Sunday, January 7, 2018

ON THIS DAY IN 1789...


     The first Presidential election in America was held on January 7, 1789. As expected, George Washington won. Which means our first President was a Middle Child.
     Depending on how you look at it.
     You see, the father of the “Father of our Country,” Augustine Washington, was a busy man. He had 10 children with two wives. George was the first born of 6 from the second Mrs. Washington. But George had 4 older siblings from his father’s first marriage. So while many firstborns like to claim him as one of their own, in reality our first President was a Middle Child.
     I cannot tell a lie.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Closing the Door on 2017.

     I hear a lot of people saying things like, “2017 had it’s ups and downs.” But for me, 2017 ended neither up or down, but stuck. Literally. In an elevator.
     For 30 minutes.
     I had just taken the elevator down to the garage when I realized I had forgotten my car keys. Again. Sensing my wife’s annoyance, I assured her it was no big deal. “I’ll be back down in 2 minutes.” But Otis, the god of elevators, had other plans for me.
     I did not panic. Partly because I knew it would not help me get out of the elevator any quicker, but mostly because there was a camera in the elevator observing my every move. I was pretty sure whoever was watching was laughing at me anyway, and I didn’t want to give them any more fodder. I also didn’t need any video floating around out there of me freaking out or picking my nose, so I played it real cool. I was able to frequently check my look in the mirror, and I’m pretty sure I pulled it off.  I was also pleased it was a pretty good hair day. And thankfully, I was alone.  It would’ve been an even more annoying experience if I had to deal with someone else's anxiety, or make small talk with some stranger for half an hour.
     I tried to make good use of my involuntary alone time, and pondered one burning question. Which is less worse: ending the year getting stuck in an elevator, or starting the year getting stuck in an elevator? While both suck, I’m leaning towards getting stuck in an elevator at the beginning of the year. That way it’s over with. Onward and upward, or downward. Getting stuck in an elevator on the last day of the year doesn’t leave you much time for something really good to happen before the year is over.  It just leaves you feeling like, “Well, that was a shitty way to end the year.” If it happens on January 1, you have a whole year to undo it.
     After 30 minutes deep in thought, the Ft. Lauderdale Fire Dept. came to my rescue and pried the doors open, so I didn’t have time to fully explore which is worse. But one thing’s for sure. Next New Year’s Eve, I’m taking the stairs.

New Year, Same Syndrome.

Friday, December 22, 2017

The Ultimate Middle Child Gift

     With all the gift giving that goes on during the holiday season, it got me thinking about a very special gift I was given when I was just two years old. To this day, I still take it with me wherever I go. It’s not something you can buy in any store, and you definitely can’t wrap it up to put under the tree. But it truly is the gift that keeps on giving.
     It’s the gift of Middle Child Syndrome.
     I know in the past I’ve written much about the curse of Middle Child Syndrome. And believe me, at times, it really is. Feeling left out, left alone and left behind -- not so much fun. But in the spirit of the holidays, I’m trying to be positive and looking for the silver lining. And in all honesty, Middle Child Syndrome can sometimes be a useful tool. Like a “Get out of Jail Free” card for bad behavior.
     Why did you kick your brother in the balls? Middle Child Syndrome made you do it!
     Your wife thinks you’re being more annoying and obnoxious than usual? Your Middle Child Syndrome is acting up!
     Yelling at a co-worker because he moved your yogurt to the back of the fridge? Clearly a case of severe Middle Child Syndrome!
     So playing the Middle Child card can be a handy crutch. Just like the tee-shirt says, it can be an excuse for almost anything.
     Oh, and there’s another benefit to having Middle Child Syndrome. It’s something my brother and sister don't have, so it’s ALL MINE! I don’t ever have to share it with anyone. Yay!!
     But remember, unlike the ugly sweater somebody gave you last year, Middle Child Syndrome is a gift you can’t ever return. 

Celebrate the season with the Mid Kid Christmas Classic:
"The Middle Child's Night before Christmas." 

Friday, December 8, 2017

"I DO" Love Attention.

          My daughter got married a few weekends ago. She was a beautiful bride, and had an amazing time at her wedding. Like a really amazing time. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her as happy as she was that night. And why wouldn’t she be? She was having the wedding she always dreamed of, marrying the love of her life. No further explanation needed, right? But I knew the real reason for her unbridled, bridal joy.
          Like me, my daughter is also a Middle Child. And what makes a Middle Child happier than being the center of attention? That’s right, nothing. Well, on your wedding day, you get to bask in the limelight all day and night -- especially if you’re the bride. I mean, the groom is important, but it’s the bride everyone waits to see walking down the aisle. They even stand up when she enters the room. WHAT?
          A wedding is even better than your birthday for guaranteed attention-getting. People forget birthdays, but nobody’s going to forget your wedding. (Anniversaries may be a different story.) What an amazing feeling, walking down the aisle with my daughter, all eyes focused on me. I mean her. All eyes focused on her. It was a Middle Child’s dream come true. For both of us, clearly.
          Of course, my new son-in-law can think he was the reason for my daughter’s euphoria.
          What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The 2017 Middle Child's Day Greeting Cards are Here!!

          What better way to show your favorite Middle Child that you completely forgot it was Middle Child's Day, until you found out about it on a blog. On Middle Child's Day.

CLICK HERE to see more cards. 
CLICK HERE for great ways to celebrate Middle Child's Day.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Towns Across the Country to Officially Acknowledge Middle Child’s Day!

          Oh, sure -- they all laughed when I announced my effort to raise awareness of Middle Child's Day one "Middle" town at a time. But who’s laughing now? What started with just a handful of towns, has mushroomed into TWO handfuls -- plus a few fingers! 13 towns across 11 states are officially acknowledging Middle Child’s Day on August 12th. 13!! When you consider there were only 13 original colonies, I think that’s a pretty good start.

          Of course, a few towns are issuing their proclamations after Middle Child’s Day. Typical Middle Child treatment. But it’s a step in the right direction. Based solely on their willingness to officially acknowledge Middle Child's Day, I'm pleased to announce the following towns have made it onto the International Middle Child Union's list of "America’s Most Middle Child-friendly Towns." A select group, indeed. And they are, in no particular order:

Middlebury, VT; Middlebury, CT; Middletown, KY; Middletown, OH; Middletown, VA; Middletown, RI;  Middlebush, NJ (Franklin Township); Middleville, NJ (Stillwater Township); Middlesex County, NJ -- the whole county, so that’s a lot of towns -- Middleton, MA; Middleton, TN; Middleton, WI; and Middleburgh, NY

          Not much support from Middle America, but I’ll work on it.
          On behalf of the International Middle Child Union, thanks to all the participating towns for officially acknowledging our own special day. Well, not really our own day. August 12th is also National Garage Sale Day, National Julienne Fries Day, Celebrate Your Lakes Day, Baseball Fans Day, IBM PC Day, International Youth Day, Truck Driver Day, Vinyl Record Day, National Sewing Machine Day, and World Elephant Day. It figures we’d even have to compete for attention on our own day. Looks like my work is cut out for me.

CLICK HERE to listen to the latest episode of my podcast, “Pay No Attention to this Podcast.” Hear an EXCLUSIVE interview with the Mayor of Middleburgh, NY, a dramatic reading of a Middle Child’s Day proclamation by the Town Manager of Middlebury, VT, plus the world’s best coverage of Middle Child’s Day celebrations. Okay, the only coverage.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Calling All "Middle" Towns!

     As founder of the International Middle Child, I’ve made it my mission to raise awareness of Middle Child’s Day. Middle Child’s Day? There’s a Middle Child’s Day? Yes, there is. And it’s August 12th. Apparently, I need to do more. That’s why for 2017, I’m launching the Middle Child’s Day “Middle” Town Outreach program. I’ve compiled a list of every town I could find with Middle in its name, and  I’m reaching out to them for help. As our new Middle Child-in-Chief would say, the goal is to make Middle Child’s Day great again.
     I’m asking “Middle” towns to issue a proclamation or formal announcement on August 12th in support of Middle Child’s Day. I’ve been in touch with “Middle” towns all across America, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and I’m generally encouraged by the reaction I’m receiving. It’s only June, and already a handful of towns have indicated they’re on board. I mean, giving a Middle Child some attention clearly isn’t as important to them as garbage collection, but what else is new?
     As August 12th approaches, I expect even more to participate. Honestly, if a “Middle” town can’t throw a little attention a Middle Child’s way, then we have no hope.

You can hear excerpts from some of the calls I’ve made to “Middle” towns, and more, 
on the latest episode of “Pay No Attention to this Podcast.”
"Pay No Attention to this Podcast" can also be heard on SoundCloud, Stitcher, and  TuneIn.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Middle Children Need to be Heard!!

     What do you get when you give a Middle Child a microphone and a SoundCloud account? The Official Podcast of the International Middle Child Union. Introducing Pay No Attention to this Podcast, the world's leading Middle Child podcast -- because it's the world's ONLY Middle Child podcast. Sigh.
     You’ve read what it feels like being a Middle Child at the Smack Dab Facebook page, on Twitter @MidKidMusings, and at the Smack Dab Blog. Now you can HEAR what it’s like to feel left out, left alone and left behind -- in stunning HD digital sound! Two episodes are just sitting there waiting for someone to make them feel wanted. Episode 1 provides a basic introduction -- MidKid 101. Episode 2 explores the poem that made me forever aware I was a Middle Child. I also have a chat with Dr. Catherine Salmon, co-author of The Secret Power of Middle Children, and play a round of nobody's favorite game show, Guess the Middle Child.
     The I.M.C.U. is fighting to end Middle Child Syndrome, one Middle Child at a time. And you can help. Please follow, like or subscribe to the podcast. It'll cost you nothing. But to a Middle Child, it means everything. Trust me.
I said, Middle Children
need to be heard!!

Listen to Pay No Attention to this Podcast:

Listen on iTunes

Listen on SoundCloud

Also available on Stitcher and TuneIn

Monday, May 1, 2017

ON THIS DAY IN 1931...

     When President Herbert Hoover dedicated New York City’s Empire State Building on May 1, 1931, it marked the official end of a dream for Middle Child Walter Chrysler. He had already begun construction of his iconic Chrysler Building when John J. Raskob of General Motors led a well-heeled group in what would become a competition to see who could build a taller building. Chrysler lost the "mine is bigger than yours" construction contest.  His 1,046 foot erection was a teeny weenie compared to the completed Empire State Building, which soared 1,454 feet to the top of its lightning rod, making it the world’s tallest building until 1972.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

ON THIS DAY IN 1876...

Middle Child Alexander Graham Bell receives U.S patent No. 174,465
giving other Mid Kids a whole new way to be ignored and forgotten.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

ON THIS DAY IN 1953...

Scientists discover the double helix structure of DNA.
No explanation for Middle Child Syndrome is found.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

An Open Letter to President Trump

From the desk (a.k.a. kitchen counter) of the Union Founder

        Dear President Trump,
               I am writing to you not as a Republican or Democrat, or as a supporter or detractor. Not from the left or the right, but from the middle.

               I am writing to you as a fellow Middle Child.

               As the founder of the International Middle Child Union, I have made it my mission to advocate for Middle Child rights, help find a cure for the dreaded Middle Child Syndrome, and reverse negative Middle Child stereotypes. But I have to be honest with you, Mr. President -- you’re not making my job any easier. I mean, I get it with the whole seeking attention thing -- believe me. I started a Middle Child union, for god sakes! Any Middle Child worth their salt understands the constant need to be in the limelight. But you’re getting attention 24/7 now. When I was elected Vice President of my middle school Student Council, that satisfied my need for attention until, like, high school. You’re the leader of the free friggin’ world!! People stand when you come into a room. They salute you. You even get your own song. That should be enough attention to last a lifetime. Your non-stop attention grabbing is making it even harder for the rest of us to get any, so maybe you can dial it back a notch?

               Also, you’re certainly not the first Middle Child who’s felt the need to strike back as hard as you can at anyone who you perceive is trying to disrespect or embarrass you. One time when my older brother humiliated me in front of a group of his friends, I kicked him as hard as I could in his nuts. Sure, that shut him up for a while, but it’s nothing I’m proud of, and it certainly wasn’t a sustainable solution. Neither are your Twitter tantrums and name calling and lashing out at people who disagree with you. You’re on the world stage, not on my driveway playing basketball with my brothers friends. I respectively suggest you take a more dignified, diplomatic approach. Ball bashing is not the answer. I’m sure my brother agrees with me.

               Finally, please stop worrying so much about TV ratings or how many people voted for you or how big the crowd was at your inauguration. When I was in seventh grade, a classmate had his Bar Mitzvah on the same day as mine. Do you think I cared if more people went to his party than mine? You bet your ass I did!! But I was 13 years old. You’re 70! When people see how much that kind of stuff still bothers you, it just reinforces the image of the insecure, overly sensitive Middle Child. You have to set an example, and show them we’re better than that, even if we’re really not.

               I know you’re not a big fan of constructive criticism, but I hope you will take these comments to heart. Future generations of Middle Children are counting on it.
                                                             Bruce Hopman
                                                             Founder, International Middle Child Union

P.S. I see you’re busy signing a lot of executive orders lately. How about one acknowledging Middle Child’s Day? (It’s August 12, FYI.) Think about it. Thanks.

Reports of huge turnout for my classmate's Bar Mitzvah party were overrated. Fake news. Sad.
From my vantage point, there were at least 8,000 people at my party.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Keeping Tabs on our new Middle Child-in-Chief.

     The 45th President of the United States has been sworn in, and a little less than one-quarter of Americans couldn't be happier. A little more than one-quarter, not so much. As for the other half who didn’t even bother to vote... who knows what they’re feeling. But the people have sort of spoken, and Donald Trump is our Middle Child-in-Chief.
     It’s been more than two decades since a Middle Child was President, when the first George Bush was in the Oval Office until 1993. In fact, Mr. Trump will be the 23rd Mid Kid elected, or 24th if you count George Washington. (George was the first born of his father's second marriage, but had two older half brothers.) That means between 52% -54% of American Presidents were Middle Children. But it’s safe to say we’ve never had one like this before.
     Throughout the primary and general election campaigns, candidate Trump’s Middle Child antics were off the charts, featuring repeated name calling, insults, mocking, claims of bias, charges of favoritism, and assorted overall whining. During the transition and first days of his administration, these classic Middle Child moves show no signs of letting up. It’s the kind of behavior that could not only be considered Middle Child-ish, but just downright childish. And to make matters worse, Mr. Trump’s closest adviser also has glaring Middle Child issues. That’s right, new chief White House strategist and senior counselor Stephen Bannon is a Mid Kid, too. Big surprise. A double dose of Middle Child Syndrome in the White House. Just what we needed. Lucky us. (Lucky U.S.?)
     But have no fear, America -- the International Middle Child Union is on the case. Today, we introduce the International Middle Child Union Presidential Middle Child Behavior Monitoring
System, or I.M.C.U.P.M.C.B.M.S. for short. Let’s be clear -- this isn’t about policy or partisanship.
After all, I’m not a political pundit. I’m a Middle Child advocate! My focus will be to analyze Presidential tweets and tantrums from a purely Middle Child perspective, then rate their Middle Childish-ness using my patented Middle Finger scale: one Middle Finger for borderline Middle Child behavior, three for serious signs of Middle Child Syndrome, all the way to five Middle Fingers for severe Middle Child meltdowns.
     From the looks of things, we’re gonna have our fingers full!

Name-calling: a standard Middle Child defense mechanism.
Middle Children don't respond particularly well to being mocked.
Middle Child 101: when in doubt, play the "no fair!" card.
"Oh, sure, you want me to take back the drone you don't want!"
Feeling wronged and cheated is a Middle Child's birthright.
Middle Children aren't used to winning, so it can be hard
to handle, as this trio of Tweets demonstrates.

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Middle Candle: a Chanukah Story

Let's hear it for the most important candle on the menorah.
     It's not too often “the middle one” gets to go first. But during Chanukah that all changes. Every night, for eight nights, it's the middle candle that gets lit first. Without it, no other candles get lit. That's a big deal. I mean, if it weren’t for the middle candle, all those other candles would just be sitting there. What kind of Chanukah would that be?
     The middle candle is also the only candle that has an actual name. It’s called the shammash. All the other candles? Nobody even knows what they’re called. They have names like 3 and 5. And while that’s an all too familiar feeling for many Middle Children, it’s nice to see the shoe on the other foot for a change. Even if it’s only a candle. And yes, I realize candles don’t have feet, and therefore no shoes, so maybe that wasn’t the best metaphor. But you get the point.
     Shammash is Hebrew for servant, so the middle candle is thought of as a mere “helper” candle by many -- probably a lot of first and last borns. But let me ask you this: if the middle candle is simply some second class candle, how come it gets to sit on the highest perch of the menorah? That's clearly the best seat in the house! A special place, well above it’s less favorite brothers and sisters. I mean candles. No, the middle candle is clearly the most important one on the menorah. And that is the real miracle of Chanukah.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

BREAKING NEWS: International Middle Child Union Threatens Lawsuit Against Donald Trump.

     Sick and tired of Donald Trump’s continued embrace of negative Middle Child stereotypes, the International Middle Child Union is stealing a page from the Republican Presidential nominee’s playbook. “We’re threatening a lawsuit,” says I.M.C.U. boss Bruce Hopman. “All the name calling, claims of being an outsider, lashing out at his Republican “family” -- it’s like the very worst Middle Child behavior on steroids, all together in one package, covered in an orange wrapper!” 
     As the world’s leading Middle Child advocate, Hopman proposes filing a defamation of character class-action lawsuit on behalf of all Middle Children, arguing Donald Trump has done irreparable damage to their image. “It’s hard to advance the cause when the world’s most visible Middle Child is out there 24-7 behaving like an angry, spoiled, whining, cry baby,” says Hopman.
     “When it comes to giving Middle Children a bad name, we don’t need any more help.”

Friday, June 17, 2016

Father's Day: The Middle Child Connection.

The Mother of Father's
Day? Not so fast...
     Sonora Smart Dodd is often credited as being “The Mother of Father’s Day.” After her mother passed away when Dodd was 16, she was raised by her father, a civil war veteran. Looking for a way to honor him and other fathers, she spoke to a local ministerial alliance, and on June 19, 1910, a Father’s Day celebration was held in Spokane, Washington. But it wasn’t the first.
Gone But Not Forgotten: Grace Golden
Clayton's dad, Rev. Fletcher Golden.
     In December, 1907, Grace Golden Clayton was still mourning the loss of her father when a local mining disaster took the lives of 361 men, 250 of them fathers. She was so moved by the tragedy, she suggested her pastor honor all those fathers, and on July 5, 1908, in Fairmont, West Virginia, the very first Father’s Day was held.
     Even though Clayton’s observance was first, it never caught on like Dodd's. Clayton was shy and poorly organized, while Dodd had the support of merchant groups who helped grow her version into the celebration we know today. Clayton was the youngest of 11 children, Dodd the eldest of six. So exactly how does the Middle Child figure into any of this?
     Dodd got her Father’s Day brainchild after hearing a sermon in 1909 about Anna Jarvis, the “Mother of Mother's Day.” Clayton was also believed to be inspired by Jarvis’ work. She lived just 15 miles from Grafton, West Virginia, where the first Mother’s Day celebration occurred only two months earlier, in May, 1908. And did I forget to mention Anna Jarvis was a Middle Child? So, if a Middle Child didn’t come up with the idea for Mother’s Day, there wouldn’t be a Father’s Day! But if that weren’t enough of a connection, how about this?
A Real Dick Move: June 18, 1972 was
the first time 
Father's Day was a
national holiday. A day after Watergate.
     As far back as 1913, there have been various failed attempts to formally recognize Father’s Day as a national holiday. Presidents Wilson and Coolidge tried and couldn't make it happen. In 1966, President Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. But it wasn’t until 1972 that it was made a national holiday, signed into law by President Richard Nixon -- wait for it -- also a Middle Child.
     So on behalf of the International Middle Child Union, and Middle Children everywhere -- Happy Father’s Day! And you’re welcome.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Middle Children: America's TRUE Born Leaders

     For years, birth order experts have been telling us that first born children are the natural born leaders. First borns love telling us that, too. To prove their point, they claim that a majority of U.S. Presidents were firstborns -- 52% to be exact. But the surprising truth is most American Presidents were actually Middle Children!
     Granted, it’s a little hard to assign some Presidents a specific birth order position. For example, George Washington’s father had four children with his first wife before the first President was born. Washington was the first of six children from his father’s second marriage. So was he the first born or the fifth born? FDR was the only child from his father’s second marriage, but had an older half-brother from his father’s first marriage. So is he the oldest or the youngest?  Still, even by the most conservative accounting, 21 presidents were Middle Children. That’s 48% of all U.S. Presidents. Throw in Washington and it jumps to 51% -- more than half.
     The long held, erroneous belief that most U.S Presidents were firstborns can only be concocted if you just consider first born males in their families, not the actual first born. Of course, that means totally disregarding their older sisters, which is just silly. Not to mention misleading. And probably sexist. In reality, only 35% of Presidents were honest-to-goodness firstborns. 37% at best.
     On the surface, this appears to be a rare victory for the Middle Child. But when you consider what a mess things are in DC, it’s probably just one more thing we’ll get blamed for.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A College Football First!

     It’s college bowl season, and with 40 games to be played, there are some really bad bowls out there. This year’s menu of mediocrity features 12 teams with 6-6 records. It’s SO bad, there are even three teams with losing records playing in bowls! With the quality of bowl games sinking to a new low, CBS Sports' Tom Fornelli, who ranks the Bottom 25 teams throughout the season, suggested in a recent post we might as well put winless teams in a bowl game. “Hell, why not just create a bowl specifically for them?” he wondered. Ask and ye shall receive, Mr. Fornelli.
     The International Middle Child Union is proud to announce the first ever I.M.C.U. Middle Child Bowl: the college football game nobody wants to pay attention to. The two worst teams in the country vying for their moment in the lowlight. Two power(less)houses going head to head in an epic battle of winless wonders. The loser is awarded the ultimate prize for their lack of accomplishments -- the coveted Jan Brady Trophy! So who gets to play in this shit show?
     Choosing the best of the worst is no easy task. I started with Fornelli’s bottom 25, where he ranks the 0-12 University of Central Florida Knights 25th and the 0-12 Kansas Jayhawks 24th. But to assure the Middle Child Bowl showcases the very best of the worst, I did a little digging. After all, a winless team might not actually be as bad as their record indicates. I mean, they’re still really bad, but depending on the teams they play, they might be better than, say, a 1 or 2 win team. According to the CBS Sports rankings of all 128 teams in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), UCF brings up the rear at 128th, while Kansas wreaks slightly less at 124th. So perhaps there’s another team more deserving --or is that more less deserving?
     Let’s start the selection process by eliminating any team that breaks the Top 100 on either side of the ball. The 125th ranked UNC/Charlotte 49ers (2-10) boast the 88th best defense, while the 126th ranked Eastern Michigan Eagles (1-11) tout the 73rd
ranked offense -- far too lofty numbers for a game of this caliber, so they’re both out. The 127th ranked North Texas Mean Green (1-11) and their 112th ranked offense is slightly lower than Kansas’ 110th ranked unit, but the Mean Green’s defense is ranked 120th, compared to the Jayhawks at 128th, which is dead last. North Texas is also 10 spots higher than UCF’s 122nd ranked offense, and 5 spots lower than UCF’s 115th ranked defense -- not bad enough to make the cut. So that settles it. It’s the University of Central Florida Knights battling the Kansas Jayhawks for a shot at college football futility in the inaugural I.M.C.U. Middle Child Bowl. May the less worst team win.