Monday, October 7, 2019

Check This Out

     I am that guy. The one you don’t want to ever get in line behind at the supermarket. Not that you’d have many opportunities. I don’t go to the supermarket that often. I don’t like supermarkets. Actually, I hate them. It all stems from my childhood. My mother didn’t have a driver’s license, so when she had to go to the market, we all had to go to the market. Of course, this provided more opportunities for Middle Child Syndrome to kick in. With two parents and three kids, one of us would invariably have to get bumped from a cherished shopping cart seat, so I would opt to wait in the car to avoid the inevitable disappointment. (Don’t worry, they left the window open a crack.)
Whatever. It left a bad taste in my mouth, so now I try to avoid supermarkets at all costs whenever possible.
     But on the off chance that you happen to be in a supermarket on the rare occasion that I am also there, do not, I repeat DO NOT get on line behind me. I always pick the wrong line. And I don’t mean one-person-behind-you-in-another-line-got-taken-before-you wrong. I’m talking entire-other-lines-are-no-longer-there wrong. I’m-sorry-but-the-keyboard-on-my-register-has-melted-and-shut-down wrong. Yeah, it’s that bad. If I see someone behind me deciding which lane to choose, I will warn them. “Do not get in line behind me!” They will thank me later.
     In any case, as a result of me spending so little time in supermarkets, I’m not very good at it. I have no idea how much things should cost, and I have no idea where things are. So, those few times I’m asked to go, I always come home with the wrong stuff, or forget items altogether, and I have to go back. Which makes me hate supermarkets even more. It’s a vicious cycle.
     I’m also always so surprised, and disturbed, at the way people behave in supermarkets -- especially at the check-out lines. I can’t believe how cut-throat things get, how people jockey for position and are ready to pounce when a new register opens. How they’ll sprint ahead of someone who was clearly in front of them when the cashier opens a new lane and calls out “Next in line.” Where is the honor? You weren’t next and you know it! You just cut in front of a vision-impaired Senior Citizen with a walker! It’s a dog eat dog world up there, I tell you. Every man for himself. I’m way too sensitive for this.
     So I was clearly not at all prepared for what happened when I was at Aldi the other day picking up a single boneless chicken breast family pack which I had forgotten to purchase on my visit to the very same market earlier in the day. I was standing on a line, obviously the wrong line, behind three other people with huge orders. As a courtesy I had already tried to wave off anyone attempting to get behind me, when the strangest thing happened. The lady in front of me asked if I’d like to go ahead of her! I was shocked. This kind of thing never happens to me. I accepted her gracious offer, but was completely unprepared for what was about to happen: the next lady in front of me also asked if I would like to jump the line!! Of course I was thrilled. Thrilled, yet suspicious. Was this some kind of gag? Was I being pranked on one of those TV shows?? Naturally, I was convinced I would somehow pay the price for my good fortune. I’ll get run over in the parking lot while walking to my car, I figured. Or just as I was about to be rung up, a massive power failure would shut down every cash register on the eastern seaboard. Something had to go wrong. This was too good to be true. And then, it happened.
     While ringing up the one person left in front of me, the cashier dropped a banana! It was SO obvious what would happen next. The one person left in line in front of me would slip on it, land flat on his back and require medical assistance. EMS would turn the checkout area into
emergency triage and local police would yellow tape the area, questioning the cashier about her role in this potential assault with an unlicensed fruit. I’d be stranded at the register for hours, or maybe even brought in for questioning as a key witness. Or even worse: I’d have to move to another register -- at the back of the line!!
     As luck would have it, none of that happened. I breezed out of the market, even escaping injury in the parking lot. But I’m pretty sure I shot my wad when it comes to having any future luck at a supermarket checkout.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Not-So-Fun Times

     It was near the end of an excruciatingly long car ride and I was starting to fade. I asked my wife if she had anything sweet to help revive me, and could hear the familiar sound of a bag of M&M’s being torn open. Not plain M&M’s, but Peanut M&M’s -- my absolute favorite. They always do the trick.
     She put a few in my hand once, then once again. But when I held out my hand a third time, I was told, “That’s it.” That's it? Surely, she was kidding. That was like seven or eight pieces. “Whaddaya mean, that’s it?” I said.
     “It was a Fun Size bag,” she replied.
     Fun Size? FUN SIZE!? That was no fun at all! There are about 22 Peanut M&M’s in a “normal” size bag. If you’re gonna call yourself a Fun Size bag, you better bring your A game. I’m thinking 40 or 50 Peanut M&M’s. Now that would be fun. But what they call a Fun Size bag has a measly 7-9 Peanut M&M’s in it. That’s not fun. That’s sad. They should call it a Sad Bag.
     I was an advertising creative for decades and had to come up with countless ideas for product names and descriptors. Never in my wildest dreams would I come up with something this twisted. Although I once did suggest naming a line of adult diapers “Poop Deck,” but that’s another story for another post.
     Maybe my career experience has made me hyper-sensitive to misleading labels. Or maybe it’s my Middle Child perspective. You know, too many times being told the smaller present you got that you really didn’t want is “just as good” as the bigger present your sister got that was exactly what she wanted. Or that those hand-me-downs are actually “new” because it’s the first time you're wearing them. No, it is not and no they are not. And there is nothing “fun” about a bag of Peanut M&M’s that’s 1/3 the size of a normal bag of Peanut M&M’s!
     If this was a tiny bottle of shampoo or a miniature can of shaving cream it would be called a Travel Size. But who would want a smaller bag of M&M’s when they travel? Clearly, not me. Sample Size or Trial Size would be more apt. Actually, Teaser Size would be even better. Or Where’s The Rest of the Friggin’ Bag Size.
     Look, Fun Size bags have their place I suppose. I guess they’re okay to hand out on Halloween when kids are getting tons of other candy anyway. What difference would it make then? But any other day of the year?? It’s an outrage! An outrage, I tell you!! I say it should be illegal for them to sell Fun Size bags any other time of the year. They should just sell them around Halloween and call them Trick-or-Treat size. Even though I would still argue it’s mostly trick.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Is Middle Grandchild Syndrome A Thing?

     I just became a grandfather for the second time. Thank you. A beautiful little girl. And as I sit here in the same hospital a week later, now awaiting the arrival of my third grandchild, I can’t help but wonder: do Middle Grandchildren have their very own version of Middle Child Syndrome? Will my second grandchild feel overlooked and underappreciated by her grandparents? Will she achingly yearn for her grandparental glory days, when she was the beloved baby, the new kid in town -- for one whole week!?
     I doubt it.
     I’m pretty sure each of my kids think that they are their Grandmother’s favorite. That’s the beauty of being a grandparent. We don’t have to worry about any of the other stuff. You know, the actual parenting. We’re all about the attention. And, speaking from my somewhat limited experience, there seems to be plenty to go around. We’re like bottomless pits of praise and plaudits. An endless fount of fussing and fawning. No grandchild goes attention-less.
     So I say no -- Middle Grandchild Syndrome is not a thing.
     Of course, I could be wrong. If I am, you can be sure I’ll let you know.

GRANDCHILD #3 UPDATE: 

Monday, September 9, 2019

If the BBC says so, it MUST be true!

     I try to make this blog a positive place. I try to be uplifting. Inspirational. You know, keep the glass half full. It’s not an easy thing for a sufferer of chronic Middle Child Syndrome to do, but I try. The last thing I want to do is lift up Middle Children by tearing down our older and younger siblings. Okay, maybe not the last thing. It might be a little satisfying to do that.
     But no! That would be committing the very same offense that we Middle Children have been accusing them of doing to us for years. It would not only be wrong, it would be hypocritical. But -- I’m only human. Every now and then, I falter. So when I saw this tweet from The Mash Report, I couldn’t help myself. It’s a follow up on an April 2019 piece from the Daily Mash website, “Youngest Siblings Most Likely to be Dicks.
     So I conclude this post with a heartfelt apology.
     Sorry. (Not sorry.)

Monday, September 2, 2019

The Art of Being a Middle Child

Who is the World’s Greatest Middle Child Artist?

     Many of the world’s greatest artists were Middle Children. But it will come as no surprise to anyone that none of their Middle Child masterpieces capture the true essence of what it means to be a Middle Child. For example, let’s start with Middle Child renaissance man Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni. Many consider him the greatest artist of his time, if not all time. But that hardly makes him the greatest Middle Child artist ever. I mean, look at his most famous creation -- his massive marble sculpture of David.
     Okay, so David didn’t have a great childhood -- his brothers treated him like crap, and that’s something many Middle Children can relate to. But things turn out alright for Davey boy. He ends up being a King! According to the first book of Samuel, David was the youngest of eight sons. That means there were a boatload of Middle Children in the family. Couldn’t Michelangelo have sculpted one of them? Would that have killed him? Do the youngest in the family really need more attention? Well, at least he gave David disproportionally small genitals.


     Then there’s Middle Child Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn. Art historian Kenneth Clark has said Rembrandt's “Return of the Prodigal Son” is a painting “which those who have seen...may be forgiven for claiming as the greatest picture ever painted.” I beg to differ.
      According to the parable, the youngest of two sons asks his father for an advance on his inheritance, blows it all, then returns home broke and broken, ready to beg his father for forgiveness. But his Dad is like, “That’s cool. No big deal.” He’s welcomed home with open arms! You just know if he was a Middle Child he would’ve gotten all kinds of shit. If Rembrandt could’ve captured that moment, now that would be something.


 


     French impressionist/enfant du milieu Pierre-Auguste Renoir also falls short when it comes to capturing any Mid Kid magic on canvas. His “Two Sisters (On the Terrace)” is a perfect example. Sure, it’s a beautiful painting, but do you notice anything odd about these siblings?
     Doesn’t the elder sister look way older than her younger sibling? She almost looks like she could be her mother, right? I’m thinking there might have been a few more sisters in between the two. Maybe even some brothers. Why aren’t they in the painting? What, are we not good enough to be in a Renoir? WTF!




       If you think Francisco Goya, the Spanish Mid Kid master of the Romanticism movement, might throw a little Middle Child love our way, think again. According to culturetrip.com, “The Third of May 1808” is probably his most famous work. It depicts the atrocities of war at the hands of Napoleon’s army. Napoleon was a Middle Child, so I wouldn’t say this piece does much to bolster our image. Wouldn’t it have been nice if he painted a positive portrayal of Middle Children? He could’ve called it “The Twelfth of August.” You know, Middle Child’s Day! Geez.

  
     I was beginning to think I’d never find a Middle Child artist who even came close to capturing the Middle Child mindset, and then I found Norwegian expressionist/symbolist Edvard Munch, creator of “The Scream.” Not the movie. The painting, even though the mask in the movie is based on his painting.
     Munch’s masterpiece is one of the most iconic images in the world of art. It’s like a modern day Mona Lisa. In 2012, a pastel version of the work sold for $120 million, which remains one of the highest prices ever paid for a painting at auction. Even more impressive: there’s not a single Middle Child who doesn’t know this feeling. And that is something you can’t put a price on.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Middle Child's Day Post Mortem

An anecdotal analysis. 

     I’m back from my mandatory après Middle Child’s Day break, freshly cynical, brimming with uncertainty, and ready to resume my irregularly scheduled posts. I must admit I was a little disappointed when on August 10 -- two full days before Middle Child’s Day -- I began seeing “Happy Middle Child’s Day” tweets popping up.


     I'd like to think these people were so excited to celebrate, they just couldn’t wait. But I know better. After all my hard work, they still had no idea when Middle Child’s Day was! I suppose I could blame it on a Russian disinformation campaign designed to confuse the public about the actual date of Middle Child’s Day. Sure, it’s disheartening. But at least they were close. That’s progress, I guess. And as I detailed in my previous post, we kinda almost sorta had a parade. That was a misstep in the right direction, right?
     Still, I wasn’t sure what to expect when the big day arrived. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover #MiddleChildDay being tagged on tweets all day long.


     Even Hallmark tweeted!


     And while it’s not a Middle Child’s Day greeting card -- yet -- at least I know we’re on their calendar. Word of my crusade has even reached all the way to Alaska, as reported by Liz Raines at KTVA in Anchorage.


     I don’t have any hard numbers, but I can tell you after years of meticulously monitoring Middle Child’s Day mentions on social media, there has been a significant increase since I started my crusade to raise awareness back in 2012. I don’t want to take all the credit, but what else could explain it? And since nobody else is going to take responsibility, I might as well.
     Of course, there were the mandatory tweets the day after from people professing to have forgotten Middle Child’s Day...

LISTEN HERE


    ...but I'm not falling for it. I’m pretty sure they actually knew it was Middle Child’s Day and were just waiting all day for it to be over so they could say they forgot it the next day. Hardee har har. That’s pretty twisted. And not exactly original. My friend Terri Stacy at WIBC in Indianapolis likes to do that every year.
  
     Then there are those who genuinely forgot. Like my sister. Yes, the younger sibling of the founder of the International Middle Child Union. The person who is almost singlehandedly (with a big assist from my parents) responsible for me being a Middle Child in the first place. Yes, her.


     It’s the algorithm's fault? Is that the social media equivalent of the dog eating your homework!? Pretty weak. Still, it’s better than my older brother, who did not acknowledge the day at all.
     A more troubling issue is all the Middle Children who were unaware it was Middle Child’s Day, like my nephew.


          At least he found out in time. But still, if we’re not going to remember our own holiday, well, then -- I give up!! But no.
     NO!
     I will never give up.
     I’m like the Don Quixote of birth order. This is my quest. My impossible dream.
     Am I just tilting at windmills? For sure. But these challenges only strengthen my resolve. The struggle continues. I’m dogged, determined, and eager to embrace another year of being overlooked and underappreciated.

Stay up to date on all things Middle Child.
Follow on Twitter: @MidKidMusings and “Like” on Facebook.

Monday, August 12, 2019

The Middle Child's Day Parade That Almost Was

     Pittsburgh was a pipe dream... I should’ve known nothing would come of it when a writer from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette contacted me about my effort to find a host city for a Middle Child’s Day parade. “I figure we could have the parade on Centre Avenue, which goes through the Middle Hill,” wrote columnist Brian O’Neill. Middle Hill? Centre Avenue? It sounded too good to be true -- which of course it was. So I moved on. Like water under one of the 446 bridges over the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers. I refuse to dwell on it. I’ll keep my expectations in check.
     And then the phone rings...
     “Hey, it’s Jen & Frank from WXLO Worcester/Boston,” says the made for morning radio baritone on the other end of the line. “We want to talk to you about a possible host city for your parade.” Surrrre you do. I’m no sucker! Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice -- I should probably call them back. So I do.

     Wow, they really sound like they mean it. This is huge! I mean, this station is in a Nielsen Top 10 rated radio market. They’ve got musical intros and a logo and everything. Alright, just calm down. This is probably all some kind of Morning Show prank. They didn’t really call the Mayor of the second biggest city in New England, right?
     Holy crap, they did!
 
     And, what what -- the Mayor is a Middle Child? Are you friggin’ kidding me!? I don’t want to get my hopes up, but it’s getting real hard not to. And then I get this text:


      Wait, are they checking my availability? Is this really happening? Should I be Googling directions to Worcester? And do they actually think I have someplace better to be on Middle Child’s Day?? Okay, okay -- I gotta play it cool. Make them think there might be other contenders. Ya know, like they’re not the only game in town. Play a little hard to get. So I text them back:


     And then... crickets. Radio silence. The Worcester Middle Child’s Day Parade is over before it even started.
     I don’t blame Jen & Frank. They gave it their best shot, but what more could I expect from two non-Middles? (Actually, Frank is a Middle Child, and didn’t even know it. He told me he was a first born, but I later found out he has an older sister and younger siblings! “I’m the first born male,” he explained. Just another classic case of M.C.D.D. -- Middle Child Denial Disorder.) I also don’t blame the Mayor, although it remains to be seen how his Middle Child base will react to this news.
     It was probably Russian meddling. Putin loves messing with Mid Kids. Or maybe it was all the fake news on social media.
     Whatever.
     We got close.
     Real close.
     Still, like too many Middle Children have experienced too many times before -- there was no cigar.
     But it was definitely progress. A step in the right direction. And after all, isn’t that all a parade really is -- a series of steps in the right direction? With a few balloons thrown in. And a crowd.
     So I prefer to think our parade has been -- postponed. Yeah, postponed. Sure, probably indefinitely. But it’s definitely not over.

IN CELEBRATION OF MIDDLE CHILD'S DAY,
CHECK OUT THESE NEW POSTS:

NEW Middle Child's Day Greeting Cards

     I've said it before, and I'll say it again: if you're not the first born or the last born, you're in the middle. Still, I am constantly amazed at the number of people who have no idea that they're a Middle Child. I wrote about this in a previous post, “outed” Sarah Jessica Parker as a Mid Kid, and have even given this condition a name: Middle Child Denial Disorder. Since M.C.D.D. has apparently reached epidemic proportions, this year I've created a special Middle Child's Day greeting card, for those poor souls who don't even know they're a Middle Child.


Also NEW for 2019:













to see the entire collection of Middle Child's Day Greeting cards.

IN CELEBRATION OF MIDDLE CHILD'S DAY,
CHECK OUT THESE NEW POSTS:

Being a Middle Child is No Game

     But if it was, it might be one of these:


Three players or more required.


This is not your brother's board game. Oh wait, it probably is!


Where the cards are always stacked against you.


When it comes to being overlooked, we're not playing around!

IN CELEBRATION OF MIDDLE CHILD'S DAY,
CHECK OUT THESE NEW POSTS:

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Middle Child's Day Playlist

Celebrate the big day with the very best of “Middle” music.

       August 12 is Middle Child's Day -- less than a week away! It's the one day of the year when millions of Middle Children get to be center stage and soak up the spotlight. All that attention -- it's music to a Mid Kid's ears.
     If only it were so.
     Sadly, that sorely needed attention won't happen for most Middle Children. Our namesake day will, quite ironically, go by unnoticed. But they can't take away our music!
     Get your Middle Child's Day playlist started with these memorable Middle melodies:

1. “Stuck in the Middle With You” (Stealers Wheel)


2. “The Middle” (Zed, Marren Morris, Grey)



3. “Smack Dab in the Middle” (Janice McClain)



4. “The Middle Child Anthem” (Parody & Son)



5. “Middle Child” (Jack Maynard)



6. “Middle Child” (J.Cole)



7. “Middle Child Parody” (Parody & Son)



8. “The Middle” (Jimmy Eat World)



9. “Smack Dab in the Middle” (Ray Charles)



10. “Happy Birthday Middle Child” (Palmyra Delran)



11. “Boss of Me/Malcolm in the Middle Theme” (They Might Be Giants)



NEXT WEEK: “THE MIDDLE CHILD’S DAY PARADE THAT ALMOST WAS”




Sunday, July 21, 2019

A Middle Child's Day Parade in Pittsburgh?


 
     In today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, fellow MidKid/Columnist Brian O’Neill offers an interesting reason for why Pittsburgh would be an ideal spot for the Middle Child’s Day parade. Interesting, but not terribly convincing!

Check it out HERE.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Middle Child's Day Parade Seeks Grand Marshal

     The Holiday Season is here -- Middle Child’s Day is August 12! Like I’ve always said, Middle Child’s Day is like Christmas in August. Just without any of the presents. Or celebrating. And certainly none of the attention. In any case, preparations for our special day are in full swing.
     As founder of the International Middle Child Union, I am proud to announce we are now accepting applications for a chance to be Grand Marshal of the 2019 Middle Child’s Day Parade. Imagine how great it would feel to have huge crowds of adoring onlookers giving you their undivided attention. It’s every forgotten Middle Child’s dream come true!
     Unfortunately, applicants will definitely have to imagine the feeling because -- big surprise -- there is no Middle Child’s Day parade. But look on the bright side. Unlike the Thanksgiving Day or the Rose Bowl Parade, being the Grand Marshal of the Middle Child’s Day Parade will take very little of your time. Still, we need to be prepared for the day Middle Child’s Day finally gets the recognition we’ve long been seeking.
     When we do get our parade, we’ll have to move fast -- before someone changes their mind. We’ll need a Grand Marshal already in place to take their place atop our brand new I.M.C.U. float. (FULL DISCLOSURE: said float also doesn’t exist yet. But when it does, it will be brand new. Unless, of course, it’s a hand-me-down. Which there’s a very good chance it will be.)
     Interested applicants are encouraged to e-mail the I.M.C.U. with a brief explanation of why they should be Grand Marshal. Or if you know a qualified Middle Child, tell us why they deserve consideration. Reach us at:


     Maybe nothing else we do in our lives will get us the attention we feel we’re lacking, but being the Grand Marshal of a parade? Surely that would change everything. But probably not.

COMING SOON: THE 2019 MIDDLE CHILD’S DAY PLAYLIST

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Middle Child Music Notes

  I like to consider myself somewhat of a music savant. I can accurately whistle a scary amount of songs, many of which I’m not even sure how I know. I can usually “Name That Tune” in four notes or less. But when my brother-in-law, a fellow Smack Dab Middle Child (2nd of three boys), recently asked if I remember Janice McClain’s 1979 Disco hit, “Smack Dab in the Middle,” I came up empty.



     Was I losing my Middle Child music mojo? And of all songs not to remember, how could it be that one? How could I not remember? I mean, I spent  a lot of time at discos in the 70’s. Ohhh, maybe that explains my memory loss. But where was I... oh, yeah... after searching for the song online, it all came back to me. I was struck with a severe case of Saturday Night Fever  and found myself lost in a Disco Inferno wanting More, More More. And while I was disappointed to learn my Latin Hustle is not what it used to be, my journey of disco discovery did yield a pleasant surprise: a second song called “Smack Dab in the Middle” -- and not some disco one hit wonder, either. This second Smack Dab song was actually the first, written by R&B musician/songwriter Jesse Stone, recorded and released in 1955 under his performing alias, Charlie Calhoun and his Orchestra and Chorus.
     While Stone's best known composition was “Shake, Rattle, and Roll,” the rock and roll classic made famous by Bill Haley & His Comets, his “Smack Dab in the Middle” is no slouch. 68 different cover versions of the song are listed at secondhandsongs.com -- Count Basie with Joe Williams, Connie Francis, Nancy Wilson, George Jones and Johnny Paycheck, The Chambers Brothers, Buster Poindexter and many others all took a shot at it. Oooh, make that 69. I found another one by a group called Almost Blue. Ray Charles probably had the most success with his 1964 cover. It remained on Billboard's Hot 100 for seven weeks.



     I realize it’s hardly the most covered song of all time. According to many lists, that honor belongs to The Beatles’Yesterday,” with more than 2,000 recorded cover versions. But The Independent  ranked the Rolling Stones(I can’t get no) Satisfaction” at number five with 98 recorded covers, so “Smack Dab” isn’t that far behind. If a few more covers are uncovered, who knows -- it might be in the Top 20! And I never even knew it existed until a few weeks ago? Sounds to me like a classic case of musical Middle Child Syndrome.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The World's Worst Middle Children

Profiles in Middledom: #6 in a series, featuring Middle Children (real-life or otherwise) who have earned their place in the pantheon of birth order oblivion.

          From the “Tell Me Something I Didn’t Already Know” Department, more bad news for Middle Children -- like we needed more bad news. According to a recent report, “Research Shows That Middle Children Are Most Likely To Be Troublemakers.” Okay, I suppose that’s not the most horrible thing in the world. You can be called a lot worse things than a troublemaker. But a second report on the findings provides a decidedly more gloomy outlook: “Study Finds That Second-Born Children Are More Likely To Be Criminals.” Yikes! That’s quite a leap. From troublemaker all the way to criminal? Isn’t there some kind of middle ground? How about menace? Or rabble-rouser? Scalawag even. Heck, I’d even settle for pain in the ass!
          Granted, not all second-borns are Middle Children, and vice versa, so many of us are spared this fate. But here are some that definitely weren’t.

THE SUPREME MIDDLE CHILD: Kim Jong Un has established himself as a fearsome killing machine. His “Greatest Hits” include having one of his vice premiers shot by anti-aircraft guns for
dozing off in a meeting. Another vice-minister was forced to stand on a spot targeted for a mortar round during military exercises and blown up. And when an apartment building in Pyongyang collapsed killing hundreds, the Supreme Leader had the engineers and architects who designed the building executed by firing squad. An ex-girlfriend met the same fate. And according to reports, a special envoy to the United States and four foreign ministry officials were also “terminated” after the recent Hanoi summit with the U.S. didn't go exactly according to plan.
Even relatives are not spared. His Uncle was executed for “dreaming different dreams.” Now that's what I call a bad dream. To remove any trace of his existence, he also had his Uncle’s entire family eliminated. Oh, and a deputy security minister who was an ally of his Uncle was also executed. By flamethrower. But even more criminal -- Dennis Rodman is one of his best friends.

THE ULTIMATE INSTIGATOR: It’s not uncommon for Middle Children to stir the pot in search of attention. “Stop starting up with your brother!” “Leave your sister alone!” I heard it all the time when I was growing up. Sure, maybe Middle Children know a thing or two about pushing buttons, but Gavrilo Princip has earned his rightful place as a world class agitator. When he assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, the Duchess of Hohenberg in 1914, it sparked World War I.

THE WRATH OF THE MIDDLE KHAN: Genghis Khan was one of the most brutal and murderous leaders the world has ever known, responsible for the deaths of as many as 40 million people. After one particularly gruesome massacre, the piles of his victims bones were mistaken for mountains. He once disposed of an enemy leader by having molten silver poured into his eyes and ears. That’s one pissed off Mid Kid.
          Of course, you don’t become such a deeply feared and twisted figure overnight. His murderous ways can be traced back to his youth, when Genghis killed his half-brother for not sharing his food with him. Even from the grave, the Great Khan remained a deadly force. To keep his burial place a secret, he left instructions that everyone involved in burying him was also to be killed.

COULD THERE BE A WORSE NURSE? When 48 people died over the course of five years in the early 1900’s at the Archer Home for Aged People, an investigation revealed the deceased were actually murder victims, killed with arsenic or strychnine. The trail led to Middle Child serial killer Amy Archer-Gilligan, and not just because her second husband was one of the deceased. It seems many residents began dying only after being convinced to name her in their life insurance policies. And it couldn’t have helped her case when residents of the town reported she purchased unusually large amounts of arsenic to control rats she said were at the nursing home. Oh, there was a rat at the nursing home alright.

SOME MID KIDS REALLY NEED TO BE WANTED: Middle Children have lots of reasons to act out, but Middle Child Jesse James took it to a whole other level. Along with big brother Frank and their infamous gang, he robbed banks, stagecoaches, trains, and did pretty much whatever he felt like doing -- killing almost 200 innocent people along the way. So brazen were these badass bros, they are credited with being the likely culprits in the first daylight armed bank robbery in the United States during peacetime.
          Ironically, Jesse was killed by a member of his own gang who hoped to collect a reward on James' head. Instead, he was charged with first degree murder, indicted, pled guilty, sentenced to death by hanging, and then granted a full pardon -- all in one day. Oh, that’s fair.

THE ESCAPE ARTIST: The U.S. Department of Treasury called Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera (a.k.a. El Chapo) “the most powerful drug trafficker in the world.” Forbes magazine said he was “the biggest drug lord of all time” -- even bigger than Pablo Escobar. But only in his reach and influence. El Chapo, Spanish for “Shorty,” was just 5’6” tall. Still, he was a big time killer, claiming the lives of 2,000-3,000 people.
          As difficult as it was for authorities to capture El Chapo, it was equally difficult keeping him that way. Over the years, he staged escapes that would make fellow Middle Child Harry Houdini proud. After his first arrest, Chapo broke out of prison by hiding in a laundry cart. After his second arrest, he escaped again, this time through an elaborate tunnel system he had built under his maximum security prison. He was arrested for a third time in 2016, and has not escaped. Yet.

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