Scorpion & Pen

by Jane Moneypenny

“And your new nickname will be … Scorpion.”

Mr. Bruised Ego’s little sister grinned widely at me as she announced it to her family at dinner. The 6 other people looked confused by the nickname, but she was onto her next victim, dubbing her Mr. Bruised Ego as “Pretty Pretty Princess” and her two other brothers as “Girly Girl” and “Odd.” Pretty Pretty Princess’ friend visiting from NY was granted “Pen” due to her mistaking his last name as “Penicillin.” Ah, the mind of a 11-year old girl. I think I’m her newest favorite person.

I grew up with a small family: my parents, my younger sister and me. All our extended family lived out of the country, so there were never massive family reunions or dinners or parties at holidays. I was lucky to grow up with a large crowd of kids my age from the close knit group of friends my parents made, but it was never really the same. Tonight, I experienced first hand what it’s like to have a big immediate family.

After spending a day baking in the hot sweltering sun (first day of no massive thunderstorms in weeks!) in the Quarter with Pen and Mr. Bruised Ego, we sat down to dinner with the latter’s family. Having spent Thanksgiving with his huge extended Italian family in the past, I was no stranger to their dynamic, but when you’re sitting at a table with 4 bickering siblings, 2 parents, 2 dogs and an out-of-town guest, it’s an experience.

Because I’m not close to my sister, it’s fascinating to watch other siblings interact, especially when they’re so much alike. Mr. Bruised Ego’s youngest brother, at the tender age of 15, is a spitting image physically of the oldest (Mr. Bruised Ego) with the hormones and girl-loving ways of 23-year older brother. But how the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! His arrogance and inflated sense of self at such a young age has caused worry for his two older brothers and both have tried unsuccesfully to intervene. They blame it on their male cousins, but in the end, the kid’s surrounded by a lot of older men who are all a bit hormonal and love women.

Having not grown up around cousins and brothers and older sisters, I wonder how differently I would have turned out if I had. Would I be more confident or more insecure? Watching his little sister as a tiny version of a command leader of troops that has a flair for the dramatic makes me laugh. At her age, I was incredibly shy and barely spoke unless I was around good friends, but I guess when you’re the only girl and the youngest in a family of boys, you have to make yourself known. Good luck to her future boyfriends; she’s definitely not going to take any crap from any boy!

Capped the night with a fabulous jazz set by Charmaine Neville (sister of the Neville brothers) at Snug Harbor and it relaxed my chaotic mind and emotions as of late. So many decisions to make in the very very near future and I have absolutely no clue what the right one is. What happens when your future falls into your lap 5 years early, in a city you just aren’t ready for?

(Also, Pen’s not too bad looking…)