Monday, April 14, 2008


"Baby if you need me,
Like I know I need you,
Then there’s just one thing
I’d ask you to do.
Take my hand and lead me
Through that hole in the garden wall
And pull me through.
Pull me through."
Jackson Browne, Your Bright Baby Blues

There’s more to life than gardening. And no, I’m not trying to persuade myself it’s true. I believe it’s true. There’s family, and I’ve got a big one, radiating out from my dead parents and through their 9 progeny: me and my brothers and sisters. We’re grown now, and dispersed, except for a family e-mail network we call Famnet. We can be as closely in touch with each other as we are at the rare reunions.

For most of us, sarcasm is a natural as the day is long. We’re smart, and we’re edumacated. We read, we write, we think, and, my how we argue. I refer, of course, to elevated discourse about the plight of the migrant farm workers, prescription cures for postmodern cultural angst, metaphorical discourse about overthrowing the hegemony of neighborhood bullies near and far.

And, also, we communicate equally articulately, by resorting frequently to hilarious vulgarity, cruel ad hominim attacks (e.g. “You Suck!” “No YOU suck!” ) overwrought metaphors about being adopted, unloved, and fully deserving of pathetic low self esteem. Before our grown children became immunized by frequent doses, they were surprised to discover the sharp edge to some of the things my generation thinks is funny. They all survived about as well as could be expected.

Then, there, the detailed analysis about each others’ personal shortcomings, insane political positions (especially the un-evolved boys). We feel responsible to advise each other of our various and sundry shortcomings, poor personal hygiene, foolish and deluded beliefs from the previous millennium and lack of intelligence, grace, or a sense of humor. We don’t exactly value the diversity of our lifestyles, and those of our expanding network of children and their children.

Except that – we do.

While the inter-family humor can sometimes seem brutal, especially to the pussies among our ranks, we’ve all been thoroughly inoculated with the love of our family members that we can dish it out as well as we can take it. I love unconditionally every member of my family, even the ones I think are morons, and I’m sure they love me, even though they resent when I’m always right.


El said...

Family is pretty effing important. (Mainly for no other reason than to point out the points of fault in one's own person, but then again, that's my experience.) Your post reminded me of one of my favorite family stories. My mother and sisters (all five sisters) were at one of their houses having a Tupperware party in the 1970s sometime (when Tupperware was indesputably King, of course) and the Tupperware drone, or hostess, was insisting everyone play a particularly stupid game. My aunt Therese answered a question wrong, and my aunt Patsy said, "No, the answer's X, you stupid bitch," and they swear the Tupperware drone nearly had a heart attack right there.

Weeping Sore said...

Sounds like my kind of tupperware party

Martha in Michigan said...

I realize now that our next president should come from such a family — or have its functional equivalent in advisers. We all need people who love us enough to call us on our blind spots, rationalizing, errors and omissions. As Jon Stewart, Sage of Our Times, noted recently, all the dire predictions of what will happen if we "fail" in Iraq coincide precisely with what should have been considered as likely consequences if we went in there in the first place. But no one dared to tell the arrogant architects that they weren't wearing any clothes. (Don't ya just love hopelessly mixed metaphors?) If only people they respect (admittedly tough to find, for narcissists) had insulted their crazy ideas and lame-ass judgment.
My point is that it is tough to grow up to be an arrogant know-it-all in such a family — present company excepted, of course.
Warm regards, 4 of 9