My younger sister, Shelby, is wonderful. She's a beautiful, kick-butt tennis player with an enviable set of locks and ice-blue eyes. She has a sharp sense of humor and is extremely intelligent to boot. But perhaps the best thing about my little sister is her ability to say, think, or write completely mind-boggling nuggets of comedic gold. Sometimes her humor is intentional, and sometimes it isn't, but whenever I need the best kind of pick-me-up there is, I talk to Shelby, and invariably end up with a hardcore, laughter-induced ab workout. Her pearls of wisdom are legendary in our family, and here, for popular enjoyment, I have gone through some of my virtual records and compiled a short "Best of" list. These conversations take place with me, my parents, and my siblings, for the most part; some have dubbed these Shelbyisms, I call them magic, but whatever you call it, here is a glimpse into Shelby's incomparable, delightful noggin, published out of love and missing her...
--after arriving at her hotel for a tennis tournament--
Shelby: "The taxi driver told me all about Hammond, as well as the fact that his aunt was a rocketeer, and she got kicked in the shin during practice and then she died."
Dad: "Do you mean Rockette? That's the dancer. A rocketeer goes up in space."
Shelby: "Yeah! Rockette!"
Dad: "Oh, dear."
--discussing her weekend plans--
Shelby: "It depends where we meet up, then we'll sleepover at whoever lives closest. Everyone's kind of in the same area...like if we're in the city we'll sleep at her house, or if we're in Staten Island or Long Island, someone else's..."
Mom: "Then everyone doesn't really live in the same area, do they?"
Me: "When Shelby says the 'same area,' I'm pretty sure she means 'planet Earth.'"
--writing a report on Dracula--
Shelby: "Wasn't Dracula written by Shakespeare? Wait...Dracula was a book, wasn't it?"
Me: (mouth agape)
Dad: "No. No. No, honey. It was Bram Stoker."
Shelby: "What?! It would be something he would write! I think if it was written by Shakespeare, it would have been much better, no offense to Brams Stoker or whatever his name is..."
--after a tennis lesson with her coach--
Shelby: "I was talking with Parsa, and he told me that tennis was 'uno et uno'."
Dad: "You mean 'mano a mano'?"
Shelby: "That's the one."
--after seeing a Royal Danish Ballet promo video clip I was in--
Shelby: "Oh my god, that's such a seductive picture. She's attempting to have sex with the camera."
--discussing her travels to a tournament--
Shelby: "So this morning, I found out that Facebook IS a sufficient form of I.D. while going through the airport security. (The lady liked my picture.) Solid."
Dad: "We are SO losing the War on Terror . . ."
--a Facebook post left on my wall--
Shelby: "I had a dream today where you and Dylan were sharing an apartment in the city. The apartment was underground, so when you walked through the door there was just a small entryway and then stairs that led to the living area. I was at the entryway and you and Dylan were in the living room. All of a sudden hundreds of medicine balls just fell through the ceiling! They blocked my path to the living room so I pushed all of them down the stairs and walked down. You and Dylan wanted me to leave because the ceiling was probably gonna fall down, but my black uggs were in the medicine ball pile and for some reason I needed them. So I went and found them, and I tried to find my pink tennis sneakers but I could only find one so I gave up. Then I met you guys back down in the living room, and Dylan and I made you clean up the medicine balls."
--discussing my dog's unfriendliness towards small children--
Shelby: "I wonder how he'd deal with, like, a 30-year-old midget?"
--an average family discussion--
Mom: "We should have named Shelby 'Belle.' You know what that means?"
Shelby: "Yeah, it means BEAUTIFUL! So fitting."
Finbar: "Ha! more like...bootyful!"
--chatting about our father's high school pictures posted on Facebook--
Shelby: "Out of all the pictures, the one of dad as a teenager gazing into the distance like he's a wannabe model...classic."
--a particularly epic Facebook thread between my siblings and I--
Shelby: "TEAM JACOB! We are not just people. we are human beings. And we have names. And occasionally feelings."
Dylan: "I would be embraced as the Alpha wolf because they would believe me to be a wolf god for having survived living with you for 17 years. Also these wolves would hate Twilight and anything associated with it because they have taste."
Me: "Shelby--see, used your name--I gotta give Dylan--second name!--the win. That comment was gold."
Shelby: "Do they drink wine with their pinky's out too? Classy. And Carling...I don't lose."
Dylan: "Clearly you haven't been educated on wolves because you would know they don't use their paws to drink...let alone pinky's."
Me: "No apostrophe, Shelbs. Pinkies. And don't be ridiculous. Wolves don't have opposable thumbs. Or real fingers. They couldn't grip a wine glass."
Shelby: "...how am I even related to any of you?"
Dylan: "That's a good question, Shelby. I asked Mom how you were related to me after you hatched."
Me: "One word, Shelbs: FedEx."
Shelby: "I always knew I came from a higher being...this explains everything. Thank you, Carling."
--chatting about Denmark--
Shelby: "I was looking at tournaments to go play near you. THERE'S ONE IN DENMARK! But it starts tomorrow."
Me: "Get on a plane!"
Shelby: "There's actually not one other upcoming tournament near you...but then again, my geography is terrible. So I could actually be completely wrong."
--doing a report on a saint--
Shelby: "I have to do a report on a saint...I have Mother Nature."
Dad: "You mean Mother Teresa?"
Shelby: "Yeah yeah, her!"
Dad: "Oh my god."
--miscellaneous chat conversations--
Shelby: "Whenever I click on the screen, I look and it says 'dad' so I feel like Dad for a second, and then I realize that it's me talking...and sometimes, I actually do want to talk to you. And you're semi-anti social so you hide yourself on AIM, and I'm not sure how to contact you because I can't see you on my list, so I sit and I send you mental messages, 'stop being invisible' or 'IM Shelby Talcott.' It never works."
--on what makes her feel like an athlete--
Shelby: "The fact that I'm homeschooled, travel all the time, and train in California doesn't make me feel like an athlete. But this smoothie with protein in it? Yeah. That's legit...anyway, so I was just thinking...if bones didn't exist, we'd all be like so jiggly."
--reporting from the homeland--
Shelby: "So we were watching 48 Hours Mystery, and it was the beginning and the guy was like, 'Next up on 48 Hours Mystery: a loving wife and mother is found drowned. Could it be the husband's fault?' and then we're all just chilling and Mom goes, 'This show is usually about killing spouses...Shelby take notes...' and then continued eating her grapes like nothing strange had been said. Dad and I exchanged a 'Whaaaat?!' look, and then the awkward moment was apparently put to rest...I'm still not sure why she said it..."
--attempting to cook--
Shelby: "So apparently I have to put the chicken in the oven, and STIR THE RICE on the stove. So much effort for something that I'm going to eat within 3 minutes, possibly 2."
Shelby: "What's the biggest state?"
Shelby: "What's the smallest state?"
Dad: "Rhode Island."
Shelby: "Rhode Island's a STATE?"
Dad: "You're kidding, right?"
Shelby: "Yeah. Let's go with that."
Mom (after Shelby described a horrible day): "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the show?"
Shelby: "Who's Mrs. Lincoln?"
--writing gift tags for Christmas presents--
Shelby: "Do I use an apostrophe after Talcott?"
Dad: "No, it's plural, not possessive."
Shelby: "Well, we own the gift . . . "
--eating Chinese food--
Shelby: "I CAN'T EVEN GET THE FRIGGIN' NOODLES FROM MY WONTON SOUP BECAUSE I'M USING THIS STUPID LADLE THING THAT THEY GAVE ME. SO DO NOT START WITH ME ON DAYS FROM HELL. I'M SERIOUS. It's so frustrating. I finally got a huge ladle filled with it, and IT FALLS BACK DOWN INTO THE SOUP."
Shelby: "So. I listen to your list of good things/bad things. (Hint: it goes on forever). I give you possibly the most amazing advice slash short piece of literature that my mind has ever come up with in my long 16 years of life. It's a short step down from Shakespeare, that's how good it was. And then you leave the chat!"
--on difficulties "Facebook stalking" me--
Shelby: "I went to go Facebook stalk you, so I typed in "c" for Carling. Then, all of a sudden, I forgot your name and who I wanted to Facebook stalk. But then I remembered."
--going out to eat--
Shelby: "Mmmmkay this lady gave us the check already and what if I want dessert huh? She just wasted a tree."
--one of the ultimate Shelbyisms, on punctuation--
Shelby: "For a second I was like OMG how did she get the periods to go under the lines, that's so cool! And then I realized that they were just exclamation points, and I felt a little bit stupid."