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"The Youngest Shall Prevail"
posted June 18, 2007 @4:16p
Mom asked my brother, "so... how'd you like that restaurant?"

He answered, "well... it was really good... until Jason's toe callus."

I'm the youngest of three boys in my family, our ages spanning 10 years. Siblings do their best to find things that bother you, then repeat them whenever they deem necessary. So as the youngest, I spent most of my youth being on the receiving end of what could only be considered mild torture and slight terrorism. There was never anything violent; it was all psychological.

For instance, any time I'd relay a story, my brother would say, very concerned and sincerely, "you know... God knows when you're lying." The first twelve years of my life, I walked around analyzing everything I spoke, making sure it really was true. I was constantly paranoid that I was telling a lie.

Thanks, brother.

The most unfortunate thing about being the youngest is that you're also the dumbest. In the realm of psychological torture, a five-year-old is no competition for an eleven-year-old. And besides - a five-year-old has no idea he's even being tortured until years later.

This past Saturday, I treated my Mom and brother to a tapas restaurant while visiting the beach. This was our first-ever family vacation, and I wanted to share with them the kind of things I like to do when I'm traveling. One of my favorites is eating.

Tapas restaurants take time; so by the end of the meal, we had been there about an hour and a half. Everyone was over-stuffed, and we'd all enjoyed all different kinds of dishes. Boursin and reggiano cheeses, thai chicken satays, asian barbequed pork, duck pate... I can't even remember all the foods. And I had finished the meal off with six desserts: tiramisu, crme brule, bananas foster... all kinds of good stuff. We were full and relaxed, ready for the bill.

As we waited, I decided to finish off my glass of water. As the last gulp entered my mouth, I felt something get stuck on my lip. Some sort of contraband had made its way to the bottom of the glass, but my bottom lip was resourceful enough to keep it from making it into my mouth.

So I reached to my lip, and with my thumb and forefinger, peeled the object away to examine it.

Now we had overheard the waiter at the table behind us informing the people seated there that since they had spent $1,000 on wine ($250 per glass) that evening, they'd take $60 off the total bill. So this place was fairly upscale. And like many upscale establishments, the lighting was dim.

Having just pulled the water-intruder away from my lip, I began to examine it as best I could. The object wasn't very thick, and was egg-shaped with a hole in the middle, so as to look like a tiny, flattened, oblong donut. It was about a quarter of an inch long, and about an eighth of an inch wide. I could see through it, but it was slightly white and cloudy. And every so often, I could see a faint line, so that it looked striped.

"Hmmm..." I thought as I stared. "What could this be?"

Like I said, the lights weren't very bright, but... this was piece of onion. Or...

It was skin from a human.

I announced to my table, "um... I think I'm gonna ask the waitress what this is..." The drink ruiner was too small and it was too dimly lit to see, so my brother asked me what I thought it was. I said, "um... it's probably an onion."

"An onion? Why are you gonna ask her about an onion?"

"Well..." I examined a little bit more. "Um... it could be... skin."

Immediately, the color left my brother's face. He started to cover his mouth with his left hand, but before his hand arrived all the way to his face, he made that sound: you know - the one that sounds like somebody's trying to say the word "gulp," but saying it with their mouth tightly closed? He then removed his hand from his mouth, spoke some kind of jibberish and left the table for awhile.

While he was gone, he had thrown up. His reaction was immediate, and he hadn't even seen the object...

So now, after years and years of taking psychological beatings, I know what bothers my brother:

Toe skin.

I consider this to be not only a victory for me, but for all younger brothers who've endured as I have.


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