I grew up as a twin. It was different. Part of it meant you were constantly making choices and comparing the things you did. Often as a kid you get various choices, the type of ice cream you want, the color you’d prefer, the cool drink, and so on.
To start off with a list of comparisons I was right handed and my brother left handed. We were furturnile twins, which basically means two babies formed in different sacks in the womb. So we were twins and had similar features (physically), although personality wise… very different.
If we went out on a family car trip, we had a tradition of stopping by MacDonald’s for a milkshake. It came down to three choices… Chocolate, Vanilla, or Strawberry. Only girls ever had vanilla, so the choice was simple…chocolate or strawberry. I always chose chocolate, and my brother was the strawberry man. I remember once being very embarrassed because their chocolate flavoring ran out, and I was stuck with sucking on Vanilla. The weird thing is I never stopped to ask why. Did my brother always default to Strawberry, because he didn’t want to be the same as me? I was the chocolate guy, and that was that.
Often we’d get two different types of toys. Back then they didn’t come in a variety of colors…it was either blue or red. I always chose blue, and my brother was the red guy. I dare not take the red toy, least I upset the universal balance of things.
For our tenth birthday we were given bicycles. We loved these machines. We really rode them everywhere, but the day we got them I swear to God, my name was on the blue one, and my brothers on the red one. It’s as if our choices had somehow filtered through into our parents’ consciousness.
We played cricket a lot as kids. When it came down to choosing you favorite position (batsman or bowler), I was the batsman and my brother the bowler. Life doesn’t always give us these two sided choices, but maybe things were amplified for me since I was a twin. I only had one brother, so perhaps this was fate for me? When it decided to rain and we sat inside playing Monopoly, my brother would choose the car and I would use the top hat as pieces on the board.
When I was a kid there didn’t seem to be too many flavors of cool drink either. It was either coke or fanta…I was the coke guy. Was I ever curious as to what fanta tasted like? Well I had a sip of my brothers occasionally, to make sure I wasn’t coke-ified the whole time. That’s the way things were.
When it came to playing sport we got quite competitive here and there. I remember once my tennis coach pulling me aside and saying “Listen here, you realize you don’t always have to compete with your brother.” I denied it and said I wasn’t. He replied “I’ve seen the way you and your brother interact, just remember you don’t have to be better than him. You two are not the same.”
There are very few teachers words that stick in your head, although I seem to remember them clearly. If I still knew where this guy was I would go back and thank him. It’s strange how one little comment and stay engrained in your memory.