Friday, November 14, 2008

tricks of the tale

Tonight I was thinking about my average weekend night as a single digit gal growing up. Most often it meant my mom and dad went out to dinner and either my brother or sister home babysitting. If Erik was in charge, Stouffer's French Bread Pizzas, ice cream sandwiches and, say, an Ohio State Buckeye's football game were the order of the evening. If my sister Kristin was at the helm? Chef Boy-R-Dee Beef-a-roni, Push-up pops, and Remington Steele.

I got to thinking about home alone hi-jinx and how, actually, we were pretty well behaved all things considered. I know certain households where all Cain broke loose once parents were off the premises. Generally, when we were home without a parent, drama stayed at a bare minimum. We had unmonitored television to watch. Get while the getting was good. This was also a time way before cellphones, when parents would leave the number "where we'll be." That degree of separation alone imposed an implicit "this had better be an emergency" proviso to any placed call. Thus, the question "Do we want to have to call mom and dad's restaurant/dinner party/movie theater/event space and explain?" kept us in fairly consistent check.

I once made the mistake of secretly calling a Chicago restaurant to ask my mom through tears if I really had to finish my dinner. My mom was *not amused*.

Most of our sibling mischief making was behind the scenes and very under the radar. As the youngest of three, it was also generally at my expense. And more often than not, that fact was under MY radar—days/weeks/months later. My brother and sister are seven and nine years older than I am, respectively. Smarter, bigger, more worldly, and my idols— I would fairly consistently do absolutely anything they told me to do. I was just happy to be included.

A log of some quotidian monkey business:

(Kristin: 16; Me: 7)

[Kristin walks into our room holding mom's well worn, cloth bound, dictionary]

Kristin: Jules, do me a favor, can you tell me how to pronounce this word?
[points to "marijuana"]

Me: [sounding out the word just like I was taught to do]: Mary....jew....ahna. Mary-jew-ahna.

Kristin: [choking on laughter] Thank you. Thank you very much.

[Kristin takes the dictionary and walks out of the room]

(Kristin: Age 15; Me: Age 6)

Kristin: Julia, I really like your new unicorn. [looking at the stuffed unicorn I received from my godmother for Christmas]

Me: Thank you!

Kristin: Have you thought of a name for it, yet?

Me: Mmm. No.

Kristin: Well, I think I picked out the perfect name. You should name him Charlie Tiverton. [ed. note: charlie tiverton= a random guy from our school I didn't know.]

Me: Do you think so?

Kristin: Yes. Definitely.

[cut to: a week later. Kristin's friend Tammy is over hanging out]

Kristin: Julia, you should introduce Tammy to your new unicorn.

Julia: [eager to please] Ok! Tammy, meet Charlie Tiverton.

[Tammy and Kristin burst out laughing]

(Erik: age 13; Me: 6)

[in the middle of a pillow fight]

Erik: Hey wait, Julia, I have an idea for a game BETTER than Pillow Fight. It's called Mr. Smiley.

Julia: Ok. [listening intently]

Erik: You stand against the wall, and I'm going to hit you in the face with a pillow. Now in order to win you have to KEEP SMILING no matter what.

During a three week summer trip, Erik and Kristin collaborated on a rainy day initiative called "Make Julia Look Like Kristy McNichol." This involved wetting a comb, styling my hair, and trying to blow dry it so it "feathered more." I was four.

They were really un-ironically serious about this project. I don't think I have ever seen them put forth such a team effort in all our years following.

(Erik: 18; me: 11)

Our favorite drive-each-other-crazy trick of that time was called "Keyboard Player." This game was actually my own invention and surprisingly effective: the hunter had become the hunted.
One day we were watching tv, I got up to get a snack, walked in front of the tv, stopped, and suddenly and very seriously, started pantomiming rhythmic keyboard playing in the style of Paul Schaffer. This frustrated Erik to NO end.

I thought every aspect of the situation was hilarious.

Then he did it back to me while watching a show I chose. Foiled again.

There are certainly many more examples of sibling gags and roguery, well deserving of air time.

For now, it's Friday night and I have a French Bread Pizza to eat, fine programming to watch, and this Friday night song to play air keyboards to during a commercial break:

[ed. note: The only way I could manage to embed an audio file was to make it into a movie. Maybe there's another way but I am technologically inept. I attached an image in the file to make it a "movie"—an image of a British Shorthair cat that was on my desk top from an email sent earlier today. I just threw it in the file as the footage thinking only audio would appear if I followed the instructions I googled. Not so. Now I can't stop laughing.]

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