Raising Siblings: A Guide To How Fucked You Are

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Illustration by Sam Woolley
Illustration by Sam Woolley

Your letters:


My wife’s pregnant with our second kid. Our oldest will be six when the new one comes along. I’m freaking out a little about the age difference. You have multiple children, does your oldest get along with your youngest?

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA NO. No, of course not. God forbid anything be EASY. You might have an easier time because of the age gap between your kids, since six-year-olds are more self-reliant than younger children. But you’re still gonna go through the same stages of sibling rivalry, and here they are.

  1. Telling the older kid about the new one. Please note that it’ll take a while for it to register with the older kid. You will say, “Mommy is having another baby,” and the kid will say, “Okay,” like it’s nothing at all, because children tend to shrug off seismic events. It’s only, like, eight weeks later when the shock wears off and they’re like, “Wait, really?”
  2. Older kid is genuinely excited for the baby, or at least pretends to be. She’ll rub your wife’s belly, and help shop for baby supplies and set up the nursery, and you’ll say to yourself, “Oh wow, she’s really being great about all this!” You’ll even brag to friends about it, because you are a naïve fool.
  3. Baby arrives. The older kid will ask to be in the delivery room when this happens, and then sulk when she gets shipped off to Nana’s house for the big moment. But then the baby comes and you bring it home and the older kid claps and squeals for joy. She’ll want to help feed it and then you’ll have to shoo her away because she keeps jamming the bottle into its eye. Again, everything seems to be going swimmingly.
  4. Older kid suddenly realizes that you do not have as much time for her. Only the oldest child in a family knows it’s like to be the only child in the family, and it must be pretty awesome because they don’t like giving up that crown. Once it’s clear that the baby has needs, your older kid will start saying shit like, “Are we really keeping him?” and “I wish Frankie didn’t exist” and “I wish Frankie were dead.” You will hear all of that verbatim. Except the Frankie part.
  5. Younger kid grows, learns to fight and argue. I grew up with siblings, and so I shouldn’t have been surprised by the amount of vitriol between my children, but I TOTALLY was. Sometimes they really beat the hell out of each other. And when they say something cruel, they mean it. You think Twitter is a cesspool? Twitter is NOTHING. Having siblings is like having someone read the worst of Twitter out loud to you from the backseat of a car, all while throwing shoes at you. Sometimes the kids get along beautifully and I think to myself, “This is it. They’ve finally managed to connect. They’re buds for life!” And then, five minutes later, someone starts crying because they got kicked in the nuts. I don’t have the strength.
  6. Older kid learns how to nag, put down younger child. I will badger my oldest kid to do her homework or clean up after herself, and she will then turn around and say the exact same shit to her younger brothers. It’s horrifying. YOU, ALL RIGHT? I LEARNED IT BY WATCHING YOU!

So that’s how it works, no matter how large the age gap is (unless it’s some crazyass age gap like 20 years or something). There’s no real optimal spacing to help preserve your sanity. I know people who have twins, and the nice thing about twins is that once they get older, you’ve knocked out two grown kids at once. No second phase of diaper changing and night feeding. The problem is that, by then, you’re already a broken man. Either way, you’re doomed.

The best thing you can do to manage siblings is let them settle their differences on their own, preferably in a soundproof basement while you are upstairs drinking beer. That’s my chosen method.




When it comes to chicken wings, which is overall better: Traditional or Boneless? Yes, boneless are easier to eat but that doesn’t make them better right? Boneless wings are essentially glorified chicken nuggets.


Traditional. And I’m not saying that just to be a food snob who’s like BONELESS WINGS ARE AN AFFRONT TO GOD. Sometimes real wings are a pain in the ass, so I get the appeal of boneless ones. I’ve ordered them before. The problem is that they’re never anywhere as good as regular wings, because they aren’t wings. They’re just fire-hosed bits of ribcage that got melded into a chicken drummie. It’s worth the mess to get that real wing flavor, you know?

Also, on a fundamental level, I kinda like eating like a pig, and wings are the perfect food for that. No one will fault you if you make a mess while eating wings. You get orange shit all over your face and use 50,000 napkins and everyone understands. So it’s fun to suck them down and drool snot all over the bones and behave like a complete savage. REAL MAN FOOD BRO. This is why Hooters is Jon Gruden’s favorite restaurant.



I just got done watching In the Heart of the Sea and it got me thinking about eating the dead in a survival situation. Every movie that depicts this has the people vomiting and gagging. Is this all mental or because of the taste? I’ve eaten a good share of different animals and find myself enjoying most of them. But when it comes to like eyeballs or tongue or whatever, how much of the disgust from that is mental vs. actual taste?


I say it’s from anguish. I don’t think your average plane wreck survivor eats human flesh, vomits, and then is like, “Damn! I really expected Billy to taste better than that. Can we get a boneless version of this dish?” There’s a good possibility that the flesh is already half-rancid once survivors have to eat it, but that’s beside the point. The horror of having to eat people—people you know, no less—is certain to manifest itself in physical ways, regardless of bold flavors. Even with proper seasoning, you would cry and gag and vomit and exhibit every last sign of crippling grief.

If anything, you would only feel sicker if the meat tasted GOOD. I don’t think I’d want Billy to taste good. I watched Alive once and, in that movie, they just start cutting away meat from dead bodies and eating it. No salt. No pepper. No side dishes. No roasting some guy’s leg on a spit to seal in the juices. You just wanna get the meal over with so that you never have to think about it again. That’s the smart way to go.


By the way, In The Heart Of the Sea is based on a very good book. I highly recommend it. Never hurts to start planning for cannibalism these days.



Can we all agree that the new Sunday Night Football song is the most awful football game lead-in in the history of football? I’ve been waiting all day, and I’m ready for some football, but stop trying to make Sunday Night about to happen. It’s not going to happen.


It’s awful. And now they have Carrie chime in during interstitials too, going UNNGHHHHHH SUNDAY NIGHT as they cut to break, so I can’t avoid it even if I tried.


The only reason they open the broadcast with that song is to make rednecks horny. It’s the softest of softcore. “Hooo weee! It’s Carrie Underwewd! And she’s wearin’ a short skirt HOT DAMN!” I guarantee they put five times as much planning into her outfit as they did the song itself. That way, your Uncle Billyjoejimbob can hit the toilet to whack off while Al and Cris talk about Russell Wilson’s grueling knee rehab. That’s all a Sunday Night tradition now.

By the way, this reminds me of a story Peter King once told about Panthers owner and Pottersville mayor Jerry Richardson…

Jerry Richardson had his heart transplant on Super Bowl Sunday between the Steelers and Cardinals. He got the phone call to hustle into the hospital in Charlotte for the surgery late that afternoon. This I didn’t know: It was an NBC game that day, and when Richardson was being prepped for surgery, he had one request before being put under. “I wanted to hear that Faith Hill song,’’ he said. The NBC theme song for the football game was the last thing, other than some personal words from his wife, he heard before the transplant.


What the fuck, Jerry. “Before I die, I just wanna hear that shitty song and git horny for Faith Hill in them boots one more time…”



I spilled a full quart of left-over rice on the kitchen floor two days ago. My wife is finding rice everywhere! I swear I cleaned it all up! (She’s pissed…and rice is hard for me to make!) What’s the worst thing to spill in the kitchen? GrapeNuts have to be up there along with rice. Perhaps cornmeal (use it twice a year), or cream of wheat (every three years)?


Rice is bad because rice is brittle, so when it lands on the counter, it goes bouncing and skittering all over the place. Sometimes it even crosses state lines. DAMN YOU, RICE!!!! Anyway, here are some other candidates:

  1. Coffee. Every morning I make the coffee, and there’s always a 50/50 chance that I will accidently knock the coffee scoop against something and watch in horror as a quarter-teaspoon of that shit goes flying across the kitchen and lands in every possible crack of every possible surface. Goddamn coffee. No wonder people buy K-Cups. It’s worth destroying the Earth just to avoid the mess.
  2. Granulated sugar. God dammit, sugar. How you can be so sweet but such a pain in the ass? YOU ARE LIKE A CHILD. There’s nothing worse than spilling sugar and then spending the rest of the day walking around and feeling GRIT everywhere, like your apartment is now a fucking sandbox. From now on, I’m using powdered sugar for everything.
  3. Raw chicken juice. All chicken from the supermarket comes packaged in ten pints of salmonella brine. It’s awful. Even when I place the pack of chicken in the sink and carefully open the plastic wrap with a knife, the e. coli juice sprays all over the goddamn place. Every home should come equipped with a robot chicken butler, to handle all unsanitary chicken liquids.
  4. Honey. Even when I think I’ve poured the honey cleanly, I haven’t. Everything is glued to everything: my hands, my plate, my cup, my napkins, my feet. Honey should come in capsule form. Just place it on your English muffin or drop it in your tea and breaks open and spreads itself. We could make millions from this idea, you and I.
  5. Red wine. GAHHHHHHHHHH HURRY AND CLEAN IT UP BEFORE IT STAINS! Sometimes I just lick it up with my tongue, directly off the table. That way I don’t lose any of the precious alcoholic content. I may have issues.


How many people in her life currently call the Queen by her first name, to her face? Her sister isn’t alive, so other than perhaps her husband (not guaranteed!) I can’t think of anyone.


According to this article, Prince Philip has pet names for the Queen, including, “Lilibet, Darling or Sausage.” SAUSAGE! Holy shit, he calls her Sausage. How? Why? If I called my old lady Sausage, she’d tear my heart out. I need to know the full back story behind Queen Sausage. “Oi Sausage! Fancy a cuppa, my little porker? Cricket’s on the telly, my precious li’l can of blood pudding!” If I ever meet the Queen, I’m gonna call her Sausage too, just to watch her faint from outrage. That’s the punk rock move. WHAT UP, SAUSAGE?




What’s the easiest way to get over a girl?

A new girl! Find a new girl and lock your sights on her. Think about her all the time. Obsess over her. Have sexy fantasies about her. And then, when she rejects you outright and destroys your spirit, find a NEW new girl. Repeat the process until you either hit paydirt, or die.


I remember being a horny teen and crushing on some girl, then moving onto another girl, and then moving BACK to the previous crush, just to make sure there was still no chance in hell. I feel awful for all those girls now. I should really go apologize. I can’t even imagine how bad it was to be a teenage girl, trying to mind her own business, and have Horny Drew call after dinner to make small talk. “So, like… you doing anything this weekend? I might go to the mall.” That must have been torture. I should pay restitution.

Breaking up with a girl or getting shot down is always painful, and the worst part is that there’s nothing anyone can do to make it better in the immediate aftermath. You don’t wanna hear your parents reassure you, or listen to your BROS talk about other fish in the sea, or anything like that. You just wanna be alone with your misery. And that’s fine. You can pull a Mikey from Swingers and indulge in your grief. Grow a beard. Get fat. Stare wistfully at old photos. Listen to “Skinny Love” on repeat. Get it out of your system. Eventually, you’ll get tired of feeling like shit and start moving around again. You, and only you, can decide if you’re gonna let a broken heart break the rest of you. Now let’s go grab a beer.




I was at a bar a couple months ago in a college town and I happened to witness a girl turn green and immediately throw up into a totebag (no idea if it was hers or not). It was a magical sight to see as I am almost 100% sure that I was the only one to witness this happening.


NICE. I wonder what percentage of purses have been barfed in. I bet there’s a barf purse in every walk-in closet of every rich girl in America.



My wife floated the idea of maybe not going to her family’s Thanksgiving get-together this year. I said that might be a good idea, as we’d be outnumbered approximately 20 to 2 as the only non-Trumpites in attendance. My question is: in the next two weeks, how enthusiastically can I try to change that ‘maybe not’ in to a ‘definitely not’?


You can skip it if you want. We could probably all use a little break from one another for bit. I will say this, though: If I’ve learned anything in the past year (unlikely), it’s that nothing will be solved in here. It’s a trite cliché, but nothing will be get better if everyone keeps to their corners, firing volleys of takes at one another on Facebook or Twitter or wherever else. It can only come from meeting face-to-face, looking each other in the eye, and getting absolutely fucking HAMMERED together. That’s the only hope. Any other kind of effort is a waste of time. Unless it’s Collinsworth owning Simmons on Twitter. That shit revived me like chicken soup.



For $500,000 would you, for a whole year, become the physical embodiment of the worst type of Patriots fan? I’m talking protesting outside the NFL HQ, posting a picture on Facebook saying you’re the only guy in the world to have the jersey for all three of your QBs, responding to anyone saying something about the Pats cheating with ‘EVERYONE CHEATS’, wear a Gronk jersey at every public outing, “12" in your Twitter avatar, etc etc?


In a vacuum, yes. Like, assuming I haven’t built an entire career on hating the Patriots (I have), that’s a no-brainer. NO ONE DENIES THIS. I hate the Patriots as much as anyone, but if you’re telling me that I get half a million just to cheer on a good team for a full season? I’m no idiot. I’m taking the money and drinking white wine with Marky Mark and posting terrible comments on Barstool and betraying all the values I hold dear. Once the year is over, I can pawn all my Pat Patriot gear and go back to rooting for my normal, shitty team, secretly savoring my paid vacation away from its miseries. I would do that. Sports aren’t THAT important. Make me an offer, kid.



I’m pregnant with my first kid and, as such, am constantly deluged by poor to middling advice. I have now heard from two different, seemingly intelligent women that I should plan to bake cookies to bring with us to the hospital to give to the labor and delivery staff. Not only do I have to deliver a baby into this clown-infested world, I also have to cheerfully offer up a platter of brownies to the woman who just sewed my taint back together. Based on your experience with modern childbirth, is this a thing? And if so, what the fuck?


That is NOT a thing. Plenty of people write thank-you notes AFTER having a baby and being discharged from the hospital, but you don’t have to show up with anything. This isn’t a house party. You’re the pregnant woman, which means everyone else should be bending over backwards to accommodate YOU, not the other way around. They should be fetching you hot tea and soft pillows and push presents (terrible name for it) and asking you if you are comfortable every five seconds, until you start getting pissed off about it.

Once you have the baby, you will be expected to raise it and nurture it and help provide for it, and you’ll be expected to do all that with a happy face and a lean body, killing yourself to balance the demands of motherhood with all the other demands of being a woman in the 21st century. So enjoy your late pregnancy! For a few horribly painful months, you are the QUEEN. Isn’t that awesome?! Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.


I remember when my wife was having our kids, and my job at the hospital was essentially to be the Errand Boy. I had to go fetch ice chips, and switch out kidney bowls, and walk out to the nursing station if they were late answering the CALL button. And I sucked at it. I was such a meek little servant. Honey, I know you asked for a new gown but I don’t know where the gowns are! Can you help me find the other gowns? And are you REALLY sure you want me to ask the front desk where the doctor is? What if the doctor gets pissed and never comes? Also, I got you a HALF cup of ice chips, because I didn’t want the cup to be too full and spill ice on the fetus and kill it. Is that okay? Did you want more ice than that? You probably did. I’ll go get more ice (slips on banana peel on the way out the door).



Right now, I feel a wet dump coming on. If I hold it in for a while, it’ll solidify into a more passable turd, right?


No, that’s not how that works. If your small intestine hasn’t absorbed most of the water from your stool, your rectum cannot finish the job. If you hold it in, you will become a ticking diarrhea bomb. Go get it out of your system, eat some bananas, and hope for better luck on the next pass. If you’ve been to this website before, you know that nothing good comes from trying to stave off the inevitable.

By the way, the only upside to the runs is when you go to wipe and it’s clean. That’s a real bittersweet moment.




When watching a football game, is there anything better then when the TV station is cutting away to a commercial, playing dramatic music while showing game highlights in slow-mo, only to have it suddenly stopped because there was a penalty on the previous play and they have to quickly cut back to the live feed to show the call? CHAOS! GOD I LOVE IT.


You know what the ultimate example of that was? The Super Bowl blackout. That was the perfect, extended example of what happens when a game broadcast is hit with something completely unexpected, and no amount of canned laughter or inane commentary or slick production can smooth it out. It goes from amusing to awkward to painful and then back to amusing again.


The election was kind of the same way. Once it became clear that Trump was gonna win, you could SEE the horror on the faces of the studio hosts. You could tell that they were trying to maintain composure and failing badly. Every broadcast was permeated with raw grief. DARREN ROVELL FEELS BAD FOR OUR COUNTRY BUT THAT WAS TREMENDOUS CONTENT.



My girlfriend and I have been arguing about what does and does not qualify as “a snack” for almost a month. She argues that certain types of food can never be considered snacks. I call BS and say that it’s the AMOUNT of food you consume that determines whether or not something is a snack. Please tell the world how wrong she is and also make me feel better about eating 6" subs and leftover slices of pizza as “snacks”.


The amount of food doesn’t matter because—like any other American—I am more than capable of ingesting 2,000 calories as a “light snack”. I think the way to solve this argument is to answer a handful of questions…

Are you between proper meals? SNACK.

Are you sitting down at a full place setting? NOT A SNACK.

Are you eating the food straight from its container? SNACK.

Are you at a fancy restaurant that has a SNACKS section of the menu? ODDLY NOT A SNACK.


Are you ashamed people will see you? SNACK.

Are there courses? STILL POSSIBLY A SNACK.



Got it? Good. Time for the email of the week!


I need some advice about socks. Last year, at our office Christmas party, we did the typical Secret Santa routine, and—because my co-workers are in the dictionary under “lame”—I got three pair of cheap, black socks. Here’s the problem: the socks are just a little too small for my feet, so they only go a few inches above my ankles, which means they fall down constantly. Here’s the other problem: I’m cheap as hell. A normal person would just throw the socks out, or maybe donate them to Goodwill, but not me. I’ve got to wear these socks until they wear out. Now, being that these are clearly discount rack socks, you’d think that they’d fall apart within a month. Not these.

In fact, after nine months of constant wear, they appear to be indestructible. I’ve tried pulling up the socks every five minutes (which I have to do anyway) with all the force I can muster in the hope that the tops of the socks will tear. I’ve let my toenails grow out by an inch so they can slice the socks to ribbons—until I almost sent my wife to the hospital with a gash in her leg and had to cut them back again. Nothing is working. In fact, they show absolutely no signs of wear at all. It’s like these socks are made out of Kevlar. I have much nicer, more comfortable, socks, but this has now reached the level of a personal vendetta with me. I realize I need help, so I am reaching out to you—which should fully illustrate the level of my desperation. What do I do? Admit defeat and throw the demon socks out so they can eventually make their way to some other sucker? Or do I go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of my intolerable situation as best I can? I’m wearing a pair of the socks right now, and I can feel a little part of me die every time I put them on in the morning. What say you?


I would throw out the socks.