Sibling rivalry is real, and it can be ugly. Should you find yourself in the lucky position of being born first, congrats!

Image of The Ring Nebula captured by real life sister Melanie Isenbarger

Sibling rivalry is real, and it can be ugly. Should you find yourself in the lucky position of being born first, congrats! The family power dynamic will likely give you a natural advantage that will last throughout your youth. What you don’t always see coming is your younger sister very suddenly becoming an astrophysicist out of nowhere. To make matters worse, you work in a non-GMO grocery store with no prospects of using your Bachelor of Arts degree in sight. While this is disorienting and concerning in regards to your rank moving forward, it’s nothing a little preparedness can’t help…


Illustration by Liberty Richardson

It finally happened. Exactly as you suspected it would. You’ve been bitten by a rare-to-your-region brown recluse spider after moving into a room in your grandma’s basement that is filled with suspiciously damp Estée Lauder boxes and hasn’t been inhabited by human beings in 30 years. What’s next? Anything but these series of mistakes, for the love of God.

1. Don’t panic, but don’t not panic.

Panicking is both reasonable and valid when you wake up to see a blister with two puncture wounds bubbling up to the size of a silver dollar on your otherwise normal leg. …

Madeline Isenbarger

Chicago writer with a perpetual bug problem.

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