... with a staggering 8,711 episodes.” It’s also my favorite game show ever!
     And this wasn’t some dopey $200 answer. It was a $1,000 one. Those are notoriously tough answers. Of course, I realize now that sounds like a good thing, but it really means they thought it was such an obscure answer, nobody would know the question. So I guess I have more work to do. But even that can’t dampen my enthusiasm. We made it to almost prime-time TV!
     Now, can I take credit for any of this happening? Of course not. But will I? There’s no question.

     In celebration of this momentous occasion, I've created a special version of Middle Child Jeopardy! CLICK BELOW to play.  (CLICK HERE for some musical motivation.)

NOTE: My last three posts were all inspired by information sent to me by family, friends, and followers. If you have any Middle Child miscellany to share, let me know at the SmackDab Tip line: 
(Your tips are completely anonymous. How apropos. )

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

They're Playing Our Song:Part 1

A SmackDab Music Review

     According to the Guinness Book of World Records, “Happy Birthday to You” is the most recognized song in the English Language. For many Middle Children, however, Lisa Simpson’s adaptation might strike a more familiar chord:

     But thanks to Palmyra Delran, that’s all about to change. Delran is a musician/songwriter/producer and host of “Palmyra’s Trash-Pop Shindig” on “Little Steven’s Underground Garage” channel on SiriusXM. Her just released album, “Come Spy With Me,” (from Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool Records label) includes a track that could have Middle Children singing a different tune.
     “Happy Birthday Middle Child” is “a punky, fun tribute to stepping up and being seen,” says Parade Magazine. The song features non-MidKid Debbie Harry -- yeah, that Debbie Harry, from Blondie -- and expresses what so many Middle Children feel, maybe even more so on their birthdays.
     Delran says she had the title kicking around for a while in her book of songs to write, “but I forgot about it.” Typical Middle Child treatment, right? But wait a second -- Delran is a Middle Child, with older and younger sisters. It seems she was lucky enough, however, to escape the ravages of Middle Child Syndrome. In her Parade interview, Delran explains, “There seems to be an inside joke with Middle Children that they get ignored… or maybe they’re just milking it for attention?”
     Now hold on there one darn second, Palmyra. An inside joke!? Trust me, there’s nothing funny about it! Okay, maybe there is a little. But milking it for attention!?! Hmmm, possibly. Even though it
sounds like Delran might be questioning the very legitimacy of Middle Child Syndrome, I am willing to forgive her. After all, we’ll take attention any way we can get it. I mean, beggars can’t be choosers.
     With that in mind, I think that “Happy Birthday Middle Child,” with a few slight revisions, could be the official anthem for Middle Child’s Day. In fact, I'll even take it a step further. In recognition of helping to raise awareness of our plight, I hereby award Palmyra Delran’s latest work the International Middle Child Union Seal of Approval. Like it or not.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Middle Child of Recounts

     Recount fever has swept the nation, and nowhere has it hit harder than in my home state of Florida. But there’s a call for a Florida recount that, not surprisingly, isn’t getting any attention. And it has nothing to do with politics for a change. This recount centers around a 2017 study which, as reported by the website, found that “Middle Children Are Most Likely To Be Troublemakers.
     When I read that headline, I found it so outrageous it made me want to break one of my mother’s good vases. But a team of researchers from MIT, Northwestern University, the University of Florida and Aarhus University in Denmark concluded that “in families with two or more children, second-born boys are on the order of 20-40 percent more likely to be disciplined in school and enter the criminal justice system compared to first-born boys.”
     Like it wasn’t bad enough other studies have already found we don’t do as well in school as our older siblings, we have lower IQs and make less money than them, too. We needed this like we needed a hole in the head.
     The study cites all sorts of reasons for this phenomenon, but that’s a discussion for another post. As the ranking member of the Middle Child Party, I’m having a hard time accepting these findings. Oh, did I forget to mention the name of the study? “Birth Order and Delinquency: Evidence from Denmark and Florida. Yeah, FLORIDA! You know, the people who brought us the hanging chad. I should just accept the accuracy of the data they collected from Florida!? I think not. So I’m doing what any red-blooded Floridian Middle Child would do. I DEMAND A RECOUNT!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Buzz Off, Middle Child

Profiles in Middledom: #4 in a series, featuring Middle Children (real-life or otherwise) who have earned their place in the pantheon of birth order oblivion.

     Critics were over the moon prior to the October 12 release of “First Man,” the Damien Chazelle directed biopic about Neil Armstrong -- the first-born, first man to walk on the moon. And while Ryan Gosling received generally positive reviews for his portrayal of Armstrong, the movie failed to take off at the box office. Some would say it’s performance was less than stellar. Others have simply called it a flop.
     This is particularly bad news for us here at Smack Dab Studios, and has caused us to temporarily halt production of our very own moon-shot masterpiece: “Second Man,” the story of Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin. When Aldrin stepped on the lunar surface almost 20 minutes after Armstrong on July 21, 1969, he became the second man to walk on the moon. Fittingly, Aldrin was a Middle Child.
     Of course, everyone remembers Armstrong’s first words when he stepped off the Apollo 11 Lunar Module, but no one remembers what Aldrin said:
“Beautiful view. Magnificent desolation.”
     Okay, maybe that’s why no one remembers.
     Some NASA accounts suggest that Aldrin was actually supposed to be the first to walk on the moon, but it was decided it would be easier for first born Armstrong to exit first due to the positioning of the astronauts in the Lunar Module. Sure. So the Middle Child gets shoved aside. Again. Literally.
     After retiring from NASA, Armstrong rarely made public appearances or gave interviews, but in true Middle Child fashion, Aldrin would talk about his experience to pretty much anyone who would listen. Unlike the First Man, who pretty much avoided the spotlight, the Second Man actually sought it out. He was even a contestant on “Dancing With the Stars” in 2010, for heaven’s sake.
     All these years later, though, Aldrin is still getting the Middle Child treatment: he was reportedly not invited to an advanced screening of “First Man.” He was portrayed in the movie as an “obnoxious loudmouth.” And while both of Armstrong's sons, along with a number of space historians and NASA engineers, get thanks from the producers in the credits, Aldrin's name is missing from the IMDB listing. But even though he was regrettably forced to forever follow in Armstrong’s footsteps, Aldrin can take solace in claiming his very own extraterrestrial first. On a previous Gemini mission in November 1966, he snapped the very first space selfie.