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Friday, June 22, 2012

Excessive-Compulsive Disorder

I love my sister. Let's get that clear right from the start. But that doesn't mean I am above teasing her when I have the opportunity. And it isn't going to stop me from writing about her today, either. 

My sister Liz is sort of a middle child. She was the youngest until I showed up six days before her sixth birthday. Not only did she have to walk out of Hungary in the middle of the night, move to the USA, and learn a new language, she also had to start school a year late because she had to change my diapers and so forth. Hey, please don't blame me. They were my diapers, but it wasn't my fault. I think it created some tensions, but the years have worn those away.

Liz and I have had a running joke for years that she is the pretty one and I am the smart one. I am not saying she is dumb, because she is not. Looking back, I remember my father telling me constantly that I should learn well in school so I could be a smart girl. I never heard him say that to my sisters, and it took me years to figure out why. It was because I wasn't the pretty one, so he wanted me to be able to rely on my brains. He should have treated all of his daughters this way, but it is too late to change this.

One of the great things about Liz is that she is able to laugh at herself, like I am able to laugh at her. Just kidding, I mean that I also have that ability. When she gets something tangled up, she tries to say it is because she is an immigrant. I tell her nice try, but you came here when you were three, so I am not buying it. This is exactly what happened when one of her coworkers told her that he thought she was obsessive-compulsive. "So-and-so at work told me that he thinks I have excessive-compulsive disorder. I think maybe he's right, maybe I am excessive-compulsive." At that moment, my internal struggle begins. Do I correct her and risk making her angry or hurting her feelings? She has only said it in front of me, so why make a fuss? I decide not to be the know-it-all little sister and simply say that she might have it, that's possible.

A few weeks later, we laughed until we cried when she realized that she had gotten it so wrong. It was harmless fun. I think this was shortly after the time that she went to a party at another coworker's home and was gushing about the food. "They had all kinds of stuff. This and that, and you could even make your own pull-apart pork sandwiches!" I freely admit that this has become a part of my everyday speech. I like to call it pull-apart pork rather than pulled pork, just because it reminds me of us having a good laugh together.  

Another of my favorites has to do with a conversation we had about a movie she had just seen. "We went to the movies today," she said, "and saw The Loving Bones. Have you ever seen it?" "No, I haven't seen The Lovely Bones, but I would like to, I really loved the book. The writing was beautiful." "Oh, have you seen The Loving Bones?" "No, actually, I haven't seen The Lovely Bones yet, but I would really like to." "Well, maybe next week you and I could go see The Loving Bones together, I wouldn't mind seeing it again," Liz continues. "That would be great," I reply, "I really do want to see The Lovely Bones. Let's plan on going to see it together." By the time we went to see it, we had another laugh-till-you-cry session over that conversation.

I know that none of us are immune to the twisting it around syndrome. My sister, bless her, has elevated it to an art form. She is a good sport when she finds out that she's done another one, so we get to enjoy it together. So, until the next time she creates another hybrid phrase, I think I'll go eat some pull-apart pork and maybe watch The Loving Bones. But not until I have proofread this post excessive-compulsively.