As I was growing up, my father was pathologically mean. I don't mean it in the American sense, evil or nasty in behavior towards others, I mean mean in the British sense, e.g. stingy, not willing to part with a dime, etc.

In fact, when we met his workmates, we finally one year met one guy who was even stingier than him. The man actually took clothes from the Salvation Army donation bins - e.g. rooting around in them BEFORE they went INTO the charity, so he could get the same clothes FOR FREE. He never paid for food, perferring to root around in garbage dumpsters behind grocery stores to get free food, as well as using the food banks, even though he earned just shy of six figures (in the 1980s). My father wistfully said of him that he was a millionaire, and kind of regretted that certain things like a working morality and/or unease at eating food that had been thrown into a dumpster next to rotting garbage kept him from being that frugal.

Of couse, now that he's retired with a very well stocked portfolio of cash, stocks, bonds, 401ks, a full government pension and has multiple income properties and so forth, well, now he's the kind of man who'll think nothing of buying a 21 inch retina Macintosh computer with which to process photographs he takes with his state of the art digital camera. Spare no expense. He also plays in the local old fogey marching band, which means he one day quietly bought multiple trumpets, each of which were at least four grand. My mother hit the roof.

One thing you need to know about me is that I am VERY farsighted. Blind as a bat without my glasses.

And at the tender age of 14, I was showering in preparation of a new school day, and realized via the lack of a towel-colored blur in the usual spot, that there were no bath towels to reach. So I called out to one parent or the other to please grab a bath towel and leave it in the bathroom. At 14 I was uninterested in wandering around the house naked, dripping water everywhere.

"Get one out of the hamper", my father retorted, the thought of using a new towel oppressing his idea that you should reuse clothes and towels until they can stand up by themselves before running that expensive washer and dryer.

"I'm not grabbing one out of the hamper, they are filthy, if you wouldn't mind, please grab me one from the closet, I'm dripping water all over the floor here."

So, angered and annoyed, he went and got a towel and placed it for me to find.

So I went ahead and grabbed it, and started drying off. As I got to my face, I noticed the towel smelt FOUL.

Grabbing my glasses I had a look and sure enough, my four year old brother had wiped his ass with it, covering it in thick brown streaks of shit which is why it was in the hamper in the first place. Guess which pathologically miserly parent decided that someone should dry himself off with human shit rather than acquiesce to a perfectly reasonable request.

Pissed off beyond belief, I charged naked into the kitchen and confronted both startled parents.

"I said get a towel from the closet, not the laundry hamper."

"It's perfectly fine."

"It's covered in SHIT." I waved it in front of him, which caused him to roar with laughter.

"I dried myself off with that!"

He laughed even harder.

"I'm glad you think it's funny, you RAGING ASSHOLE."

"Don't you speak to me like that!"

To which my mother looked at him incredulously. "You handed him a towel covered in excrement to dry himself off with, knowing full well he'd never see it because he needs glasses, what the HELL is wrong with you?"

"Why are you taking his side?"

"Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you?"

I stormed off.

"Where are you going?"

"TO TAKE ANOTHER SHOWER!"

"We don't have time for that! Just get dressed. I'm going to be late for work!"

"You should have thought of that before you grabbed a towel out of the hamper rather than the closet, like I asked you to!"

"No, we don't have time! Just get dressed!"

"I am not going to school LITERALLY COVERED IN SHIT!"

"STOP USING THAT SWEAR WORD!"

"LET THE KID SHOWER AGAIN!" my mother, once again. "You have no right to be angry at everyone! This is all your fault!"

My dad stormed off to start the engine and sit there in the car, passive aggressively aggressively honking his horn every five seconds.

Explains a lot about me, really.