Now that school’s out for the summer, my family is planning our annual trip to MarineLand. But with seven people involved, going to an amusement park for a day is no longer a vacation. It’s officially classified as a military operation.
The problem is, I’m not a General. Or a Lieutenant. Or even an assistant drummer boy. With my mom, dad, and 18-year-old sister ranking ahead of me, I barely have the authority of the drummer boy’s secretary. The one who isn’t allowed to answer the phone. Or sharpen pencils.
I’m four years older than David, seven years older than Michael, and 13 years older than Sam. Yes, my parents will be crispy 50-year-olds by the time Sam is in Kindergarten, but that’s a separate (and kinda repulsive) issue. The point is, my family obviously isn’t seniority-based.
I’m going to university in less than a month and a half. I’ve been breathing air four years longer than any one of my brothers. If my family were a law firm, I would have made partner by now. But my parents are denying my natural right to Bossy Older Brother privileges.
Sure, in terms of mini-van seating arrangements, I’m ranked ahead of David, Michael and Sam. But that still puts me in the back row, in the land of no arm rests, where cup-holders are spoken of only by the Village Elders, who remember the days of prosperity when it was possible to sip from a Coke and then, in a feat of luxury, tuck it into a convenient little pocket.
I’m squished into one bench seat with all the other lowly Privates, who aren’t old enough to comprehend the etiquette of eating Doritos. When any of my younger brothers eat orange-powdered cheesy ass, they suddenly start taking deep, open-mouthed breaths, deciding that the time is right to make up for every time they’ve held their breath underwater.
And then there’s the debris factor: when anyone under the age of 12 eats a Dorito, they end up with more powdered cheese on their fingers than what was originally on the chip. After an hour-long drive, thanks to three younger brothers exuding second-hand Dorito, I’ve aspirated a lethal amount of concentrated, processed cheddar.
It’s an unfortunate scientific fact: hot Dorito breath rises. In the midst of such poor air quality, my body will kick into survival mode, forcing me to take short, shallow breaths as a desperate defence mechanism. I don’t know which would be worse: suffocating in a dense cloud of Dorito powder, or being resuscitated by David’s Dorito-powdered breath.
Worst of all, my parents don’t understand the backwash situation that ravages the Land of No Arm Rests. They don’t allow private water bottle ownership. Water bottles are community owned. Even if I get first-lips on a bottle of water, within minutes, the entire supply will be tainted. After enduring the triple-gauntlet of my younger brothers- also known as the Triforce of Cheesy Sips- the contents of the water bottles are more solid than liquid.
There was only one thing to do: overthrow the Republic of the Back Seat of the Van and form a complete dictatorship.