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|God, I hate my brothers.
Iím thirty two years old, and I still live with my parents. Iíve been in the same data-entry job for the past seven years with no real signs of advancement on the horizon, and I have a total of zero potential marriage prospects lining up on my social calendar. And you know what? Iím perfectly fine with that. Iíve never been the overly competitive or ambitious type. My life is quiet and comfortable, and I enjoy it that way.
Then there are my brothers.
Trent, my baby brother, is a world famous athlete. He competes on a professional level in twenty-seven national and international sports, has his own line of protective gear or active wear for fourteen of them, has three exercise programs and a kids show about physical fitness, a chain of health food stores and fitness gyms with his face as the logo, and is the first person to ever win fifteen gold medals at the Olympics.
Maxwell, the second youngest, is the serial killer popularized in the newspapers ďThe Mad HatterĒ, having killed one hundred and eight people using the same hat pin. He was the subject of books, movies, and talk shows for years before he was ever attached to the murders, and when he finally turned himself in and confessed to his ďerrant waysĒ, the media fell in love with him immediately. He is currently dividing his time between book signings for his fifth romance novel, speaking engagements at medical schools on the dangers on undiagnosed mental illness, and working in the recording studios with various pop and country artists on a charity album to benefit the families of his victims, all while serving sixteen consecutive life sentences.
Samuel, the oldest of us, shocked the world when he was elected as the new Pope. Not only is he the youngest Pontiff ever to serve, but he is the first one to originate from a middle-class Protestant family from central Ohio. Heís been praised by Cardinals as single-handedly heralding in a new age of global Catholicism, and is the most popular Pope ever, having modernized and revolutionized the Catholic Churchís standing on Gay Marriage, Birth Control, and NASCAR.
Welcome to my own special hell.
My parents arenít vicious or overbearing; they donít hold my brothersí over my head, and they donít use them as a comparison for how I should live my life. But that doesnít stop them from framing every newspaper headline and magazine cover that features their names or likenesses. Considering how popular they are, each of my brothers has a whole room featuring enough framed covers that you canít tell whether the walls are painted are papered. My parents havenít forgotten about me, though, and they still keep a current picture of me on the fridge, right next to my fifth grade second grade spelling bee award. And God forbid we could get through dinner one night without hearing about Sam brokering peace in the Middle East, or Trent scaling some mountain in China while blindfolded, or Maxís infamous hat pin being entered into the Smithsonian.
I think I could actually handle my parentsí devotion if the rest of the world were as equally enthralled with my successful brothers. Have you ever been to a dinner party or social gathering in which the discussion never drifted to sports, religion, or violence in the news? Me neither, which means you have never been involved in a group conversation that didnít suddenly involve one of my brothers. This is still fine with me, as Iím not particularly jealous of them. But then someone who knows me will feel obligated to inform the room that Iím related to the hockey player that actually played on both teams at the same time/Pope that just agreed to announce the Oscars this year/guy who killed all those people that made Oprah cry yesterday. Suddenly Iím the center of attention, and have to spend the rest of the night fielding questions somebody else. By the end of the night, they all know Trentís shoe size, but they still donít remember my name.
Imagine my typical Thanksgiving dinner. The house is surrounded by enough news vans and helicopters to mobilize a small army. Between Trentís entourage and round the clock trainers, Samís Vatican security staff and special advisors, and Maxís armed prison guard escort, there are about thirty of us crammed around the table as Dad carves the Turkey and Mom leads us in Prayer before digging in. Christmas is even worse. You think you have a hard time picking out gifts for family members? Try going shopping for a super athlete, leader of the religious world, and a homicidal maniac. Even worse, imagine unwrapping gifts with your family and slowly realizing that your gifts are the only ones that donít feature your company logo or trademarked likeness somewhere on them.
All of this is bad enough. But the way things are going, I have a feeling that our sister is going to make matters even worse. That is, if the Primary exit polls are accurate.
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