Happy Birthday to the Superior Sibling

This blog post is dedicated to my brother who turns 175 today. I like to make cracks about his age because it’s all I really have up on him, the fact that I’m younger.

My brother is smart. I mean he is really, really smart.

This is what he looks like:

The Mona Lisa

smartypants

He’s the kind of smart that people like Sarah Palin hate. She would say something like “Oh so you’re one of those gotcha elitists who like to smear blood libel in the great liberty bell of Paul Revere’s house.Β  Your kind is just.. um.. is just reprehendiculous.”

You know how there’s only one tenured college professor job for the thousands of people out there looking? Well my brother got that job. He first book of poetry won some big poetry award. I’m not really up on my knowledge of poetry awards, but I think it was something like the Shel Silverstein Ickle Me Tickle Me Award of Excellence. I, on the otherhand, have this published blog. My blog has 9 readers, and I know or am related to about half of them.

Like I mentioned before, I am younger–way, way younger like a little baby duckling or a Courtney Stodden–so I would inevitably get teachers who already had my brother as their student. It would go something like this:

“Oh! You’re ___’s sister! Well then I expect great things from you.” Whoa…hold on. Let’s not all get crazy here. Let’s just calm the #$@! down for a second. Can I put my pencil case in my desk, please? Can I just do that before we all lose our @$&! minds?

As the school year progressed, and their expectations dropped to the lowest pit of despair, they would occasionally reaffirm my relation to my brother. “You’re not adopted, right?”

So okay I’m not as smart as my brother. He got a 1580 on his SATs. I got a *cough* 990 the first time I took the test, but the next time, I studied my little head off. . . and I got a 990.

When I applied for college, my guidance counselor wrote a recommendation that perfectly encapsulated my experience growing up with a much smarter sibling. This was the first sentence: “As a freshman, [Speaker7] was a shy student in the shadow of her brother who was an exceptional student.” She went on to extol his brilliance and the accomplishments of my parents, “pillars of the community.” It was a nicer way of saying “[Speaker7] is pure crap. Maybe her brother or parents can do her classwork for her?”

For the record, I did actually get accepted into a college. I managed to eke out a living as a reporter covering landfills, wheat festivals and crow invasions, and now write a rarely-read blog. It hasn’t been all rainclouds (see: brother’s shadow).

So Happy Birthday brother! You don’t look a day older than 293!

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127 comments

  1. Happy Birthday, speaker7’s brother. I have two older sisters… #1 is a genius and #2 is the funniest, sweetest girl in the world. High school was hell for my first year… but WE MOVED! I changed schools! Best move of my life.

    1. That’s lucky. Although I guess I’m lucky that my brother wasn’t like, say, Charlie Sheen and then I would have had to deal with teachers saying “Now I guess I can expect you to trash my classroom.”

  2. Today is my birthday, too, and I was a little worried that my sister was on WordPress without my knowledge. She might have written something similar, but it always seemed unfair to me that she was the one with the cute Valerie Bertinelli looks. And look at you, Freshly Pressed! Can your brother say that? Congratulations to you and happy birthday to him.

  3. Wow I can relate: Same thing in school, as I had the brilliant brother. Like MENSA brilliant. No lie!

    But look at you now: Was your brother ever “Freshly Pressed”? I think not.

    So there you have it. Congrats! And happy bday to the reprehendiculously smart big brother…

  4. Too funny! I am the oldest and have heard before about how I was too “this or that” and how I made it hard for everyone else. Fun to heard it from someone else and see that it is the same no matter the family. πŸ™‚ I am thrilled with my ten or so regular visitors and my self-published book, so keep writing and do your thing! Enjoy and congrats on some well deserved recognition. AmberLena

  5. The story of my life! My elder brother is also the winner of the family, the sweetheart who’s so perfect that people never call me by my name but recognize me as the brother of the guy who got into every college(here in Pakistan) he applied and I’m the brother who’ll never get in (i’m waiting for my admissions tests) and my bro looks exactly (almost πŸ˜€ ) like your bro’s pic up there. I still have to give my SAT’s, let’s see what happens. And congrats on your being freshly pressed; now you’ll have way way more readers than 9 and none of them would be your relatives πŸ˜€

  6. Your post really made me smile:) I am the third of four girls and followed the footsteps of 2 of them all through school. In my case, it was “be well behaved at all costs!” I was afraid to even giggle in class.
    Love your cartoon drawings too!

  7. I have an older sister too and throughout high school it was always the same, “you’re so and so’s sister, blah blah.” Most people even get us so confused with each other that they call me by my sister’s name, at least you didn’t have that problem!! Great post!

  8. Oh, I just LOVE this post!! First of all, it’s hilarious. Second of all, I know exactly how you feel. My brother is also freaky smart…I feel like I should make my friends and family pay money for tickets just to speak to him. Such a freaky smarty-pants. Every time he talks about anything, I feel as though my IQ plummets 20 points a second. In short, he’s brilliant.

    The worst part is that, as accomplished as he is and as remarkably intelligent as he is, he’s completely humble; he doesn’t see it that way at all. Almost makes me want to slap him. πŸ˜‰

    This was a fantastic post and I’m sure that you’ll have more than 9 readers after today! (I’m subscribing right now!) Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  9. Your brother may have fame, wealth, rugged good looks, the key to immortality and eternal youth, incredible wisdom and knowledge, and a future that is guaranteed to be rich and prosperous, but does he have a blog?

    I bet he doesn’t.

    If he does, well, then I don’t know what else to say.

    1. Thank you. I was either going to type what I did or just go with this: “Jjgkjdkmklkd jkgdj cnkjoi jdkafu” because that’s the kind of sense she makes.

    1. It was very bizarre. I went to lunch and when I came back and checked my email, I found I had 40 messages, which never happens–even with junk and spam. I loved your eyebrows’ post!

  10. Happy Birthday to your brother! I also have a brother, an Irish twin actually. I’m 11 months and 19 days older than him. My parents, thinking they were funny and practical, decided to make my littler brother skip kindergarten (he was rather smart for his age), and join me in Grade 1. When I was asked to skip Grade 3 (we moved from France to Quebec, and the educational systems didn’t match up), my brother protested and after acing a skipping-grade exam, was enrolled in the same class as me. I did threat to leave my family forever if my brother was allowed to take the “skip from grade 4 to grade 6” test, which my parents were contemplating a year later. He was declared some sort of a genius. And adults around me (especially teachers) kept on rubbing it in my face constantly. Some, especially the math ones in Middle School, loved comparing my failed attempts at Algebra to his genius like status in the world of numbers. I (and I was a very studious student who worked her bum off to get high 80’s and low 90’s) was so ashamed to see my brother get 100’s without even studying, I still have some emotional scars from that period, I’m sure of that. Oh how envious I was of that Honour Roll his name was on (I never made it despite all the studying)! In any case, we managed to even graduate from university on the same day. I finished Philosophy and he finished Computer Science. Even now, and although I love my brother, I still feel a bit of a resentment towards that whole schooling situation. I was a nerd and he was cool, and he got better grades. I even made him lie about his age until I first turned legal at 18. That’s when all our friends realised that we weren’t twins (we looked alike back then, which saved me from further embarrassment). So, in other words, I fully sympathise with you. And to those out there, don’t ever ever ever, EVER NEVER EVER, allow two of your children of different age to be in the same grade at the same time. (I did confront my parents about it – they were shocked and had no idea how traumatising that was for me, the older sibling!)

    Thanks for your post! Was a great one to read!

    Ania πŸ™‚

  11. This is brilliant! There’s always one in the family, that ‘A-star started walking at 3months old and by 2years old could compose a Shakespearean sonnet, play the piano and ukelele at the same time’ sibling. I hope your smarty pants brother enjoys his 293rd birthday celebration, instead of a cake just get him a Rubik’s cube.
    Congrats on being FP!

  12. I love how this is TOTALLY about your angst and nothing about your brother’s birthday. LOL
    Try having THREE older siblings, all geniuses, one a valedictorian, grad award recipients, full scholarships and most popular. Popular, gorgeous nerds.

    LOL too funny, I had the same thing said to me – grade 9 English “Are you so and so’s sister?” “yes” “Are you as smart as she is?” Seriously!?

  13. I have an older brother and when I entered school they all hoped that I will be just the opposite of my brother πŸ™‚ he was a troublemaker, so compare to you I had it easy!!!

  14. I humbly admit that in my family I am the superior sibling. My poor sister, only 18 months younger and 1 year behind me in school had to put up with exactly the same thing you suffered. My brothers, much younger, escaped her curse. But we lived thru it and are very close friends as well as family. Except that they always remind me that I am the Oldest… loved your post and your sketch!

  15. Happy birthday bigger brother. Isn’t it annoying how your little sister always goes on about how old you are. Don’t worry I know how you feel! In fact my little sister does the exact same thing to me. And I never win on this point. She will always be younger than me and it gets under my skin. But I can see the good too. This is all she has, like you dear poster. And that is such a lovely compliment. I can assure you that you are just as appreciated. Well done on being freshly pressed with such a great post!!

  16. Hilar! Very nice piece. I am only intimidated by the shadow of myself, since I overachieved way beyond anyone’s expectations. My blog is dominating the bloggosphere as well, though I’ve never seen any of my brilliant writings displayed on the first page as you, someone who I now aspire to be like, has. (You can see what great sentences I write by that previous sentence). Keep writing! I want to know more about landfills.
    Les

    1. I am now following your blog based on that one sentence.

      And believe me, there will be plenty, PLENTY more about landfills on this blog. I’d like someone to try to stop me writing about landfills.

  17. This is such a funny post! I’m the eldest of four sisters, and I’d always wonder what it would be like to have a big brother. The closest I got is having smarty-pants cousins who don’t speak to us at all. We’re the commoners in our generation.

    Happy birthday to your brother! πŸ™‚

  18. My big brother just started college after being in the Army for 8 years. All those bullets and dead people took his reading comprehension and his math abilities for a run and now I must show him how much smarter I am, and well I do a pretty good job at it. Maybe your brother has a case of the young-sibling syndrome? Haha. Just kidding. I’m sure you have a lot you can outsmart him in.

  19. Great post and I bet your way older brother is thrilled to have a younger sister like you.
    Loved the Courtney Stodden reference.
    Congrats on being Freshly Younger..oops, I mean Freshly Pressed.

    Mr. Bricks

  20. Did someone in my family (5 siblings, at least two of which were Phi Beta Kappa/Suma Cum Laude) write this???? I will definitely be sharing it with my siblings! Who knew there were others like us out there… πŸ™‚

  21. This is truly one of the funniest WordPress blogs, I have ever read. I love the drawings, everything about
    it, and the great insights into the nature of humans. Truthfully, I have always felt, and once hear somewhere that it takes a very high level of intelligence to write really funny stuff. This blog proved that out. Congrads on being chosen for FP. This was truly a great pick by the local WordPress judge.

      1. I completely agree with John’s comment – Texas’s ONLY poet, John, really? πŸ˜‰ – as per my own comment later on. True wit is rare, and it is often expressed, as it is in your article, with love and affection. Well done indeed.

  22. fratricide? I hope I spelled it right…I think there’s people in Craigslist that can help though…please tell me he’s not SMUG too…no, I don’t want to know….

  23. Don’t feel bad. I felt less than in school also. People always referred me to so-and-so’s friend/sister. Never by my name. I’m the middle child and was always told to respect my older sister or listen to my younger brother because he’s smarter (and also the baby of the family – he’s always right.) I got over it as an adult. Heard a quote recently from my friend’s cousin that made me laugh – “My friends are special. I’m so normal.” You’re post is funny.

  24. Today is my sister’s birthday.
    Well, now your brother is stuck at the same university, with the same people for the rest of his life. I hope his job is in Colorado and his colleagues are not a bunch of back stabbing academicians πŸ˜‰
    You on the other hand are free to travel from a festival to a festival πŸ™‚ You totally win!

    And I am going to subscribe to your blog.

  25. Awesome post. So funny. So awesome. Allow me to follow your blog and bask in your… youngerness.

    If you think that’s bad, check this out. I’m the eldest sibling, got good grades, and had a younger brother one year below me. But every year I’d be asked, “Oh, are you ___’s sister?” Even the kids in my own grade called me ____’s sister. *sigh* Being smart ain’t nothin’ if you’re not cool and popular.

  26. Love this! I’m 11 years older than my brother and 12 years older than my sister. Which means I’m ANCIENT and may or may not have slain Mammoths with my own bare hands to ensure they had enough food to eat and warm food on their backs. You do what you gotta do, you know?

  27. Speaker7, your post is terrific and made me & my husband laugh to the point of tears. Sadly enough, we can relate to you – as we both have siblings who are smarter (or at least, who think they are).
    Of note, I am now following your blog – and I am not family or (not yet) a friend. You certainly earned my subscription! Thanks for the laugh!

    aparnanairphotography.wordpress.com

  28. This is such a hilarious post! I, too, lived in my brother’s shadow and sometimes still do. It took me awhile to find out what I was good at and broke away from being known as just his sister. It’s best to find humour in the situation and I’m glad you have. Happy Birthday to your bro!

  29. I love this post! My younger brother and I are close in age and although I’m the superior sibling as far as intellect goes, I also get bored too easily and have a strong aversion to homework….so teachers always liked him better. He was also a natural athlete in school, so as soon as my PE teachers realised I was his older sister they’d get very excited, incorrectly assuming that sporting talent is all in the genes. It must have been devastating for them to find out that I have all the grace and co-ordination of a drunk hippo on stilts. If we’d actually been in the same class (or even same grade) I think I would’ve found even more excuses for getting out of sport!!

  30. This post just had me laughing the entire time. Though my sisters and I were all good students, I could never live down her reputation as Extracurricular Activity Girl. She did everything. Was editor of everything, captain of everything, etc. And I was lazy. lol.

  31. Happy birthday to your brother!Glad to reading your story about your brother and you,i think you love your brother though you are always been compared to him by others.

  32. I saw your post heading and had to read it – being younger is my only advantage over my sister – even if we do look like twins and people cant tell who is older (it is my job to remind her πŸ™‚ )
    My sister hated school and was never there. People didnt expect less of me because of her but more. They were sadly disappointed. Oops!

  33. I totally digged reading this and other posts… I can understand the frustration of being a victim of over- expectations… totally disastrous if you ask me.. I am on my way to become a crow attack reporter too.. πŸ™‚

  34. I have a brother who is much much much more successful than I am and I constantly rib him about the trivial stuff too, like his weight. Unlike you, though, I’m older than him so at times this is my only advantage — the fact that he will be forever be my little brother (and the fact that I had the teachers before he did so nobody compared me to him). No matter who is the more successful or more accomplished, its good to have siblings πŸ™‚ Great post and happy birthday to your bro!

  35. Congratulations with the FP! Glad I found your blog that way. Still have tears in my eyes from reading your post. It’s really funny. And so true. I’m the youngest of 4 children, today is my birthday. Makin’ my own party πŸ˜‰

  36. I came across this blog today, the day of my older brothers birthday. How fitting! I copied it to his facebook wall. πŸ˜‰ Happy Birthday to My Superior Sibling!

  37. Great Post! Loved it!

    I have a younger brother, he despises me helping him out in anything, or even treating him as a kid, which he IS. So, I know what you younger siblings feel like, you LOVE being the younger one, but HATE being treated like one! Ha ha! πŸ˜€

    My best wishes to your older brother!! May he live for thousands and thousands of years!! πŸ™‚

  38. This was so much fun to read! I grew up in the shadows of brilliance AND hijinks. So depending on if a teacher had taught my smartypants sister or my rapscallion brother set their mood towards me … either way … yikes.

    Bet Captain Smartypants was never Freshly Pressed though .. nah nah nah boo boo. πŸ™‚

    Congrats, MJ

  39. I have a brilliant and YOUNGER sister who is studing Science to go into medicine. She can sing, she can draw and is a fairly decent writer. Me, I’m the eldest sister. My generic skills include reading super fast, writing and photography and I have no comprehension when it comes to logic at all. At least you got some accolades from WordPress?

  40. Congratulations for getting onto Freshly Pressed! Oh and Happy Birthday to your ridiculously smart big brother.

    Totally relate to the shadowed by the ridiculously smart older sibling. Teachers expected this wholesomely smart, sweet as honey, soft spoken and eager to learn little girl much like her older sister but got their hats shocked off of them when they got me instead.

    But I digress. What I actually wanted to say was, I think you’ll have a lot more than just 9 readers to deal with from now on. πŸ™‚

  41. My older brother went to an all boys school and I went to an all girls so we couldn’t really get compared… but i did have cousins in my school, older and younger, one teacher loved me because my older cousin was one of her best students (she was always willing to help me and I never got in trouble), another hated me because my cheeky little cousin would answer back in class (me being shy and quiet would get the frustration taken out on me as I wouldn’t answer back and would take it)… swings and roundabouts! :/

    Once a girl was talking to me and telling me how hilarious my brother is (he actually really is-me? not-so-much)… she then stared at me for a bit before saying “I like your eyebrows”….

  42. I should probably thank my brother for not setting the bar so high for me to follow then haha! Great read, I suspect you may have a few more than 9 followers now πŸ˜‰

  43. Awesome post! I have three older siblings but I never really felt like I was living in their shadows, so I guess they weren’t that smart. πŸ˜€ We moved a few times in my teen years so I also went to some different schools, which helped… I would’ve hated to be in the same high school they were, which I heard a lot of horror stories about. I did pretty well in school, all things considered, so I just like to think that I was the smart sibling. πŸ˜€ I ended up kind of hating high school though and graduated a year early just to get out of there.

  44. I enjoyed your post!

    You know what will instantly make you feel like a superior being (while simultaneously wanting to vomit, cry, and fear for future generations)? Try reading Courtney Stoddard’s Twitter feed. Cringefest!

  45. Hilarious! Can’t wait to start at the beginning and read more, and maybe – just maybe but no guarantees – I’ll even subscribe. I’m not going to subscribe until I read more though because if I DO subscribe and then I read more and none of it is as awesome of this one…well…then I’ll have to unsubscribe and that hurts (I’ve heard) and if you’re like me you’ve printed out a list of all your subscribers so when you LOSE one you know exactly who it is in case you want to stalk them later.

    Happy Freshly Pressed!!!!

  46. If it makes you feel better, nobody reads those poetry books anyway! (said in a trying-to-be-humorous-about-the-situation-but-I’m-actually-working-on-my-own-and-this-is-a-terribly-depressing-reality type of way…) πŸ™‚

  47. Loved your post – very glad it was chosen for freshly pressed! Could definitely relate to certain things you wrote, and laughed out loud reading this post! Happy birthday to your brother, and congrats to you on FP!

  48. This was quite hilarious. Especially funny to me not because I can directly relate, but because my dad always told me the reason I was an only child was because he didn’t want competition between me and another sibling. I always resented that, but perhaps he had a point…

  49. Congrats on FP; roll in it like a dog in raccoon dung. Being able to make someone laugh may be the greatest gift anyone can have — bigger congrats on that.

  50. My favorite part about this post was “He’s the kind of smart that people like Sarah Palin hate. She would say something like β€œOh so you’re one of those gotcha elitists who like to smear blood libel in the great liberty bell of Paul Revere’s house. Your kind is just.. um.. is just reprehendiculous.”

    It made me LMFAO. good stuff. HAHAHAHA

  51. This post is definitely helpful for all of us older siblings–we need help seeing things from you’re point of view. Forgive us for seeking to appreciate and encourage your skills and gifting as we should. Your humor brightened my day–something I can frequently miss when I’m concentrating so hard on being serious and making all the right marks that I have in my first-born head.

  52. Okay, so now you officially have 10 readers … love your wit and sarcasm. This is one of the nicest birthday card blogs I’ve read and your brother is lucky to have you for his sister. Although, I have to disagree with one thing here. I think he is starting to show a bit of sagging around the backside — showing his 567 years at last. You are generous to say he is less than that.

    Oh, and here’s a little something in the way of commiserating with you, when I was in grade school my older sister and one older brother were natural artists. I, on the other hand, could draw worth a hoot. I got the same 6th grade teacher as they did, and when she saw my name on the roster she said, “Oh, you’re a (fill in last name)! You must be a great artists!”. I feel your pain.

    ~Fleckenstein

  53. great post! i have a brilliant elder sibling too and i’m always the lesser one … never as smart, never had the achievements she had, but hey i love her and her brilliance too! and you speaker7, are a wonderful writer! you have us all reading there!

  54. Just remember…the thing he is getting celebrated for today, YOU DID TOO. And you probably did it better. The first thing you ever did, I’m sure you beat him at.
    Everything else seems less relevant now, right?

  55. Also, my older brother went to the top engineering school in the country, and then started playing poker and won a million dollars. I’m not kidding. And I’m at art school. Sigh.
    We should form a inferior-younger-siblings club.

  56. Great and nicely written post. I enjoyed reading it.
    The descriptions of your brother remind me a bit of my brother (he’s incredibly smart, funny, and good looking and excels at everything he does and he loves to argue). He’s just younger than me by 11 months.

  57. Haha, this is fabulous. Younger siblings unite and all that whatnot, what? I don’t even know why I’m commenting here, I’m merely wasting your time and damaging your eyes that fraction more. I shall away. Toodle loo and all that.
    x

  58. Whatever I’m about to say has most likely been said by the 123 other people who have commented before me. And I hate to be redundant… But what the heck, who ever gets tired of hearing/reading how great they are? Awesomely funny post. And obviously, I too, am a younger sibling who has grown up in the shadows (plural) of my three older siblings. It was a tough ride — and it hasn’t ended yet (does it ever end??).

    And what 9 readers is this that you speak of? Unless I’ve mightily disappointed my math-loving older brother, I’m pretty sure you have waaaay more than that. Congrats. Though I am still struggling to get any one of the 7 people (all whom I know and have forced to read my blog) to read my latest post. The life of a blogger is hard.

    Keep it up. Your writing is awesome.

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