Thirteen Christmases ago while on my seventh annual pilgrimage to see old St. Nick, I went down in history as the worst sibling in, well, the history of siblings.
I put my adorably innocent three-year-old brother on the Naughty List.
Trust me, I’m aware of how horrible of a person that makes me. I know that whatever terrible deed Bradley mastermined at such a young age couldn’t possibly have warranted the consequence that’s more lethal than corporal punishment itself.
If you asked Brad, I’m sure he would play the victimized younger sibling card as he defended his innocence, but if you really think about it, I was kind of the victim in this story to begin with. Allow me to share my side of the story.
Earlier that year, my uncle gave me the most glamorous present any six-year-old girl could have asked for: A Bath and Body Works gift set. But this wasn’t just any ordinary collection of perfumes! It was the highly coveted Stylin’ Strawberry body wash, lotion and roll-on glitter.
It was a combination so sickeningly pink that it could only mean one thing: It was my ticket to elementary school popularity. I was glittery! I was strawberry-scented! I was practically a real-life Barbie doll walking the halls of Shupe Elementary School!
But even the most glorious moments of self-confidence are bound to come to a screeching halt sooner or later– I was just too mesmerized by the hot pink glitter to see it coming.
I partially blame my parents. I mean, what kind of people allow their three-year-old son to go unsupervised while taking a bath?! Never mind the fact that they left their child alone in a semi-large body of water– they left my most prized possession well within the grasp of a curious toddler right in the peak of his “I love to overflow the bathtub with bubbles” phase.
On one fateful night in 2003, my little brother dumped every last drop of my beloved glittery body wash into his bathtub, turning the hot pink gel into millions of strawberry-scented bubbles that cascaded over the side of the bathtub and nearly swallowed Brad whole as he smiled, held up the empty bottle and said, “Oops!”
It was in the moments of heated rage following the discovery of my depleted supply of beautiful pink soap that I decided there was only one human on the planet who could make things better: Santa Claus.
I can assure you that I only intended to use Santa as a way to restock my sparkly shower gel; the unthinkable wasn’t even a thought in my mind as I mentally rehearsed my Christmas list that year.
No, no matter how frustrated I became with that little Bradley Gordon Golski, I never truly intended to throw him under the bus.
I mean, what kind of human would EVER deliberately try to put someone else on the Naughty List?!
Evidently I was that kind of human.
After four months of putting up with boring, non-glittery skin following my return to plain ol’ soap, I plopped down on Santa’s lap and explained to the jolly fellow exactly why I had to have a brand-new bottle of glittery pink body wash.
As the words tumbled from my lips faster than I could attempt to reverse any damage I might have done, I experienced the most intense moment of panic that I have felt to this day. (Think Ralphie from A Christmas Story looking at his father in horror as, “Oh, fudge!” slips from his mouth.)
At least Ralphie could hold on to the hope that Santa hadn’t seen his fatal slip-up!
I had just tattled on my brother. TO SANTA CLAUS.
I didn’t tell anybody. When my parents asked me what I had talked to Santa Claus about, I quickly muttered something about Barbie dolls and body wash without divulging the grave details of my conversation with the Big Man. I tiptoed around the subject for days, not wanting to admit what I had already mulled over in my mind and concluded to be true: Brad was getting a lump of coal for Christmas.
As I crept down the stairs that Christmas morning and dove into the mound of presents that flooded the base of the tree, I was overcome with relief as I discovered stacks of larger-than-coal-sized presents labeled “To: Brad, From: Santa.” Even more relieved, I’ll admit, than I was when I opened up not one but two new bottles of pink, sparkly, strawberry-scented shower gel.
Turns out Santa is pretty forgiving to both little boys who dump out their sister’s body wash and stick out their tongues in pictures and little girls who have the nerve to tattle at Christmastime.