I waved the study at my brothers. ''Ha! Exactly as I'm sure you already suspected.''
''Now what's he warbling about?'' Dan asked Tim.
''Beats me. I stopped paying attention to that gooney bird years ago.''
I slapped the news report on the table. ''Yet another study proves that the firstborn sibling is the smartest of the bunch.''
I paused a moment to let that sink in. You never know how long it will take younger brothers, who aren't very bright as a rule, to catch on.
''Two economists with the National Bureau of Economic Research confirmed that the eldest child in a family consistently has the highest IQ and best grades in school. See, I am the boss of you.''
My sister walked into the room. ''What's the gooney bird warbling about now?''
I shook my head. What can you expect from the youngest kid in the clan? ''You can't even think up your own jokes.''
Martha pulled out a chair. ''Who's joking? We stopped paying attention to you years ago.''
I pointed at the paper. ''Laugh if you will, but it's all reported here. See, firstborns are brighter and more accomplished than their little twerp siblings.''
Dan sipped his coffee. ''Remind me. Is it the same more brilliant brother who accomplished backing into a 20-foot-tall Dairy Queen sign? The one who accomplished locking himself out of his house? Twice. The one we fooled into washing the paper plates after a picnic? Thrice.''
Tim nodded. ''Yep.''
I surveyed my chortling siblings.
OK, so maybe Tim is a human calculator who computes rings around me while simultaneously doodling a Pythagorean theorem on a napkin.
Dan understands so much about mechanics that if he sabotaged my car, I'd never figure out how to start it. Then I'd find out the door wouldn't open, either.
And Martha organizes events, calendars and people so well that her middle name probably ought to be Stewart.
So what? The study, man, the study.
Tim pulled the study toward him. ''According to this report, the theory is that parents are hardest and more uptight around the oldest child. More rules. More monitoring. More upset over bad grades.''
''In other words,'' Martha said, ''Mom and Dad made all their mistakes on you.''
Dan tugged as his mustache. ''I always thought you resembled a science experiment, big brother.''
I kicked his chair. ''That's not what it means. If you were smarter, you'd know that.''
Tim locked his hands behind his head. ''Seems to me that as firstborn, you're the oldest.''
''Well, duh. That's what passes as mathematical genius ...''
Dan interrupted. ''Way older than we vital youngsters are.''
Martha patted my hand. ''It's too bad that you're wearing out so much more quickly than we are.''
''Those arms are pretty feeble, aren't they?'' Dan said.
''Have you ever seen the studies on how many gray cells our brains lose each year?'' Tim said. ''I suspect we all could chip in a couple dozen and still have more than your ancient brain has left.''
''You guys are jerks! If you had my precocity, you'd comprehend that.'' I stomped from the room.
Their less-intelligent voices followed me.
''He's so easy.''
''We do it to him every time.''
''I hope the great sage never wises up. It's too much fun.''
Their humor was so far beneath my level of cogitation that I couldn't figure out what was so funny.
---- Test Cole's IQ at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.