Working as a computer consultant gives me a chance to interact with all types of businesses. I’m not just referring to the product or service they provide but to the company structure as well. The common denominator is that I usually deal with the owners or company controller- rarely with a lower level management type. Not bragging- it’s just the nature of the work I do. But, that’s not the reason for this story- just a referential lead-in. Continue reading “Three Siblings and a Funeral”
I got my masters in the discipline of causing trouble by spending several years observing two seasoned pros- my parents. Dad would be sitting down at the table as Ma brought him a bowl of soup. He’d take one slurp, pound his fist on the table and shout to no one in particular, â€œhot, hot, bitch, bitch, bitch.â€ And he’d finish it off with, â€œwhy did you have to make it so hot?â€ to Ma who would thrust his parry and reply with, â€œaw, go to hell.â€ And then Dad would counter with, â€œshow me the way.â€
Of course, if any innocent bystanders would smirk, Ma would quickly look at us and say, â€œwhat’s your problem?â€ and we would try to hold off falling on the floor from laughing so hard or it would have turned into the other extreme.
Then there would be the time my kid brother would visit from out of the country, he in his thirties by then and me in my- never you mind. Gary would stay at Ma during his visit so I would come over and we would be having a glorious dinner and the two of us would start in needling each other until it rose to a crescendo. At that point Ma would shout, â€œstop it you two, or I’m going upstairs!â€ After we waited the necessary five minutes to keep our collective mouths shut, we’d start up again and Ma would say, â€œcan’t you two ever get along?â€ Of course, what she didn’t want to acknowledge was that it was our way of getting along- she just found it annoying.
I’ve been told by Ma’s younger brother that when they were kids, she organized a gang of two- them. They would go around beating up other kids who refused to play ball with them. Literally- I mean, she would beat them up if they wouldn’t let her play in the ball game already going on.
In the late 1950’s, when it was just my older sister, a younger one and myself hanging around the house, if one of us got on Ma’s bad side, she would vent her anger. If one of us stood behind her laughing at the sibling taking the brunt of her wrath, she would quickly turn around and say, â€œyou want a piece of this, too?â€ And this from a lady who tells me when I chauffeur her around now that I need to to take anger management.
A couple of years ago, I invited to her house a family who lives near me to expand on her friendships – the father, mother, son and daughter. At the time, the daughter was twelve. We were eating a fancy meal in Ma’s dining room and I was goofing off as usual, so Ma threw me a wicked slider and said for all to clearly hear, â€œstop acting like a baby. Can’t you grow up already?â€ Naturally, since then that twerpy teenage girl throws that line in my face as often as she can. But again, when we used to play one-on-one basketball in her driveway, I never showed mercy and beat her off the dribble too many times. She won’t play ball with me anymore, so who’s the baby now, huh?
There never has been any sibling rivalry among the five in our family. My kid brother came along when I was already fourteen and my older sister fifteen. We treated him like a prized toy. The two sisters in the middle liked the fact that they were no longer being babied by Ma.
The only time I can think of where things got nasty between my older sister and myself was an incident that occurred when I was two years old. I have to take my parents word on this. Supposedly, my three year old sister (who should have know better, right?) objected to my wanting to play with the same heavy metal spinning top that she was using. So, to make her point, she banged me on the head with it causing excessive bleeding and a visit to the hospital emergency room. I can assure you that there is no scar, lump or recurring pain to remind me of it. I do remember that top. It was the type that had a twisted metal stick. When you pushed down on it, it played musical tones and spun.
However, I have had the pleasure of observing sibling rivalry at its worst among clients who had family owned businesses. At least four situations:
Continue reading “Sibling Rivalry”