Yesterday my parents dropped a bombshell on me and my two siblings. It went something like this:
“Children, take a seat. As you know, we have been having some difficulty as of late in deciding which of you we would like to brag to our neighbours about and which of you we will have to hide from public view. Therefore your mother and I have decided to hold a competition of sorts to decide which of you shall be heralded as ‘The Best Child’.”
As our father relayed this speech to us, we took it in stride, inwardly knowing they had our best interests at heart, and on we went with our assigned tasks. The rubric for points was expansive, encompassing all desirable behaviour on our parts. Whoever had the highest number of parent-points at the end of the week would win “The Best Child Award”. Why this cup needed to be won, we weren’t sure. We assumed it had something to do with our inheritance.
For me, as the unfortunate middle child, this was going to be quite challenging. However, I was determined to win this. I just had to outsmart my siblings.
On Monday, my younger brother returned home with an A on his Maths exam — lethal blow. To one up him I loudly studied all evening for a non-existent exam.
On Tuesday, my older sister decided to clean her room herself without any help. This had to be handled with ruthless retaliation, and so the next night I attended to all my mother’s friends at their weekly gathering, ostentatiously serving food and being extra amicable. Points regained.
On Thursday, the little devil was troublesome again by coming back home with a first place trophy at his school sports day. Was he actually more talented than the rest of us? Wew, crazy thought. Regardless, I persevered by helping my Dad send an email. For additional points I even photoshopped his attached documents clean, while painstakingly explaining the process to him, knowing he would forget the very next day. Disaster averted.
On Friday, the eldest one pulled out an ace she had up her sleeve. She cooked dinner for us all. As a male, cooking would earn me no points at all. That cunning shrew had used her innate advantages. For a moment, I thought all was lost. But then I realised I could turn the tables on her in the same way.
So the next night at dinner I sampled every vegetable and fish on the table remarking how good they were. My mother’s eyes lit up because getting a son to eat all kinds of food was every mother’s greatest pride. None of her friends had succeeded in this. As my sister looked on with great envy, for she, as a daughter, could not earn these same points, I swiped the cup from right under her nose. Victory!
Rabita Saleh is a perfectionist/workaholic. Email feedback to this generally boring person at firstname.lastname@example.org