The Middle Man

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On family vacations, he would pack his siblings luggage because no one else had time. He would load the car with the skis when they went to Whistler, Canada, and put the chains on the car. He protected his little brother and bailed out his older siblings when they got in trouble. He always had their back.

“Well…someone’s gotta do it,” was pretty much his motto.

Skaggs said he did it because none of his siblings have time or are organized enough. But his facial expressions indicated that it was more than that. He did it out of a need or a desire to please the rest of his family. He figures if they do not pack, their vacation will be compromised, so he does it for them. This also translates to his greater role in the family.

It all makes sense according to the theories of birth order that place great importance on the order of a child in a family. Each child assumes a “role” that impacts their psychological development. They can even end up playing that role for their entire life. The oldest child is the protector, and the youngest child is the baby. And Skaggs is a typical middle child, caught in between an older sister and brother, and his little brother. Growing up in Portland, he was often left to fend for himself. He was the mediator and picked up the slack for the rest of his siblings.

He told a story about the time his entire family of thirty went to Tahoe. His cousins are split up into three groups: the Bigs, the Littles, and the Middles. All the Bigs are “too cool” for any family activity while the Littles are always the rascals and run amok anywhere they go. Skaggs is one of the Middles and they are exactly where they sound, the middle. They have the option to be with the Bigs or the Littles and are equally close to each side. Even in the bigger family dynamic, Skaggs is in the middle again. The Middles have the role of helping out. They always help with dinner, chores, and other family tasks. It also applies to his college life and living in a huge disorganized house. Living in an off-campus house with six other guys for the first time has many challenges.

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Usually, after a week or so, roles arise for each housemate. The house consists of the classic stereotypes: the mom, the dirty guy, the party guy, the guy who doesn’t pay for groceries, the guy who eats all the groceries, and of course, the guy who does all the cleaning. Guess which one is Skaggs. His upbringing has made him the one in the house to dissolve fights and pick up the slack for others. The good part of this role is that everyone loves that person. No one in the house has a problem with Skaggs–in fact everyone loves him. When he walks through the door, eyes light up and a “Skaggs!” yelp is screamed. It is pretty unanimous around the house that he is the most kind and easygoing housemate.

It is not always a bad thing to be the “Skaggs” in a group. Just know that it is easy to take advantage of The Skaggs. It is also easy to forget about how lucky one is to have him/her. After all, someone’s gotta do it.

Story and Photos By: Lorenzo Iacomini

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