It wasn't until I learned I'm about to become a great uncle yet
again that I formulated my theorytoo late to bring to the UN
population conference in Cairo. But some good may yet be done. Here's
what I know:
We'll never really control population growth until we come up with a
cure for SROGS (Sibling Rivalry of Grandparents Syndrome).
UN researchers already know that GP (Grandparent Pressure) ranks
right up there with GR (General Randiness) as a leading cause of
BTAAWTOATMB (Births That Aren't As Well Thought Out As They Might
It's a well-documented fact that GF (Grandparenting Frenzy) sets in
during the sixth decade of the life cycle of TGs (Thwarted Grandparents).
GF results in irrational displays of Grandparent Pressure: for example,
while watching holiday football games with their offspring, TGs might
click on the Michelin ads they videotaped earlier. You knowthe ones
with those fat little babies sitting inside Michelin tires and looking like they
want you to chuck them under their fat little chins and say "Hey there.
But that's old news.
And you don't have to be a UN expert to know about SRAAA
(Sibling Rivalry Among the Awkwardly Aging). Say you call an
awkwardly aging brother in Houston to tell him how funny your puppy is
when he squats to pee on a front-page story about the senior senator from
"That pansy pup of yours still squats ?" this brother might
ask. "Why, our pup, who's a month younger than yours, has been lifting
his leg for a week now."
You get the idea. Nothing new there, either.
But what I now understandand what UN experts don'tis that
fusing GP and SRAAA results in SROGS, a combination as
symbiotic as match and gunpowder, and little population explosions
detonate across the globe.
It's taken me a while to catch on to it because I myself outgrew
sibling rivalry a long time ago. My three awkwardly aging sisters, sad to
say, have not.
I detected SRAAA symptoms when I called a couple of years ago to
tell them about the births of my two grandbabies, Lovely Little Leslie Jo the
Wonder Child, and Mari the Marvelous.
"I'm a grandfather," I told them when Leslie Jo was born to my older
son's wife. "Neener, neener, neener."
Then before my sisters could even begin to apply retributive pressure
to their children, Mari was born to my daughter and son-in-law.
"I'm a grandfather again, " I told my sisters. "I have two little
baby granddaughters and you don't."
"I do," my older sister said. "I have two
"Yes," I said, "but your granddaughters are adolescents. Mine are
little baby girls that I can chuck under their fat little chins while I say 'Hey.
"Of course you have two little baby granddaughters," my
middle sister said. "You always get what you want. Mama liked you best
because you're the boy."
The Truth, Mainly
"My dog lifts his leg," my younger sister said. "Yours still squats."
I'd get the same response when I'd call with the latest Baby Bulletins.
"My granddaughters are talking," I'd tell my sisters. "Want to know
what they can say?"
"My granddaughters haven't quit talking since 1982," my older sister
"Yes," I'd say, "but my granddaughters are toddlers. They
talk and toddle at the same time. It's a wonderful combination."
That was too much. Massiveand wantonretaliation began nine
months later. My older sister called to say her son's wife just had a little
"I suppose little baby boys are all right," I said. "Did I tell you our
little granddaughters sit on their little potty chairs and sing little songs? I
don't suppose little baby boys do that."
Then about six weeks later, my younger sister called to say her
daughter and son-in-law just had a little baby boy too.
"Named Arlo," she said. "After Arlo Guthrie, and he's cute as all get
"My dog can climb a chainlink fence," I said, "and he's only got one
Then just last week, my middle sisterwho's been pretty put out ever
since my younger sister cut in line ahead of hercalled to say that her son's
wife is pregnant, and even though I was always spoiled rotten because I
was the boy, now she's going to get to have a grandbaby too.
"I have two grandbabies," I reminded her.
"Maybe it'll be twins," she said. "Or triplets. Maybe it'll be
four little toddlers like those babies in 'Raising Arizona.' What
would you say to that?"
Ecologically irresponsible, I'd say. My sisters are out of control. The
UN's RRST (Reproductive Restraint Swat Team) should step in before it's
If they don't, I'm going to have to play hard ball. I'm going to have to
send our younger son and his sweetie pie my videotapes of the Michelin
Satterfield is a college professor and writes as a means of discovery.