As a kid, I tended to stay out of trouble as much as possible, for when you were in trouble in my childhood household two things could happen. For one, My dad would spank you, which sucked because he had HUGE hands and could cover a lot of skin with one swipe. Secondly, you could be on my mom’s shit list. That was a fate worse than death. My mom could hold a grudge. At least a spanking was over an done with quickly, but being put on the shit list could last for days if not weeks.

I made a couple of bone-headed mistakes for sure, like the time I drew marker all over the head of my sister Judy’s favorite stuffed animal. It was a panda, and she named him Ling Ling. I was in my Baby Tenderlove doll stage at the time, so I was fairly young. I don’t recall why I did it, except for the fact that I was probably mad at Judy for one thing or another.

I got yelled at (by mom) and spanked pretty good (by dad) for that, but to add insult to injury, Judy got me back by drawing pen all over the back of my Baby Tenderlove doll – a thick, bic pen blue ink square –  which wasn’t fair because mom was able to get the marker out of Ling Ling’s fur, but my doll was ruined for life. Gee, payback is a bitch.

But that was nothing compared to the trouble I got into over dusting the piano. It was a Saturday I think, and my mom had us all doing chores. My favorite household chore was to dust because I loved using the Pledge furniture polish. It gave me a real sense of gratification to see how shiny the furniture looked after you were done, like you really put some elbow grease into the job.

That day, mom gave oldest sister Wendy the job of dusting the piano, and I was really mad. I may have been 5 years younger, but thought myself more than capable of this task and was a bit miffed at my mother’s lack of faith in my abilities. I had the Pledge can, and stood defiantly in front of the piano while Wendy yelled at me to hand over the polish and to get lost. I knew I had no case, and that I was going to have to give up, but not without one last “so there.” BIG MISTAKE.

On my way to handing Wendy the Pledge, I cracked her good on the arm with the can first. I must have hit her right on the bone and way harder than I thought my little 8 year old body was capable of, because her elbow started to puff and swell immediately. Now, I would’ve been in trouble enough just for this, but Wendy took one look at her arm, once slender but now grotesquely swollen, and fainted dead away.

I don’t remember all the details, but I knew I was scared to death and in big time trouble. Someone ran down the street to get Mrs. Wrightington, who was a nurse, and brought her up to the house, adding to the hugeness of the situation. I think I hid in the upstairs hall closet for a while until Wendy came to and was deemed okay. She just freaked out at seeing her wrist swell like that. But that was nothing compared to the way my ass was gonna swell up after the spanking I was going to get.

I don’t remember getting yelled at, or getting hit, but I’m sure I did and just don’t care to remember it. However, I do remember feeling like total shit for having caused my sister so much pain, trouble, and embarrassment. For that whole weekend I was the douchebag of the house and it sucked. Whenever a family member gazed on me it was with a look of disappointment and disgust. And the shit list? It was a mile long and my name was on it over and over and over again.