My family is full of teases. But not the fun kind of teases where you tell silly jokes and look forward to seeing them so you can learn new silly jokes to tell your friends back home. No, my family are the mean teases. The ones who point out that you have a hole in your jeans by putting their finger in it and ripping without warning. The ones who help do the laundry when they come to visit but then sew the flaps to all the men's underwear shut. The ones who say, "gimme a kiss" to the children and then when they go to kiss their favorite uncle and tell him how glad they are to see him again and lean up to kiss him, he pushes his false teeth in my mouth their mouths. (It appears I haven't gotten over some childhood traumas.)

There's a story that's floated around in my family about how when I was a child, my parents thought it was funny to put me on top of the refrigerator and how it scared me to death and I screamed to be let down while they stood there laughing. Not only did they not get me down and laugh at me, but they thought it was so funny, that they had to go get the reel-to-reel tape recorder to document it. (That's one of these for those of you who did not come to earth before the age of CDs.)

When I tell this story, people don't believe me. "You must have built it up in your mind," they say, "surely, your parents wouldn't do that to a toddler." They think I'm making it up.