I laughed out loud at my dad's comment because it triggered an infamous memory I hadn't thought of in a long time. It was a matter of minutes on an ordinary day that captured a perfect snapshot of my family at its finest. And, for once, I wasn't the one causing the scene, but simply observing, unaware that it would be permanently etched in my brain as an example of where I come from.
The summer before I went off to college, my friend Ashley and I adoringly referred to ourselves as "attached at the ass" and for some reason also had an unnatural obsession with tight white pants. The kind of white pants that have long been purged from my wardrobe when I realized that my ass, like most people's, is too large and in charge now to be sheathed in such taut and unforgiving garments and not look like I belong on "What Not To Wear" or in the Navy. Come to think of it, my ass was actually larger in high school than it is now because I was dancing and conditioning it into a mound of pure muscle for 8 hours everyday. I liked to call it my powerhouse for ups. White men can't jump, but tiny white women with big butts certainly can.
Now that you have a visual of me in these ultra flattering pants, Ashley and I descended the stairs at my house that night after getting ready for an evening out and my Dad greeted us at the bottom. After the usual, where-are-you-going-who's-going-to-be-there parent questions routine, my Dad looked at me, cocked his head and asked me matter-of-factly, "Are you wearing any underwear?"
Even though it wasn't the first time I'd been asked this question while wearing
I looked at him with a snotty sneer and answered with an exasperated, "yes!" (Like, oh my god, like, totally duh, Dad! God. *intense eye roll*)
"Oooooooohh!" He said, as if he'd suddenly come to a brilliant revelation. "It must be butt floss!"
Then, as he said the words, he put his arms out in front of him and began to shake his hips back and forth in what can only be described as "the butt floss dance."
My mouth dropped open in astonishment as Ashley busted into hysterical laughter, but before we could fully engross ourselves in the glory of Dad's dance performance, we heard a commotion at the front door.
*SLAM SLAM* "Shit!" "GOD-DAMMIT!"
Dad was still butt flossin' it as we turned our attention to the front entryway and saw my sister unsuccessfully trying to get out of the front door while on crutches. She had sprained her ankle pretty badly a few days earlier in some sort of mysterious weekend mishap, which I now know meant that she was probably shitcanned and fell off a curb while walking down the sidewalk. She turned her head and smirked at us when she saw that we had noticed her struggle and continued to beat the door into submission with her right crutch.
As the door swung open, and my sister continued her epic, gimpy journey to the front porch, we heard the incessant and distinct chirping of locusts outside in the trees. The hot, humid Kansas summer brings these little annoyingly loud assholes out in droves every year. Of course, the locusts' chirping was drowned out on this particular night by some crazy woman's belligerent yelling, followed by her laughter.
"Shut up!" "SHAT AP!" "HAHA!"
This crazy woman was none other than my very own mother, leisurely sitting on the front porch, commanding thousands of little bugs perched in the trees to shut up, then laughing at herself.
While my Dad made up names for my underwear and wiggled his butt, my sister cussed and bashed the shit out of the front door and my Mom screamed at insects as if they would actually listen, all nearly simultaneously, all I could do was stare and start accepting the fact that I was a part of this hot mess.
All of these events unfolded in front of me in a matter of three seconds and while signature family moments have happened before and since this incident, such as when my Dad caught his underwear on fire, there are two crucial details in this story that the others lack — it involves every member of my immediate family and , more importantly, there was an outside witness. That last detail allowed many an introduction to begin something like this: "This is my friend, Harna, and let me tell you about her family..."
So, if you ever find yourself thinking, 'what the hell is wrong with this woman?' Please just refer to this story. It's pretty much impossible to fight genealogy, but with a family like mine, who would want to anyway? This is where I come from and it's better than fiction.