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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Torture By Siblings

Brothers and sisters torturing each other has a long history. I don't know about your family, but it sure thrived in mine. 

When I was a very small girl in Chicago, my oldest sister Margit, who even at the young age of about twelve knew everything, would tell me tales of terror. I always believed her; I was too young and innocent to even think of her saying something that was not true. "I know someone who got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. She looked in the mirror in the dark and scratched her eyes out! So if you go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, don't look in the mirror, or you'll scratch your eyes out, too!" I was afraid of the bathroom for years. 

Our relatives in Hungary used to send us packages with things we couldn't get in the U.S., like wonderful Hungarian goose-down pillows, for example. As a scrawny little kid I kept toasty warm during the winter sleeping under one of those pillows. These packages usually included some kind of candies. There were these liquid-filled, honey-colored hard candies that were embossed with a bee. They were very tasty, and my sisters and brother really loved them. Of course, if I didn't eat any, there would be more for them, so they had to find a way to make me not want to eat them. So how do you convince a little kid that they don't like candy? Simple. You tell her that the reason there is a bee on the outside is because there are bugs on the inside. And they looked so innocent when I refused to eat any of it. Scam artists. 


My brother was one of the worst terrorizers of all. I remember going to a local fair where they had the street blocked off and all kinds of rides. It was so much fun! John and I got on the Ferris Wheel and I thought it was the best thing in the world. You could see over the tops of some of the trees, and you were able to see far down the street. What bliss! Until John noticed that I was having such a good time. He waited until we were stopped at the top and started swinging the car. And I don't mean some little rocking back and forth, either. He was maniacally swinging the car back and forth as far as it would go, saying, "Watch out! You're going to fall down and die!" I have never gotten on a Ferris Wheel since, and am not too fond of roller coasters either.


Now that I think about it, though, my sister Liz (yes, the excessive-compulsive one) is the worst torturer of all. We went through all kinds of drama through our growing-up years, but have come to a better understanding and appreciation of each other. But the old gal still loves to torture me whenever possible. We have taken a few road trips together, and usually have a lot of fun and laugh ourselves silly. But that is when she tortures me. There is something you need to know about Liz. My dear sister produces a kind of gas that could be used as a weapon in war. These gas bombs have a pungency and power that couldn't possibly be matched by the gas of several buffalo or perhaps even a herd of rhinos. 

So here we were, driving home from our trip through Eastern Wyoming, looking at all of the antelope, when I smelled something incredibly foul. "Liz! You need to roll down your window!" Liz just laughed, so I started to roll down my window. Which she had locked. I had to shriek and beg for relief, which she thought was funny. I guess it's always funny until someone passes out in your car. This happened a few more times until I finally got her to promise not to do it any more. Did I mention that I am too trusting of my siblings? She just waited until we were on another road trip, this time to visit a friend in Utah. We were driving through Wyoming, again, and had stopped to have dinner and ice cream. A torrential rain started falling, but we were comfortably dry and warm inside the car. And then it happened. "Wow, did we just drive by a sewage treatment plant or something?" Liz started to giggle. And then I knew that once again I had been gas-bombed. Even with the pouring rain, I did a great imitation of a dog. I got drenched hanging my head out the window, but at least the lining of my lungs remained intact.


Although my siblings did their best to do me in, I am still here, and able to breathe, and sit up and take nourishment. I can even go to the bathroom by myself in the middle of the night. But, as I said, I have no desire to ride the Ferris Wheel. And I am not impervious to the effects of nerve gas. I am still too trusting of my siblings, but maybe someday I will learn. So Liz, you had better watch out...sibling torture can go both ways!