Or Doug-more, as my dad would say.
The first-born son. The fifth-born child. He had a lot to live up to with four strong sisters, yet he also had an advantage of being the first boy–a thing new for our family. So we did what was obvious. We painted his fingernails and played dress up with him. We fawned over him until he was old enough to know that little boys don’t always play Barbies with his older sisters. In his defense, he would always find a way to kill the Barbies, or else have tough guy Ken tote a gun or something next to his ass-kicking G.I. Joe pals. I can’t really remember if all our Barbies had their heads squished down on their necks because of him or not.
Once, when he was about four, he was riding his tricycle around the driveway around the time my dad was going back to work in the field. I was in the living room when I noticed the pickup suddenly stop. Irregularly. Instinctively I knew something was wrong and I rushed outside, where the other five members of my family were, and saw the tricycle had a bent rear wheel. I guess Doug tried to play chicken with the pickup and by shore luck he was perfectly fine. Scared to death, but fine.
Man, boys sure are different from girls.
He once ran into the back of my mom’s car that he was following with the truck he was driving. No real damage, but still, boys are different from girls.
Doug would build intricate Lego objects which soon progressed into breaking down and rebuilding computers and other electronics. He probably taught himself how a computer worked from the inside and later went to college to figure out how the software worked. Hours and hours, he would be working on ‘boy things’ that we girls thought was boring as hell. But, he could put in hours on the tractor just like the rest of us–or probably more– which freed up my time for more girl-friendly things like fixing fence.
The summer before my senior year, I thought I was hot shit. I was the oldest one still at home and thought no one questioned my right to tell everyone what to do. I guess Doug thought differently. I invited Rhonda to ride her bike with me to get the mail since the driveway was a quarter-mile long, and we took off. Doug hollered at me that I shouldn’t ride the bike with a flat tire, that I’d ruin it. I decided that it was only a short distance and basically told him to screw off, but in a nicer way.
I guess he didn’t think it was that nice, though. Halfway home, Doug suddenly appeared behind me on another bike and was trying to run me off the road. I think he sneaked into the field with his bike and waited for me to ride by, but he must have been sneaky enough that I honestly don’t remember that detail. The little shit tried to run me over. Long story short, it was a knock down, drag out that lasted all of five minutes. In that ruckus, I tried to pull him over my shoulder. A real ninja move, at least in my head. Turned out I landed on my head, with Doug on top of me. I’d like to say I got a few good ones in, but I’m pretty sure I got the worst of it. My hair didn’t grow back correctly on a tiny area of scalp for a few years.
After Rhonda ran to the house to get help, my dad pulled us apart. I’m not entirely sure what lesson he taught us. It was probably the first time there was such a fight in our family. It made quite an impression on our younger sisters, Emily and Kelsie. It must have been the most awkward looking rumble ever. He was in junior high at that time, but it suddenly struck me that he was bigger than me and I had to quit picking on him. Probably that’s what my dad told me, too.
Our cousin was a year younger than Doug and once during my baby sister’s first communion party, they rode bikes to our neighbors house two miles away. They decided to knock on the door and run. She caught them and called my dad who then caught an earful of how “those jigaboos ought not be running around” causing a ruckus. I would do something like that, but being such a nice girl, I would have never thought of it first. And it was a good story with a reason to be able to say “jigaboo” and make fun of an old lady down the road.
Except for that one fight, I don’t remember not getting along with Doug. He turned into quite a man, and the godfather of my first child. Music fanatic, computer geek, motorcycle man, his expertise is called upon from time to time when my girl brain can’t wrap its way around a problem. He was the first to show our family: boys sure are different from girls.