Steven v. Margery

              I’ve called this meeting because it’s become apparent that we are living with a double standard. Certain recent events have erased any doubt in my mind that there has been a bias against me that started some years ago, first as nothing more than some trifling differences between the treatment of myself and certain other people, but has grown into something so sinister it can no longer be abided.

              You’ll notice there are a series of exhibits that I have presented as evidence. I’ll kindly ask that you now pick up and examine Exhibit A. Note that this is an image of what appears to be a fire truck, parked in front of a burning building. The fire truck is being driven by my sister, crudely rendered in crayon, with a preposterous hat that resembles something more along the lines of a deformed banana than any sensible heroic headgear. Naturally, you and dad are shown in front of the building, smiling, presumably due to having been rescued by your doting daughter. Meanwhile, if you’ll cast your attention to the upper floor of the conflagration, you’ll find the frowning image of myself, arms outstretched, still awaiting assistance.

              Now, this drawing hung on the fridge for over a month. A month! Each and every morning, I would arise for my morning glass of milk and a pop tart and take in the sight of my helpless doppelganger, clinging to life while Margery sits idle in her vehicle, proud to have rescued at least a portion of her family.

              On more than one occasion, I have had cause to draft a transcript of certain conversations that display what I would refer to, as a clear preference for one child over the other. As these documents pertain to the drawing, I would like to share the following. Quote: “Isn’t it adorable? My little girl is such a talent!” And: “Look at poor Steven! I hope you’re going to get him down from there.” And: “Can you believe she’s only four?” Unquote.

              Poor Steven indeed.

              Now, surely this could be seen as some manifestation of my brotherly teasing, and here resentment thereof, were it not for Exhibit B.

              As you examine Exhibit B, note the subtle shading of the palm fronds, the harsh contours in each and every claw and tooth. This magnificent velociraptor took me a solid day to produce, and I should note, in pencil crayon, not that monstrous waxy abomination referred to as the crayon. I too, was four years of age when this masterpiece of a dinosaur was created. And what was the treatment my artwork received? Did it hang on the fridge for a month? A week? Did it hang on the fridge at all? Of course, we all know the answer to that question, don’t we mother?

              Quote: “That’s nice honey.” Unquote.

              No fawning, no praise. I believe father referred to it as “violent”, though sadly, I did not have the foresight at that age to record nearly as many of our conversations as I have the need to in this day and age.

              In all of my six years on this planet, I’ve not once been honored by a fridge display of any kind.

              Naturally, this is not the only demonstration of what can no longer be called merely a perceived bias. When I tried to ride the cat as a toddler, I was admonished and sent to my room. When Margery pulled the cat’s tail only last week, you paused to show her how to pet the cat in a friendlier manner. At four, should she not already be aware of how to conduct herself around the family pet?

              Then there was the dance competition. Despite my clear style and panache, you chose to award her with a full 10 out of 10! When I lovingly crafted those numbered cards for judging, never did I imagine that a spastic display of frantic shuffling in a tutu would be described as “cute” and “irresistible”. We all know that these placations are simply due to the fact that, as you say, “She’s younger and needs the encouragement.”

              Now, I am well aware that as parents grow and expand the brood, they learn and they soften. There is a marked increase in the amount of patience afforded Margery that I can only wish had been applied to me in my youth. I am aware that you learn as we do, and become better parents as a result. But to allow Margery the incredible bedtime of 9 pm when at her age I was to be in bed with lights out by 7? I’m at a complete loss for words.

              Despite my growing animosity, what would I be if I could not find forgiveness in my heart? Naturally, I’d be willing to overlook my treatment for nothing more than an additional 25% portion of Saturday desert, and for an additional hour a week playing video games. Of course, I’ll expect that some of the learning you’ve been able to apply to Margery should also be applied to me. Simply because I was your first child should not mean that I am a lost cause.

              To make these terms official, I’ve prepared a document for you to sign. Standard boilerplate, I assure you. Please, feel free to read. I’m sure you’ll find it all above board.

              If you need to borrow a writing implement, may I suggest a crayon? I’m sure Margery would be more than happy to supply you with one.