I’m not an argue box, you’re an argue box!

I’m not an argue box, you’re an argue box!

My mother says I should have been a lawyer.

This is generally her way of ending an argument — if it’s one I happen to be winning.

She says I argue too much. I think what she means is that I argue too well.

What she calls an argument, I consider a discussion, a debate, an exchange of ideas that require the use of logic and reasoning.

Arguments don’t have to make sense. In fact, most of them are downright silly, and when they’re all over, it’s a little embarrassing to talk about.

Growing up with three little sisters, I am well acquainted with the difference between and argument and a discussion.

An argument is what you have with your sister when she comes home wearing your favorite dress, the one you’ve told her a million times not to wear, and not only has she worn it, she’s torn a big hole in it.

An argument is what you have with your sister when you make three trips across town to a junior high dance because A. she forgot her money B. nobody was there and C. never mind, my friends showed up and now I want to stay.

An argument is what you have with your sister after you come home after driving around with your friends to find your parents standing out on the lawn, waiting on you because it’s a little past curfew and your stupid little sister has gotten them out of bed to tell on you because “she was worried.” And to generate more drama, she’s standing next to them, sobbing. Yeah, I’ll give you worried.

Discussions generate ideas. Arguments degenerate into fights. Sometimes involving badminton rackets, scratching and once in a while, a bloody nose.

But of course, never on purpose.

I didn’t mean to give Sharla a bloody nose. It was an accident. Marla stomped on my foot and then I whirled around and hit Sharla in the nose with my elbow as she was jumping on my back. Besides, everybody knows, two against one is not fair.

And Marla and Sharla weren’t really going to hit each other with the badminton rackets. Of course, the Jehovah’s Witnesses standing on the porch, looking through the window had no way of knowing that.

I think Marla really did mean to scratch, though – she was always kind of a mean fighter. You’ve always got to watch the quiet ones.

We can’t remember what argument led to the badminton racket fight. Our arguments were usually over the same thing — unauthorized borrowing — clothes, jewelry, makeup, etc.

Despite an 8-year age difference between me, the oldest and Darla, the youngest, we all wore the same size clothes.

With the exception of Marla, who had unusually small feet, we all wore the same size shoes, too.

I’m sure my parents considered it a blessing that we could share each others clothes. It was good for us too, in some ways — we were guaranteed never to have to suffer the humiliation of wearing the same outfit to school twice in the same week.

However, there were times when we had to each have our own set of clothes — summer camp for instance.

The process then was to pile all the clothes in the floor and to take turns selecting one item until the pile was gone. It was a lot more civilized than duking it out.

I think the bloody nose fight began because I came home to find Sharla sobbing uncontrollably over something and had the audacity to try to find out what it was. I thought somebody had died, the way she was carrying on, so when she finally choked out that she was sad after reading “The Scarlet Ibis,” I felt I was justified in being a little put out. I may have called her a baby, which made Marla mad, even though it was none of her business, and next thing you know, Marla’s coming at me with her patented scissor-handed swing. Sharla was instantly healed of her short-story trauma and hopped out of bed and onto my back.

Like I said, we were all the same size, so it’s not like I had any kind of physical advantage being the oldest.

Even so, I was the one who got into trouble.

Which is why I have learned that it is best not to participate in an argument.

Maybe my mother is right. Maybe I should be a lawyer. I could specialize in personal injury.


Sweet Potato Pie

  • 2 cups cooked sweet potatoes (boiled whole)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Mash potatoes, mix with other ingredients. Pour into 9-inch unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for almost one hour, or until set.

Marla says I pick on her too much, but I don’t think I do. This is her recipe, and it’s really good.

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