I am a terrible person and I started young.

My parents have these pet names for each other: Willard and Gladys. And at Christmas, they’ll invariably address gifts to each other with these names.

My brother Poochie first noticed this when he was maybe 4 years old. That means I was 9. We were carefully examining all of the gifts under the Christmas tree when he came across a gift from Willard to Gladys.

“Cha Cha, what does this say?”

“It says ‘To Gladys, from Willard.'”

He thought carefully. “Who are they?”

I thought carefully. I recognized opportunity, and I grasped it like a man dying of thirst might knock a bottle of water out of the hands of an elderly lady: swiftly, and without remorse.

“Those are our real parents.”

Poochie was alarmed. I continued, “They live in a Winnebago, and at Christmas, they’re coming to pick us up and we have to go live with them.”

Always one to be concerned with logistics, Poochie asked, “How will they get their Winnebago up our driveway?”

I considered this carefully. “I dunno,” I answered nonchalantely. “But since they drive it everywhere, I’m pretty sure it won’t be a problem.”

That line of defense down, Poochie started to get panicked. “Are you sure they’re our real parents?”

“Oh, sure. I’m surprised you didn’t know.”

About that time, Poochie freaked the fuck out. He screamed, “Moooooooom!” and ran out of the room.

Later, I got the “CHA CHA! What. Ever. Possessed. You. To. Do. That. To. Your. Brother?”

I don’t know. I didn’t know then, and I don’t really know now. Except that it was funny, and it’s still funny. And sometimes? It’s fun to be wicked.

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