Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Brothers in arms - but on opposing sides



What a mixture of talents went up in, well, crematorium smoke this morning, as my older brother’s mortal remains vanished from our world.
 Peter was talented, no doubt about that, but my views are very likely to be affected by status – second arrival in a family, a threat to the first sibling’s unquestionable domination of parental interest.
 In a magical breed of birds I used to encounter on voyages through the trade winds, each nest hosts two eggs.
 Nature dictates – hopefully Nature knows why – that the first to hatch kills the unhatched sibling. The horrible action is termed siblicide.

Astonishing behaviour

If Nature would be bothered with instilling such astonishing behaviour in, well, bird brains, stirring up human nests must be so much more satisfying.
 My older brother was dark haired, brown-eyed, and - I don’t mean this cruelly - with a not unprominent nose. He had ruled the roost for two years and six weeks. Then his mother, during the war, produced a blond, blue-eyed babe that aesthetically at least must have threatened the elder toddler’s crown.
Nature set up the conditions for war, and the older boy recognised it - somehow - and responded successfully.
The new little brat, like the egg about to be obliterated, knew nothing of this infant battle, and nothing about favouritism because he had never had a chance to know it.

 Observing not complaining

This is the baby as an elder adult who is observing, dear reader, not complaining. It’s me suddenly seeing the obvious and being amazed, almost astounded, in hindsight.
I mean, how could a little lad like two-year-old Peter know how to manipulate parents, to ensure that his role of Number One suffered no subtraction?
Fortunately for me, I couldn’t have recognised the battle for favouritism because I had no experience of it, nor of the situation in the family nest being any different.
Nothing new about it in families, I’m sure, as probably a huge proportion of the population could confirm.
Here’s an example of brotherly shunning that wouldn’t happen today …. Continues on the blogs for my ocean adventuring book, Sailing to Purgatory, at SailingToPurgatory.com

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