In 1988, when I was 12 and viewed the world through rose-colored, grass-is-always-greener glasses, I finally got permission to move from our going nowhere slowly southern New Mexico town to Las Vegas, where my dad lived. My older sister Kim and I had been making the trek from Artesia to Vegas for three months each summer since I was in kindergarten and she was in first grade, and I couldn’t wait for one, long, luxurious vacation. I couldn’t wait to get out of my life, where my stepdad regularly beat the crap out of my mom, and where I got spankings so bad that I spent most of elementary school covered in bruises from the backs of my knees to my tailbone. I couldn’t wait to be away from my sister, who was mean and strange and always in my space.

The plan was for Kim and I to go to Vegas, where Kim would spend the summer, like usual. At the end of the summer, Kim would return to New Mexico and I would stay in Vegas, my perpetual Disneyland, forever and ever, la la la.

Neither of us anticipated that our mom and stepdad would up-and-move to another town that summer, and that Kim, once again, would be forced to join me for one long sleepover. Nor did we suspect that our dad, amid allegations of child pornography and molestation, would be shamed into moving out within weeks of our arrival, leaving Kim and me to live with Helen, our polyester bellbottom pants-wearing, feathered hair, lunatic stepmother who, throughout the long year we lived with her, constantly reminded us that if it weren’t for her “real” children, she would kill herself from the stress of dealing with Kim and me.

Kim and I didn’t always get along. Okay – we hated each other. This is due in part to the fact that our personalities were always in conflict with one another. Before puberty, I enjoyed climbing trees, hunting for vinegaroons, and dreaming of the day that I’d collect enough scrap wires and diodes and spark plugs and guts of typewriters to make my very own robot! Kim, on the other hand, perfected the whole girl thing at an early age. We didn’t speak the same language, we didn’t like the same things, but we had to carry one another around like a bum appendage. We couldn’t even have a sleepover without having to drag the other along.

“You want to stay at Gwen’s house tonight? Ask Gwen to ask her dad if Kim can go too.”

“But I don’t want Kim to go! Gwen doesn’t play with me when Kim’s there and they gang up and pick on me!”

“Well, if Kim can’t go, you’re not going.”

In Vegas, Kim and I made new friends. We began to individuate, to pursue our own interests in earnest. We were no longer forced to spend every waking second together. I started hanging out with a skate crowd and listening to The Dead Milkmen and The Butthole Surfers. And Kim started doing…something. Whatever it was, it didn’t involve me.

Yet, in some ways a bond formed during that time. We were so lonely. Strangers in a strange land. Detested by our caretaker. The only thing familiar we had was each other.

It was a long, long year that we spent in Vegas before Helen finally managed to heap the responsibility of raising Kim and me back onto our Mom and stepdad, and our bitterness toward one another reached its highest heights.

By the time we were finally shipped off to be with our parents again, they had moved to Guthrie, Oklahoma, where my stepdad was set to start his new career as a mortician. Unfortunately, they hadn’t had a chance to settle in yet and were living (with our dog) in a 20-foot travel trailer in a mobile home park on the outskirts of town.

There we were – four humans and a dog living in a 20-foot space for three months in 102 degree heat, with a humidity index of about 10,000. This affected all of our moods, especially the stepdad, whose penchant for a foul temper and violence was directly proportional to sweat. Kim and I slept side-by-side on what served as the breakfast table and surfed the crest of resentment.

Around this time, I began wearing makeup. I was now 13 and experimenting with “looks.” I found that I couldn’t apply mascara without it gooping up and making my eyelashes stick together. I discovered, genius that I was, that if I took a straight pin and used it to comb my eyelashes, they would eventually separate into luxurious looking locks of eye hair. It was a risky endeavor, proven by the fact that I poked my cornea one time and my eye wept for two days. My parents told me that I was no longer allowed to separate my lashes this way, and since there was no privacy in my 20-foot world, there was no way to sneak off and do it. But I wanted to.

One magnificent day, my parents went off somewhere and left Kim and me alone for the very first time. This was a miracle since the stepdad was so extremely paranoid about us having any contact – even eye contact – with the opposite sex that he never let us out of his sight. As soon as my parents left, I promptly sat down in front of the mirror and pulled out my straight pin.

For some God-unknown reason, Kim decided to rat me out for this, and when our parents got home, I got in big trouble. I probably got spanked, as I did for many things until I was 15. For many, many years, I regarded her telling on me as the most egregious betrayal I’d ever experienced in my life. It was one thing to throw me under the bus to save her own ass; but to do it without provocation was a painful, angering thing. We both lived in the same hell – and had our entire lives – and I felt she had borrowed the pitchfork from the devil himself.

Well, the next day, I had to go to the bathroom.

Allow me to digress here for just a moment to tell you, in case you don’t know, that 20-foot travel trailers are not known for their hi-tech, exemplary plumbing – especially not the ones manufactured in the early 70s. When you flush, there is a small trickle of blue water that washes the bowl for a brief second. This is okay if you’ve urinated or had a light bowel movement. But if you’ve given birth from your ass to the equivalent of a medium-sized rodent, as you may do when your diet is bad (as you would suspect it to be when you have five poor people sharing meals in a 20-foot travel trailer), then it’s very likely that the tiny trickle of blue water will be ineffective.

And it was.

So, there I stood, alone in a three-foot space behind a flimsy plastic accordion door, trying to decide how to tackle the problem. My spirits were low; I was hot; I was temperamental; and I was still really hurt by Kim telling on me. I had been grounded for that. Grounded! In a twenty foot travel trailer! With four people and a dog!

And that’s when I spotted Kim’s toothbrush.

I took that seven-inch long poking stick, wrapped the bristles in a softball-sized wad of toilet paper, and voila! My task was complete.

The next morning, as Kim stood at the sink brushing her teeth, I leaned in the doorway of the bathroom smirking like the Cheshire Cat.

“What?” she asked.

“How’s that toothbrush?” I said.

I’m pretty sure I got my butt spanked for that one.

TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

GLORIA HARRISON is a writer whose work has been featured on The Nervous Breakdown, Fictionaut, and This American Life. Gloria was the lead editor for The Portland Red Guide: Sites & Stories of Our Radical Past by Michael Munk, which was published through Ooligan Press in 2007. She was also a contributing editor to Pete Anthony's book, Immaculate, for which she received a high five and a ten dollar gift card to Stumptown Coffee. Gloria graduated from Portland State University with her B.A. in English in 2006 and now focuses on her own writing. She had a work of flash fiction published in The Bear Deluxe Magazine (No. 26). You can follow her on Twitter here.

Gloria lives in Portland, Oregon with her school-age twin boys. She is currently working on both a memoir and her first novel. You can contact Gloria via her Facebook page.

109 responses to “The Shittiest Thing I’ve Ever Done”

  1. Anon says:

    I mean this will absolutely all due propriety – I think I love you. I have much older siblings who treated me a “little shabbily” when I was a child and I exacted what size-limited revenge I could, some of it involving dog crap. But my own waste? Brilliant. Cheers!

  2. Becky says:

    Totally did the safety-pin eyelashes thing. I was a nail biter, so safety pins and tweezers served a number of purposes for me in my teen years that nails would for a person who had them.

    I wielded that thing like a brain surgeon.

    Except for when I didn’t. Totally been there.

    My high school boyfriend was a year older and got an efficiency apt. in the city when I was still finishing my senior year. He once flushed a toothbrush down the toilet because he dropped it in there and didn’t want to stick his hand in to fish it out.

    For nearly 2 months, he could only shit every 2 days because that’s how long it took for the water to go down (mostly) in the toilet. That water was often more like soggy pissy shitty chili. He didn’t want to call his super because he didn’t want to be charged a plumbing bill for flushing a toothbrush down the toilet. Curiously, this was not why I broke up with him. Love is an amazing thing.

    That is my tooth brush and toilet story. Yours is better because it has more vengeance.

    • Gloria Harrison says:

      Becky – your toothbrush and toilet story, though not as vengeful, is way more disgusting. So, kudos for that!

      I’m relieved to hear that someone else did the straight pin thing. What the hell were we thinking?

      • Becky says:

        “I’m gonna be so hot!”

        That’s what we were thinking. Right before we stabbed ourselves in the eye with a pin and gave ourselves a 2nd-degree burn our foreheads with the curling iron. Strut!

      • Becky says:

        Incidentally, in hindsight, that boyfriend was consistently disgusting. He was a redhead (Eric Stoltz style) and very good-looking, which I liked, but he didn’t like that his hair got “fluffy” when it was clean, so he would only wash it every 3 days or so. Dirty head smell all day. It was the 90s, though. Grunge was in.


        • Gloria Harrison says:

          He knew it was time to wash his hair when he took a shit? Or vice versa? Which was the Pavlovian response?

        • Becky says:

          Actually, now that I think about it, it was more like every 5 days. So every-other-shit +1 day. Naturally, he discovered pomade shortly after we broke up.

        • Becky says:

          Oh my God, I hope he never reads this. I don’t think he will, but there’s a slim chance, and he’s all moody-n-shit. He’ll get fussy. Probably because I called him all moody-n-shit.

          ‘sup Schwa! Sorry you were gross! Love ya to death! *awkward smile*

          Anyway, I also wanted to say that my only sibling was 12 years older than me. We didn’t get to take part, really, in these rituals of sibling antagonism. Or at least not in a conventional way. She was mostly my second mom. Until I became a teenager, at which point I guess I became fair game, as she started punching me in the leg/arm whenever I sassed off. Maternal nurturing to physical abuse.

          Thanks Sis. I’m not confused or traumatized or anything. *glare*

        • Gloria says:

          Ha ha ha. I posted this at work and couldn’t take really any time away to respond (or really even read) comments. I love that in that time, you had this whole, wonderful conversation with yourself. You crack me up, lady.

          I’m sure that Schwa would just loved that he’s mentioned. People like it. 🙂

          I think I will sign all of my Christmas cards to Kim with, “Thanks Sis. I’m not confused or traumatized or anything.” from now on.

        • Becky says:

          I am my own best audience. For sure.

          And Schwa is bipolar, so he can’t decide if he wants to be famous or dead. He has grown up a lot, though, and I do love him heap big hugs.


          I think it’s a good sign-off. I usually go with, “HA HA YOU’RE FUCKING OLD.”

        • Becky says:

          I don’t say “fucking,” though, because she’s a New Testament scholar and theologian, so that would be in bad taste.

        • Gloria says:

          I love that you have two different gravatars happening there. It makes the conversation with yourself that much more wonderful.

          Yes, you shouldn’t say fucking to men of the cloth. That is bad form.

        • Becky says:

          Well, she’s not a man. And not a priest or pastor. Just a scholar, but not a big swearer. She’s pretty cool, actually.

        • Anon says:

          “…you shouldn’t say fucking to men of the cloth. That is bad form”

          Indeed. It’s like saying “chocolate eclair” to someone on a diet. Just plain mean.

        • Becky says:

          Anon, you must be Catholic. Or maybe Jewish, in which case you wouldn’t know or immediately remember, necessarily, that heretic protestant pastors can get married and fuck all they want. Their wives & husbands only, of course, but still.

        • Anon says:

          Recovering, actually. Excellent point. I always associate the specific phrase “men of the cloth” with Catholic priests. Good ol’ heretics!

        • Becky says:

          We got the cross with no Jeebus on it and holy men AND WOMEN procreating willy-nilly.

          Lutheranism is basically anarchy.

          Good old German anarchy.


        • Anon says:

          In fairness, that is somewhat preferable to good old German order….

        • Gloria says:

          Becky – I guess I got the not showering ex boyfriend and the sister comments mixed up at some point and began confusing my pronouns. My apologies to your sister.

        • Anon says:

          Gloria, I assume you were my editor here. Thanks much.

  3. Laura says:

    I think every girl I knew in high school used the straight pin on goopy eyelashes technique. And, if it makes your sister feel any better, I read somewhere recently, that as humans we ingest alot of fecal matter on a daily basis, and we survive. Especially coming from soda machines; there is a lot of shit in the soda you buy out of the fountain machines at McDonald’s or Circle K or Wal-Mart.

    All I can say, is you make really tragic stuff sound bearable, and funny even. How did you ever survive to become the amazing, brilliant, talented adult you are today? A miracle no less, and lots of hard work on your part. You are so strong and funny and a brilliant writer, and I adore you!

    • Gloria says:

      You know, considering I wasn’t the one putting something that once touched poop in my mouth, I’m not really in need of feeling better. But perhaps Kim will stop in and read and if so, I’ll direct the question to her. Kim, does it make you feel better to know that you’ve potentially consumed shit in multiple other locations as well? 😉

      “….you make really tragic stuff sound bearable…” I’m going to put this on my resume in my list of skills. Maybe I can become a political speech writer.

      Thanks, mama.

  4. That’s amazing. Hysterical.

    I have two siblings, both younger. I live with older sibling guilt now; in our younger days, I sprained my sister’s wrist to the degree it still has a pop when she moves it just right, and years before had tried to make my brother eat stones. No one except my mother remembers that latter incident, but, well, I can’t say as it’s unlike me.

    “Nor did we suspect that our dad, amid allegations of child pornography and molestation, would be shamed into moving out within weeks of our arrival,”

    What? Have you written about this elsewhere? I hate to inquire about what is probably a touchy subject, but I mean, you must know that’s a huge thing to drop right into an otherwise mostly harmless essay about eyelash pins and bathroom-based sibling rivalry.

    • Gloria says:

      Ah, yes. Sibling guilt. Do I have it? Guilty. But not about this – because it’s funny.

      The part you quote I have not mentioned in other locations. I realize it was like dropping a bomb. I may write about it one day. It is, indeed, touchy. What’s even touchier is how to write it well and without running the risk of being sued for libel. It is this fear, actually, that has kept my urge to come out, guns a blazin’, shooting down all of the child raping, woman beating, thieving, scummy pieces of shit that ever touched my life at bay. I think, ultimately, if you stick to the facts as you understand them, you can’t be sued. Or, at least, you can’t lose a lawsuit. Or shouldn’t. I don’t know. That one’s tricky. Thoughts?

      • Gloria says:

        I’ve also considered Anne Lamott’s advice to give everyone a teeny tiny pee pee. But then readers will eventually begin to ask, “Why does everyone have a teeny tiny pee pee? What are the odds? Even the women!”

        • Gloria says:

          Fake names. Fake names are good too. But then, is it still nonfiction? Where’s the line between fake names and fictional diminutive phalli and the stuff James Frey pulled?

      • I think you mention a few salient things there, first being that “you can’t lose a lawsuit.” Which is interesting because to be able to lose one, someone would have to sue you in the first place. Someone would have to sue you.

        As for libel, I think–but, mind, am no lawyer–that the claims in question have to be false. That is, if what is written is true, it’s less likely to be held as libel (maybe defamation, but even that, not sure).

        I’ve always thought that, so long as it’s the facts, as long as it’s honest, it’ll work.

        As for your question below about changing names . . . heck, I changed the name of an ex-girlfriend in my last post (the one about karaoke), and figure that will probably be my policy when referring to any of my previous relationships. Just because it’s one person writing about his person of an intimate situation shared between two, and more than anything, I think it’s just some respect for my exes’ privacy. I don’t think that changing something so nominal and superficial as people’s names makes non-fiction fiction, though.

        • Gloria Harrison says:

          I agree. I think changing names is respectful. And good Karma.

          As for proving truth – herein lies the crux. Prove it happened. Prove it didn’t happen. Neither can occur with any real level of accuracy in a lot of cases (though there are obviously exceptions to this.) But whatev… I’m writing this shit. Fuck it. 🙂

          And great point about being sued. However, wouldn’t that just add insult to injury? It’s an irrational fear, I’m sure – as most fears tend to be.

  5. Richard Cox says:

    Killer title. Baahahahaha. And the story simply rocks. Awesome post.

    I’m sorry you ever had to live in Guthrie. Not exactly the garden of Eden. And I’m wondering, if you kept poking your cornea over and over, if you could do some home made radial keratotomy that way.

  6. Sarah says:

    Wow, I never did the pin to eyelash thing. Please refer to our earlier discussion about freaking the hell out at anything coming near my eyes. Plus, I think I’ve always had a shaky hand, even before I got hooked on caffeine and nicotine.

    Man, I wish I could have been as ruthless and resourceful as you in exacting revenge on my sisters. My older sister not so much, as she was too much older than me (five years and that’s a lifetime when you’re 15 and 10) but my younger one (two years difference) definitely deserved a shitty mouth at least a handful of times.

    She’d get pissed because I wouldn’t give her the remote or something stupid so she’d lunge at me, attacking my face with her claws. Yes, I still have physical scars (I’m pretty much over the emotional ones). I’d grab her wrists to make her stop scratching the living piss out of me and she’d scream, crying to mom that I was hurting her. I’d get punished because as the older sibling I should know better or some bullshit like that and she’d get the remote after all with a nice “Fuck you” smirk on her face.

    Twenty years later, we still have similar roles in our family. It’s sad really. It’s like my parents see me as 31 but still see her as 8.

    • Gloria says:

      “I’d get punished because as the older sibling I should know better or some bullshit like that and she’d get the remote after all with a nice “Fuck you” smirk on her face.”


      I feel like I got in more trouble, though, because I was a troublemaker. A boat rocker. It has always been my cross to bear.

    • Gloria says:

      Interestingly, having twins levels this playing field. No one is the alpha. It creates complications to the sibling thing that most people did not, themselves, have to navigate.

      • Richard Cox says:

        Plus, neither one of them can tell who is who. “Am I Tolkien? Or are you?”

      • Neither twin is alpha? Really? I’ve known a couple sets of twins, and in every one, one dominates. Usually one gloats that he/she is first born by a couple minutes (or younger by same) or some such.

        • Gloria Harrison says:

          I’d say Indigo is definitely Alpha – in so much as he bullies his brother when he’s bored. But that doesn’t mean that Tolkien won’t just haul off with a roundhouse to the jaw for no apparent reason from time to time. Mostly though, Tolkien is far more sanguine than Indigo.

  7. New Orleans Lady says:

    Just as I was reading the bathroom part, my dog farted right next to me. I hadn’t realized that she had done this so I almost felt like I was in the room. It was weird. I should mention that I’m hopped up on sorts of meds so that could be why I felt I was there. Anywho…

    I still do the straight pin thing with my lashes. You have to. No way around it.

    So I take it you spilled the beans and told her right there, by your spanking comment? If not, she’s getting the suprise of her life right now.

    Love your writing and your stories, G. Keep ’em coming.

    • Gloria says:

      You STILL do the straight pin thing?? Wow… *prays for Ashley’s ocular well being*

      I don’t recall if I spilled the beans right there or how it shook down. I just know the parents found out and I got in huge trouble and, ultimately, grounded. I almost feel like it was one of the only times that my mom yelled at me ever. Two things prevent me from really, really remembering every little detail of my life up to about 20. One is years and years of dissociation. The other is a major blow to the head.

      Thanks for reading, mama. 🙂

  8. Lorna says:

    “when I was 12 and viewed the world through rose-colored, grass-is-always-greener glasses,”

    I think we are sometimes given those rose-colored glasses because we need to believe that life can be better.

    One of my brothers would chase and shoot me with a BB gun. He also chased me while on his motorcycle as I ran for my life barefoot tripping on rocks. My older brother saved me from that incident. The two together rolled me up inside a sofa sleeper once. I thought I was going to die. Alas I am still here.

    ….still chuckling about the toothbrush. I wish I would have thought of that.

    • Gloria says:

      They rolled you up in a SLEEPER SOFA?? Gah!

      I remember one time when I was about nine or ten, a babysitter gave me some aspirin that had gotten wet. I took it and he told me that it being wet would kill me and that I only had fifteen minutes to live. I lost my shit. I cried and cried and cried. I was inconsolable. Then he told me he was kidding and had a good laugh.

      Kids are fucking awful.

      • Lorna says:

        Oh yeah and if I believed everything they told me…..I was adopted. That’s why I had brown hair and brown eyes and they were blond with blue eyes. I can sympathize with you on some other topics to which I commend you for mentioning.

  9. Matt says:

    Wow. That is just respectably foul. And hysterical.

    My sister and I fought like badgers growing up, and we still don’t get along so well as adults, but damn! I never did anything to her involving fecal matter. And by the time we were teenagers she was getting into so much trouble on her own all I had to do was sit back and watch.

  10. Judy Prince says:

    Wonderful story, Gloria, wisely spun with your humour.

    Loved these parts: “. . . dreaming of the day that I’d collect enough scrap wires and diodes and spark plugs and guts of typewriters to make my very own robot!” …..and this that ends in poetry: “Kim and I slept side-by-side on what served as the breakfast table and surfed the crest of resentment” …..and this: “Grounded! In a twenty foot travel trailer! With four people and a dog!”

    Keep ’em coming.

  11. Tawni says:

    Nice move with the toothbrush. My little sister was a constant tattletale, and her betrayals fueled much creative revenge on my part. We had a completely antagonistic relationship until we hit high school, so I could relate to this piece. I especially appreciated the line: “…we had to carry one another around like a bum appendage,” because that is exactly what my little sister felt like sometimes. So well said.

    Also: I will need to Google “vinegaroons” before I go to bed tonight. What a fun word!

    Really great writing, as usual, G-Lovely. Love the double meaning of the title. (:

    • Gloria says:

      Thanks, for reading Ms. Tawni.

      Also, see here: http://images.whatsthatbug.com/images/vinegaroon_samantha.jpg

      Vinegaroons are actually harmless. They get scared and spray you with this defensive spray that smells like vinegar (hence the name.) They’re common in the desert southwest. People are freaked out by them because they look like scorpions, which are also common in the desert southwest. I enjoyed watching people recoil when I, a little girl, would handle them.

      • Gloria says:

        I tried to embed the link, but the HTML wasn’t working. 🙁

      • Tawni says:

        I can’t believe I’d never heard of those. I grew up in Phoenix. I can tell you the name of most different types of cacti, but somehow I missed out on learning about the coolest bug in the world. Does the vinegar-smelling spray come out of that long stick-thing on its tail? Freaky!

  12. James D. Irwin says:

    that’s disgusting.

    and hysterical.

    the line between disgusting and hilarious is so often a blurred one…

    great writing… but I can’t help but worry that you’re running out of body parts… (and, by extension, bodily effluences…)

  13. Erica says:

    My roommate better watch her ass… Thanks for the idea. I love you!

  14. Amber says:

    This kills me. I have to say, I don’t feel sad about missing out on the torment of having siblings. I mean, I have a half brother but he’s 18 years older than I am and all I got from him was some bitter resentment and a determination to ignore me at all costs. However, the older boys in my neighborhood enjoyed torturing me, so I suppose that’s something.

    BTW, Tawni: my fiance advises you to avoid looking up vinagaroons. They are horrible looking. Oh, and your picture is breathtakingly gorgeous. That’s from me. Not to be all weird and stuff, but, you know…a gal should be told when she’s pretty…

    • Gloria says:

      AND Tawni shits glitter and vomits rainbows. She’s got it all.

      Vinegaroons are AWESOME.

      • Amber says:

        Let’s start a Tawni fanclub. I want to learn to vomit rainbows and shit glitter.

        Vinagaroons freak me the hell out. I only let them live because they eat the things that scare me more. But they must live outside. Anything with more than four legs that enters my house will die.

        • Tawni says:

          Amber and Gloria: You just made this old lady’s day. I officially adore you both, and send you an endless supply of rainbows and glitter. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxoxo.

        • Laura says:

          Last summer I discovered a vinagaroon in my client’s hot tub. I thought I would die of a heart attack. It was a 6 inches long and I mistook it for a scorpion ( of which I have been stung before while gardening…). I was so happy to learn all the vinaga does is stink.
          I’m gonna tag youin my photo of it Gloria.

        • Gloria Harrison says:

          Saw the photo – is that actually from the incident you describe above? I’ve never seen a vinegaroon with those white bands around its arms. (Are they called arms?)

          I’ve never been stung by a scorpion, but I hear it hurts like a son of a bitch. Sorry to hear. 🙁

  15. Stuart Ralston says:

    As the youngest of four, I was teased and tortured. Is there a statute of limitations on bringing charges of abuse against my siblings? Held down and tickled until I cried and nearly passed out was the worst. I chased one brother with a baseball bat, he barely made it through the garage door when I swung and put a hole in the door. I knew I wasn’t going to hit him, but I’m sure he got the message. I hated being called Gullible for believing things they told me that weren’t true. I mean, when you’re seven, if you can’t trust your wise older sister, what else is there to believe in? BUT, on the flip side, I was waaay ahead of my time, and my parents were waaay more lenient with me…No fecal stories though, sorry…I hear Kim has this nightly habit of running hot water over her toothbrush for a minute being using it. Is this true? Gloria, you are a Champion, in so many ways.

    • Gloria says:

      Ha!Your comment about Kim cracked me up.

      And I would like to expand what I said before: not only are kids assholes, but siblings are sometimes the worst kind of kid assholes.

  16. Jeannie says:

    I love this. I love stories about siblings in general. Your style is so fun, I look forward to more. And yes, I’ve scrubbed the toilet with my brother’s toothbrush though that’s not as bad as pushing shit down the toilet.

  17. Laura says:

    The greatest revenge on a dysfunctional family is to have a member of that family grow up and become a great writer…

    • Gloria Harrison says:

      Yes. It applies in other areas too.

      Sometime after I left my ex-husband and then ventured out into the dating world, I met a man from Germany who was in the states for two years training to be a pilot. I was cautious. I took things slowly. About a month after we started hanging out, we finally had sex. A day or two later, we were at Ikea looking for a desk for him and, while discussing mattresses, he announced, “I have one of these back home in Germany. I left it with my girlfriend.” YOUR WHAT? First time any mention of a girlfriend (who he intended to marry) came into conversation. I took to MySpace and wrote a blog called “Hell Hath No Fury Like a Blogger Scorned.” Granted, that was written for a small, hand-selected audience and I probably wouldn’t make something like that so public, but it was nice to take to the interwebz to express my anger.

  18. Cheryl says:

    Great post! That is the ultimate in sibling revenge.

    My sister is three years older than me, and after my parents’ divorce when I was 7 we had to share a room and a bed in an apartment with my Mom. Not as crowded or hot as a 20 ft trailer, but still not conducive to peaceful sibling relations. The apartment complex had a swimming pool, which in hindsight was probably not kept up that well and I am surprised I didn’t contract some disease by swimming in it, but at 7ears old it was heaven. I also ended up swimming in it alone a lot, due my sister shirking her babysitting duties, which she resented to no end, her being a cheerleader and all, and I being the weird, bookish one that liked to pretend to be a horse. (Again, in hindsight, this swimming alone at 7 thing totally freaks me out now that I have a 6 year old daughter. The thought of her getting into a body of water bigger than a bathtub completely alone with no supervision of any kind is the kind of thought that induces severe hyperventilation. But that’s what it was like in the 70’s. Really, the common thread in these comments is that it is amazing that any of us who grew up in the 70’s survived to adulthood.)

    No big, dramatic revenge stories – mostly whining and minor tattling. And many long years of barely acknowledging each other’s existence.

    It would have never ever occurred to me to push my shit down a toilet with her toothbrush. That’s just fucking brilliant.

    • Gloria says:

      How do you and your sister get along now?

      And yes, the 70s. Do you remember riding on your parents laps? Do you remember when seatbelts were suggestions? When your parents would smoke in the grocery store while shopping? I have no idea how we made it out alive.

      • Cheryl says:

        Now we get along fair to middling. No resentments or anything, that I know of, we just aren’t that close. Sadly.

        You know what’s weird? That two people can live through the exact same circumstances and come out the other end with completely different ideas of what that meant. It took adulthood for it to occur to me that my sister viewed my parents’ divorce and subsequent weirdness in a completely different way than I did; and that her resultant phobias and neuroses were completely different – in some cases even opposite – than mine. Anyway, short version, no, we’re not close. But we are loving. Does that make sense?

        Man, I used to love to sit in my Dad’s lap and steer the car. Vacations out of state with my Dad driving 90 miles an hour down the Interstate, smoking and talking to truckers on the CB to get wind of “smokies”, and no one in the family wearing a seat belt. Smoking EVERYWHERE – at home, in restaurants, at the mall, in the car, in the grocery store, in every office building, at the doctor’s offcie. Although I can admit to times when I really wanted a cigarette at the doctor’s office. Good times!

        • Gloria Harrison says:

          There have been times when I’ve really wanted a cigarette at all of those places, to varying degrees, and for various reasons.

  19. Tamm Allen says:

    I feel guilty for ever being depressed. I can’t even imagine how fucked up your childhood was. Mine was candy, cakes and pies compared to yours. I was molested and raped all the time but at least I had my own room a horse, a stereo and whole fucking lot more. I was spoiled. My sister was a raging bitch though. She tortured me to no end.

    I used to crackle the mascara between my fingers when it was dry to separate the lashes. I had to brush away the black flakes but it worked. I’d even put more on and let it dry and do it a gain. Hairdryer.

    Damn Gloria, I’m officially disgusted with myself and my self pity. No wonder people think I’m a loser. I should own the world by now. The closest I’ve come to a trailer is someone’s RV set up behind the horse show or something.

    I love your writing. It’s raw and enticing and hilarious and sad and wonderful. Love TA

    • Gloria Harrison says:

      You are not fucked up or a loser. You are fine. 😀

      The crackling mascara trick would make me fear getting flakes in my eye. Odd how getting a needle to the cornea seemed less off-putting, huh?

      I love that you read my writing. Thanks, T.

      • tammyallen says:

        Shit, I’d read everyone’s if I wasn’t applying for jobs aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll day long!

        Keep it up.

        The shittiest thing I’ve ever done is completely psycho, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. I went into my ex-boyfriend’s room, stole his antique stash box that I gave him. I took the contents (love letters from his newest torture-victim – I mean girl friend) tore everything up and cut myself and poured my blood on everthing. Apparently there was a plane ticket in there. Oops. Anyway he used to sodomize me and force me to give myself enemas so in contrast it’s not so psycho.

  20. Irene Zion says:

    She totally deserved it.
    Your mistake was in the gloating.
    You would NOT have gotten caught and the resulting whooping otherwise.

    But when you’re young, you make mistakes.
    (Of course, when you’re old you make mistakes, too.)
    I guess I have nothing important to say here.
    Never mind.

    • Gloria Harrison says:

      You know what though? The gloating piece was so important. I needed her to know. You know?

      But yes, you’re totally right. Had I kept my mouth shut, it would’ve saved me a world of hurt. Story of my life actually. 🙂

  21. Irene Zion says:

    yeah, but sometimes it’s totally worth it, eh?

  22. Simon Smithson says:


    A friend did that to his boss once. Except he didn’t confess. And he didn’t wrap the bristles.

    Ack. I’m going to put my toothbrush in a pressure-sealed, voice-print locked cabinet.

    • Gloria says:

      I would like to point out that I haven’t shoved shit down a toilet with anyone’s toothbrush in darn near 22 years. So, when you come to America and marry me so that you are a US citizen, any toothbrushes you may leave at my house when you come during INS visits will be safe. 😀

  23. D.R. Haney says:

    I’m speechless.

    In fact, speech has been my prime weapon of meanness. I haven’t performed too many mean acts on a scale with the shit-brush. I think, once, I spit in a customer’s food when I was waiting tables in NYC, but I had recently read something about waiters doing such things, so it was more a copycat act on my part. It would never occurred to me on my own.

    These days, even my speech is much more tempered than it used to be.

    • Gloria says:

      I’d be curious to hear what that particular customer did to warrant your one extreme act of body fluid vengence.

      “These days, even my speech is much more tempered than it used to be.” I get that. At some point, you just get tired. It takes too much energy to get all riled up all the time. I totally understand.

  24. Michelle says:

    Hey Gloria. This was enjoyable to read, despite the subject matter, if that makes any sense.

    I don’t think I ever did the pin thing; I really never wore mascara because mascara + contacts = BAD IDEA.

    (Here’s a tip, ladies (or gents too, I guess…) If you have dark lashes, just curl them and you don’t really need the evil stuff.)

    And on to the poop.

    I say lucky if that’s the shittiest thing you did, what with how it must have been all of you living in the 20 foot box (WITH the dog!), and considering what you’d had to go through pre-trailer.
    Sweet Jesus.

    Probably the worst I’ve done to my brother was goad him into swearing at me during a fight, which I tape recorded, which I happily played back to my parents when they got home from work. I believe we both ended up being punished, so it was more-or-less a fail. Especially compared to your brilliant and highly imaginative stunt! (I keep trying to picture it in my head, and keep cracking up)

    Hey, you’re the same age as my baby brother. Aw.


    • Gloria Harrison says:

      I say “shittiest” as a pun (obviously) – I was quite an asshole from time to time in my youth. I’m positive there were things that were much worse – but I’ll bet this was the grossest.

      The worst you did was the swearing thing? Really? You know, it’s not too late to make up for lost time. 😉 Think about it.

      • Michelle says:

        Yeah. I mean, it was a very elaborately developed evil plot from start to finish, so it felt bad on a devious level. Even still!

        My brother’s almost 6 yrs younger than me, so in my late teens – he was 10/11/12 – we had a phase of really not getting along. Had some pretty bad physical fights, punching on each other & stuff, causing minor damage around the house. But my parents were always working when we were little, so a maternal role towards him on my part developed very early. I took care of him whenever they were gone, like from the time I was 9 or so.

        You know, the attached at the hip thing like you mentioned.

        Once I was around 20, we ended up being really close, and since I had moved away it was more of a sibling/friendship closeness this time (very cool).

        But the maternal, some of it at least, will always be there. That’s why what he’s going through now with this custody thing is so difficult; I feel his pain, sadness, stress, and anxiety and just want to make everything better, which I can’t.

  25. Greg Olear says:

    You are developing quite the style, Gloria — clever title, humorous story, and plenty of background details sprinkled in that pique our interest all the more.

    The trailer in Oklahoma sounds awful — the polar opposite of Vegas.

    My only comment is that maybe you should have used your step-father’s toothbrush.

    • Gloria Harrison says:

      The toothbrush thing was a punishment for a betrayal. Had I chosen the stepdad’s toothbrush 1) I wouldn’t have told him and 2) the punishment would have exceeded the crime by light years, as it always did.

      I asked my sister before I posted this – just like I did the last two times I posted and mentioned her. (I’ve promised her that my fourth post with have nothing to do with her in any way.) She said it was fine and chuckled. She’s a good lady. We couldn’t be closer than we are now. But if you’d asked that 13 year old wielding the toothbrush if I’d ever say that, I would have laughed at you. Kids are so cruel.

  26. angela says:

    holy shit! (literally)

    this is such a great story, humorous yet with real darkness, like mary karr.

    • Gloria Harrison says:

      Wow, Angela – I’d never even heard of Mary Karr. (Though the title of her first book, Liar’s Club, is familiar.) I will check it out. It’s on my list. Thanks!

  27. Aaron Dietz says:

    I’m such an underachiever.

    There was this guy that had a hook for a hand that at one point somewhat accosted me and then later threatened to follow me home and kill me in my sleep.

    Later, I became a line cook for Burger King, and this man came in. I didn’t even spit in his sandwich.

  28. Simone says:

    Gloria, this was hysterical. I enjoyed the read.

    I’m the eldest of 5 kids, I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters. Dean, the eldest of my 2 brothers used to pester us. I think he may have been borderline ADHD. There’s eight years between us. I can’t remember what stunt he pulled this particular time, I was about 16 years old, but he pissed both my sister and I off so badly. After running after him for a good 5 minutes we eventually caught him and made our way to the bathroom. He wriggled in our arms all the way down the passage, it was quite a challenge to hold him but we managed somehow. The toilet lid was up, although there was no recent activity in the bowl, we dunked and flushed his head about 2 or 3 times.

    Needless to say, my sister and I both got a good talking to and we were grounded for quite a while.

  29. Jamie says:

    Funny that Kimmie didn’t comment on this one.
    . Makes me want to write my “shittiest” stories

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