And His Name Was Earl

November 6, 2013

for today's throwback story, i decided to share with you a little story that still gets talked about in our family regularly, despite the fact that it happened over 15 years ago.  it always starts with "remember when they locked dan in the murphy bed?"  you see, i have three cousins.  twin boys two years younger than me (dan and dave) and a their younger sister (kristin), 6 years younger than me.  their mom reads this blog so i'm sure she'll correct anything i can't remember in this story (like our babysitters name.  i think i just made lauren up.)

don't be fooled by how sweet and mature we look now.

once upon a time, we could be real little shits.  especially together.  i'm sure we still are, but we're old enough to do it at the bar without parents around so it's acceptable.  if a tree falls in the woods and all that.  but when were together as children, the plotting began almost instantly.  the boys even spoke a secret twin language and i was the only one who could understand it.  we were sneaky.  i'm not sure why on this particular occasion our parents left us at a hotel with a babysitter named lauren, but they did.  first and last time that ever happened.

regardless, we arrived to the hotel that afternoon with our parents and bolted straight to the pool.  the fact they lived on a lake with a water slide off their porch was irrelevant.  nothing compares to a hotel pool when you're 11 (and 9 and 6).  with the parents still around, we calmly swam and splashed, generally behaving like the angelic children they assumed we were.  and then we found a mangled, baseball sized, squishy little water absorbing pool ball that had been abandoned.

and his name was earl.

no really.  he was a dingy dark blue and had 'earl' written across the side with black sharpie.  despite his rather well-worn appearance and missing chunks, we were instantly obsessed with earl.  but you can't let your parents know when you love something and are about to battle over it, of course, because then they just take it away.  no, we knew we could save earl for a more opportune time.  the babysitter was coming.

we headed up to our hotel room and our parents left us with this poor teenage girl, lauren.  somehow lauren is related to us, though i don't think i've seen her since this incident.  after we promised to be good, lauren took us down to the pool again.  perhaps to wear us out?  this was her first mistake.  the moment we raced to the pool, out came earl and out came the guns.  battle lines were drawn.  getting control of earl was a matter of life or death.  the only thing that mattered was becoming the master of earl.  first the boys tried to drown each other trying to claim the ball as their own.  kristin and i, the level-headed, 'sharing is caring', girls of the group, realized earl could have two masters and quickly banded together and snatched earl to retreat to the safety of the girls locker room.  to which we locked the door.  i said two masters.  earl could never have four masters, that's crazy talk.

we sat in the locker room sauna for what felt like hours but was probably closer to 7 minutes before hotel security decided it was enough because (a) we were too young to be in the sauna at all and (b) oh right we had locked the door of a public locker room in a major chain hotel.  lauren took earl away and escorted us back to the room, assuming that getting yelled at by the hotel staff was really going to put us on our best behavior.  she mistook the eye of the storm as the storm being over.  silly lauren.

we calmed down once we got upstairs, but we all knew the battle wasn't over.  lauren turned her back for 2 minutes to order pizza for us while leaving earl unattended (like we had forgotten about him?  never.) and that was all it took for hell to break lose.  again.  the battle was far worse in the hotel room.  there was furniture to crash into, beds to jump on, tv channels to scream over, multiple doors to close and locks to pick.  there was no controlling us as we bounced off the walls trying to keep earl away from the others.

at some point, i threw earl onto the murphy bed that came with the suite.  (do you know what a murphy bed is?  it folds up in to the wall.)  and dan dove in after it.  dave and i looked at each other and raced to lift the corners of the bed, because apparently all that adrenaline gave us super strength, and we trapped dan inside the wall.  i mean really, you could barely even hear his muffled screams but lauren caught us anyway and demanded we let him out.  but sugar crazed power hungry children are not to be trifled with.  particularly when they're of the age to realize that they out number you.  we stood there pushing that bed up for hours.  fine, minutes.  when we finally let go and the bed crashed to the ground, dan had crazy eyes.  wide, unblinking, horrifying, full of hatred crazy eyes.  pretty sure lauren thought, at that moment, that he might murder every last one of us.  i thought that too.

luckily after a few minutes, the pizza guy came (and kristin literally got down on her knees and begged him to take her with.  he refused and ran away quickly.)  somehow, miraculously, the eating calmed us down long enough to not cause too much additional trouble before our parents came back.  that or we got distracted by something on tv.

and when our parents returned, lauren announced that we were satan's spawn and that she would never babysit again.  dramatic much?  but poor lauren never did babysit again and i'm fairly certain the four of us were never left together without parental supervision.  the boys took earl home and my aunt is such a pack rat that i guarantee they still own it.

for now.


  1. Oh my gosh, this story made me laugh so much! I remember being like that with some of my cousins, or being on the receiving end as the babysitter. Yet another reason why right now I'm just happy to own a cat. ;)

  2. This is hilarious!! I love that it had a name!!

  3. ahahahah! after that debacle, i bet she never had children either!! she was like, HELL NAW; AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FO' DAT!!!

    Vodka and Soda

  4. Bahahaha. This is great. I was the oldest so babysitters wet out and I was the sitter...if only I could have gotten away with this stuff.

  5. I CAN'T!! This is the most amazing story ever! I am actually laughing all alone at my desk.

  6. This is just hilarious!

  7. OMG that is so hilarious, had me in stitches! Reminds me of my siblings and I...our grandmother used to call us "little devils" grandma. Great post!

    1. Thanks!! I can only imagine I'd be worse with siblings lol. You poor grandma is right! I feel bad about it now but.... it was really funny.

  8. I really, really love this story. Like a lot.

  9. I can so imagine this scene both as a child and as the babysitter. Long live EARL.

  10. Hahahaha, you must go save Earl from the boys!!! Great story, I loved it.

  11. I die. This is totally something I would've done back in the day. P.S. you made it on my post today. You might wanna check it out.

  12. This is a great story!! Being an only child with no close cousins, I missed out on a lot of this until I got old enough to babysit. Then I was in for it!

  13. This story is hilarious!!! My brother and I were like that growing up! Knock down drag down fights that the babysitters ran screaming from us. Who would have known we would make it through childhood without ended up in jail! I call that success!

  14. hahaha I love this! and I love that the ball was Earl.. that makes this story that much funnier.

  15. Hahaha poor Lauren!! Sounds like an awesome time had by all

  16. LOL! It was Earl's fault, not yours ;-)



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