Being the middle child of three, I had it easy. Being the only boy with two sisters, I got away with murder.
My younger sister, however, had a lot to put up with. If she wasn’t having to make do with our older sister’s hand-me-downs, she was being forced to learn off the names of Ireland’s entire Italia ’90 from a Panini sticker book by her sadistic older brother. Me.
That she is now a fully functioning member of society with an actual job and responsibilities is a testament to her mental fortitude.
My older sister and I did our very best to break her, but we ended up just building her character. She’s done exceptionally well given everything we put her through.
1. Scaled Christmas gifts from older relatives – if the eldest gets a tenner, the baby of the family only gets a euro.
The world is so fucking unfair.
2. You have to wear outdated hand-me-downs
Remember those dungarees that your older brother puked on after eating 7,315 fizzy cola bottles at Halloween? Well, they’re as good as new now.
Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know?
3. Your older siblings keep telling you that you were adopted
“Your real name is Jane. Mam and Dad took pity on you, they deserve a medal.”
4. “If you go to the shop for me, I’ll time you.”
You bust your arse to make it up and back inside ten minutes (your personal best), only to find that your older sibling mysteriously ‘forgot’ to set the timer.
There was never a timer. And they wouldn’t even let you keep the change.
5. You will never, ever have possession of the remote control
You will be in your early twenties and living away from home for the first time before you discover what this magic, channel-flicking piece of technology does.
6. You get the blame for the irresponsible actions of your siblings
JOE’s Paul Moore tells the story of how his sister cleaned their dad’s taxi with a bunch of rocks and promptly blamed their younger brother, who still hadn’t perfected the art of speech at the time.
Great to have the perfect scapegoat within arm’s reach.
7. The food is stolen from your plate
Chips, chicken nuggets and sausages are frequently yoinked, and there’s absolutely nothing that can be done about it.
8. The youngest always goes in goal
“You’re not getting out until you make three saves!”
You promise you’ll turn them into the next Gigi Buffon, but really you just need someone to stand there to make your bicycle kick look more elaborate.
9. “I bet you can’t do that inside a minute”
Whether it’s the making of a bed, the clearing of a table or the hoovering of a carpet, older siblings know that adding a competitive element will make the youngest, and most gullible, member of the family do anything they want.
Life just isn’t fair.