The Bun Check

All families have secrets. But as a child you may not necessarily know that they are secrets. They are just part of your life, part of the things your family does, and you don’t find out you shouldn’t share them until it’s too late.

Normally if there was something that was supposed to be just between us my parents would sit my sister and I down and be very clear with us. But I suppose that’s the thing about being a parent, you have no idea what your kids are going to do.

I come from a pretty loving family. As a kid growing up there were no shortage of hugs, kisses and other forms of affection. Every night before going to bed I would give both of my parents a kiss on the cheek before going to bed. It’s something I still do when I stay with them.

We were also affectionate with a family that lived across the street from us. They had three kids who were older than my sister and I. They were as much a part of our lives as our blood relatives. They came to our birthday parties, baseball games, and we went to their weddings, and holidays.

Their kids even babysat my sister and I many times.

Growing up though I was pretty ticklish and a hug from my mother could quickly turn into her tickling me. My neck was especially susceptible to it. For some reason anything that even grazed my neck would make me freak out. I would collapse spasm and wriggle just to get out of having my neck touched.

I was so ridiculous about it that my family and the family across the street started referring to anybody who had a ticklish neck as having a “Richard Neck.” There is something about squirmy little kids that makes adults want to make them squirm even more. I was an easy target.

My neighbors would tickle me too. Any time I was within arm’s reach, there was a pretty good chance somebody was going to tickle the skinny kid.

The youngest of the kids who lived across the street was Lisa. Lisa was babysitting me one day at her house. We were sitting there watching TV when she decided to tickle me. And as I said I am quite squirmy when being tickled. And as she went to tickle my neck, I spasmed and my leg shot out and kicked her.

Lisa never tickled me again.

But it wasn’t the last time anybody was tickled.

We had this thing we did in my family called a “Bun Check.” Typically it was my mother who did it, though I don’t know who actually started it. But she would walk up behind me or my sister while we were washing dishes or not paying attention, grab our tush, and say “Bun Check.”

Really, it was a straightforward process.

We all got in on the action doing it to each other, scaring each other, giggling and generally laughing about the whole thing. In my whole life I’ve never heard anybody else reference this act which makes me pretty sure it was something that only my family did. It wasn’t a trend like high fiving or the hula hoop.

But I didn’t know that, it was a part of our regular life. So as far as I was concerned everybody probably did. My parents never said, “Hey this is something you shouldn’t do with anybody else.”

The oldest of the three kids who lived across the street was babysitting my sister and I one night, her name is Donna.

Now Donna was great. We got along wonderfully and if my memory serves correctly, we were pretty well behaved children. The night had gotten late and it was time for my sister and I to go to bed.

My sister and I’s rooms were both on the second floor. Our house had a staircase with 13 steps that led up to the second floor and the last 4 steps made a left turn to bring you up to the level. My sister led the way to bed that night, followed by Donna, and then myself.

Donna was just about to make the turn up to the second floor when the idea struck me like the most natural thing in the world.

I reached out both my hands, grabbed her butt and shouted:


Well the poor woman let out a shriek and just about fell down the stairs. The look on her face clearly showed that she had no idea what I was doing or what I had actually done.

It was then and only then that I thought to myself… was this something that I shouldn’t have done?

After the scene calmed down I’m sure my sister and I probably explained what had actually transpired, though I imagine my sister (three and a half years my elder) probably had a firmer grasp on the fact that you do not grab the butts of people not in your immediate family.

And I distinctly remember my parents telling me the next day that there were some things that were only OK to do in the house. And the bun check was that the top of that list.

Our families still laugh about that event to this day.

Though needless to say…

The bun check never happened ever again.