birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Death by hairdryer

The shower in our bathroom had been installed backwards, and as a result the drain pipe was nearly horizontal and the water drained very slowly. This mean that water was always collecting in the tub during a shower. If you were a teenage girl with long hair who took long showers, you might find yourself more than ankle deep in water before you were done showering.

The whole family shared this one upstairs bathroom as far as bathing was concerned. We had only a powder room on the first floor. So the vanity, while wide, was also covered with stuff: makeup, toothpaste tubes, and whatever grooming appliances were needed.

Among that latter category: a hairdryer.

I was about 16 when, one evening after showering, I reached for the light blue towel I'd left perched on the vanity. As I pulled it toward me... plunk. The hairdryer fell into the water standing in the tub.

I froze. My eyes followed the cord to where it was plugged into the wall. Clearly I had to get this out of the water.

I reached down to get it, but as my hand entered the water, I felt this vibration of the electricity around the handle. I jumped out of the tub. I then yanked the cord out of the wall, pulled the hairdryer out of the water like a fish on a line, and deposited it dripping into the trash can.

My mother discovered it there later that evening. Why is the hairdryer in the trash, she asked. It fell in the tub, I said, and left it at that.

Brothers and bunk beds