The 'other' family members: Mom and Dad may write checks, but siblings worth gold

By Susan Bonicillo
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 14, 2005

There are more people to impress than just your parents this weekend.

Sure, they're your chief benefactors during your college experience and you've got to dance the dance if you still wish to make withdrawals from the Bank of Mom and Dad.

However, you've got other people from your past coming in this weekend who may not engender severe fluctuations in your future state of finances, but they're still important nonetheless.

They're called your siblings: Remember those people you left behind when you started your college career? They've come as well, and though they may not care about whether or not your place is immaculate, they're probably looking to spend a few good days with you and not without good reason to expect it. After all, you've shared a womb at one point in time and that should mean something.

But how to entertain these people is the problem. They've taken time to make the trek to Tucson for this weekend and, by Jove, it should be good and it's up to you to ensure them a good time. Yet, probably nothing is more painful nor excruciating than trying to devise ways for people to have fun and then have it all fizzle.

To ensure success in this endeavor you've got to think strategy. Much like war, it's all about tactics. One of the first steps to successfully approaching a battle is to know what you're up against. Therefore, I've meticulously constructed three categories of siblings and different events/places that are appropriate for each.

For starters, you have the youngest siblings, the ones with a too-large-to-ignore age difference that makes you suspect that the Pill's 99 percent effective rate may be a hopelessly optimistic overestimate. Given the dubious distinction of the title "their little surprise" by your parents, they're impressionable, young and should be kept away from the dodgier elements of college life.

That being said, Wilbur's Underground at the Student Union Memorial Center is a good choice for this set. They'll marvel at the fact that there is an arcade at school and you can spend some time perfecting your "Dance Dance Revolution" skills. Let this be an example of showing the younger ones that fun and school aren't mutually exclusive. You'll be a living, breathing public service announcement on the values of higher education. Feel how it's like to be a part of this great thing we call socialization.

There's also the hokey but fun Halloween-inspired Nightfall event at Old Tucson Studios, 201 S. Kinney Road. Load up on both kettle corn and frights with the kiddies.

The second set of siblings is a bit more grown-up in comparison. They're in that stage of not quite children but not quite grown-up phase. They're the sullen, apathetic teenagers and you may need more than a spirited round of "DDR" to get them to like their stay here.

For them, reinforce stereotypes about college life by taking them to the artsy, small, noncorporate coffee shops that line Fourth Avenue. Discuss Kafka and Nietzsche at length with strangers at adjoining tables. They'll be impressed by your display of intellectual prowess, and you can feel better about yourself by knowing you're smarter than them, at least for the time being before they enter college as well and realize the B.S. you've been feeding them. Bask in it now while you have the chance.

Now the last group is the older brothers and sisters, the ones you grew up admiring since they did everything first, the ones you harbor a secret admiration of even to this day.

For them, they're the ones you feel more inclined to impress. For them, pull out all the stops. Try to make them forget you were the awkward pimple-faced youth that you were when you started college whether it was just six weeks or six years ago.

Take them out with a group of your hippest friends (leave the ones that suck behind) and show them a good time out on the town. Show them you're still not that little sib they left behind and brave Congress Street. Walk around like you own the place. Talk to the people on the street that look interesting and try to bluff your way into trying to give the impression that you have quite an eclectic group of friends.

If you are of age, try out one of the many clubs and bars that Tucson has to offer (note that happy hour at T.G.I. Friday's does not count as a suave move).

Become slightly awkward ordering drinks with a person that you slept in the same bed while wearing footie pajamas. Have fun people watching and scoping out the local talent. Earn bonus cool points if you cockblock them effectively.