Family Traditions – Abject Humiliation

My family is not huge on tradition – but there a few customs that we like to carry on–telling humiliating stories is one of them. Specifically we like to share humiliating stories about my brother…to his girlfriends (he’s married now so I don’t get to tell this story as much as I’d like).  And obviously, when I mean “my family”, I mean the family into which I was born or quite possibly spawned.

Before I begin my story, I have to explain some things.  My brother was a handful. And by ‘handful’ I mean I’m surprised no one actively throttled him during his youth.  He’s the textbook example of someone that doesn’t take “no” for an answer. I would say he’s tenacious – well, actually I would really say he’s “a pain in the f***ing ass” – but to his credit he always knew what he wanted and has achieved great things.

My brother’s what you’d call a “scutch” – which in “Italian Brooklynese” is defined as “a real pain in the ass” (note paragraph above). If my brother was told he could not do something that he wanted to do, he had the resolve to ask you for hours on end. I kid you not. He could grind you down until you wept with exhaustion. He honed that skill to fine edge.  So given what my Mom did in this story – you can’t really blame her…in fact, if you had to grow up with my brother, you’d have offered your own alternatives – and they wouldn’t involve smiling faces and happy bunnies.

Along with being a pain in the ass, he was plagued (and rightly so, in my little-sister-opinion) with really buck teeth. They are most likely the result of his ‘friend’ shoving his face into a tree.  He also had an overbite.  So basically, he spent his life from ages 11 to 17 at the mercy of the orthodontist.  He got to sample a variety of orthodontia magic…things like braces, rubber bands, retainers and headgear.  I reveled in his ongoing misery as only a sister can. I freely admit I derived pleasure out of his orthodontia misfortune.

All I Can Say is that Karmic Kickback is a Bitch
Cartoon by Matt Groening

So now you know – my brother was a tenacious pain in the ass with bad teeth.

He was also completely unable to do anything by himself.    When you put all those elements together – what you get is


(This might be my most favorite story ever)

Sooooooo  – one day my mom needed to take my 12  year old brother to the orthodontist; however she also had to run another errand and have everything done in time to make it to dinner at my grandparents’ house. My Poppy was BBQing PIZZA for us – and I remember being very excited.

So of course my brother would absolutely NOT let my mom drop him off for his appointment while we (mom & I) went to where ever she had to go. Much pleading on my Mom’s behalf…much crying and wailing on my brother’s. I don’t know what his deal was – we still lived in Shoreham and knew EVERYONE in town. But he would not go in by himself.  So my Mom told him we’d go in with him. She convinced him to get out – and he did…then she drove away.  I remember the look of astonishment on his face.

We figured he’d be fine when we got back (literally 10 minutes later)…boy, were we wrong. He had worked himself up into a hysterical frenzy by that time. I don’t think he even stepped inside the doctor’s office – he just wailed outside for 10 solid minutes. When he got back in the car he was pissed. I mean really pissed – screaming, crying, carrying on – my Mom had no idea he’d react like this (I know she’d not have tricked him had she’d known he’d completely fall apart). So on the way to my grandparent’s house my brother was insisting that my mom pull over and let him out because he was going to leave the family.

So she did. She pulled over, he got out – and then I became hysterical. I was convinced he was going to run away. I was wailing and crying and carrying on (little did I realize we were ¼ mile from my grandparent’s house and he was walking there).  My poor mother was pretty much at her wit’s end by the time we got there…and my brother showed up about 10 minutes later, as she knew he would.

What I find ironic to this day is that he wouldn’t go to the dentist office by himself – but he was perfectly willing to ‘run away’ by himself. I don’t remember what happened afterwards at my grandparent’s house between mom and my brother…but the BBQ pizza was pretty damn good.

About Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher

I'm a research librarian for Public Television, story teller, bike commuter, baker, music fiend, lover of reading & books, mother, wife, friend - and many more descriptive adjectives and nouns.
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18 Responses to Family Traditions – Abject Humiliation

  1. El Guapo says:

    In our house, behavior like that was dealt with in some sort of scenario ending with the child not being able to sit down for a week.

    Ok, me. I was that child.

  2. Amy Reese says:

    Ha! This is a good one, Denise. And you say your brother has kids now? What goes around usually comes around! I feel for him with all his orthodontia. I think my kids are headed in that direction.

  3. Paul says:

    It often takes actions like your Mom took for kids to realize their parents are people too.

    Great Post RtMR. Thanks.

  4. One thing I wanted to do for both of our kids – for their benefit of course – was to drop them off a couple of miles from our house and see what they did and to see if they would get home. Unfortunately my wife would never allow this but I still think to this day that it would have helped them later in life.

  5. Carrie Rubin says:

    Oh, that was a tough one for all parties involved! Does your brother have kids now? Maybe he’s getting some of this back from his own. 😉

  6. Reblogged this on The Mercenary Researcher and commented:

    More re-blog-a-thog!

  7. Pingback: The Bear in the Parking Lot! | rohan7things

  8. Sounds like a delightful power struggle to me. Poor mommies, huh?

  9. Hee hee – luckily she’s in Italy for the next 4 weeks – but if she get upset I need to remind her – everyone that knows her, knows that stroy most likely and those that don’t – well, who cares.

  10. That’s a good ‘un. Your mom sounds like my kind of gal.

  11. You are so hilarious. I always thought your brother was so cute. I never noticed that he was orthodontically-challenged. I can picture that scene happening with me and my kids!

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