I’m good at sharing.
Probably because everyone has had to share with me, first.
I didn’t have my own
baseball glove until I was 27. I never needed one because one of my brothers had one lying around for me. We shared.
You could say we shared books. But while Dr. Seuss was telling me about the places I’d go, my brothers were reading The Borrowers with my mom. I’d get there some day.
I shared one brother’s Transformers real well. I played with them when he was at school and ran like h-e-double-hockey-sticks when I knew he was coming home. I wasn’t supposed to share those.
Then there were toys that I understood were mine, but the brothers could play with. Obviously, Legos were a big hit. Stuffed animals were fair game. Barbies were all mine, and they made fun of them.
But lately? Lately I’ve learned shocking news.
Turns out, I haven’t really been sharing all this time. I’ve been receiving hand-me-downs.
And, boy, are you missing out when you don’t even understand you’re getting hand-me-downs.
First of all, Legos come with instructions.
I. Did. Not. Know. That.
Mine just appeared by the hundreds in two mighty containers. I had seen airplanes built by Legos in stores, but I didn’t know that was part of the Lego-buying experience. I just thought the kids in the ads were geniuses.
Took me 30+ years to figure it out. And I still don’t know if my brothers got new Legos, with that New Lego smell? Did they follow manufacture-provided instructions and make machines?
Would I even want that?
Maybe you’re wondering where all of this past-digging is coming from.
Dapper Dan is responsible for this.
Dapper Dan and I shared good times when I was a tot. A blond young man, Dapper Dan had a few strands of yarn for hair that I liked to twist, he wore a red and white checked shirt, denim overalls with buttons and a zipper, and shoes with laces that failed to teach me how to tie my own shoes.
I liked him. He was squishy. Kind of had Raggedy Andy’s loveable qualities, but… y’know. He was dapper, thus, less creepy.
He was mine.
My mom showed me a similar Dapper Dan and we both said, “Just like _____.”
My sentence ended with “mine!” as I was suddenly whisked to toddlerhood, tugging on his hair and twisting his buttons.
But my mom’s sentence ended with, “Eric’s!”
I was snapped from my daydream.
Dapper Dan lived a life before me? With my oldest brother?
He’s mine. I was there.
Is Geoff gonna claim he played with Dapper Dan?
Did Dapper have more hair when he was with my brothers? Was he cleaner? Did they tie his shoes?
I tried to quickly come to terms with this. I’m the third child. I had a ridiculous amount of toys. Of course most of them belonged to my brothers first. I know that.
As I accepted that Dapper Dan had a full life before me, my mom sighed, “Eric’s Dapper Dan is in the basement somewhere…”
My mind quietly argued.
“Mine. My Dapper Dan is in the basement.”
Turns out I’m not good at sharing. I’m good at taking.