Shabby. This is the word that my brother uses to describe conditions of the body that are less than happy. This was what he said to me in response when I got home from Mexico and told him that since our return I had been shitting water for three days straight at 20 minute intervals. “Shabby,” he responded over the phone. Yep, that summed it up.
It reminded me of another time he used that word to describe a not so happy body condition—my favorite time.
We were in Minnesota for a family reunion. My brother and one of my sisters had had a little too much to drink around the campfire the night before. I could tell this at the time because I was the sober driver and I was listening to their conversation of slurred words and “I love you guys!” when I told them my train was leaving in 2 minutes and if they wanted to get back to the hotel they best put down their drinks and get their drunk asses in the car.
But sometimes for the person drinking it isn’t until the next morning that they realize their error. Both of my siblings are old enough not to have this happen to them anymore. But you know- there had been a family death, people were emotional, the drinks had been flowing. There was love.
The next morning I was laying in the hotel bed next to my brother when I rolled over. The tiny movement of the mattress made my brother catapult out of bed and into the bathroom. When he came back into bed I had my eyes open looking at him. He carefully laid his sensitive body back into bed, turned his head toward me, looked me in the eye, and said one word before closing his eyes again: “Shabby.” This time he was talking about his own behavior and the predicament it had landed him in hunched over the toilet bowl the morning after. I laughed and simultaneously heard one of my sisters in the bed next to us groan in sympathy. You can guess which one it was.
A little while later I got in the car with my sister in tow. She preferred to stay reclined in the passenger seat with her sunglasses securely fastened to her head as I went into the Starbucks to get us both drinks. When I got back, I handed her her drink. She took one sip, opened up the car door, leaned out and vomited.
I shouldn’t laugh at this! But it was funny! It’s not like I’ve never done anything this stupid before—I have. But it didn’t dim my delight at being there to witness the double dose of folly played by both my sister and brother that day. That’s the wonderful thing about siblings—they’re a part of your life until you die, so these moments live on in your mind. You don’t forget them. And you can always look back and have yourself a good laugh just thinking about it. Thanks guys, you’re the best!