I grew up with three sisters, no brothers. This wasn't really a bad way to grow up. As a result, I am probably more polite. I learned how to Frnech braid hair. I can name nearly a dozen My Little Ponies, and discuss the Baby-sitters Club series of books at length. Still, there were times that I pined for a brother.
The main way I dealt with this was to coerce my younger sisters, Kelly and Molly, into elaborate sporting activities. I'd force them to field grounders, creating endless imaginary simulated baseball games. During the 1992 Summer Games, the three of us would shoot hoops in our driveway, while adopting the personas of Olympic athletes (Molly was always Charles Barkley). One memorable week, we arranged garbage cans and lawn chairs into a backyard obstacle course, which resulted in many bruised shins and the final nail in the coffin for our decrepit metal trash receptacles.
We'd also play hours and hours of soccer. One favorite game was called "Hangin' Goalie", in which I defended our makeshift swingset goals by hanging from the monkey bars as Kelly and Molly took shots. During one of these epic contests, when Kelly and Molly were around nine and seven years old, respectively, I blasted a kick off of Kelly's chest.
She doubled over in mock agony. "Owww, my boobs!" she exclaimed.
We convulsed in laughter. She said "boobs"! Oh, it was comical. But not so comical as what happened a few minutes later.
Another ball ricocheted off the swingset, catching Molly right on the upper thigh. Imitating her older sister, Molly also fell to the ground in mock injury. She rolled onto her back and moaned, "Owww, my nards!"
As we wept with laughter, Molly joined in, but slowly quieted as she realized there'd been a subtle shift from "laughing with" to "laughing at". We brought it up another twenty times that day as Molly fumed, and probably a thousand more times retelling the tale to family members, Molly's friends, strangers at the grocery store, whatever. Still, at that glorious moment of unintentional sibling comedy, I think I stopped wishing for a little brother. After all, I already had a sibling with nards.
Happy birthday, Molly!