My oldest brother was a bully as a teenager. At sixteen years old, he stood six feet two inches tall, making it easy for him to try and intimidate other people. He used to be really mean, especially toward women, with the exception of my mama, of course.
I was never intimated by my brother. Being five feet two inches tall, I was considered to be short, but what I lacked in height, I made up with great confidence. Jimmy couldn’t get it through his thick skull that I would not allow myself to be inferior to him or anyone else. It seemed as though we were always fighting about something, but after the baking soda incident, my Daddy signed us up for therapy immediately.
“I can’t keep beating you. We need to figure this thing out.” He said.
So, my brother and I had to endure boring conflict resolution workshops, anger management classes, and various one-on-one sessions with Dr. Michaels.
Dr. Michaels finally diagnosed that the source of conflict between my brother and I was just a classic case of sibling rivalry. Well, I could have told my parents that and saved them thousands of dollars. In one of my sessions, the baking soda incident came up, as I knew it would. It was just a matter of time.
“Why do you think you were sent here?” Dr. Michaels asked me.
“My parents think that I have some anger management issues.”
“How do you feel about that?”
“I’m not angry, but my brother is always angry about something.”
“Do you feel that these sessions are a waste of time?”
“No, because my brother really needs them.”
“Because he’s a crazy fool!” I shouted.
Dr. Michaels gasped and almost spit out her coffee. She is always such a classy lady, so I’m sure I caught her off guard.
“Ohhh.… Deborah, please never call him that!” She admonished. She set the coffee on the table and tried to regain her composure. I gave her a few moments and tried not to laugh.
“Now, continue the conversation you had with your brother that day.”
“I was minding my own business about to make some wheat pancakes.”
“Pick up where your brother entered the kitchen.”
“He never entered the kitchen. He just stood in the hallway.”
“I stand corrected. Please proceed.”
“Ok. I had just laid out the ingredients when Jimmy stomped down the hallway. I’m sure Barack and Michelle could hear him clear up to the White House!”
Dr. Michaels choked back a laugh. “Please proceed.” She repeated.
“Well, he stood in the hallway and demanded that I cook him a special breakfast, as if I would. I told him that if he was so hungry, he should eat an apple. It would do him good and probably regenerate some of his brain cells.”
“How did he respond to that?”
“Well, he told me, in a polite manner of speaking, to eat it myself. Then, he had the gall to tell me that, as a woman, I would end up stuck working in someone’s kitchen for the rest of my life.”
“How did you react to that?”
“That was when I threw the box of baking soda. My aim was so perfect that I surprised myself. The explosion of white power went everywhere and a bunch of it landed on top of his head before it cascaded down to his big feet.”
“How did you feel about hitting Jimmy?”
“Well, I would have felt a lot better if my parents didn’t enter the dinner room at that precise moment.”
“What did your parents do?”
“Well, Daddy pulled me outside for a stern talking to while Mama gave Jimmy an earful. By the time I came back inside, Jimmy was in the shower.”
“Where were your other siblings at the time?”
“They cleaned up the mess in the hallway and dining room.”
“So, Deborah, what will you remember about that incident?”
“I’ll remember two things. I’ll fondly remember those big white footprints on the carpet and for many days afterwards, whenever someone sat on those dining room chairs, white smoke would come out of the seat cushions. That was hilarious!”
The alarm beeped softly, ending our session for the day.
“See you next week, Doc!” I shouted.
“Ohhh.... Jesus, keep me near the cross!” She replied as I raced out the door.
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