Can’t Have Anything Nice!


One of my favorite memories as a kid was my sisters and I horseplaying with my dad.

We played this make-believe game called “bull”, where we’d act like bull fighters and our dad would chase us around on all fours while we dodged him and laughed like maniacs.

Dad (or “Sunshine” as I call him) used to be a football player, and is still built like one. So imagine the force used when he ran his head into the wall after our family friend Junior jumped out of the way. There was plaster everywhere. My mom wouldn’t let us play the game anymore after that, yelling “we just can’t have anything nice!”

Anytime that any of us broke anything, that well rehearsed phrase was drug out… you would have thought that my parents were raising a pack of feral kittens hellbent on the destruction of everything nice in our house. Granted, “we just can’t have anything nice” was usually spoken with good reason, like

  • the time littlest sis poured elmer’s glue into the carpet and let it harden so it couldn’t come out – this happened again a few months later with play-doh
  • when lil sis and I thought we’d give our barbie dolls (in assorted ethnicities of course) haircuts, thinking the hair would grow back
  • when i set the tea kettle on fire by putting it in the microwave to heat water for my oatmeal
  • the day that our dog charlie got scared while watching Cujo with the family (no joke) and ran out the front door while the screen door was closed, ripping the screen,
  • when i tied my easter hair ribbons around the neighbor’s cat
  • when i tried to put clothes on the dog
  • when lil sis wrote on my white bedroom furniture in nail polish
  • when littlest sis wrote on the bathroom door in nail polish


  • when i tried to give my gerbils pete and patty a bath and didn’t realize that gerbils can’t swim… let’s leave that one at that. Give me a break. I was like, 8.
We also heard “can’t have anything nice” muttered every time someone drank all but the last drop of ocean spray grape juice and left the carton in the fridge or when a Christmas toy was ruined before Easter. Truly the phrase has become part of my vocabulary; without even thinking it slips out. I repeat it at work a lot, to the point that my co-workers sometimes repeat it back at me and laugh at it as one of my Southern eccentricities (p.s. why is being Southern and wanting good sweet tea and barbecue weird?? i ask you).
So you’re probably wondering: where is all this rambling going? Well…… yesterday I wore the cutest outfit to work, a black and white silk tunic shirt with cute white capris. I thought I was so damn cute and so, cute hair and cute outfit and all I went trot-trotting into the garage to my car. I decided to be a good roommate and take the trash to the curb, only to stare helplessly as the black handle slips and hits my leg, leaving a big black mark on my white pants.
Guess what was the first thing I said? :p

3 responses »

  1. That is funny big sis! You’ve put the cheesiet grin on my face recalling those memories.
    We might not have”anything nice” but those memories sure are. Thanks!

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