If you read last week’s story, you probably thought that my uncle had fallen victim to “Big Brother Syndrome”. Indeed, I later learned that a near-miss lynching wasn’t the only story to be told.
My Dad apparently had an attraction to baseball bats as a kid. He often told a story of accidentally hitting a dog upside the head as he was practicing his swinging. He would laugh hysterically as he recalled the dog walking off in what looked like a drunken stupor, occasionally shaking its head as it wandered away. (Dad wasn’t a cruel person by any means; some things just strike you funny, no matter how demented they may be.)
Dad raised the bar, though, when he ended up doing the same thing to my uncle (the cattle rustler from previous adventures). Only this time, he knocked the receiver of his swing unconscious. They were at my great-grandfather’s house at the time and he was a doctor. This, of course, saved a trip to the hospital. They took Uncle Jim inside until he came to and then, amazingly, he went back outside to play with his brothers again.
Now, you can look at my uncle’s actions in two ways: One, that he’s a glutton for punishment; and two, as a victim of Big Brother Syndrome, he chose to defy the odds and walk back out to face that insipid foe. That would have definitely been a slap in the face to that enemy of all younger siblings.
As you probably already know, I am a big brother myself. As such, I have a couple of Big Brother Syndrome stories myself. The first one involved a plaster-of-Paris paintable statue of Spock from the Star Trek series. Both my brother and I received one (for Christmas, I believe). I accidentally broke mine in a relatively short period of time. It didn’t take long for Big Brother Syndrome to kick in at that point. When it did, I took my brother’s statue in hand and insisted that it was mine. When he began to whine and complain about it, I simply told him, “Well if I can’t have it, you can’t either!” I then threw it to the bedroom floor where it shattered into countless pieces. I probably got spanked for that, although I have since forced any recollection of this unreasonable reaction to my behavior from my memory.
The other story has to do with tube socks. Do you know what those are? In case you need a visual, here’s what they look like:
Both my brother and I wore them all the time when we were growing up. They’re athletic socks that are so long that they completely cover the calf and stop just short of the knee. Well, my brother had just gotten some new ones. I did not. (Can you see the Big Brother Syndrome coming?) A week–maybe two–went by and after Mom had done laundry one day, his new socks were out in the open. As I had them in hand (a recurring condition for Big Brother Syndrome), he saw me with them and began complaining again. My logic? “They fit me, so they must be mine.”
My brother still reminds me of this incident to this day. Maybe I should buy him a pair of tube socks as a peace-offering….