How I Learned to Drive.

I almost walked straight to church that afternoon, but I’d left my Bible at home. When I turned left onto the street across from the Dairy Queen, I saw 20 cars parked in our driveway, (there were probably only 3 or 4 cars – this is where I tell on myself for exaggerating) I actually had to stop myself from saying “gosh-darnit”.

You see, in order to get to my bedroom, I’d have to first make my way through the living room, past the kitchen, take a sharp left through the family room, down the hallway, past the bathroom, to the last room on the right (you could take a shortcut through the utility room, but there would be more turns involved). In other words, there was a lot of house that I had to McGiver my way through without encountering my older brother, or one of his pothead friends.

When I walked through the front door that day, they were all there; 20 faces (probably more like 6 or 7) staring at me with their squinty eyes; including my brother. If I remember right, I’m pretty sure that I gave them the “talk to the hand” hand, and kept on going. The friends didn’t do much to harass me, other than laugh their asses off while my brother sang the “Wipey-Bugstin” song at the top of his lungs.

Wipey Bustin was the nickname that my brothers gave me long ago.
There were variations such as;
Waaa-Hitney (to which I’d shout “THE ‘H’ IS SILENT!”)
But the name that started it all was Wipey Bugstin, and Tony had composed a theme song that he would sing to me whenever he saw me walk through the door.

(To the tune of the Hallelujah Chorus)
Wiiiiii-pey Bugstin!
Wiiiiiipey Bugstin,
Wipey-Bugstin, Wipey-Bugstin,
Wip-eeey Bugggstinnnnn!

I could still hear him singing clear in my bedroom, on the other side of the house, and I remember wishing that they would all just get a life. I changed my clothes real quick, grabbed my NIV Bible (with my full name engraved on the front), stopped in the kitchen long enough to cut a giant, fresh from the oven brownie, (right from the middle of the pan, just to peeve my brother off even more) and took a gigantic bite. I carefully folded the remainder of my brownie inside a paper towel and made my way to the door.

One of my brother’s friend was blocking the front door, and I was like, “MOVE!” and then he was like, “what’s the password?”
– Nope, wrong password…
– Nope, wrong again…
I remember yelling at my brother to make his stupid friend move, but by then all of his friends thought it was a big game and encircled all around me so that I was completely blocked in. I yelled at my brother to help me, and Tony pushed through the crowd and was like, “Ok guys, knock it off” but no one was backing off. Everyone was moving in closer, and I started to feel very threatened. I remember reaching back toward the desk, trying to find something that I could hit them with to make them stop because I didn’t think that I could hit them hard enough with my fists. I grabbed the first thing that I found, and without thinking I swung it straight over my head as hard as I could.


(Thhhwwwack is the sound of a metal golfing wedge hitting a human forearm at an alarming speed.)


(Plunnnkkk is the sound of one arm bone popping on top of the other.)


(The sound of my brother screaming at the top of his lungs while holding his limp arm.)


(The sound of my brother’s friends sobering up and realizing that they’d better get the hell out of there while they still had their balls.)

Within two minutes, every single one of Tony’s friends had peeled out of our driveway, while I started hysterically chanting, “Oh my gosh Tony, oh my gosh, oh no, oh gosh…”

Tony interrupted me to say, “Do you know how to drive yet Whippy?”

I was crying by then, so between sobs I said, “I’m 15 so…sort of?”

T: “Oh shit, ok, well fuck, I guess I’m going to have to teach you to drive because I need you to take me to the hospital.”

Me: “Should I call 911?”

T: “Oh god no, fuck no, help me get to my truck…Whippy stop crying and get in the fucking truck! Wait…what’s on your teeth?”

Me: “My teeth?”

T: “Did you eat any brownies?

Me: “No…well yeah…don’t be mad!”

Tony was practically shaking me when he said, “How much? How much of those brownies did you eat?”

I started sobbing again, “Now is not really the best time to make fun of me for cheating on my diet!”

Tony: “Shit, ok, so you don’t know how to drive, AND you are about to be really fucking stoned.”

Me: “Huh?”

Tony: “Those were pot brownies, you dumbass!”

Me: “Oh my gosh, are you serious? I’ve never been stoned before, what do I do? Should I hide somewhere? Should I put earphones on? I never meant for any of this to happen, I was only trying to get to church and now I’ve just been sinning like crazzzzzy!”

Tony laughed and said, “Oh fuck, this is going to be hilarious.”

These were the facts:

1) My brother’s arm was broken.
2) I was the one who broke it.
3) I had to get my brother to the hospital.
4) I didn’t know how to drive.
5) The brownies had marijuana in them.
6) I was going to be very late for church.

Of course Tony’s truck had a manual transmission, so not only did I need to real quick learn how to drive, but I had to real quick learn how to drive a stick shift.

What my brother said, “So you have to use your left foot to hold the clutch down, and your right foot controls the gas and the brakes, and you have to use the stick shift to change the gears, and you have to release the clutch at the same time that you hit the gas but you have to do it at just the right time or otherwise you’ll kill the engine.”

What I heard was, “Wa wa, wa wa wa wa…wa wa wa wa wa…”

The result: We violently lurched the 5 miles between our house and the hospital while my brother yelled things like, “Release the clutch! Hit the gas! Change the gear! My arm hurts, FUCK! You are killing my truck! You are fucking killing my truck! My bone is going to pop out of my fucking arm!” At the same time I shouted things like, “I’m doing the best that I can! Maybe we should stop and pray! Did we bring any snacks? Do you know how to make blueberry pancakes? Are my teeth getting longer?!”

We made it to the hospital that day, but don’t ask me how, because it really had to have been some sort of miracle. When we walked up to the front desk, the first thing that the nurse asked was, “what happened?”

Tony looked at me, and I looked at him, and we both had big eyes like, “why didn’t we rehearse this??”

Tony quickly said, “I fell.”

Me: “Yeah, he fell.”

Tony: “It was a golfing accident.”

Me: “Yeah, he slipped and fell on a golf club.”

The nurse asked for our Mom’s phone number, but Tony quickly informed her that he was over 18, so they didn’t have to get Mom’s permission in order to begin examining his wounds. She gave us a funny look that said, “what in the world have these kids gotten themselves into” before she checked Tony into an examination room. I told Tony that I would wait in the waiting room, but he told me to come with him. Actually what he said was, “It is too dangerous for you to be on your own in your condition.” I think that he was worried that I would start chewing on the waiting room furniture if I didn’t find a snack soon.

We sat in the examination room in silence; Tony sat on the table and held his limp arm with his healthy arm, while I sat on the chair beside him and counted all of the tiles on the floor and the cracks in the ceiling. We could hear the radio from the Nurse’s station, and the song that was playing was “Perfect” by Fairground Attraction.

It was one of those songs that you couldn’t help but sing along to and laugh about how cheesy it was at the same time, so we both started to sing, “It’s got to be-e-e-e-e-e-e perfect, it’s got to be-e-e-e-e-e-e worth it…” Tony then decided to take the song a step further by changing it to “Wipe-e-e-e-e-e-e-e Bug-stin, Wipe-e-e-e-e-e-e-e Bug-stin…” and I couldn’t help but laugh. I looked him straight in the eye after he was finished singing my new theme song, and I got choked up when I told him how sorry I was. He responded by saying, “As many times as I broke your arms and nose, sprained your ankles and knocked a few of your teeth out, I would say that I definitely had it coming.” I said, “yeah, but those were all accidents.” He said, “well so was this, right? Or did you mean to almost kill me? Do you have any of that brownie left, by the way?”

I dug into my coat pocket, and sure enough there was at least half of a brownie there. He said, “you could make it up to me by sharing some of that brownie.” I handed it to him, and he split it in half. He offered the other half to me, but I told him that I just couldn’t bear to make Jesus any madder at me than He already was. Tony shook his head and said, “Jeez Wipey, you really need to lighten up! I’m no expert, but isn’t Jesus supposed to forgive you or some shit like that?” I said, “Well yeah, as long as you repent for your sins…” Tony said, “So eat the brownie and then tell God that you feel bad and you’re fucking sorry.” I sighed, looked at the gooey chocolate goodness that I held in my hand, and went ahead and ate my share of the brownie. It was delicious.

The doctor walked in as we were still chewing, and he said, “So what happened here?” We both just looked at each other with big eyes until Tony said, “Wipey Bugstin tried to kill me…” The doctor said, “Excuse me? Wipey who…?” We both almost fell out of our chairs laughing, and once we calmed down enough to speak, Tony said, “I just fell” to which I added, “on a golf club.” The doctor took one look at Tony’s injured arm and said, “Wow, that was one heckuva fall!” Tony said, “it was one heckuva golf club.”

The doctor looked over at me, and I’m sure I had the guiltiest look on my face. He asked me if I saw what happened, and my mouth opened but no sound came out. Before he had a chance to ask me anything else, Tony said, “Hey Whit, why don’t you go give Mom a call so that she can come pick us up.” The doctor looked relieved and said, “Oh I see, you guys are siblings!” I nodded, pointed at Tony and myself and said, “Yep, we’re brothers!” Tony burst out laughing. The doctor looked confused, like he wanted to say something else, but instead he just shrugged and said, “Ok then, well let’s go ahead and get an x-ray and we’ll go from there.”

They began to leave the room, so I followed behind them until the doctor pointed to the nurse’s station and told me that I could use the phone in there. I nodded and began to head in that direction until Tony said, “Wait, there is one more thing that I have to tell you.” I turned toward him just in time to see him flipping me the bird with his good hand, and to that gesture I replied, “I love you too.”

By the time I had walked over to the nurse’s station I had forgotten why I was there. The nurse said, “can I help you?” and I said, “Yes, um…do you have any snacks that I can borrow?”


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