Thursday, April 15, 2010

Winner Wiener Whiner

Being raised as the youngest of four children (until my younger sister, DeSurprise, was born when I was ten), had its own unique blend of advantages and disadvantages:

  • While I certainly got all the stereotypical attention that naturally falls to The Baby of the Family, this resulted in having four older siblings who weren't all that crazy about the transfer of power.
  • It was great having those older siblings on your side when it came to dealing with bullies on the school bus, but that also meant I had omnipresent snitches eager to inform SweaterGal and FlatulenceKing about any less-than-noble activities I may have even just been rumored to have been thinking about observing.
  • Household chores were spread fairly thin amongst the four of us, but they often required cooperation amongst the four of us...ACK!
The prime example of all four Roth Childs needing to cooperate to accomplish a chore was Doing the Dishes.

Notice that I did not say "washing the dishes," or "taking care of the dishes." Noooooo. Doing the Dishes was an operation that required precision, skill, stamina, and a strategic mind to rival that of General Patton. My oldest sister, DeeDee QuickWit, would use one sink full of sudsy water to wash the dishes. My brother, Dave McCool, and other sister, Darlene DontTellMom, would take the dishes from the rack, dry them, and put them away. My job, which you will see was the most pivotal and important: taking the dishes from the sink full of hot rinse water and placing them in the rack.

I know, I know...from the outside looking in, it would seem that my part of the operation was pretty easy and evidence of being treated preferentially because of being the youngest. Looking back at it from a distance of several decades, I can understand that misconception. And apparently, Dave McCool saw it that way at the time, because he once stumbled upon a way to enforce a little Older Brother Superiority:

"Hey, Dewey. I bet I can hold my hand in that hot rinse water longer than you can."

"No way!"

"Sure I can. You go first."

At this point, you all know exactly what's going to happen. I, on the other hand, hadn't a trace of an inkling of a clue.

Speaking of "the other hand," I ended up needing one, because I held my hand in that near-boiling water until the meat was about ready to slip off the bone. At which point, my loving brother quickly dipped his finger in and out of the water and said, "You win."



And now you know why I don't have much of a competitive spirit.

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