I don’t know where I first heard about the burnt pancake theory but it’s been buzzing around inside my head ever since. The idea is that the first child is a kind of rough draft/trial run full of imperfections and faults that are gradually improved with ones who come after.
I’m a first child and when I look at my brothers I can’t help thinking they’re more suited to be humans than I am. They have—or at least convincingly fake—an ease in the world that I can barely fathom. I do the best with what I’ve got but oftentimes I surprise even myself with how difficult simple things are for me.
Goes without saying that the burnt pancake thing isn’t a big hit with my folks. They try to push back or console me every time I say anything about it but I’m not in despair or even jealous of my brothers, within whom roughly the same ingredients seem to perform their tasks so much more smoothly. It’s just an observation. I think I’ve done alright with what I have to work with.
Maybe there’s a nature v. nurture thing that can be applied to all this but that’s above my pay grade. I can say there was more turbulence in the home when I was little than later on. Less money too. These are likely factors. But I think that whatever material you’re made of can only be stretched, bent, and smoothed so much.
I yam what I yam as a famous sailor once said.
The one place I know limitations are an advantage is in making art. If I had better social skills and wider interests my work would suffer. The tunnel vision and absolute conviction are like primary colors on the palette. You have to be thick-headed to get done what I get done.
It’s the consolation prize I lean on every time I’m in a room full of people talking and laughing and feel like I’m from some other planet.