My early childhood memory is a blurred-out Freudian fog of diluted spirituality, but, within the fog, several memories stand out like wayward stone statues. Among these one stands out in particular: the day I met God.
I was born first in my family, and enjoyed the attention for a solid eighteen months.
When my mother became pregnant with Sister-One, she endured countless horror stories about second children – mainly that the first child would become jealous about sharing the spotlight, and would inflict all manner of terrible punishment onto his new cohost.
Despite the warnings (and despite the fact that I already fulfilled every possible need a child could fulfill, MOM) they still decided to go through the creation of an unnecessary additional life.
Sister-One came into the world in the usual way, and we met.
Years of books, relatives, and PBS programs had prepared my mother for the plague of envy a toddler will inflict upon a new baby, as they felt the extra affection, college tuition, and birthday gifts vanishing into the alternate reality of only-childhood.
What my mother did not prepare for was that, rather than viewing Sister-One as a competitor for parental love, I viewed her as a valuable commodity in my own selfish ventures. Keen to make her my subordinate, I teased her with genuine but distant affection. By the time she could walk, Sister-One was not only awed by my intellect and fine-motor skills, but eager to win my favor as the alpha-child.
Our duo was well-established when, out of the pale maroon of our carpet, a new character was added to the roster. Her name was Sister-Two.
She was born into a world where she was the smallest being, a terribly desperate position. The two beings closest to her in size seemed to be having an excellent time though, so becoming a part of their group seemed a worthy and obtainable goal.
Hazing is a strange, dark, and prevalent ritual in human culture. Through the application of physical pain and psychological anguish, a being is stripped of their identity in such a way where it becomes possible from them to enter a collective. It is used in violent gangs, douchey fraternities, and small children.
In retrospect, I’m quite ashamed of how I treated Sister-Two during her formative years, and most have been forgiven and forgotten, but there are two things I did to Sister-Two that I’ll always remember.
It was piss, in case you’re a good person.
I can’t imagine what it feels like to discover your children are the kind of people who make other people drink pee, but I know my parents didn’t take it very well.
It was shortly after this the family began to attend church.