Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Personal Protection

“So, do you want to hear what my very intelligent little brother did last night?” Lily asks, as we head to her car after class.

“Ooh, tell!”

“Well, I love Jonathan, and he’s so smart, which is why it’s so funny when he does the dumbest things, you know? It's like sometimes he just doesn’t use his brain. Anyway, he never remembers to brush his teeth, which can get, you know, gross. Because the food builds up on his front teeth, and I’ll be like, ‘Jonathan, go brush your teeth right now!’

“So anyway, Sarah got him this Listerine spray-type stuff in a little bottle. Like that you mist?—” she mimes a breath spray—“you know what I’m talking about? And he took it to class the other day, and one of the kids told him it was like pepper spray and you could spray it people’s eyes and it would hurt. So when he gets home, he decides he should test it out.”

I grin, savoring the direction the story is taking. “Uh oh.”

“Yes. Smart, right? So he squirts some in his face, and it doesn’t hurt. So then he decides he should try it on Dylan, don’t ask me why. To see if it worked the same.”

“Ohhhh, dear.”

“I know! I have no idea what he was thinking, or how he convinced Dylan to do it, but apparently he talked him into it. I guess Dylan had watched him spray himself, or something. But he sprays Dylan in the eyes and he feels it all right!”

I clap my hands over my mouth to cover a horrified laugh. “Oh, no!”

“Yeah, apparently it burns like crazy. So Dylan runs off crying to tell Daddy, and I guess Jonathan doesn’t believe him or something because get this: he turns the bottle around and sprays himself in the eyes!”

“Oh my gosh, he didn’t! Why would he do that?”

“Don’t ask me! Why would he do any of this? To see if it would hurt, apparently! So Daddy comes in, and Dylan’s crying, and Jonathan’s crying, and Daddy’s trying not to laugh, and asking Johnathan what he was doing. And he reads off the bottle and it says ‘keep out of eyes.’ He’s like ‘you’re supposed to put this in your mouth. Not your eyes.’ ”

I’m cracking up. “Oh my gosh, I love your brothers. That’s so awful.”

“Yeah, it’s a good thing Mama wasn’t home. She freaks out about this kind of thing. Daddy had to call poison control and make them flush their eyes out with water and everything. And me and Sarah and Tyler were all waiting by the door to see Mama's face when she finds out.”

I shake my head, wiping my eyes. “Wow. That is so classic. Man, I remember this time when I was little and I wanted to make myself sneeze with pepper? You know, like in the poem—‘feed pepper to you little boy’? Alice and Wonderland?”

Lily makes a face. “Ooh…”

“Yeah. Don’t ever put pepper up your nose. Ever. It burned so bad….”

“Well, did you sneeze?”

“I cried. It was really unpleasant. And I didn’t even sneeze. It was all lies.”


“I know, isn’t it? Childhood is filled with propaganda. So, yeah, don't put pepper up your nose.”

Lily laughs, shaking her head in mock sympathy, and beeps her car open. "I'll make a note."

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