[James enters the psychologist's office and lies down on the couch.]
James: Lately I've been having this feeling that Mom loves Jesus more than me. Seems like everything he does is just perfect in her eyes--it's like she thinks the guy walks on water.
Doctor: James, it's really very common for a younger brother to have feelings of jealousy about an older brother. You just have to realize that it's in your own mind. He probably feels the same way about you. Tell me what makes you think your parents favor Jesus.
James: Well, the time that Jesus did walk on water, Mom was all "Jesus-does-miracles" this and "Jesus-does-miracles" that...
Doctor: You sound angry.
James: How would you feel if your brother was God?
Doctor: James, James, James... It's natural that a younger brother would put his brother on pedestal, but at a certain point you need to grow up and come to think of him as a peer.
James: No, really, I mean he actually is God.
Doctor: OK, I can see I'm not getting anywhere with this tack. Let me ask you this: What are your earliest memories of your parents favoring your brother?
James: Well, Mom is a very pious woman. She's a saint, really. And whenever we'd come home she'd ask us, "What good things did you do today?" And I'd always say something like, "I brought extra wood to Jebediah" and Jesus would say, "I healed a leper" or "I cured a blind man."
Puh-lease. Talk about your show-offs! Mom was too kind to actually say "Why don't you heal lepers like Jesus?" But I could tell that's what she was thinking.
James: Yes, and he gives me this patronizing sermon about how I'll be fine because the meek are going to inherit the earth anyway. I mean, I may not be the sharpest nail in the carpenter's box, but I can tell a left-handed compliment when I hear it. I told him, "Please lose your holier than thou attitude."
Whenever I say he doesn't make a bit of sense, he says I can't understand him because a "prophet"--a prophet!--is never honored on his home turf. Like he's so complex or something.
One time, he was speaking to this crowd and we went to see him and he said he was too busy to see us! I couldn't even get a back stage pass. Every sinner and whore in town was able to get in but not his own brother.
Doctor: Surely there have been times when your parents have been disappointed with Jesus.
James: No! That time he got lost in the temple--I mean what kind of boneheaded move was that?--all they could say was, "Well, as long as you didn't turn over any tables." And now the guy's 30 years old, still unmarried and not exactly bringing in the big bucks. I'm the one who takes care of Mom and Dad while he wanders around the countryside with his buddies, but my parents seem to think he's the one who's going to amount to something.
Doctor: Often sibling issues are a proxy for more complicated relationship narratives involving your parents. Have you told your parents about your feelings regarding Jesus?
James: Yeah, and they did try to make me feel better by telling me Jesus wasn't "planned" but somehow even that ends up making him seem special.
Doctor: You know, life isn't always fair. Sometimes one brother gets more attention than another. You're just going to have to learn to deal with that and realize that while, to you, your big brother is always going to seem larger than life, to most people he'll just seem like a regular guy.
James: I know, I know. And it's not like I'm not proud of his accomplishments. I just wish he wouldn't lord it over me.