Being the youngest of four children, I have learned great life lessons from those who forged their life paths ahead of mine (and have stories that could probably fill an entire book). From my oldest brother I learned that sometimes when your friends are drunk, they decide their lollipop would taste better if it was dipped in your little sister’s ice cream tub as she is getting her dessert. From my other brother I learned to always check the toilet seat for saran wrap, especially on April Fool’s Day, or you will be trying to play off the fact that you just peed all over the floor by soaking it up with bath towels. My sister, on the other hand was like the big girl on the playground that I always wanted to be and sometimes, that dream got me into trouble.
At the age of 3/4, I started out more as her doll (she liked to pick out my clothes and do my hair) and that quickly evolved into me being her party trick. She would make me memorize answers to questions and then ask me them in front of friends and family, patting herself on the back as people laughed and smiled at my answers.
“Who was the first president of the United States?”, she would ask, or “Who freed the slaves?”. My little 4- year-old self was taught well to respond with an excited, “Washington” or “Lincoln”, respectively.
Quickly, however, her desire to teach me things meant that I was learning things a little too far ahead of my time. In her mind, she learned them and by golly she was going to share them (who cares that I was nearly 8 yrs her junior).
When she learned about a television show, I learned about a television show. It didn’t matter that it was Sex and the City or Friends and I was definitely not ready for that kind of love/sex/boyfriend related information. When she was in a sorority in college and it had a password and a handshake, I was taught them both. I then was instructed to go up to the President and say what I had learned because “that would be hilarous”. When she started to crack her knuckles, she cracked mine (sometimes against my will). And, ultimately, when my parents decided it was an appropriate age for her to hear about the birds and the bees, you can guess who she told immediately.
Like it was yesterday I can remember the look on my parents faces when I smiled and relayed the information (because obviously she told me to). I can even remember their faces when they told me about sex when I was old enough, thinking I must have forgot what my sister said eight yrs earlier, and me just sort of smirking all along and pretending to innocently not remember.
But, the dumbest thing I ever did because I “learned” it from my sister, was something affectionately known in my family as “the eyebrow fiasco”.
My sister had developed an obsession with unibrows and how she absolutely couldn’t have them. She mentioned my unibrow so much that I just had to get rid of it (even if Bert, of Bert and Ernie fame, tried to make it sexy). One evening when I was in 6th grade, I went to take a shower. In the shower I stared at the razor that I had to shave my legs for swimming, all the while thinking “unibrow unibrow”, as if it was a disease and I was a Leper and this was my ticket out of the colony. I measured the length of the blade and then I measured in between my eye brows and they were the same!
Aha, I thought, this must be how my sister got rid of hers!
In one swoop, I shaved my eyebrows. And, in that moment, I was completely relieved that now my sister couldn’t pick on me.
I walked downstairs happy as a dog about my make over and immediately my dad said to me, “What happened to your face?”
“Nothing!” I responded, confused what he could POSSIBLY be talking about as I only removed the hair in between my brows.