Tuesday, March 6, 2012
I was taking a shower the other day in Grand Ma Normal Family's bathroom when my 22-year-old brother Powell opened the door and casually sidled in. This didn't strike me as unusual; we Our Family brothers have a long and proud tradition of holding bathroom chats, normally while one of us is in the shower and the other is on the toilet (a fact that has lent these encounters the somewhat misleading name of "poop showers").
What I did think was weird was that he didn't say anything. That's not how a poop shower works. Where was the warm greeting, the idle chatter? Where was the vaguely foul odor?
"Powell?" I called.
The curtain flew open without warning and I was greeted with the insuppressible image of Powell, all six feet, three inches, and 230 pounds of him, clad in my grandmother's nightgown and shower cap as he wielded a knife over my naked body and hummed out the screeching theme music from Psycho.
Puberty's touch on me was, to be generous, light, and when I am surprised or frightened my voice reverts quickly to the maiden-like pitch of a 12-year-old. As such I sounded suitably dramatic as I shrieked with terror during the several seconds it took me to figure out that I was not about to be murdered.
"Damn it, Powell!" I screamed, drawing the curtain closed while he cracked up in the background.
"Come on, dude," he said, resuming his customary spot on the commode. "You have to admit it was kind of funny."
Ten minutes later we were in the kitchen, where my grandmother was wiping her eyes as she chopped potatoes.
"Do you know what he just did?" I asked.
"Know?" she responded. "Hell, I helped him pick out the outfit."
Powell guffawed and she threw some potatoes into a bowl.
"You should have heard yourself," she said. "When that scream came through the wall I laughed so hard I made myself cry."
To my look of exaggerated shock she replied, "I'm sorry, BB, but your grandfather did that to me when we were young and he knew how terrified I was of that movie. I've been wanting to get someone else with it ever since."
"Grand Ma, you're awesome," Powell laughed.
"Great," I muttered. "I think we just established the worst family tradition ever."