Today is my sister’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Beth! I’m going to celebrate by telling embarrassing stories about her in a public forum because I didn’t get her a gift yet (I’m sure she’s not surprised by my lack of a timely gift).
Beth is three years older than me. Beth’s best friend, Lisa, is three years older than her. When we were growing up, mom forced Beth and Lisa to let me tag along with them a lot. They hung out mostly with Lisa’s crowd, which meant I was frequently with kids six years older than me. I was exposed to many things much earlier than I should have been. You can probably tell where this is going.
People mark their lives by significant events: before Kennedy was shot, or when the Twin Towers were still standing, or it all went down during OJ’s low-speed chase. My life has two parts: before, and after, this moment of truth in the living room.
I was amusing myself, playing records and quite possibly pulling down the pants on Raggedy Ann and my sister walked in.
Beth: I have to tell you something.
Beth: It’s important, and you can’t tell Mom and Dad.
Me: What is it?
Beth: I’m serious. I won’t tell you unless you promise you won’t let them know you know.
Me: Know what?
Beth: Promise! Or I won’t ride bikes with you ever again. I won’t hang out with you at the pool.
Me: Okay, okay, I promise! What can’t I let them know I know?
Beth (looks over both shoulders to make sure we’re still alone): There isn’t a Santa Claus.
My stomach sank and I felt like my heart was ripped out. My whole world shifted. I responded the only way I knew how.
Beth, flipping her hair: Yuh-huh.
Me: Who brings all the presents then, if you’re so smart?
Beth: Mom and Dad, stupid.
Beth: It’s true.
Me: How do you know?
Beth: Lisa told me.
This was bad. If Lisa said it, it must be true. I may not have always believed my sister, but anything Lisa said was gospel.
Me: But there’s still the Easter Bunny, right?
She got up and started walking out of the room. Then she looked at me and stopped my next question before I even had a chance to ask it.
Beth: And not the Tooth Fairy, either!
Beth: Remember, you promised.
I remembered. I kept my promise. I was just five years old.
Until I was an adult, my parents didn’t know how entirely my own sister had decimated my innocence and faith and belief in all things good.
Can you believe she did that? She looks so nice.
I had no idea at the time what a gift my sister was giving me: a story that I could hold over her head for the rest of our lives!!! I bring it up as often as possible.
She likes to bring up that I once attempted to murder her by placing a paperclip in her milk and she was only saved because our mom turned around and saw me drop it in the glass. I don’t see what the big deal is about a paperclip anyway. Death By Paperclip?Whatever. I have no recollection of this and suspect she may have made it up, and also convinced our parents to go along with the story and the alleged danger of paperclips in milk.
I always knew they liked her best.
Also, this one time, Beth made me eat baking soda and another time she made me drink dandelion milk.
Happy Birthday, Sis! Just think, if I lived closer you could come drop a paperclip in my milk!
Anybody have any embarrassing stories about their siblings they’d like to share?