To the untrained civilian eye, a cursory examination of me would turn up the expected biographical information: Joshua Gordon, 24 years old, married with his first baby on the way, family oriented man, x# of pounds, etc, etc... However, a much more perceptive eye could see the intensity and turbulent strength simmering below the mild yet engaging personality. On the outside, I could be a face in the crowd, as nameless as the next nine to fiver. Inside, however, lurks a tiger: pulsing bands of feline power.
I was selected at birth to perform. Factors outside my control have corralled my potential, sculpting destiny itself towards a goal. Today, my life's course follows the contours of Purpose. Since my first tottering steps, I've have been crafted into a perfect machine. I exist to fulfill a role as grandiose as any ever offered to a member of humanity. I am Joshua Gordon. I am twenty four years old and I am an older brother.
The Gordon Clan consists of figurehead-Dad and figurehead-Mom, older sister Liz, Me, six more boys, and finally, youngest sister Christel. That's nine kids, eleven Gordons total. (no twins or triplets... yes, they're all from the same marriage.)I've known for as long as I've been able to know anything that my role as the oldest boy is fraught with steep responsibility.
As a result, I acquired the merceneric mindset and cutthroat instincts of a predator early on in my childhood. My role as the oldest brother required – nay – demanded this of me. As brothers, we lived with an unspoken and unwritten code: outside the safety of home, we were a team, a tight-knit fraternity. We stamped our fraternal legacy with bruises upon unwitting would-be assailants.
As the oldest, it fell to me to serve as leader, a position I undertook with a sense of gravity and gritty determination. Not surprisingly, I felt the full weight of the Gordon brother's silent code. Thus, in order to best carry the mantel of protector and mentor to my siblings, I worked tirelessly to develop my skill.
At my peak, honed to a razor's edge, I bristled with finely tuned senses and blazing reflexes. However, the adage “you lose what you don't use” hung heavy in my mind and out of necessity, I turned to my brethren for practice... which leads us to the second half of our unwritten rule: inside the house, it's every brother for himself.
The battles that raged through the shared bedrooms, two bathrooms, and into the kitchen saw us exercise a relentlessly innovative guerrilla style warfare. We became masters of drawing from our environment; we built arsenals of wooden spoons, couch cushions, and mom's weighty feather pillows. We realized that creativity and the continuing evolution of battle stratagem was crucial to take the others by surprise and ultimately seal our own victory.
This renegade willingness to think and visualize outside of the confines of normal thought lent us the ability to discern a multitude of purposes for any household item. A can of air-freshener, for example, while a useful for masking bathroom smells, also served as rudimentary pepper spray. A handful of Lego scattered on the carpet while in full flight was debilitating to anyone in pursuit, eliciting howls of pain and delaying the chaser for two seconds at least. Socks could become especially effective weapons with minimal effort: roll the left one into a tight ball, dampen it under a bathroom faucet, and stuff to the bottom of the right sock.. The resultant club worked as an incredibly capable medium range weapon, especially when wielded in the confines of a hallway chase.
Naturally, throughout all of our battles, I was the perennial champion. I utilized an intense strategic regimen that revolved around an intimate knowledge of the landscape of our home. I immersed myself in the natural flow of traffic; I memorized the placement of couches and chairs; I understood the sock-to-slipperiness ratio of the kitchen linoleum (an invaluable asset);I knew all the sight-lines. And, I had a secret weapon. If ever I sensed the landscape of power shifting away from me, it took no time and only a little luck to pull out the big guns, my greatest and most potent skill: the ability to charm Mom and Dad.
Most of the time, our battles existed apart from either parent's influence, but with some imagination and significant emotional investment on my part, it was not at all atypical for an offender to be relegated to his bedroom for at least a ten minute time out. While this tactic did by its very nature bring with it levels of resentment from the other boys, it was effective. It bears mentioning that my record (and crowning glory) would undoubtedly be the forty-five minute grounding administered to younger brother Nathan for the shampoo-grenade incident.
All in all, I remain fully convinced that my lengthy dominance of my brethren is largely due to a two-pronged approach: my physical and intellectual/mental strength of presence in my family. It was exactly this multi-faceted plan of attack brought to bear in the perpetual in-house struggle that cemented my position as the Protector, the Mentor, and ultimately, the Don of the Gordon Brethren.
Time has passed, however, and I have moved out of the house and now have a family of my own. I live quietly , incognito, drawing as little attention to myself and my abilities as possible. I move through life, silent and watchful, the lurking tiger within always alert. My days as a renegade guerrilla warrior are over, but The General has come home.