Friday, June 13, 2008

Jared, aka "The One With the Skinny Neck"

This post will be dedicated to the lovable Jorj, also known as Jared, or sometimes, Baby B. I haven't really been able to think of one recurring definable characteristic about Jared that is comparable to Adam's inexplicable lucky streak, so I'm just going to tell a few funny stories about the odd things Jared used to do as a small and also not so small child. I think I will start off by explaining the title of this post. Why is Jared "the one with the skinny neck?" Ok, so I admit it. I'm not entirely sure why Dad, started calling Jared skinny neck, but my guess is because as a kid Jared had an incredibly large head (inherited from Dad) that made his neck look very skinny in comparison. So, on many home videos we have Jared in the background trying to show off how skinny his neck is. This is, of course, after he had begged repeatedly "Dad, can I look in there?" Jared always thought that there was something magical inside the camera that only the one looking into the little view finder could see.

Unlike Adam and I, Jared was never big on performing and taking part in our own made up plays/productions. When we were small this worked to our advantage. Since we couldn't exactly count on him to participate and/or remember his lines throughout our entire movies of epic proportions, Adam and I simply cast Jared as the dog, or monkey. Usually this suited Jared just fine. This way he could come in and out of the movie at basically anytime, and he was free to speak unintelligibly anytime he felt like it. Every now and then disaster struck, and Jared got the urge to take on a human role. When this happened, he didn't really change his acting methods employed when playing a monkey or a dog. Jared still came in and out when he pleased. He still made up his own lines, and delivered them at his own discretion. But the difference was clearly there, and on our homemade movies, you can see the cringing terror all over mine and Adam's faces.

As we got older, and moved more into the genre of Christmas plays, Adam gave over his role of director to Brooke and me. For some reason, we still felt like we just had to have Jared's participation in our Christmas productions, whether he liked it or not. I do have to commend Brooke and myself for our ingenuity of giving Jared the role of "stage manager." This way he was behind the scenes, and just as much as ever, he was free to come in and out whenever he pleased. Many times the lights didn't go on/off when they were scheduled to, or us girls had to come out on "stage" to show him where he was supposed to move the props to for the next scene. But, he felt like he was in charge, and hey, at least he wasn't making up and delivering his own lines!

Jared has always been a very friendly person. One of Jared's main positions in baseball was catcher. This was a very good spot for him, because it meant he always had someone to talk to, and I don't mean the batter. I'm talking about the umpire. Starting at about the age 9, Jared started collecting umpire friends. In between innings, and during warmups, Jared and the ump behind the plate always shared a leisurely chat. When Jared got a double the field ump would walk by to say "Hey man, whats up?" Just strolling around the park to watch other siblings games, the umps would throw him a friendly wave, and Jared would turn to one of us and say, "That guy's my favorite ump!" And of course, it would usually be a different ump every week.

From a very young age Jared always had a very lofty aspiration. It was a goal very different from most males in this world. No one ever quite understood his yearning toward this goal, but that doesn't mean we didn't do what we could to aid him in his pursuit.

Jared's goal was simply this: to be completely bald.

Jared kept his hair in a buzz during almost all of his childhood, but for Jared, this (no pun intended) simply didn't cut it. He wanted to have his head shaved. He was constantly making deals with Dad such as "if my baseball team wins the tournament, you'll shave my head." Now, isn't it usually the person that loses the bet has to get their head shaved? Not for Jared, when his baseball team won (and I think it was also his soccer team once), he jubilantly got out the razor and made Dad start to work on turning his son into a human q-ball! Eventually Jared grew out of this, and listening to my wizened suggestion, grew out his hair. For a year or two, he had a head full of more hair than anyone knew he was capable of growing! Now that he is about to become an old married man, he has settled down to a normal everyday head of hair. So, Jared, in honor of this post, I have a deal to make with you......

Next year, if West Huntstville wins the softball tournament (and you're still playing on the team of course) you get to shave your head! And yes, I said get to, because we all know you want to be bald again!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Adam, aka the "Lucky Nelson"

I'm thinking about doing a post on each of my siblings, and either telling a story about them, or talking about some type of defining personality trait of theirs as a child, or something to that effect. We'll see how exactly this gets interpreted as I go along. I will start with Adam, of course, because that is where this whole idea was born. I've been wanting to talk about what a lucky streak Adam had going for him during his childhood. Who knows, he may still have it. I'm pretty sure that any day now, Ed Mcmahon (no clue if that's how to spell his name) will be showing up on the doorstep of Adam and Amber's new home, and presenting Adam with on of those gigantic Publisher's Clearinghouse checks. Yeah, and then with my luck, Adam will decide to share some of the money with me, and I will buy some stuffed Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers dolls (yeah, more on that later).

Adam's luck all started when he was born, and was given the name Adam. Until I was about....9, I really truly believed that most of Adam's luckiness somehow came about from the fact that his name started with the first letter of the alphabet. I guess I was just imagining a giant bowl of entry forms, and one of the people in charge of the contest says :

"Wow, there is no way we're gonna be able to choose a winner out of all these entrys"

And some lazy person (probably named Aaron) who doesnt care about all us poor unfortunates replies,

"Eh, let's just keep the names that start with an 'A' and throw out the rest of the alphabet."

To which the oblivious original speaker, who never enters contests, therefore isn't concerned with this blatant disregard for fairness, says.

"Ok, fine with me."

10 minutes later....................................

"Looks like we've got a winner, 'Adam Nelson' lets call him up and tell him the good news."

The second epidsode of "Adam wins everything" consisted of him being about...4 years old (??) and winning, not only tickets, but also backstage passes to some kind of real live showing of his favorite cartoon ever......Thunder Thunder Thunder Thundercats hooooooooo (or something like that). Of course, I got to come along, and enjoy all of the benfits of Adam's winnings, but that, my friends was completely beside the point. Adam was the benevolent host of all this wonderfulness, and I was merely mooching off of his winnings.

Up next in Adam's lucky shennanegins is the probably the biggest out of his winnings, at least at the time it seemed like the biggest. The channel Fox 54 was having some kind of contest where, I suppose, you sent in your name, and they would randomly choose a person to call. This chosen person was instructed "dont say hello, say Fox 54." If the person that was called followed these instructions, they won $54 and got to film a little commercial for Fox 54. Take a wild gander at who in our household got the coveted call from Fox 54.....correct, Adam! I'm not even sure if he actually answered "Fox 54" or not. I don't think they were all that strict on enforcing that rule. It was basically, if you get the call, you're in. So, Adam, at the ripe old age of about...7, won 54 dollars! To Adam and me this might as well have been a million dollars. Of course, with Mom's encouragement, Adam shared the money with me. We went to Toys R Us, and I used my pity money to purchase a lovely stuffed set of Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers. I was grateful to be shared with of course, but I remember wishing that I could have been the sharer, instead of the sharee. Adam made his commercial, and for some reason that didn't really bother me. I enjoyed seeing him on tv, and I didn't really wish that I could have been the one on tv. I just really wanted to have won the $54.

Let's see.....after the $54 in winnings came something that was probably the most insignificant bundle of luck in Adam's mind, but the most excruciatingly painful event to me. The competition was just a simple guessing game. Not much skill involved. In fact, Adam, Jared and I didn't even make the guesses for ourselves. Mom just entered each of our birthdays as our guesses. But...........................get this..................

The prize: 101 Dalmations Tshirts. 101 Dalmations was my thing, or more like my obsession. I had a deep seeded need to collect everything with black and white spots. One christmas it was like every present I got was 101 Dalmations, a sleeping bag, stuffed puppies, a handheld game, underwear, stickers.....ok you get the point. So, in my mind I just really believed that if there was any justice in the world, the powers that be would select me as the winner of this amazing contest. Not so. Adam won. The object was to guess how many spots,in all, were covering the Dalmations in the movie poster. In a complete act of luck, Adam's birthdate was the closest out of all the entries to the correct number. So, he won a set of tshirts. I think there were at least 4 shirts, one for Adam, Jared, Anna, and me. Now of course if I had been a logical thinker I would have been overjoyed because at least someone in our family had won, and thereby secured me a spotted tshirt that was not being sold in stores. But, all my competitive brain could think about was that Adam had won again! And this time it had been on my home turf!

Another one of Adam's forays into the world of luckiness occurred when he and I, and possibly Jared (but probably not Jared because he would have never had the patience to sit down and color an entire bunny picture), entered into a "coloring contest" around Easter. All that was required was to color a cute little bunny picture, and turn it into the local grocery store. The winner would be awarded a giant Easter basket stuffed with all kinds of cheapo toys and goodies that all children love. My bunny was beautiful. He was blue and purple and yellow (all in pastel shades, because what could be more eastery?). I darkened all of the edges in the picture, and lightly shaded the insides. I thouroughly enjoyed the coloring process, and almost forgot about the competition side of it. When Adam and I compared finished products, I almost felt sorry for him. There was nothing fanciful or springy about his picture. His rabbit was brown and his grass was dark green. It looked like the kind of bunny that hunters would go after, not a bunny that could wear a bowtie and hand out Easter eggs. At this point I just knew I was going to win. It would be a runaway. A few days later, we got the call. "Congratulations Adam Nelson! You can pick up your basket during these times." I was disgusted. Mom tried to convince me that it was just a random drawing. Which would have just meant another case of those bums taking out everyone but the "A's." But I knew better. This was even worse. This wasn't just a case of bad luck on my part for not being named Annabelle. This was a blatant disregaurd for genuine coloring skills and Easter spirit. The conductor of this event needed to be holding a Field and Stream coloring contest. Not an Easter coloring contest. Once again, Adam shared his prize with me, giving me candy, and even a little toy truck that was inside one of the eggs. I was probably wearing my 101 dalmations charity tee, and holding my pity Chip and Dale stuffed animals in my lap. And I was not amused.

My last remembrance of Adam's lucky streak is not quite as painful as the others. Possibly because I was older. Possibly because it happened during the most wonderful trip of my life. It was the year 2000. We, along with the Hubbard family were on the Disney Wonder! After dinner one night, we all went to the famiy nite club, Studio Sea. This was right around the height of Who Wants to be a Millionaire's popularity. The special for the nite's entertainment was Disney's own version of this wildly popular show, entitled, "Who Wants to be a Mouseketeer." Upon entering Studio Sea, each person was given a ticket with a number. We would later find out that these tickets would be used to select constestants for the show. Ha! And they were trying to pretend that they didn't take part in the conspiracy that is "A" discrimination. Obviously they did, because Adam was selected. Happily, this time I was not bitter, or insulted. I was just happy to be able to claim the first contestant as someone from my party. Plus, I knew he would have more of a chance at winning than I would, and I wanted to see what kind of prizes would be given out. But most of all, I was happy, because this was just further proof for my, "Adam is Freakishly Lucky" case.