60+ pages into Anna Kendrick's "Scrappy Little Nobody" and this is one of three lessons that keeps slapping me in the face.
1. That if I'd had an older bro to protect me and show me the ropes, there's little doubt that I, too, would be an international sensation and household name.
2. That if I'd had parents that were willing to drive me 6 hours to NYC auditions at tender ages, I, too, would be an international sensation and household name.
3. That if I'd actually had any real talent to speak of, I, too, would be an international sensation and household name.
That I don't have any considerable talent to speak of is likely somehow an offshoot of the first two.
And my genes.
And lack of work ethic.
Still, petulant me just knows that an older bro woulda taught me talent. Just like he'da taught me how to sneak out of the house like a cool kid. Or smoke weed without coughing.
He'da protected me from school bullies. Offered advice when life handed me lemons. Picked on me mercilessly, but balked when anyone else'd do it.
He'd have been my hero.
Many's the moment in college when I'd wished someone was there to light my way.
As it was, navigating pretty much everything on my own was a very hit-or-miss (most often "miss") affair.
Without anyone there to guide me, I basically bumped into every obstacle in my way, and I am not now nor have I ever been known to be the taker of the path of least resistance.
Had I an older brother, he could have steered me clear of at least some of these pitfalls.
Lead by experience, if not example.
"Nah, Erin. I tried that. It sucked. You want no part in that."
I'd have had someone - besides long-dead actresses on VHS tapes - to emulate.
As it turns out? Neither Scarlett O'Hara nor Margot Channing are particularly apt at giving life advice to college-bound morons. Who knew?
An older brother would've encouraged me to leave UGA. Follow my dreams. Or, at least, taken my side occasionally with the parents.
That I was the first born is some kind of cosmic mistake - one that a particular parent has pointed out on several occasions.
My folks wanted a boy first. And, had I the sense at my time of conception, I'd have obliged them this request.
While they face their own challenges, in general boys have an easier go of some things. And who wouldn't want an easier go?
That said, if I couldn't have been born a boy, I figure having an older brother woulda been the next best thing.
Sure, he'd think I was annoying and do anything to avoid hanging out with me.
But he'd also be my champion. And my first exposure to all things slightly more adult than I was.
At 14 I had no older sib to shlep me to the movies and sneak me in to something above my maturity level.
No older sib to show me how to fill out a college app. Or pick a college. Or tell me it was ok to take a year off to decide what I really wanted to do.
There was no older bro to give me shelter when I wanted to run away. Or take me home after talking some sense into me.
I tried to provide such things for the youngers who wanted them (which was really only Madison), but I tried to give what I didn't get just the same.
My husband is a younger brother, and the ways in which he benefitted from his brother's good and bad influences are endless.
He knows about a million things and people he'd never have known had he been an only or a first-born.
I envy him this.
And I envy it of Anna.
The adoration with which she speaks of her older bro is a feeling I'd like to feel. A personage I'd like to know.
The first born bears the brunt of so many challenges. And, like so many decisions afterward, my being sent first was a mistake.
Because I clearly have no idea what I am doing.
And if I had an older brother, maybe he'd tell me that that was okay.