I’ve been so busy working first on the Kindle Scout campaign for Little Red Riding Hoodie and then getting it ready for release, I’ve sort of ignored the book I published on January 5th. “Domestic Disturbance: My True-Life Adventure in Sibling Rivalry” is my third mini-memoir and addresses the epic conflict between my brother and I when we were growing up in De Pere, Wisconsin in the 1970’s.
It’s funny now. I’m not sure my parents thought so at the the time.
Anyway, here’s an excerpt. You can get the rest of the book for only 99 cents here.
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It was a warm, summer day in Bowling Green, Ohio, when my life came to an end. That was the day they brought him home. The epic clash that would ultimately consume an entire neighborhood and a large chunk of the student population of Dickinson School in De Pere began in northwestern Ohio, while my father was earning his Ph.D.
The battle didn’t stay there long. My dad’s academic career took us out of the Buckeye State, when I was only two. But the seeds for this story were sown in Bowling Green.
Anyone will tell you first impressions are important. That initial contact shapes a person’s opinion and informs everything they think and do concerning their interactions with you. A bad first impression can be overcome, but it takes a long time, years perhaps. If you don’t get it right at the outset, you’ve got a long climb in front of you to change things.
I understood this perfectly well at the age of eighteen months. My parents were bringing home a new member of the family. This was the first meeting with someone I was going to know for the rest of my life. He would be with me every step of the way until I graduated from high school. It was important we got off on the right foot. So when I first met my Little Brother, I did the most logical thing in the world.
I bit him on the head.
My mother was aghast, but what was she expecting? We’d had a perfectly happy arrangement before she brought this invader into the home without my permission. He had no right to Mom and Dad’s attention, but they cooed over him like he was some sort of gift from Heaven.
What were they thinking?
Besides, new arrivals need training. It’s just like when you bring a puppy home. You have to establish dominance early, so the puppy understands it is not the alpha in the pack; you are.
It’s the same way with Little Brothers. If you don’t demonstrate right away that you were here first and are therefore the best, they’ll walk all over you. You’ll have to share with them and make sure they get as big a piece of cake as you. And parents will act like that’s the way it should be. It’s insane but true.
So it was critical upon meeting my brother, David, that I establish our relationship from the get-go. I was the Big Brother. Certain rights and privileges came with that status. I had the rights and the privileges. He did not.
Incredibly, my mother didn’t see it this way. Given that she had not one but four Little Brothers, I do not understand how she could have objected to my perfectly reasonable behavior. She, of all people, knew how important it was to dominate the younger set.
Instead, she acted as if I were some sort of a monster. She actually punished me for biting my brother! I felt completely betrayed. I was her son! Had she no humanity?
I was undeterred by this shocking turn of events, however. I spent the early part of our lives together biting Dave whenever I felt he needed a reminder of who was in charge, which was often.
My mother grew concerned. She feared her first-born child was becoming a cannibal. Left unattended, I might actually eat my Little Brother. How ridiculous. It hadn’t occurred to me to take more than one bite at a time.
She consulted our pediatrician, and that fiend told her to bite me back the next time I did it. Can you imagine? What sort of a quack tells a mother to bite her darling, first-born son? But he did.
And she followed his advice!
Seriously! One day, I gave Dave the good biting he needed, and my mother ran over, grabbed me, and bit me!
I howled as though she had lit me on fire. Did she not understand how much that hurt?
That changed things. If she was going to bite me every time I bit Dave, I would have to stop biting him! I couldn’t have her doing that to me.
This would be Dave’s first great victory over me, not that he really earned it. All he did was cry. Regardless, I would be imposing a righteous, well earned, Big Brother smackdown on him, and I would be the one who got in trouble.
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