Monday, March 26

Vandalins in the Closet! part the first

I just wouldn't learn. No matter how many times karma kicked me in the arse for it, tormenting my brother was just too much fun. Especially late at night.

A tree grew outside the second story bedroom we shared. On particularly windy nights, branches would scrape the sides of the house and, if I was lucky, our bedroom window. It was on those occasions I would suggest to my brother that evil doers were placing a ladder against the house to climb into our room and beat him to a pulp before taking him away to sell him into slavery. To the gypsies. Forever. I would miss him.

"Can you hear them? That's their long, dirty fingernails scratching the glass of the window trying to get it open. I think I feel a breeze coming in!"

Of course, by the time my parents would enter the room to see why Fred was screeching, I was fast "asleep". I had long ago established myself as a very sound sleeper when the house across the street burned and I was the only person in the entire neighborhood not outside to watch the fireman battle the blaze; I had not been awakened by the sirens and shouting.

Over the course of time the evil doers acquired a name; my brother dubbed them "vandalins". And eventually, after so many false alarms, Fred had become complacent about my dire warnings; he was even so bold as to suggest vandalins didn't really exist. I could either give up on my efforts to scare the bejeezus out of him or prove to him the reality of his danger. I was his older brother; my duty was clear.

My father had told us wonderful stories about his childhood and the great adventures he shared with his buddies. One story had rooted itself in my memory particularly strongly. It involved a Halloween prank with which the guys had achieved great success. They would sneak onto their intended victim's front porch and tie nearly invisible fishing line to the storm door (for my California friends, this is a device similar to our familiar screen door, but with glass in the place of screen to provide an insulating barrier to the cold of a late October Midwest night). The line would be run down the stairs, out the sidewalk, and under the automobile parked in front. The pranksters would assemble themselves on the car's street side running board, hidden from the homeowner's sight. A strong yank on the fishing line would pull the storm door open, followed by the loud slam of its closing. The home's resident could often be baited into rushing to the door five or six times in an attempt to catch the trickster in the act before discovering the fishing line. 'Twas best to play this trick outside of one's own neighborhood lest you be recognized as you ran away.

I finally found it! Stored in a far corner of the basement was the fishing pole I used when our family vacationed every summer at Mitiwanga on Lake Erie. I quietly unwound what appeared to be a sufficient length of line, grabbed my baseball bat, and snuck up to our room. Waiting for the perfect time would prove a most difficult task.

It was a dark and stormy night. I had previously tied the fishing line to the baseball bat, which I now placed on a shelf in our bedroom closet. Closing the closet door, I ran the line around the perimeter of the room to my bed. All was ready. I went back downstairs to drink a nice cup of hot chocolate - with marshmallows - with my loving brother.

A short time later, we were tucked in for the night - teeth brushed, hands washed, and bedtime prayers finished. The wind and rain outside were raising quite the ruckus. A tremendous gust of wind smacked a tree branch against the side of the house. "Did that sound like a ladder to you?" I asked my brother.

Fred, of course, was much too accustomed to this to be really scared...until I yanked the fishing line. The noise was amazing as the bat fell from its perch and clattered to the floor past a few well-placed empty hangers. "They're in the closet!" I whispered across the suddenly quiet room to the wide-eyed figure sitting bolt upright in the other bed. A hangar fell to the closet floor.

The bedroom door flew open as my parents raced in; Fred was still screaming for help. I rolled over, slowly opened my eyes, and yawned. "What's going on?" I sleepily inquired.

Alas, I had not listened closely enough to my father's tales of youth. It was the fishing line, still tied to the doorknob, that always gave his jolly gang away. And so it was in this case, as well. The punishment was swift. My parents were not what one would call aficionados of Dr. Spock; spanking was a child-"rearing" option in their household.

That would certainly teach me a lesson! One would think.

Wednesday, March 21

Slowly Succumbing

Okay Dragonbug and Miz Mizchief, you have succeeded in getting me to post something! I'll work on the rest of the profile if and when time permits. In the meantime...

Dearest Dragonfly and Miz Minka suggested a website containing an "innerly rewarding" and "interesting" test; in a weak moment, I joined in their madness. Here's my Personal DNA. It was, I admit, an interesting excercise, although it reaffirmed much more than informed. As much as I hate to admit it, I feel the interpretation is reasonably accurate. Big question for the day is: did I somehow manipulate my answers while taking the test to conform to my self image?