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.


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, “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.