Monday, September 16, 2013

Why Family Sucks

"There's nothing more important than family."  That's some nonsensical bit of advice my father gave me when I was a kid.  Chances are you were spoon-fed this malarkey, too.  You always read in the press about some actress giving up her career for family or some politician running for office because some immediate ancestor held that office.

Let's make one thing clear:  Family SUCKS.

Case in point -- MINE.  I have Sherwoods on one side and Watts on the other.  Every now and then my Mom drops a bombshell about my family like she did the other day:

"Your Uncle Ronald died."

Uncle Ronald?  Who the almighty fuck was Uncle Ronald?  I never got a Christmas card from him or ran into him at a wedding.  Now, I'm 43 years old.  I've been accused of being absent-minded, but I think after 43 years someone would have at least once sat me down and said, "Hey -- you have an Uncle Ronald."

So, naturally, I spluttered, "I had an Uncle Ronald?"

"Yes, you did.  He was your father's eldest brother.  We didn't have much contact with him."

"Apparently not."  This was the first I'd heard of him in 43 years.

"He --- was a little strange.  He kept to himself.  He married a woman exactly the same way."

"Oh -- great."  I say, wondering what familial obligation I'll be stuck with now, considering Mom is a cripple and can't go to funerals or fun family events like that.

"At least he didn't have a criminal record like your Uncle Yi," pointed out Mom, "Well --not that anyone ever found out, anyway."

OK, I HAD heard of Uncle Yi, who died while I was a little girl.  The only things I remembered about him were that he had a white, fluffy dog named Dummy and that he lived most of his life in California.  But I'd never heard of any criminal activity.

"Wait -- Uncle Yi had a criminal record?"

"Oh, yes.  Didn't you ever wonder why he lived in California while the rest of his family were on the East Coast?'

"I can honestly say that I never did."

"Well, he was a kiddie fiddler.  One day he was caught with a teenage boy. The judge told him that he could either go to jail or get out of the state and never come back.  Yi chose the latter."

Quite frankly, I would rather have been told that I had AIDS or cancer rather than discover these things about people I share genes with.  Other people are related to royalty -- I get stuck with mentally ill hermits and pedophiles.

And that, Gentle Reader, is why family sucks. 

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