Monday, November 17, 2014

Initial Dissapointment

          I don’t want to bore you with the details, but I recently had to change my personal e-mail address. For years, I was lucky to have an address that was simply my first initial and last name. But when I went to create a new account, it was already taken -- by my nephew, as we share the same first initial and last name. (Shouldn't I have dibs on that, by the way? After all, I was here first!) In any case, I had to settle for an address using my first and middle initial. B.S. Yes, that’s right, my name is Bruce Steven. B.S. I guess it could be worse. I could be B.O. But when I was growing up, back when “SHIT” was still a curse word, BS weren’t the initials of choice. Back then, if you said someone was full of BS, well, thems was fightin' words!
     Making matters worse was the briefcase my father got for both me and my brother when I was in 5th grade. It was bad enough it looked like something an accountant would carry to an IRS audit. It even had locks on it! I was in 5th grade, for god sake -- was someone going to steal my book report!? But the worst part were the gold initials that were embossed on it. There they were, for all my classmates to see and make fun of. I still have that briefcase. (Ironically, it is now filled with tax returns from years past. Could my father have been that forward-thinking?)
          All these years later, I no longer feel the stigma of my initials, but when I notified contacts about my new e-mail address, it was like I was in 5th grade all over again. E-mailer after e-mailer couldn't resist the opportunity to poke some fun. “BS. How appropriate!” said one. “Does BS stand for BS?” asked another. “Nice initials. Confirms what I always knew about you,” still another shared. All this renewed fuss over my initials made me realize something that never dawned on me before: they were really yet another Middle Child slight! Think about it. I got to be BS, but what are my older brother’s initials? M.D!! You heard me -- M.D!! Really, Mom and Dad!? Really?? I suppose you could try and put a positive spin on it. You could argue I was given a premature college degree. But I’d still rather be a doctor.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Top 10 Middle Child Costumes for Halloween

     For many Middle Children, Halloween is an opportunity to not be a Middle Child -- at least for a day. But I say it's the perfect time to embrace your Middle Child-ness. Or at least a chance to be a different Middle Child -- maybe even a famous Middle Child! Here are  some suggestions:

10. The Multimillionaire Middle Child: All it takes is a snazzy suit and a horrible hairdo, and Voila! -- you’re Donald Trump. Or if you prefer a more understated look, this Tech Digest article outlines all the geek garb you’ll need to be Bill Gates.

9. A Very Brady Halloween: This year, make it all about Jan, Jan, Jan! Choose the traditional TV series look, or the wigged out movie look. Either way, it's a fitting Halloween homage.

8. Famous FOX Mid Kids: They may never get their own spin-offs, so why not let Mid Kids Chris Griffin or Lisa Simpson be the center of attention, just for the night.

7. The Middle Mermaid: Everyone knows all about Ariel, but why not change things up this year and go as her lesser known sister, Ethel? Yes, Ethel Mermaid.

6. The Irrelephant: If you’re really looking for some attention this Halloween, (and honestly, what Middle Child isn’t?), here's the perfect costume: a pachyderm with Middle Child Syndrome!

5. The Invisible Man: You’ve been playing the part for years, so you might as well dress the part this Halloween. Wrap some gauze around your head, slap on some sunglasses, throw on a bathrobe, and you’re good to go! It'll be like you're not even there. What else is new?

4. The World’s Easiest Middle Child Halloween Costume: All you need is a banana. When people ask you what you’re supposed to be, just tell them, “I’m the Monkey in the Middle!” Because you really are.

3. Simon Says, "Trick or Treat!": Speaking of second bananas... Even though he's only 5 minutes younger (season 6, Episode 60), he spent his life living in the shadows of his trouble-making brother “ALVIN!!!” Halloween is your chance to let Middle Chipmunk Simon Seville step into the limelight.

2. Halloween’s Most Famous Middle Child: The real star of the Charlie Brown Halloween special isn’t pumpkin-headed Charlie, but his blanket toting buddy Linus Van Pelt -- younger brother of Lucy, and older brother of Rerun. He's been waiting for the Great Pumpkin since 1966!! If he's not worthy of a Middle Child Halloween costume tribute, I don’t know who is.

And the #1 Middle Child Halloween costume suggestion is...


Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Confessions of a Middle Child: Knot the Favorite

     I tie my shoes like a six year old. There, I said it. This isn't something I’m proud of. It’s actually a little embarrassing. Even though I’m a grown man, I still tie my shoes using “Bunny Ears.” I have tried over the years to make the move to a more mature method, but haven’t been able to successfully switch. It’s no great mystery why I tie my shoes the way I do. Most people probably don’t remember the day they learned to tie their shoes, but I remember it like it was yesterday (SFX: TRIPPY FLASHBACK MUSIC)...
     It was a hot summer day when I was around five years old, and I came home from day camp that afternoon in tears. “The counselors said I have to learn how to tie my shoes by tomorrow!” My mother did not panic -- she knew exactly what to do. Time was of the essence. She had to move fast. She sat me down on our porch stoop and I was given a crash course in shoe tying. It was there, sitting on the warm brick steps, where I first learned how to make one loop, then another, and tie the two loops in a knot. And that’s the way it’s been ever since.
     “So, why in the world should I care about how he ties his shoes?” you’re probably thinking. You might even be wondering, “What the hell does any of this have to do with being a Middle Child?” Stay with me for a minute.
SMILE! You're NOT on Candid Camera!!
     I have always said that being a Middle Child is the gift that keeps on giving -- if you’re like me,the effects can last a lifetime. In fact, there are things about being a Middle Child that you don’t even realize had anything to do with being a Middle Child until long after you’re a child. It’s like peeling the layers of an onion, tears and all. For instance, most Middle Children will tell you all about how there are significantly fewer or almost NO pictures of them in the family photo album. But that's not something you’re aware of when you’re seven or eight. It's usually something you discover when you’re a full grown adult desperately seeking photographic evidence of some childhood memory, only to find you've been virtually erased from the family filmography in favor of your older and younger siblings. Little by little, year after year, you keep finding more and more pieces to complete your Middle Child puzzle.
     In a previous post, I wrote about how much I love getting mail, (See “Stamp Out Middle Child Neglect”), but it was only a few years ago that I realized receiving mail was just one of the many ways I sought to seek attention. Albeit, from total strangers, but attention nonetheless. Writing weekly letters to politicians, athletes, astronauts and sending multiple messages to “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schulz was my way of assuring I’d receive a steady stream of postal platitudes in return.
     It turns out that being a Middle Child is the answer to so many questions. Why did I hate my mother’s strawberry rhubarb dessert? Because my brother and sister loved my mother’s strawberry rhubarb dessert. Why was I a child magician? So I could be something my brother and sister weren't, and maybe because I thought I could make them disappear. And why did I take so many pictures of all my children when they were growing up? I think the answer to that one is pretty obvious. It’s never ending. Being a Middle Child has everything to do with -- everything! And just when you think you've solved your countless Middle Child mysteries, you find out all the loose ends aren't really tied up after all. Even the shoe laces. It’s all so clear to me now...
     You see, my older brother and younger sister tie their shoes like most normal grown-ups. They both use the classic Bowknot (a.k.a. “Around the Tree”) method. Apparently, my parents had all the time in the world to teach their first born son how to properly tie his shoes. No bargain basement “Bunny Ears” for him. Only the best would do! They didn't wait until it was absolutely necessary to teach him this basic life skill. And when it was time to teach my sister how to tie her shoes, they certainly weren't going to let their precious princess be sent home with a traumatizing ultimatum. No siree! They made sure she would never suffer the same indignity as her lace-challenged brother. As for me, well -- I got the forget me knot. They just never got around to teaching the Middle Child, and to this day I am paying the price. Which probably explains why I
live in Florida now. I get to wear sandals a lot.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It's Time to Play NFL Family Feud!

     The NFL is one big happy family, right? And just like any family, the league certainly has its... issues. Bad behavior, dysfunction and rivalries abound. But California, Florida, and New York have their very own special NFL families. They are the only states that are home to three NFL teams each. As we all know, in a family of three, only one gets to be the Middle Child. So, who are the lucky winners? You decide...

MY ANALYSIS: The Chargers finished 3rd in their division last year and made the playoffs. They finished 2nd the previous three years, and didn't make the playoffs. Sounds like Middle Child treatment to me. They finished 1st and made the playoffs five of the six seasons before that. The Raiders have built their reputation on being the "Bad Boys" of the league, but lately the only thing bad about them has been their on field performance. They haven't had a winning record in 11 seasons! The 49ers this, the 49ers that. Everyone just loves the 49ers! After eight years of mediocrity, along comes Jim Harbaugh (a Middle Child), and now all they do is win. MY PICK: The 49ers are good, the Raiders are bad, and the Chargers are right in the middle!


MY ANALYSIS: You could say it's been a roller coaster ride for the Bucaneers since joining the league in 1976, but it would be one of those really sucky roller coasters. They did win the Super Bowl in 2002, yet are also the not-so-proud owners of the 2nd worst all-time winning percentage, including an 0-14 record and 26 game losing streak -- the longest ever. By comparison, the Jaguars make the Bucs look like old timers. They really are babies, only playing with the other kids since 1995. No Super Bowls, but they already have 7 winning seasons, which way outpaces the elder Bucs. The Dolphins have quite an NFL resume: the "Perfect Season," multiple Super Bowl appearances, back to back Super Bowl victories, Dan Marino. Did I mention the "Perfect Season?" And even though that was all so long ago, they still have the 3rd best all-time winning percentage (.579) of any team. That's how good they used to be. MY PICK: None of these teams are very good right now, but at least people talk about the Bucs and the Phins -- even if it's for all the wrong reasons lately. The Jags really are a footnote -- Florida's Forgotten Football child. (FULL DISCLOSURE: I AM A LIFELONG DOLPHINS FAN.)


MY ANALYSIS: Even though the Bills have an all-time losing record, there was a time when they really mattered. Back in the day, they went to the Super Bowl four years in a row! Sure, they lost all four, but still. And even though it's been nine years since they've had a winning season, there seems to be a lot of upside. The downside? They are in Buffalo. The Giants and the Jets not only play in the same state, they have the odd distinction of playing in the same stadium. Yes, they have to share a room!! These two teams couldn't be more different. On the one hand, there's the brash-talking, trash-talking Jets and their loudmouth coach Rex Ryan. On the other, the nose-to-the-grindstone, down-to-business Giants and their mild-mannered coach what's-his-name. The Giants are an NFL Grand daddy. The Jets, an AFL upstart. The Giants have amassed nine league championships and Super Bowl victories, and played in 11 more. And even though the Jets have just one Super Bowl win in 1968 and haven't been back since, you'd never know it from the way they behave. MY PICK: This is a no-brainer. The Jets are clearly the attention seeking Middle Child of this group. (DID I MENTION THAT I'M A LIFELONG DOLPHINS FAN?)

     So, what do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Onward and... upward?

A Mid Kid's work is never done!
     It's been a little more than two weeks since Middle Child's Day, and here at the International Middle Child Union, we're already hard at work planning for the future. Speaking with people all across the country these past few weeks about Middle Child's Day, two things became very clear: 1) Most people still don't know when it is, and 2) August 12 is a totally random and obviously forgettable date. Let's be honest -- it's at the ass-end of summer, languishing in the no-man's land between Fourth of July and Labor Day. It's just begging to be overlooked. So I've decided to hijack Middle Child's Day and move it to a date that makes much more sense: July 2 -- the smack dab middle of the year, and right on the heels of Independence Day when everyone's already in a festive, celebratory mood anyway.
182 days on
either side.
     That's why today I am announcing the formation of the "Occupy Mid Kids Day" movement. Working together with the Middle Child Party, (which I also founded, so "working together" actually means I've joined forces with... myself), our goal is to rally support for this change. The move shouldn't meet a lot of resistance, since apparently nobody knows when Middle Child's Day is anyway!
While you're on Twitter, you might as well follow
@MidKidMusings, the official feed of the I.M.C.U. and
MCP, to receive updates on how things are progressing.
     Phase 1 of the movement is well underway. CLICK HERE to sign an on-line petition, or show your support simply by following @MoveMidKidsDay. I've also already contacted every U.S. Senator, Governor, and selected members of the House of Representatives, to enlist their support. Since it's not a federal holiday, it won't take an act of Congress to change the date. That's probably a good thing. But with all the partisan bickering that goes on, I suggested it might be a good idea to rally behind an issue that everyone can agree on for a change -- mostly because nobody really cares all that much.  I also pointed out this wouldn't be the first time a Middle Child holiday has been relocated. Even though Mid Kid Abe Lincoln was born on February 12, we now celebrate his birthday on the third Monday in February. So there's a precedent for this kind of move, or in this case maybe a President. (We also make him share his birthday, but that's another issue!)
     Preliminary feedback has been encouraging. Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) said he would "keep (my) ideas and views in mind." Sen. Al Franken (MN) took the time to scan his actual signature. And when Sen. Mark Begich (AK) says, "Your message has been received," maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but it sure sounds like he's on board to me! (BTW, we're even friends now!!)

Sen. Marco Rubio, FL
Sen. Al Franken, MN
Sen. Mark Begich, AK
     In Phase 2, I'll be reaching out to celebrity Middle Children and other high profile Mid Kids for their support, and of course I'll need yours, too. I don't mean to say you're not high profile! It's just that... I just meant... let me try this again. I'm asking you and anyone sympathetic to the cause to please help spread the word. Share this post on Facebook and Twitter, CLICK HERE to sign the petition, and encourage others to do the same. Just think, maybe one day you'll be able to tell your grand children that YOU played a role in getting Middle Child's Day the attention it deserves. To which they'll probably say, "That's awesome, Grandpa. When's Middle Child's Day?" Oh well, you can't blame a Middle Child for trying.


If you'd like to hear me say the same thing over and over (while trying to make it sound different), a selection of Middle Child's Day interviews will soon be posted on the Smack Dab Channel in the "Smack Dab LIVE!"section.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Middle Child's Day Update #8: Going to Bat for the Mid Kid!

These teams have made the Middle Child's Day
"A Team" by hosting "Mid Kid Appreciation Nights"
on August 12th and throughout the season.
These teams received Honorable Mention for
acknowledging Middle Child's Day
at their August 12th home games.

Thanks to all the teams for making the Middle Child the center of attention -- at least for one night!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Middle Child's Day Update #7: NEW Middle Child's Day Greeting Cards are here!

     It's a Smack Dab Blog exclusive! Middle Child's Day greeting cards from MidMark -- when you care enough to not care too much. You won't find them in any store. Trust me, I looked. Show the Middle Children in your life how you really feel about them. Like they don't already know. Simply share this post with them -- could it be any easier give a Middle Child the attention they so desperately seek? No, it could not. And it still won't be enough -- but do it any way, otherwise you'll never hear the end of it. Here's a link to last year's cards if you want to really ratchet up the attention.
Don't forget to check out the Smack Dab Shop for great MidKid gift ideas.

Check upcoming Middle Child's Day updates for:
        * Middle Child's Day Honor Roll: complete list of MiLB and independent league teams
         honoring Middle Child's Day.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Middle Child's Day Update #6: MidKid Icon Gallery

     In honor of Middle Child's Day, change your Twitter, Facebook or any social media profile pic to one of these 50 make-believe and real-life Mid Kids or logos:
Darlene Conner
Donald Trump
Corey Matthews
Malcolm WIlkerson
Danny Partridge
Sue Heck
Stephanie Tanner
Alex Dunphy
Amy Adams
Anne Hathaway
Corey Matthews
Bill Gates
Britney Spears
Bruce Lee

Monday, August 4, 2014

Middle Child's Day Update #5: BRAD PITT Stars in the World Premiere of the Mid Kid Anthem!

     Okay, okay -- so BRAD PITT is not a Middle Child. And BRAD PITT doesn't exactly star in this video either. It's more like four measly seconds of BRAD PITT. But I figure the more I mention BRAD PITT (5X so far), the better the chances are of anyone actually paying attention to the video. I mean, it is a Middle Child video, after all -- a little help from BRAD PITT couldn't hurt.(6X, but who's counting.)
     The "Mid Kid Anthem," sung to to the tune of the 80's hit by Simple Minds featured in the John Hughes' classic coming of age film "The Breakfast Club," features more famous Middle Children then you can shake the short end of the stick at -- 101 to be exact. (See if you can name them all. The complete list is here.) Showcasing famous Mid Kids helps shift the negative stereotype of Middle Children away from being whiney 2nd class citizens, and shows we can achieve great fortune and fame, and still be whiney!
     So without further ado, and just in time for Middle Child's Day, it is with great pleasure I present to you  "The Middle Child Anthem," with a special appearance by none other than BRAD PITT (sorry, I couldn't help it). Please rise...

Check upcoming Middle Child's Day updates for:
       * Famous Mid Kid Icon Gallery: download and update your profile pages for Middle Child's Day.
       * NEW Middle Child's Day greeting cards (Click here for last year's.)
       * Middle Child's Day Honor Roll: complete list of MiLB and independent league teams
         honoring Middle Child's Day.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Middle Child's Day Update #4: Show Some #MidKidPride

Don't forget to wave your virtual Mid Kid flag on Middle Child's Day!
Use #MidKidPride on your social media all day long. Why not start now?
     Middle Child’s Day is the one day a year we get to bask in all our Mid Kid glory. I can hardly wait for all the festivities and flag waving. Of course, there will be no parades or parties. And we certainly don’t have a flag -- so I created one!
     Like all flags, it has symbolic meaning: the large green and blue blocks on either side represent the older and younger siblings, and all the attention they get. That little thin white stripe of nothingness in between them? That’s what we get. A whole lot of nothing. As you'd expect, just like any self-respecting flag, ours also has a motto -- in Latin, no less: 

“Attentionem Ante Omnia” -- “Attention Above All.”
     But what good is a flag without a pledge? Now we needed one of them, too. So how do you cook up the perfect pledge? Just follow this easy recipe. Take one part Pledge of Allegiance, mix in a helping of Boy Scout Oath, a pinch of Postal Service Motto, just a splash of Naturalization Oath and “Voila!” There you have it -- the "Middle Child Pledge of Allegiance."  Please repeat after me:

I pledge allegiance, to the flag, of the International Middle Child Union,
and on my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty,
and support and defend the by laws of the Union against all siblings, older and younger,
Whether snow or rain or heat or gloom of night,
With impartiality and attention for all.

Check upcoming Middle Child's Day updates for:
       * The WORLD PREMIERE of the "Mid Kid Anthem" and music video.
       * Famous Mid Kid Icon Gallery: download and update your profile pages for Middle Child's Day.
       * NEW Middle Child's Day greeting cards (Click here for last year's.)
       * Middle Child's Day Honor Roll: complete list of MiLB and independent league teams
         honoring Middle Child's Day.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Middle Child's Day Update #3: Be a Card Carrying Mid Kid on Aug. 12!

     In case your behavior isn't already a dead give-away, here's all you need to prove you're a Middle Child! FREE membership in the International Middle Child Union verifies your Mid Kid status, and says to the world, "Hey, look at me!! I'm a Middle Child!! I said HEY, LOOK AT ME, I'M A MIDDLE CHILD!!!!"
     You can become a member or show your support for the I.M.C.U. by subscribing to the Smack Dab blog, following @MidKidMusings on Twitter, or by "liking" the Facebook SmackDabPage. If you're a Middle Child, you've already paid your dues!!

Right click and "Save Image" to download and print out your
very own I.M.C.U. membership card.

Check upcoming Middle Child's Day updates for:
       * The unfurling of the NEW Middle Child flag and Pledge of Allegiance.
       * The WORLD PREMIERE of the "Mid Kid Anthem" and music video.
       * Famous Mid Kid Icon Gallery: download and update your profile pages for Middle Child's Day!
       * NEW Middle Child's Day greeting cards (Click here for last year's.)
       * Middle Child's Day Honor Roll: complete list of MiLB and independent league teams
         honoring Middle Child's Day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Middle Child's Day Update #2: Mid Kid Gift Guide

          There are less than 20 shopping days 'til Middle Child's Day, and you still haven't found the perfect gift for the Mid Kid in your life? Typical Middle Child treatment! But no worries -- the  gift experts at the Smack Dab Blog (a.k.a. me) know just what to get that special someone who says they never get anything as good as their brother and sister:
     There's nothing like curling up with a good book on Middle Child's Day. All by yourself. Waiting for no one to call. Nothing like it. There are plenty of classic Mid Kid titles to choose from, including "The Invisible Man" by H.G. Wells and S.E. Hinton's "The Outsiders."
      Middle Children LOVE games! No one ever asks us to play, but Middle Child's Day would be the perfect time to let a Mid Kid win a game or two. That's probably not a bad idea any day. What could be a better gift than making a Middle Child feel like a real winner -- at least for a day.
     The "Official" Flower of Middle Child's Day. Could anything say "I remembered not to forget you today" better than a bouquet of Forget-Me-Nots? Oh, I don't know, maybe a nice watch? A new iPad? But I guess we'll take whatever attention we can get.
     Make Hand-Me-Downs feel like Brand New. Hand -me-downs would be great, if only they were never worn before. Now, the Middle Child (and anyone who's not a first born) can have the best of both worlds: "Never-Worn-Before Hand-Me-Downs" are now available at the SmackDabShop, where you'll also find a collection of Middle Child merchandise -- something for every Middle Child on your list!
 (All royalties donated to UNICEF, to benefit ALL children.)

Check upcoming Middle Child's Day updates for:
       * The WORLD PREMIERE of the "Mid Kid Anthem" and music video.
       * Famous Mid Kid Icon Gallery: download and update your profile pages for Middle Child's Day.
       * NEW Middle Child's Day greeting cards (Click here for last year's.)