Ryan has always been my parents’ favourite child. I can’t really blame them, he’s my favourite too.
His name is translated “Little King” and mine can be translated “The Hermit” so maybe right from the start mom and dad intended to like him better, it’s hard to say.
Actually it’s not really hard to say because I’ve been flogging them with it for a couple of decades, I’m just getting better with the stories I think. My mom always said “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story” so hold your nose, here goes the cold water RYAN.
When you end up with one spoiled kid and one good looking responsible one, it doesn’t all happen in a day. Sure I was somewhat bitter whenever the Chosen One returned home as the pantry seemed to magically stock itself with items one could actually eat (as opposed to rice and vegetables and other rice related nonsense).
Would I eat the good stuff? Yes I would. In a sullen disapproving silence befitting one wronged as much as I was.
Ryan is also skinny and I hate every skinny person. There’s more of me to love thanks to a period in my life from Grades 1-3 following a miraculous healing from severe asthma (thank you Jesus) which mom called the “Years of Fattening”.
Pancakes for breakfast every morning mom? Really? Turns out when every breath is not a struggle you can actually put weight on, and when one likes pancakes the trend can continue as long as the pancakes do.
Ryan has a different body type which humans find more attractive, but he can’t bench what I can because he’s weak and his mind is brittle. If you’re wondering how much I can actually bench I have no idea as I’ve never done it, so don’t bother asking me.
His mind is fragile because he’s only ever been told nice things about himself from mom and dad.
“Here’s your crown Little King! What would His Majesty desire for dinner? Would it please Your Highness if his elder brother was punished for absolutely nothing?”
I never asked for much so even the packages of raw bacon thrown down the stairs to feed on while fighting off armies of rats were a blessing. “Here you go Hermit! Hope you get enough to live through the day!”
I wouldn’t have minded it so much if they hadn’t been laughing while they said it. You can’t always get what you want…. unless you’re Ryan…
Even after giving my parents four beautiful granddaughters and bringing my wife Erin into the family I still feel like I haven’t measured up. Mostly because they tell me “If it doesn’t work out between you and Erin, we’re keeping Erin” every family dinner. It hurts, but has made me strong.
Ryan could have married a mannequin of Ronald McDonald and presented pigeons found under a bridge as grandchildren and they would have been over the moon. But at least they would be happy…
That’s all I ever wanted in spite of the mistreatment, for them to be happy. And in a way I suppose I’ve provided the perfect contrasting backdrop for the culmination of the evolution of mankind in Ryan. At least they know I exist and think about me, if only poorly.
Having exhausted my parent’s discipline fund, in the goodness of my heart I did jump in to help out with Ryan when he would step out of line, which was often. Far be it from me to allow him to continue in the ways of sin, and sure, there were times when I had to be stern, but that’s what older brothers are for: teachers really… stern, angry teachers that can’t be reasoned with, helping out with things no one asked us to.
I’ve always had a personal discipline of speaking whatever comes into my head about everything but Ryan has taught me that to properly manipulate people, one needs to store up useful information while keeping one’s mouth shut to blackmail them with later.
Not getting what you want? Just trot a “Hey, remember when you just about lit our house in Pasadena on fire in Grade Three Corey?”
Yes, it would be hard to forget that. I still remember my brain trying to interrupt me with common sense, but all geniuses have burned down stuff..
I’ve certainly had my moments but they have been few and far between.
Sure I had Ryan aim the sprinklers at convertibles while I turned the valve on from the safety of the front porch. Sure the owners screeched to a halt and rang our doorbell. Sure I went up the tree in the backyard and Ryan hid under his bed like the coward he was. Sure mom and dad were having a bible study at the time. Sure we could start pointing fingers but that’s not what we’re going to do right now.
We get along OK now, Ryan and I. I’ve come to grips with him being amazing and so has he.
I’ve been last so often I’m pretty sure I’ll be first in heaven and Ryan will be my personal attendant. I would use the word slave but would not want to be disrespectful up there, and maybe there aren’t younger slave brothers in heaven.
Perhaps I should study up on that but right now I’m busy writing lists of mundane, degrading tasks for Ryan that fall somewhere above the “There shall be no sorrow or crying” but still below the “Everybody likes you more than me” mark.
1. Taking care of my cats.
(I hate cats but so does he…)
2. Dressing my cats in little outfits.
3. Singing to my cats in little outfits.
4. Telling me he’s sorry.