You know you are a goody two-shoes when even your own father nicknames you “the righteous brother”. Some might see this as a compliment. But coming from my father, it wasn’t. Nor was he referring to one-half of the famous singing duo of “Unchained Melody” fame. It was in reference to my annoying and judgmental tendency to preach morality to my two younger sisters. I was also a tattletale, driven more by the desire to get my sisters in trouble, than by any moral cause.
I hated my nickname. It wasn’t that I was ashamed of being perceived as righteous. It was the fact that I knew that I was being made fun of for it – by my own family! It’s not that I didn’t earn it. Case in point: I was the kid who didn’t have a curfew simply because I was always home early enough not to warrant one. In truth, my straight-laced “righteous” behavior had less to do with morality and more to do with being a (sounds like) wussy – an affliction that didn’t exactly help my cause as a bullied youth. I made myself an easy target.
My cowardice emerged at a very early age. There is even photographic evidence to prove it. Exhibit A: I was just short of turning one and I’m being held in the arms of a clown at my hometown Memorial Day parade. The look of abject terror on my face says it all. In fact, it is a look that suggests something much more sinister. Then again, who wouldn’t be afraid?
Exhibit B: This same look of fear is duplicated over several photos taken on the lap of Santa and the Easter Bunny. Santa is scary enough. The Easter Bunny’s frozen, inanimate expression is even more frightening. However, I was still showing fear well past the age of five.
Exhibit C: I am just shy of three. My hands are held tightly over my ears as tears stream down my face. The source of such terror? … a kite, flown by my dad in the parking lot of the church behind our house. I was scared of the flapping sound it made in the wind.
As I got older, my phobias increased, extending to lighting matches, bees, dark basements, and routine blood tests – the latter of which makes sense considering how many times I passed out from them.
Despite the heaping evidence that I was a complete and utter wuss, there are a few scattered moments where the righteous brother showed signs of unrighteousness – many of which were accidental. Many people – especially other writers – could write volumes about such rebellious behavior. I can simply draw up a few blog posts. Although these instances are far and few between, it is my hope that sharing them could perhaps earn the slightest modicum of street cred (of which the first step is to probably avoid using such pompous words as “modicum”).
Stay tuned for the details …