TPC Pages

08 April 2019

[Bess Tuggle] - Memoirs of Surviving Children: "Messing With Each Other"

My children have messed with each other their entire lives.  I don’t know if you can call it being brothers, siblings, or whatever - but they have.  When I say “messing with each other” I mean “torturing each other.”  They’ve gotten really good at it, too.  They’ve had years of experience; they came by it honest.  They haven’t outgrown it, either.    

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The youngest, Thing 4, would wait until all his brothers’ were lined up in a row watching the morning cartoons.  It took patience and stealth, but he’d wait until they all lined up and were completely enthralled by the cartoons.  THAT was when he’d come out with the Wiffle Ball bat.

A Wiffle Ball bat is a big, plastic baseball bat, and we had a pink one.  Go figure, pink in our household, but it was certainly handy and BIG.

“Bam, bam, BAM!” on the back of his brothers’ heads he’d go, then into his room he ran.  He locked his bedroom door, hid as best he could, and hoped his brothers gave up on revenge before the cartoon was over or they broke in the door.  

It wasn’t long after that I learned to turn the door locks around.  Finally, they couldn’t lock me out, but I could certainly lock them in.  For safety’s sake, I could lock them in.  I’m not sure if it was for their safety or mine, but it worked.  They were well trained about breaking windows to escape the house in an emergency.  Escaping each other was a different story.  

Again, they came by it honest.

When their father and uncle were growing up, their uncle tortured their father.  Their uncle would take a tape recorder and he’d tape complete silence for a few minutes, and then start to tape noises.  He’d tape squeaks, clicks, groans, miscellaneous noises…  Anything irritating would work.  Their uncle –knew- how long it would take his brother to brush his teeth and put on his P.J.’s.  He’d hide the tape recorder under his brother’s bed when he was brushing his teeth then hit “Play.”  After four or five minutes, after his brother lay down to go to sleep, the noises began and drove him –bonkers-.  Yes, there WERE monsters under the bed!  Heaven help if you were to put your feet on the floor, the monsters might get you, and don’t dare go look in the closet!

Thing 3 still likes to drive me crazy with noises.  I’m one of the few that can hear them.  He makes a high-pitched sound that goes in my ears and blows up in the middle of my head. His uncle can hear them too, so I guess we’re both cursed.  Not many other people can hear it.  Still does it occasionally when he comes home on leave, too. 

I don’t think Thing 3 knows that when he makes those noises I let the dog lick his toothbrush.  

- Bess Tuggle