The year was maybe 1983. I was maybe 8. The place was Pasadena Cali.
I didn’t know when I woke up that it was going to be the worst day of my life, worst days rarely announce themselves over the intercom:
“Good morning Corey. Welcome to the worst day of your life! Don’t forget to brush your teeth!”
I was actually looking forward to the day because some friends of my parents were coming for dinner and they had two daughters, one of whom was hot (in my eight year old estimation). Today was the day I needed to be on my best behaviour to impress the girl of my dreams, but my best behaviour had a mortal enemy named…
Ryan was my little brother and had a knack for driving me crazy. I never truly understood why he couldn’t just do whatever I asked so I could be happy. There’s nothing quite as irritating as a younger sibling who doesn’t enjoy being bossed around, and Ryan was not meeting my expectations.
Most of the time he was pretty good. Like the time I had him point the front yard sprinklers at convertibles going by while I turned the valve on from the relative safety of the porch. Did we stop and ask ourselves what would happen if the owners of the convertible screeched to a halt in the middle of the road and knocked on our door?
I believe my parents were having a bible study or maybe just some friends over when a rocket named Corey, followed by a smaller one named Ryan, flew through the house… then the firm knock on the door.
“Ma’am are you aware that your boys are spraying cars in front of your house?”
There are several crucial moments in my life that my personal survival has depended on my mother’s commitment to ask herself “What would Jesus do?” as opposed to what her Irish forebears would have done with an errant child.
I must say that they adjusted the necessary conversation with the boys with an hour long window of “sweat time” that I spent in the orange tree in the backyard and my brother spent under his bed. Dad probably thought the whole thing was funny.
So the big day had arrived unannounced and our friends were coming over. All day I was on my best behaviour, which was normally a bit questionable. I had avoided the wrath of mom and fighting with my brother thus far.
“You boys go change your clothes, you’re filthy! They’re almost here!!”
My brother and I shared a room with a view into the front street of sprinkler fame. I was lollygagging and had only removed my clothes when we could see the car pull up between the slats in the blinds. Ryan had changed his clothing completely.
What followed was the worst ten seconds of decision making in my life…
My brother Ryan found a way to anger me in a way that the sensible part of my brain stopped working and the psychotic part turned on. And all in less than ten seconds.
In my haste to get my hands on him in a less than loving fashion, and in his haste to escape, he took the obvious exit which was the door RIGHT INTO THE FRONT ENTRANCE.
Did I follow him?
Yes I did.
Did I remember our company?
They were standing in the entrance with their jaws on the floor as Corey the genius, naked as the day he was born, burst from his room like a Greek Olympian of old in pursuit of revenge worthy of the gods.
I learned several lessons that day, the obvious one being “wear clothes to dinner parties or experience several hours of mind blowing embarrassment while everyone stares at you”.
The next thing I learned was that emotions have a way of controlling the timing of decisions.
And bad timing at best provides comic relief for your friends…