Thursday, October 30, 2008

Favorite Son

I was my dad's favorite son.

No really I was. Well, not all the time, but there was the fall of 1986 and the fall of 1987 when I was his favorite son. He would admit it and my seven brothers knew it too.

When I turned 16 and I got my driver's license there were 4 kids of legal driving age that lived at home. Plus my parents, there were a total of 6 drivers with only two cars. The kids were always asking to use the car. My dad always wanted to have one of the cars at home so that left 1 car for 4 kids. The old policy was whoever asked first got first dibs on the car.

We, of course, would argue over who got to use it and when. We were all different and hung out in different crowds so there was rarely any sharing of the car. Besides, having the car meant that you could actually go out on a date. It would be awkward to try and go to "inspiration point" while your brother was in the back seat waiting to get driven home from a party.

That was when my dad came up with the Favorite Son Policy.

His policy was quite simple. Whoever was involved in an extracurricular activity that would entertain my dad (sports) would have first pick of using the car. If two of us were involved in the same sport, first pick would go to the person that was either on the Varsity squad or who actually started in the game.

That was why I was the favorite son in the fall of 86 and 87. At that time there were really only two of us fighting over the car, my brother LawnWhisperer and myself. I played football and LW played basketball. The early part of the fall of 86, my junior year, I was not on the varsity team, so LW and I would argue every weekend over the car. But then, Tim A, the starting wide receiver became academically ineligible (he was failing Spanish I think) to play football and I got to start on the varsity team. I did not care that I was now the starting wide receiver for the football team as a junior, I was more excited that I was officially the favorite son.

I got the car whenever I wanted it. LW would ask to use the car on a Friday night, I could invoke the Favorite Son Rule and get the car instead of him. I can still remember the chilly nights after the games, with the stadium lights glowing down on us, my dad would throw me the keys to the car and occasionally slip me a 10 dollar bill and tell me to have a good time. My social status amongst my friends shot up because now I could drive to get Slurpees after the game. I was the favorite. LawnWhisperer would have to ride a bike to see his girlfriend or bum a ride from someone else. It was good to be the favorite.

Of course right after Thanksgiving, football would end and basketball would start. I was no longer the favorite. The title went to LW. My social status in school plummeted. I was now the one riding my bike to see my girlfriend or friends. Basketball being the winter sport and all it was quite cold on my bike. I think LW got the better season to be the favorite.

The fall of 87, with LW away at college and my younger brothers not old enough to drive, there was less competition for the car. Occasionally my mom would want the car for something but I would trump her request and invoke Favorite Son Rule and I usually won.


Bogart said...

With 6 kids in the fam here, I am thankful that there was a space in age that allowed me, the older favorite, to do what I wanted when I younger brother, the younger favorite, did not start driving until I was already out of the house and in a career, so he was able to do what he wanted when he wanted.

I think that space in age is what has allowed us to be such close friends as adults. No rivalry, no fighting over cars and he certainly had no chance with women when I was/am around!

Anonymous said...

I love reading stories about your childhood! It reminds me a bit of what it must have been like for my mom and her brothers and sisters (she is one of 8).

Funny how these days parents don't "share" cars with their kids - the kids get jobs and get their own cars. That is probably because of insurance reasons - it skyrockets when a teenagers is put on your policy. Probably cheaper to buy them a run down car with liability coverage than to pay the premiums to add them to a full coverage car!

Guess I will find out more about that next year - my oldest is turning 16. Yikes.

PS - funny, my word verification is "invokie". Made me laugh since your post is about invoking... :)

Jason Roth said...

What!?! You had a car to borrow from dad? I had five brothers and two sisters and my parents had a "if you want to drive, buy your own damn car" rule in our house. Luckily, in anticipation of getting my license, I worked my butt off mowing lawns to save enough cash to buy 1972 VW Squareback. It wasn't an awesome sports car, but it fit my surfboard in the back and it got me where I needed to go.

eclectic said...

I have always been the Favorite Daughter. Always. Of BOTH my parents! Because I was always such an easy kid, and such a pleasure to raise, never any trouble.

Nevermind that I'm the only girl in the family, I'm the FAVORITE. OK?!

Can we drop this now?

April said...

I loved this. It gave me a little insight as to where you got your sense of humor.

I too was the favorite child. Never mind that I was the only child. I always liked it that I never had anyone to fight with, I was always first in line for everything. But now that I am older, I can see where I missed out with a sibling. If I want to complain about mom, I have no one to talk to. Maybe I'll start complaining to you??

Anonymous said...

I sent this E-mail to parents of my football team on Saturday. Fall of '83 and Fall of '84 rocked.

I have mentioned before that I have 7 brothers and one sister. Believe me when I tell you, there was a lot of love in my house growing up. My dad always had a tongue in cheek policy that his favorite son was always whoever was playing that day. That son always managed not to have any chores that day, he always seemed to have one dollar for the snack bar after the game, and in later in life always managed to have the one car that we grew up with, after the game to hang out with his buddies or take his girl out. I never remember my dad walking home, but I know he would have. I always wondered how my parents could spread out love equally to nine.

Today, I have 24 favorite sons. Today, I spread my love by 24.

Lowa said...

This is awesome!

I never got to do any of this. I had three older brothers and no one taught me to drive. My two oldest brothers EACH somehow got a vehicle from Dad every weekend if they were going to different places. I never had a vehicle to drive and as I mentioned, no one taught me to drive or would take me for my license anyway, so a vehicle would not have made any difference.

It was pretty unfair, but my MIL taught me how to drive after I got married, so it's all good:)

Anonymous said...

i love reading this blog cause i gain more insight into the younger life of my father, considering it was the same for him as it was for you. this is too funny.