Sunday, January 28, 2007

German-Jewish-Scottish-Greek Twins

My sister and I are two and a half years apart. We were conceived at the same time, but she felt pressure to surface at nine months and I did not. (I wanted a May birthday, my own entrance, and nothing to do with the seventies.)

Our grandparents have always given us different versions of the same gift. I originally thought the distribution was random, but it's difficult to ignore patterns. When given porcelain dolls, Meghan received a happy redhead with a flowered dress and boingy curls. I received a German prude in head-to-toe velvet and unbrushable braids. When we were given music boxes, Meghan got a delicate, white merry-go-round, while I was given a haunting clown that turned jerky circles on top of a garishly-painted block. When Keypers became popular (http://www.80stoysale.com/keypers.html), Meghan received the pink snail named Pearl, who came with a pink hairbrush for her long, magenta locks. I unwrapped Sheldon, a sexually-confused, grayish-purple turtle whose one short tuft of hair made his/her hairbrush a total joke. Even when we were given picture frames, Meghan's was pink and mine was green.

It begs the question- do they just like Meghan more? Or, since they seem disappointed these days, were they hoping I would become a lesbian? or a boy? or a circus clown? It is comforting to realize that they seem equally disappointed in Meghan.

As if the entire universe would like to join in on this game, I recently tried translating my name into Chinese. My mom, sister and I have begun to learn Mandarin, and my sister's Chinese name is Mei ge, or "beautiful song." I divided Leighton into Lei tong. Translation? Thunder bucket. Meghan's name is a sweet symphony, and I'm a crude synonym for the toilet. I can change the meaning by changing the tones, so I could modify my name to mean "to accumulate pain" or "together we clean the sewer" or "ribs of copper." I think my options are slowly improving.


Anonymous Olive said...

You've started to learn mandarin with you family?
Have you tried the website Chinese-Tools.com, with online audio courses, dictionary and so on?
Wish you all good luck!

3:12 AM  
Anonymous Angie Martin said...

Oh Leighton, I adore this blog. You just made me laugh til my eyes watered. And I had totally forgotten about my pink snail Keyper until this glorious moment!

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Angie Martin said...

I just totally lied- I didn't have the pink snail--- I had the swan. Also, I just scrolled down the "Keypers" page until I hit the "Finders"--- and it looks like half of them are heiling Hitler.

11:06 AM  

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