Thursday, March 01, 2007

It's not just for dinner anymore

I have an older brother. I don't talk about him much because, well, he's an asshole most of the time and we've never been close. We didn't hang out together growing up and we didn't do a lot of things as a family so my memories of him are slim at best. I do recall, however, several instances of us fighting in some capacity, and there was never any shortage of us fucking with each other if we could get away with it.

One of the most volatile relationships has to be the little sister/big brother pairing, coming in a close third to the sister/sister explosion-waiting-to-happen both of which are trumped soundly by the mother/daughter battle royale. Even so, if you are a little sister, or a big brother, doesn't the mere mention of the two bring you to eye-rolling groans? Can you imagine the mutual torture?

When I was still young enough to have a brain made of Swiss cheese, too green and stupid to be aware of so many things, and just beyond the age of eating paste for the taste, my brother had his dirty little hand in an unfortunate event that burned an indelible hole in my psyche that took literal decades to diminish. And let's just remember, this was not my fault.


It was the early 70's. Summertime. Hotter than a horny toad's balls dragging across the desert floor. Boredom already creeping in to our day and us working our mother's last nerve. She finally had kicked me and my brother out of the house and out from under her frazzled feet so she could get a moments peace with her Woman's Day and a Valium.

Despite my brother's pubescent protesting he was to be my charge for the day. Eight dramatic years separating our ages, him facing his freshman year in high school and me looking forward to first grade. A lethal combo, if you please, in his favor.

Our neighborhood was relatively new, our homes barely finished being built and our friendships with other kids on the street precariously fresh. Whatever ideas I had for wasting time were ignored while my brother contemplated our next move. He finally had the idea to check on the slightly older kid living in the house to the East and see what trouble they could, no doubt, get in to. I happily tagged along, eager to hang with him in hopes of appearing more grown up or just to bug the shit out of him. Either way, win-win for me. Or so I thought...

Our fences had yet to be completed but the pools were done so we walked into our back yard, each with bathing suits under our summer clothes with me sporting a home-made bikini lovingly sewn by my mother from scraps of scratchy polyester fabric left-over from some heinous jumpsuit she'd made for herself (it was spectacular), and my brother in a pair of Hang Ten trunks. With a flip of his bleached surfer hair and a loud whistle, he called to our neighbor, Phil. "Hey! Dude!"

Phil came out of his house and invited my brother to come swimming, then blanched when he saw my tiny 6 year-old frame standing next to my brother. My brother gave a grimacing nod in my direction and explained he had no choice. Phil opened his mouth to protest then changed his tune and with a lecherous grin said, "Hey, man, no problem, come on over." As quickly as the frown had swept across his face it was replaced by an evil smile. Ah-ha. the opportunity for some mayhem had approached.

We were soon splashing around having a good time when a couple more kids from across the street joined us. They were also older than me but younger than my brother and Phil. I was the ~cough~ poster child for innocence, sugar and spice, unaware of the nefarious nature of my kin and his new cohort. The 2 girls who were swimming with us seemed nice enough but dull in the personality department.

After a short while those corrupt, nasty boys cooked up an idea and made me a proposal I didn't have the brain cells to resist. We would play a game of Simon Says. Well, sort of. They would call out commands except in this little exercise I would be parroting a phrase or word of their choice instead of performing actions. Being the natural-born lazy ass that I am, not having to jump on one foot for 3 hours was very attractive. Their brand of sordid snake oil sounded good to me so I said let's start.

They put their 2 corrupt heads together and came up with my assignment. At first it was silly things like "butt" and "poop". Much giggling ensued. Then we moved on to riskier ventures like "ass", "fart" and the titillating "tit". I was a regular little mocking bird never tripping over a word and making the boys and girls roar with laughter. And this is where things go terribly wrong...

I was instructed to get a little louder. In fact, a lot louder. As loud as I could go. And in my excitement and from soaking up the attention like the chlorine we were bathing in, I eagerly complied. I was also born with a set of lungs and a penchant for turning up the volume to an uncomfortable level so my voice has a tendency to carry. Very far.

As I followed their directions I shouted "turd" and "crap" and "shit". Covering all the major excrement insults. Then came "damn" and "hell" And being the little performer I am, I could barely contain my joy from making everyone so happy and impressing new friends. Everyone was holding their sides from laughing so hard and I thought I was awesome.

Then, just as I thought this was going to be the best day ever in my life we got to the mother load of all mother effing words. I was once again fed what to say, of course not knowing what it was, and past my cherry-red child's lips, the mouth of a mere babe, did I scream at the top of my little lungs, "FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOOOOUUUUU!!!"

And that's when I felt the icy grip of my mothers hand grab the back of my neck like a giant raven's claw and lift me off the ground, whip me into the house in one fell swoop, drag my soaking wet ass across our brand-new green shag carpet, and shove an entire bar of Dove soap into my filthy fucking mouf.

Through my staccato hiccuping and crying I tried to explain I didn't know what I'd done and never once did she ask me where I'd learned that kind of language. (Duh, I wonder where.) And I was systematically marched across the street and forced to apologize to one the girls who'd been there when she wasn't even the one I was yelling Fuck You to.

I didn't get near a bar of Dove soap for about 30 years after that and I plotted for eons on how to get my brother back. Eventually I didn't have to since he got his and how and I learned a valuable new phrase that day, which I haven't stopped using since.

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