Saturday, April 20, 2019

There Is No Hope, Man

     Middle Children are always looking for recognition. It’s like our birthright. Our raison d'être. Of course, simple name recognition would be a great starting point. But all too often, you hear the all too familiar Mid Kid mantra: “They don’t even remember my name.” Sure, this can happen to anyone, but to a Middle Child it’s particularly debilitating. Just more proof that we don’t matter. More evidence of our invisibility. I cannot count the times when my mother, meaning to call out to me, would first call each of my siblings’ names before arriving at mine. Or what about the teachers at school that repeatedly confuse you with a sibling. It’s not just limited to family. There’s always that deflating feeling when you’re speaking with someone you’ve met before, whose name you remember, but you just know they have no idea what your name is. Even worse, I had a secretary (back when they were called secretaries), that always answered my phone, “Bob Hopman’s office.”
     I have always said Middle Child Syndrome is the gift that keeps on giving. You can be happily going about your day, minding your own business, when suddenly -- and without warning -- it will rear its ugly head. You might innocently stumble upon something from your past that you never before realized adds yet another page, or in this case another post, to your Middle Child story. Like the other day when I was flipping through my college yearbook. It’s been quite a few decades since I
graduated, and in all that time I never noticed this poke in the eye -- but there it was, literally staring
me in the face, right next to my Senior portrait. Bruce S. Hopeman.
     Nope, not me.
     I suppose it could’ve been worse. I mean, they could’ve called me Bob S. Hopeman. I guess I should be grateful? It's just a typo, right? But, still. I know I shouldn't take it personally. Bad proofreading is nothing more than an oversight. But that's the last thing a Middle Child needs more of.
     Like I said, this certainly wasn’t the first time I lost out in the name game. I wrote in a previous post  about not even getting top billing on my own birth announcement. Sure, I was given short shrift, but at least they spelled my name right! One could argue that aside from being born, what had I really done to deserve more than a mere mention anyway. But this is a whole other story. I mean, I worked my ass off in college and graduated summa cum laude, for what --so this Hopeman guy can steal the show? I do all the work and he gets all the glory? What a load of BS. And now I have to wonder -- did they make this same error on my diploma? Did I even legitimately graduate, or did my misnomer get my degree? It’s a hopeless feeling. Or should I say hopless.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Tourism Gets a Case of Middle Child Syndrome

Introducing “The Middle Child Travel Guide.”

The Spring/Summer travel season is here, and millions of eager explorers are ready to schlep their Samsonites to every corner of the globe. (Can globes even have corners?) If Conde Naste Traveler’s list of “The 10 Most Popular Cities of 2018” is any indication, most of these spirited sightseers will hardly be taking the road less traveled. Perennial favorites London, Paris, and New York City are once again among the top tourist targets. Slightly more valiant voyagers will lug luggage to Bangkok, Dubai or maybe Singapore. Oh, sure -- the favorites get all the attention. Every year it’s, “London, London, London!” “Oooh, Paris is so pretty in the spring!!” Meanwhile, dozens of deserving destinations go unnoticed. Cast aside, like Fodor’s forgotten Middle Child.
     Thanks to “The Middle Child Travel Guide,” now these overlooked options will get the attention they desperately deserve. Imagine Smack Dab travel experts all around the world bringing you the scoop on the best of the next best places to visit. Of course, you’ll have to imagine, because no way do I have that kind of budget! Instead, I will travel the internet and compile reports from people who have actually been there. And since even those destinations everyone knows and loves have sights that go unnoticed, I’ll make sure they get a chance to bask in the limelight, too.
     Of course, your input will help make “The Middle Child Travel Guide” even better. If you know of any destinations that are sorely in need of more tourist love, or if you know of sights that don’t get seen enough, let me know and I’ll make sure to include them in a future post. (E-mail me at, or comment below.) For now, we’ll start with a destination in France that’s not Paris. Incroyable!
Lyon: France's Enfant du Milieu
     Middle Children know what it’s like always being compared to a more beloved sibling. So how can France’s third largest city compete with the home to three of the top ten most popular tourist attractions in the world according to TripAdvisor? Well, while the Eiffel Tower casts a looooong shadow, Lyon is no slouch when it comes to memorable monuments. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with more than 160 buildings classified as Historic Monuments, including its very own (and less crowded) Notre Dame -- which according to Anthony Bourdain “is simply a more beautiful church.”
It's All a Facade: those buildings aren't real. It's a mural!
     Paris may have some of the greatest museums in the world, but in Lyon you don’t have to even enter a building to see amazing artwork -- it’s actually on the building. CitéCréation has more than 150 trompe-l’oeil murals on buildings all around town. Paris has none. The Seine is a lovely river, but Lyon has two -- the Rhône and the Saône. That also means Lyon has twice as many Left Banks and Right Banks. But who’s counting?
     Lyon also has their own unique version of a bistro. They’re called bouchons. In all of France there are only about 20 officially certified bouchons -- all in Lyon. And speaking of food, Lyon is the home of the late Paul Bocuse, a.k.a. “The Pope of French Cuisine.” In fact, many call Lyon “The Culinary Capital of France.” It’s certainly worth finding out if they’re right.
     Paris does kick Lyon’s ass when it comes to crowds. It’s one of the most crowded cities in the world. Lyon, on the other hand, is five times smaller than Paris and much less crowded. Oh, and it’s less expensive. Of course, you don’t have to choose between the two. Lyon is under 5 hours from Paris by car, around 2 hours by train, or you can catch a non-stop flight and be there in less than an hour.
     For even more reasons why Lyon deserves your attention, check out these links:

And here’s a link to the Lyon tourism site.

DISCLAIMER: “The Middle Child Travel Guide” isn’t a REAL book. I created that cover,
but the background image is a planner available from Chronicle Books.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Share Your #middlechildmoment!

     It seems Middle Children have a way of letting the world know we’re Middle Children, without saying a word. A former co-worker sent me this dead giveaway, an obvious #middlechildmoment. If the middle swing wasn’t enough of a clue, the wardrobe choice removes any remaining doubt -- no ifs or ands. Just plenty of butt.

      Send your #middlechildmoment to me at, and I'll post it here on the blog, at the Smack Dab page on Facebook, and on Twitter @midkidmusings.

CLICK HERE to see another classic #middlechildmoment