Growing up, my brother and I wrestled (both figuratively and literally) for the honor of 'golden child.' Contemporaneously, it's a lost cause for both of us. Tom has the deal sewn up solid. He's charming and occasionally amusing, I'll grant you, but there's a clincher when it comes to my parents. He's a computer nerd with the patience of a 1-900 line charge-by-the-minute astrologist.
So when my dad calls and I greet him warmly, "Hello Father," he will normally grunt and ask if Tom is home. If I say no, Tom is not home, Dad will pause. Then he will ask with little enthusiasm something like, "Well, do you know how to do the GPS?"
Tom was not home on Saturday. Dad had to work with the B team.
"I think this woman is flirting with me on the email," he tells me, equal parts distressed and baffled; Dad's been fully and completely married for forty-five years.
"Why do you think she's flirting with you on the email?" I wonder aloud.
"Because after every sentence, she's writing LOL. LOL. LOL."
(There's a long stretch of silence while I think about this. I'm not first string for a reason.)
Finally, I ask, "Pop, what do you think LOL stands for?"
"Lots of love."
At this point, my father probably does not appreciate my huge chortle eruption (or LOL, if you will). Tom would have kept a lid on it. That's why he's the golden child.