My twin sister, Joy, dated this guy Joel throughout high school, and he didn’t care that my parents saw him cry, throw temper tantrums and fight with her.

It wasn’t that they would fight in a crazy or threatening way.
Joel would just throw temper tantrums because his mom never told him NO, and when he wouldn’t get his way with Joy, he’d throw a fit. It was actually sort of funny.

There was one answering machine message from Joel left on our parents’ home phone that our brother saved for over a year and played for people that came over.

It started out with Joel crying with lots of tears and sniffling.

“JOY!” He screams into the machine. “IF YOU CARED ABOUT ME AT ALL–” (A sob cry/cough combination) YOU WOULD PICK UP THE PHONE! RIGHT! NOW!”
“Hello,” Joy picks up. She sounds irritated, yet also bored.

Hahahaha. That message got some airtime until I’m sure my mom deleted it.

I can’t imagine what my parents must have thought about Joel. He was very smart and athletic and they knew his mom and she was actually awesome despite the fact that she let Joel do what.ever. he wanted.

But he was also hysterical.

One Saturday, Joel came over and he and Joy were fighting in the backyard. Joel was crying, Joy was UN-amused.

“I missed my old secretary’s funeral because I didn’t want to leave them,” my mom remembers.

She kept peering outside the back windows to make sure they were allright. It was that moment when Joel got so frustrated with Joy that he decided to do the most rational thing ever: He ripped his shirt down the middle, like Superman. It took a full 30 seconds.

It made sense, because Joy had bought him that shirt from the Goodwill. Joel was sure ruining it would make her angry.

“JOEL JUST RIPPED HIS SHIRT OFF!” my mom said. But she didn’t go outside.

Joy said later that her response to the T-shirt ripping was, “Really, Joel? Does that make you feel better? Now you’re half naked.”
And crying.

I guess it’s pretty ridiculous that all this behavior was done period, but I think it was even crazier that a lot of it was done in front of our parents.

I didn’t understand it; I remember wanting my high school boyfriend’s parents to like me at all times.
Joel took another route.

“MY DAD IS GOING TO WAKE UP, AND IF HE SEES YOU OUTSIDE HE’S GOING TO YELL!” Joy whispered angrily to Joel through the front door window one school night. “I’M NOT OPENING THE DOOR!”

No joke, Joel had come over wearing pajama pants and a bathrobe. He was mad that Joy had hung up on him. He HATED when Joy hung up on him and couldn’t handle it.

Dad never got out of bed, which was good for Joel.
Another time, he freaked out at the family dinner table.

See, Joy and I sometimes all the time get into giggling fits where we both get tickled by the same thing, whether it’s someone’s tone or just how they say something. It’s usually not even funny.

When this happens, our friends roll their eyes and let us finish laughing while they take another bite of spaghetti or another sip of iced tea and resume conversation when we can breathe again.

Joel, of course, hated when we would get into giggling fits because he always thought we were laughing at him.

He was over for dinner one night, and we got into a giggling fit. He looked at Joy and got mad and then – in front of our parents – threw his fork down and got up from the table and left without saying bye to anyone.

This, of course, led us to actually start laughing at him, but he was halfway down the block by then. (In his mom’s minivan.)


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