Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Great Sibling Experiment Of 1980

Today is my sister's birthday. I should know. Twenty-eight years ago today, I spent the wee morning hours in the ER waiting room, puking my guts out. (At this point, it strikes me that if I truly desire to someday be a writer I should probably come up with a better phrase than "puking my guts out.")

Anyway, in honor of Sister Bone--as she is known in blogging circles--I proudly present this edition of Sibling Memories. It's sorta like home videos for the blog. Enjoy, and thanks again for having internet.

One of the first memories that comes to mind is the Telecommunications Treaty of 1987. This was where my Dad, in a sudden burst of King-Solomon-esque cut-the-baby-in-half wisdom, ruled that on odd numbered days my sister would get to watch what she wanted on TV. And on even numbered days, I could watch what I wanted.

In time, I realized that in months having thirty-one days, Sister Bone would get control over the TV on back-to-back days (I never watched so much Full House in my life), making this treaty completely unfair. Still, it remained binding under the reign of Dad The First and was quite inconvenient, at least until I starting driving and working and wasn't home as much.

Zoom forward to the Fourth of July, 1989. I was going to pick up my uncle and aunt who didn't have a car and bring them back to our house for the holiday festivities. Sister Bone and two of my younger cousins were in the car with me so that I could show off my new driving abilities.

Soon after I put the car in reverse, we felt a jolt and heard the sound of crunching metal. I had backed into Mom's car. Terrified, I cautioned everyone in the car not to say anything until I figured out what to do. You know, because as long as no one told her, Mom surely wouldn't notice the huge dent in her driver's side door for weeks. Before I even got the words out of my mouth, Sister Bone was out of the car and running inside to tell on me.

Needless to say, no one was happier than me when Sister Bone's tattling phase finally ended, also known as the day she turned twenty-two. I really did enjoy having a sibling, though. So much so that I distinctly remember several times after Sister Bone was born begging Mom and Dad to have me a baby brother.

All along the way, we engaged in high-level psychological warfare. One of my favorites was when Dad would tell us we were not to touch each other. I would put my hands ever so close to Sister Bone's face and taunt her repeatedly with the words, "I'm not touching you. I'm not touching you." (You may have heard other kids using this, but I assure you I invented it.)

In turn, she would whine to Dad, "He's looking at me." And then I would be told that I was not to look at her. Thinking back sometimes, I'm amazed Dad The First didn't abdicate the throne.

Of course, times weren't always so good. There was the day I was playing a pickup football game and ran head first into the goalpost. I had a slight concussion and had to stay overnight in the hospital. A few weeks later, I found a letter Sister Bone--probably fourteen at the time--had written to me in a spiral notebook. All about how she missed me and was worried about me. I know, how mushy, right?

Sometimes I don't think a brother realizes what he means to his sister. And probably vice versa.

Happy birthday, sis. This concludes year twenty-eight of the Great Sibling Experiment of 1980. If Sister Bone read that line, she would probably say something like, "You're so weird." To which I would promptly reply, "I know you are but what am I."

"Or maybe head up north, to Knoxville, Tennessee. I know my baby sister has got a couch where I can sleep..."


  1. Remember that she gave you an adorable nephew.

    Happy Birthday, Sister Bone.

  2. Dad the First?
    This was another Bone had me laughing out loud post but remember I invented the "I invented...." line
    You funnier though

    My Internet thanks you for Sibling Memories. Mine are a bit more disfunctional but good hearted :)

    Oh the days of being forced to share the TV with your sibling. I'm sure Dad The First didn't have running dialogue about how bad the shows you were watching were

    Happy Birthday, Sister Bone!!!!!!!

  3. If you ever want to become a writer? Daresay, I think you already are one.

    (That was a nice writerly statement, eh?)

  4. aww this is so sweet! and the name sister bone so funny! treasure that relationship always bone!

  5. It is the sibling memories which keep our sibling love alive. I have three brothers and they may have been pests at various times, I still wouldn't change a thing.

    They rarely ever show their love for me but I know how much they care. And they know I love becos I demonstrate all the time. By being sarcastic and downright rude.


    That hardly ever matters, does it Bone?

    Happy birthday to your sister and may you have many such memorable episodes to write for us.

  6. Ahhh sibling rivalry. So it is possible that my girls will like each other one day and make an effort to get along? Is there hope?

  7. Wow. We had a Telecommunications Treaty of 1990. I got the odd numbered days :) Must be something that men learn in dad-school.

  8. When I was in college, I did something for my brother that resulted in an e-mail telling me I was the best little sister ever. Of course, he ruined it by following it with a P.S. This e-mail will self-distruct in 10 minutes so that no evidence of my saying that can ever be seen. Naturally I kept it, just to prove him wrong. :)

    Therefore, I think it's safe to say that my brother would never write something like this about me. (Not to mention the fact that he can't ever even remember how old I am.) Your sister is pretty lucky to have you - and vice versa.

    Feliz cumpleaƱos, hermanita Bone.

  9. Heather B - I shant ever forget that! She's a really good mother, too.

    Pia - So you invented the "I invented..." line, huh? Love it!

    Well, Dad The First could have issued an executive order and watched what he wanted, I suppose. But he was pretty laid back about what was on, as long as he had some popcorn or something.

    Eileen - Why, thank you. That's kind and writerly of you to say.

    Lucy - Thanks. She's not Catholic or anything. I guess I should have clarified :)

    Gautami - Nor would I change a thing. I think part of our sibling duty is to keep each other on our toes :)

    Kontan - Oh yes. Though it might not seem like it now, someday they might possibly even become *gasp* the closest of friends.

    Jen - Oh my gosh! I just knew we had to be the only family who did the odd and even numbered TV days. That's hilarious.

    TC - Oh yes, I always told Sister Bone she was my favorite sister, too. Of course, she was my only.

    Also, as a man, I don't think we should be making a connection between remembering someone's age (or birthday) and how much you care about them. :)

  10. That's so sweet...better than the tribute to Susan! (did you know that actress played Dennis the Menace's mother?)

    I'm sure that my brothers would never write or say anything half as nice about me.

    and we're on step-dad the third!

  11. Bone--

    I'm ashamed of you... you need brushing up on your sib-speak.

    Don't you know it's the term is "COMPLETELY UNFAIR" in all caps. You never use those two words together to refer to a sibling's privilege without the all caps. Section 56, subsection 3, rule 8. Check the book. ;D


  12. I think you misunderstood. My brother didn't always or even frequently tell me I was his favorite little sister. He told me once and I'd managed to do something huge, like score him free season basketball tickets.

    And perhaps we put too much emphasis on details such as remembering ages and birthdays. However, considering the grief I still get to this day for ruining his morning routine with my birth, I'd think he'd be able to take his own age and subtract to get mine! 8-) So much for men being better at math than women. Guess I give you men too much credit, huh?

  13. Happy birthday to your sister.

    Oh, the sister memories. My sis and me aren't as close, though.

    Hey, I'm putting a virtual book tour together on my new book blog. Alabama would be a good "stop." check it out.

  14. It's so fun to reminisce with my brothers and look at old pictures together. Great post!

  15. Renee - No, I did not know that. But I need to learn her name for Scene It Seinfeld. It's Heidi Swedberg or something, isn't it?

    Gay - Ha! I cringe now to think how I surely whined then about such a grave injustice.

    TC - Dates and ages are so arbitrary. Forgive us if we are concerned with deeper things :)

    Carmen - Oh OK. I'll check that out.

    Coconut - Thanks. I think we tend to bring up a lot of the same memories over and over, but it never gets old.

    Hotpink - If Sister Bone were here, I'm sure she would say thank you. And also maybe who are you :)

  16. I guess there might be some instances in which I will (am) grateful for men being concerned with other things than ages/birthdays :)

    But I am trying to figure out why you're defending him when you can actually remember not only YOUR sister's birthday but also how old she is?!?! Is it just one of those guy code things, where even though you're in the good this one, you've gotta have his back?

  17. Happy Birthday Sister Bone. Do you realize that Sister #1 and Sister Bone are just a couple days apart? Weird.

    I like the phrase "puking my guts out" never stop using it! I know I won't.

  18. Happy Birthday to your Sister. It's nice that you have such a good relationship with her. My sister and I have, at best, a civil relationship, but that's about it.

  19. I'm sure I told you I called my niece my fave niece--and before she was two she figured out she was my only one

    Now she's 14 and a brainiac and it's a joke between us

  20. here's to the siblings.. cheers :)

  21. Happy birthday Sister Bone... When Sage's little brother was born, he spent the time in the hospital waiting room writing sentences like "I will be quiet and behave in class" a million or so times. Of course, that explains why I have such bad handwriting... Glad you're now on good terms with your sister