My mother always said that although my younger sister was much more physically violent, that my words hurt her more than her fists hurt me.
Along the lines of "the pen is mightier than the sword" - and I am Mighty Pen - perhaps I'm also Mighty Mouth!
I knew, instinctively, how to rile my sister up - she being 18 months younger, a classic set-up for fighting if there ever was one.
I remember how I'd provoke her with one twist of my mouth, and she'd end up sitting on me, holding me down when I had to pee, hitting me.
My mother and grandmother would eventually stop this, because in their medical research they had found that sitting on someone when the victim had to pee caused cancer. And causing cancer could never be forgiven. Making one's older, brighter, more book-worm-ish sister throw up, trip and fall, or have bruises - all that was transitory, forgiveable.
Just don't do anything that might cause cancer.
Maybe that's why my sister never attempted to hold me down and hold lit cigarettes in my mouth...
The other thing that was not allowed was going barefoot.
If you were barefoot in the house, you would catch a cold.
If you HAD a cold, it was because you went barefoot in the house.
This is according to the scientific authority of my Dad, the man who would hold on to the end of the dollar bill he was giving you, and not let go.
Basically, there was NO WHERE permissable to go barefoot - except perhaps in the shower. And, if one was ever to be caught outside without shoes, it was imperative to constantly scan the ground for glass, rusty nails, pieces of broken bottles, etc.
I was in my late 'twenties before I could actually LOOK around at the scenery while walking barefoot - this training was so ingrained in my mind.
And now, as a diabetic, my days of walking barefoot outside are severely curtailed - in fact, the diabetes folks advise to refrain from being without socks and more structured shoes most of the time - because of neuropathy, diminished feeling in the extremeties, and the fact that wounds heal slower - and the very real fear that a cut or puncture wound on a diabetic's foot could lead to gangrene, and amputation.
But enough of that dinner talk.
Please don't tell my sister about this post - I wouldn't put it past her to sneak into my room at night, over the navy shag carpet, past the white ruffled bedside lamp, now dim in the moonlight, and jab toothpicks in my feet.
I just wouldn't be surprised.