I’m Ted, the older twin. Harry’s my younger brother.

You’ve heard of the “brony” community? I was a fan of “My Little Pony” before it became cool for boys to like it. “Rescue at Midnight Castle” was my favorite cartoon as a kid, and Firefly was my favorite pony. I had a toy of her, and made up adventures for her to go on, some of which I later wrote down.

I guess Dad was supportive, in his own way. At least, he didn’t tell me to stop it, and he didn’t give me any indication that it was shameful, or that he was disappointed in me. But he wasn’t exactly thrilled, either. Only now, as an adult, do I see how he was being supportive: he critiqued my stories the way he would have critiqued any others. I know now that he was trying to help me to make them the best they could be—but at the time it just hurt my feelings, and I threw many of my stories away. Some of them I don’t even remember.

Mom wasn’t so supportive, though. She thought it was unmanly for a boy to be so obsessed with ponies. She was afraid I might turn out to be gay or something (my wife will be happy to tell you I’m not, but Mom couldn’t have known that at the time). She was so worried that the other boys would bully me, and she told Harry to keep me safe. And Harry did.

In my early years of elementary school, I did get picked on by bullies a lot. So much so, in fact, that I hid away my love of ponies around them, pretending I hated them. It didn’t help. “Once a sissy, always a sissy,” they said. But Harry was always there to protect me.

Whenever anyone beat me up, Harry would challenge the bully to a fair fight. He didn’t always win, but talk about ferocity! Of course, he got in trouble as much as the bullies did, but at least he was always there for me. By the time I was in third grade, no one was beating me up anymore: everyone was terrified of my brother.

But that didn’t mean they didn’t still pick on me. There was snickering, passing notes in class, making faces at me, lip-syncing insults at me, etc.

And while Harry loved me, he would often complain to me about not standing up for myself, and for his getting in trouble for defending me.

Worst of all, though, were the girls. Not those who picked on me, but those who pitied me for being a bully magnet. Worse still were those girls who loved “My Little Pony” and brought their toys with them to school. They were surprised and delighted that there was one boy who didn’t mock them for it—who liked ponies himself.

But the worst of all was Laura. She was painfully shy, so it took a long while before I even really noticed her. I mostly heard about her from other girls, and I tried to ignore what they said. Apparently she loved “Rescue at Midnight Castle” too, and Firefly was her favorite pony, just like mine.

But I was so embarrassed about it, and Laura was so shy and quiet, that we never got to know each other in elementary school. I didn’t want to get to know her. I saw her as a mockery of me, as the “girl” everyone accused me of being.

Sometimes I even picked on her, but I soon stopped—not because I got in trouble, but because I felt like a horrible bully when I saw her cringe. So I ignored her.


Today I work with horses, breaking them for their owners. Sometimes they call me the “Horse Whisperer”, although I don’t actually whisper: I show the horses who’s the boss. That plus the prevalence of the brony community today means I almost never get picked on anymore.

Today, Laura is my wife of 13 years, and we have four children together, not counting our horses (our favorite is a mare named Rainbow Dash). Laura is a lot more confident and assertive now, and I wish we’d been friends as kids.

As for my brother Harry, he’s a boxer now. He’s a cruiserweight champion, and he has the scars to prove it. I think the only bone he hasn’t broken is his left stirrup.

We don’t look alike anymore.

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