I was in fifth grade on a disaster of a vacation in the Dominican Republic. My mother accidentally booked the four of us in one small room, inside a suite that we shared with strangers. “What,” she said, “I thought a bungalow was a nice touch.” To which my father responded, “Yolanda, I’m not sharing a bathroom with strangers. You know how I have to do my business first thing.” I still hate when people call making “doing their business.” Calling it “making” is fine, but doing business involves minutes, bottled water, and magic-erase pens. And who came up with the number system? Seriously, I genuinely want to know where “don’t worry, I’ll be quick, I’ve just got to make a number one” came from.
I will always remember that vacation and be unable to keep a straight face in the recounting of it with my father. I used to watch him while my mother just stood there rolling her eyes with that, “oh stop, it’s not that bad” face. My father’s entire head turned red. I loved it. “This is just ridiculous, Yolanda.”
We all fell asleep that night in our one room of two full-sized beds. It was dark enough that we couldn’t make out one another’s faces. The room was small enough that we could hear if someone was still awake, in a turn or exhale. After about a half hour in the dark and quiet my mother said, “It’s kind of bad, isn’t it?” And then for no reason at all, Lea and I began to sing. Overtired, they call it now.
“Tits and Ass” she blurted out. She was not sleeping. She doesn’t have a syndrome. She somehow just needed to shout it.
I responded with, “make the medicine go down, the medicine go down, in the most delightful waaaaay!!! Booby. Booby.”
The tits and ass bit was from A Chorus Line, and we were allowed to say those words only when singing the song, because “Mom, we’re not saying anything bad. It’s a song!” And the “booby, booby” bit was from an adolescent handshake I learned.
This is a handshake (shake hands with person)
This is a friend shake (shake hands with person in claspy, cool way)
And this is a milkshake (sneak attack grab of their boob)
I did this with friends, and to my younger sister to shock her and make her laugh. To teach her something new. In fact, her kindergarten teacher once came up to me in a hallway when I was older, visiting the school and my former teachers on a half-day of middle school. He said, “so you’re Lea’s older sister. You know I had a lot of explaining to do because of you.” What? “You taught your sister quite colorful things.” Apparently I taught Lea to say, “butt-fucking penis wrinkle.” She said it to her class. I’d like to imagine she said it during Show & Tell. Instead, she probably just said it when one of the Fillion brothers pulled her pigtail.