The “slogan” under my blog title is “There’s never been anything more beautiful than a story.” This is something that I truly believe. Stories, especially the good ones, are things last a lifetime. Sometimes even more. Perhaps I grew up in a family where stories are made, told, and retold for years. Sometimes they are told so frequently that I can mouth the story along with them, but I don’t complain. There’s a lot of life in stories, verbal or written, that I think people take for granted. I know I do.
Lets take a look at verbal stories – those who are great at telling them are usually animated and full of expression. It’s almost as if the stories are taking over them. The hand movements, the facial expressions, their embellished motions – they are all part of the story. Can you imagine how boring it would be to hear a thirty minute story from Ben Stein? Yeah, not my cup of tea, either.
Then there are stories that are written down that, by the writers doing, compel you exhibit emotion from the text. An awesome story teller, in my opinion, is the kind who keeps you thoroughly engaged and full of anticipation. I don’t like when reading is a chore. That’s boring.
So here’s a story for you, and it’s a story from my childhood again. It’s a story about my long time best friend, Jenna.
Jenna moved in sometime between my 5th and 6th birthday. We were nearly inseparable for years. Her family was much bigger than mine was – complete with three other siblings. I only had one, two if you count my cousin, and that was plenty. Jenna was the youngest, the most vulnerable, and looking back at our childhood, we really didn’t stand a chance.
Dustin, her older and only brother, made it a life mission to terrorize us. Although, as quick as he was to terrorize, he was also quick to protect. It was my idea of a body guard that also liked to kick your ass. You needed him, because he is bigger than you are and can protect you from the mean kids, but at the same time he could be a mean kid, too.
The first time I ever spent the night away from home was with Jenna. As we were settling in to her room that she shared with her older (but not oldest) sister Cassey, Dustin came in and told me about monsters that crept into the rooms of little kids on their first night away from their parents. He told me that it only happened on the first night away and that there was a 50/50 chance that it would eat me.
He scared me shit-less.
Cassey, being older, tried to explain that he was full of “bologna” and that I should ignore him. So, I did my best, puff out my chest, and decided I could do it. That was, until the lights went out. Thankfully, because Jenna and Cassey had separate beds, I got to share a teeny little twin bed when Jenna. I don’t know what made our friendship stronger – the fact that she kept being my friend despite kicking her out of the bed for years to come, or that the entire night I clung to her like a koala bear.
I made it through.
But, this isn’t the story I wanted to tell you. Dustin told us stories about “Tommy Knocker” coming to steal you when you opened the door while your parents weren’t home. He told us ghost stories and then would promptly hide to jump out and scare us to death. He was the brother who turned the dryer on knowing that his kid sister was hiding in there during a game of hide-n-go-seek. He was the older brother who became my older brother. He’s the older brother who saved my life when I got my foot stuck between the pool deck and the pool and went face first in and almost drowned.
He’s also the brother who prevented Jenna from coming out to play.
It was a typical day like any other. I think we were about nine or ten. Jenna and I are three weeks apart in age, and I’m younger. That’s important. (Not really, I just like to think so). I called Jenna on her house phone to see if she wanted to come over and play, but I came to find out, quickly, that she wasn’t able to.
See, Dustin had a plan. He was a prankster and also had a knack for getting into loads of trouble. Some light bulb went off in his head, somewhere in that brain of his, that sparked an ingenious idea. He took super glue and ran it all around the toilet seat and waited for some, very unfortunate, extremely unsuspecting soul, to come sit down to relieve themselves.
That very unfortunate, extremely unsuspecting soul just happened to be Jenna.
Jenna couldn’t come out to play that day, or the day after, because her brother glued her to the toilet seat. I don’t have the details of how the toilet seat managed to come off her bum, but I do know that Dustin was very nice to us…for months…after that.
Sorry Jenna! I had to tell it. It’s because I miss you, stinky. You and your “I live in the Marshal Islands now.”