Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Let's Kick and Make Up

A Middle Child Love Story?

     When people talk about “falling head over heels” for someone, they usually mean it figuratively. The heel, or any part of the foot for that matter, doesn’t really play any part. Or does it?
Before there were WMDs,
there were these.
     When I was in first or second grade, there was a girl in my class named Kim. Kim A... maybe I shouldn't mention her last name. Throughout the week, at random times, without warning and for no apparent reason, Kim would kick me. Not a gentle “I’m-trying-to-get-your-attention” kick, but more of a “let-me-see-how-hard-I-can-kick-you” kick. Let me just say, if you were choosing sides for a game of kickball, you would want Kim on your team. She was quite the kicker. And you have to remember, back when I was a kid, we didn’t wear sneakers to school. We wore shoes. Hard shoes. Little girls wore patent leather Mary Janes or maybe a clunky pair of Saddle shoes -- shoes that could inflict serious damage on a young boys shins. So it goes without saying, Kim left her mark on me. My legs, not to mention my ego, were bruised. Why did this girl hate me so much? What did I do to deserve this? That’s when I got my first relationship advice from my mother:

“Kim doesn’t hate you,” my mother explained.
“She kicks you because she likes you.”

Kim didn’t break my heart,
but possibly my fibula.
     I’m sorry, you wanna run that by me again, Mom? Kicking is a sign of affection?? For a seven or eight year old boy, this was not an easy concept to wrap your head around. I mean, I was still trying to grapple with how it was even possible to like girls when everyone knew they gave you cooties. Now you’re telling me being liked by one means I’ll have to endure bodily harm? I did not sign up for this.
     Then again, as a Middle Child, it shouldn’t have been a totally foreign concept to me. We regularly feel overlooked and ignored, yet our parents and siblings insist that’s not the case. They say we are loved. So maybe love is supposed to feel like a kick in the pants? No, no no -- my mother had to be wrong. Kim probably kicked me because she thought I was obnoxious and annoying. It certainly wouldn’t be the last time someone felt that way about me. Besides, I was way too young to get involved in some kinky sadomasochistic relationship. Oh my god -- was my mother a proponent of S&M!?
     Thankfully, the kicking eventually stopped. That means she didn’t like me anymore, right? I don’t know whatever happened to Kim. I tried to locate her before writing this. As far as I can tell, she might be a lawyer somewhere outside of Chicago. (If you’re reading this, Kim, please don’t sue me.) She did write something nice in my eighth grade yearbook, so she must have really hated me by then. I guess she got smarter than me after eighth grade though, because I noticed in our High School yearbook she graduated a year ahead of me. It seems only fitting she got kicked up a grade.

A MUSICAL FOOTNOTE: As I was writing this post, two songs kept playing in my head. One was the 1975 Top 10 hit by Nazareth, “Love Hurts,” featuring some of the worst lip syncing I’ve ever seen. (WATCH)  The original version was performed by The Everly Brothers in 1961 (LISTEN) The other song was The Mills Brothers #1 hit “You Always Hurt the One You Love,” originally recorded in 1944.(LISTEN)  I was surprised to see how many people covered this song including: Connie Francis (LISTEN), Clarence “Frogman” Henry (LISTEN), Brenda Lee (LISTEN), Kay Starr (LISTEN), Ringo Starr, no relation (LISTEN), Fats Domino (LISTEN), Paul Anka (LISTEN), Willie Nelson (LISTEN), The Ink Spots (LISTEN), Pat Boone (LISTEN), Peggy Lee (LISTEN), The Lennon Sisters (LISTEN), and Michael Bublè. (LISTEN) Ryan Gosling even performed a version in the movie “Blue Valentine.” (WATCH) But my favorite was the 1945 Spike Jones version. (LISTEN)

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Middle Children need to be heard!