The “But” of Consequence

Life gets a whole lot less interesting the moment you’re able to comprehend consequence.

When I was about 2 or 3 I was in the tub with my sister who was 3 years older. My mom trusted my sister with me because she knew that a responsible big sis wouldn’t hold her little sister’s head underwater or smear soap in her eyes. What my mother didn’t foresee was the potential threat that this arrangement posed for my sister.

I distinctly remember my sister lying on her stomach in the tub and me looking down at her little peach bum sticking up out of the water. Now I don’t know what possessed me to do this, but I do know that I still laugh hysterically when I think about it.

I very intentionally laid my washcloth across her butt and then proceeded to bite her as hard as I could. Like I said, I can’t tell you why because I have absolutely NO idea what was running through my mind. But, I CAN tell you that for some reason, I thought it was necessary to place a washcloth over her first so as to bite her THROUGH the fabric. I’m not sure if that cloth barrier was for her or for me. But that’s the way it went down.

My sister yelped and cried and my mom pulled me out of the tub. And our whole family has laughed about it for years … save for my sister, who I suspect is still harboring some bitterness over the whole thing. To my knowledge, I never got in trouble for that. I think my parents probably thought I was just an innocent child who was “exploring her world” by biting her sister’s butt. I never did it again. And that’s all I remember. So you see, no consequences = pure, unbridled joy and fun!

My first exposure to suffering consequences for my less-than-stellar behavior came in kindergarten. It was a day just like any other day as I carried my lunch tray to my spot at the table and sat down. I saw my friend Kristi coming to sit next to me and I remember that in a split second a brilliant idea flashed through my deviant, little mind…

Wouldn’t it be interesting if Kristi—with her tray of steaming-hot food—comes to sit down next to me, fully expecting a chair on which to rest her butt, and it isn’t THERE? That would be kind of a funny and unexpected surprise! I think I’ll yank her chair out from under her as soon as she tries to sit down.

So I did.

And she fell.


I remember the visual like it was yesterday. Not because it was funny, but because I hadn’t thought my actions through. I didn’t connect the dots that my friend might get hurt or feel embarrassment or have hot food spill all down the front of her. Nor did I connect the dots that within 15 minutes of the “incident,” I’d be sitting in “time-out” in the kindergarten room while the rest of the kids frolicked on the playground and my teacher paced back and forth in a state of utter shock and confusion at my violent disruption and my parents searched frantically for child psychologists and clergy to help make some sense of their crazed, demon-possessed daughter.

OK, I made up the part about my parents searching for psychologists and clergy. But the rest is genuine fact. You can ask Kristi. She is somehow, by the sheer grace of God, still my friend. BTW… Thanks for still being my friend, Kristi!

I learned that day that an impulsive, ill-conceived action on my part had the ability to cause some rather large ripples afterward—like throwing a boulder into a tiny, shallow pond. Sometimes people get wet. But the other valuable thing that I learned was that because of “consequences” and “ripple effects” life would never be the same.

It would NEVER be as much fun as it was “pre-chair-incident.”


16 thoughts on “The “But” of Consequence

  1. I have some similar childhood memories of doing the most irrational things that caused really undesirable consequences and it comes down to I was too young or too unknowing to think it through. I still have ill-thought out ideas cross my mind that I think would be funny to act upon…but luckily I’ve learned to keep those to myself!

    • Hi Stephanie! Thank you for reading and commenting! I think we all have those ill-conceived ideas that we would LOVE to act upon… if only we weren’t all grown up 😦 I hope you’ll stop back!

  2. Kristi Trussel says:

    OMG!!!! All I can say is apparently I wasn’t too traumatized over the whole incident, you little bleep! 🙂 ….. lol And it is funny now to think back on the whole thing…I just wish I would of thought about doing it to YOU first! haha And you are right, I AM still your friend, and maybe someday when your rich and famous you will think of ME and want to offer some sort of “payment” for my embarassment back in kindergarten!! lol Actually, I feel kinda special to be mentioned in your blog, so thank you Joanna! And don’t worry, I don’t hold a grudge, and I would NEVER think of getting you back! 🙂 Much love coming your way….Very nice blog! 🙂

  3. Joanna, You certainly have kept life eventful over the years. But I wouldn’t want you any other way. At least now you think things through, maybe a little too much???? No, it’s all good.

  4. Nannette says:

    Wow! If i would’ve known about this I would’ve watched my stool a little closer at the bank. You could’ve pulled it out from under me lots of times! LOL!

  5. JT says:

    I laughed and winced as I read this which is a typical reaction anytime you mention teeth and the lower 48 in the same sentence 🙂

  6. Jennifer Jones says:

    So. As your sister, how am I to respond?
    If I AM holding a grudge, I’m a B****.
    If I’m not holding a grudge, I’m a doormat.
    The very few times I’ve stood up for myself
    in this life,(or my offspring),
    and chosen not to “turn the other Cheek”,
    I’ve gained the childish silent treatment
    from people. (Not you – silence is against your
    So. As the Butt of your jokes, I’m to continue
    the act of ignorance and pretend to not know
    you still find/found pure elation @ my expense.
    Go figure.
    I guess I can continue the charade of having a
    stick under my washcloth and let people think
    I am not the fun one.
    You can have being the loose cannon all to yourself.
    You just can’t have the cheeky puns.
    I will draw the line somewhere.
    BTW – Can’t get forgiveness if you can’t give it…
    Just saying…
    In case you actually still believe I’m harboring
    ill will.
    I’ve left it all behind me.

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