Families, by Jarheaddoc

July 31, 2006 at 9:47 pm (Uncategorized)

addams.jpgFamily gatherings have got to be one of the most stressful events a person can go through. First off, I don’t know half the people at these damn gatherings. I didn’t as a kid, and it’s only gotten worse since, as the children have grown up and have children of their own.

We all have relatives like these: the pretentious ones who think their poop shall not eminate odiferous gases, the lecherous uncle who always made you feel violated whether he touched you or not, the aunt who was gaudily dressed and heavily perfumed who just had to pinch your cheeks, the ‘cool’ cousins who were hanging out at the back of the barn, smoking something and looking glassy eyed and laughing when you ran away terrified after being offered a hit. There were also the cousins who had long hair, dirty clothes and looked like they needed to see a dermatologist for the acne on their faces.

I didn’t understand the rules of those gatherings but I do know I suffered mightily for breaking them. “My dad says you’re nothing but a stinky old fat drunk and it’s a wonder you’re not passed out under the table since it’s an open bar” are not words the fat, cheek pinching aunt needs to hear. Hell, it’s not like we were on her Christmas card list to begin with. And to be perfectly honest, I think the rules of these gatherings suck, anyways.

People start sniping at each other the instant they get there and the cliques start to form. “My God, she’s half his age! Do you think he can still get it up?” or “Why wear anything?” better yet, “You’d better keep her away from so and so or the cops will be here to arrest them for screwing on the lawn.” How about, “The nerve of that woman, she stole that dish from me last time we did this, now she’s written her name on it so she can take the damn thing home.”

Then you’d go out and make nice-nice with these people and act like they were the Lost Tribe of Isreal Come A-Calling. I asked my father once the meaning of hypocrisy and he said, “The way we act at reunions. Now shut up and don’t say anything the rest of the Goddamn day!”

Extended families are a strange beast, that’s for sure. You have unknown people tromping through your house and using your bathroom, little kids running around with stuff from the drawer you thought only you and your wife had keys to. And you know there are people that came armed with large trash bags to take away the left over food and get snappy when someone takes one elbow too many of macaroni because that one piece is the difference between life and death for a member of the family.

Yup, there’s definitely a comparison between weddings, funerals, and reunions. I welcome your horror stories.

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24 Comments

  1. Linda said,

    The six foot tall nephew in a five foot long sweatshirt, who strides from the door to the most comfortable chair and sleeps in it until it’s time to go home. Got one of those?

  2. Linda said,

    And what about the nieces who want to show you their cheering routine in the middle of the crowded living room, using a two year old as the flyer?

  3. Linda said,

    Or the child who wants to show you how far the ceiling fan can throw his socks, if he aims them just right? (I know it’s an internet joke, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t see it for myself)

  4. The Friendly Buddhist said,

    The 14th Dalai Lama said
    ” Let us try to recognize the precious nature of each day”

    Then again, he wasn’t married and didn’t have to worry about family reunions.

  5. Mainetarr said,

    Or the niece who wants to show you their dance routine, from all four dance classes, jazz, tap, ballet and hip hop? In the kitchen, no doubt, as you are preparing Thanksgiving Dinner. Just shoot me now.

    I have a good friend who’s family is like my own. We usually go to their family outings like it is our own family and typically spend Christmas Eve with them, until two years ago. The “mom” of my friends is one of those who has to outdo everyone at Christmas. No matter what you buy, hers is better and she paid more. Like we need a play by play of how much each gift costs?!? Veerrryyyy irritating. Then, when one of the presents you bought is opened, she’s all “That’s nice” in a sarcastic tone. A couple of years ago, instead of sucking it up, I made up a lame excuse and we stopped going. I just send the little kids gifts and call it good. Sometimes you just have to not go. You save yourself so much grief.

    Another memory… my mother died last year, the week before Easter. Her funeral was on Wednesday before Easter. A friend of mine who was at the funeral invited Chris and I to Easter dinner. I didn’t really feel like going, I was pretty stressed, but agreed. The next day, she called and said, “By the way, can we come to your house? It’s cleaner. Oh, and I invited my parents and a couple of cousins.” How’s that for Balls of Steel? I simply said, “Oh, we decided to decline the invitation, I am not feeling up to it. Thanks anyways, we’ll pass this year.” So, I basically declined an invitation to provide Easter dinner for someone else’s family. Ha!

  6. Bobbie said,

    We don’t have to have a family gathering to experience strife in our lives. My son has been kicked off my MIL’s property for telling her that the only reason that he was over there mowing her lawn was because we paid him to do it. It happened a couple of years ago, but we still hear about it today.

    Now that my MIL is in an assisted living facility, we are more or less released from the obligation of family gatherings. We did go out to a local place on Memorial Day, but that ended up being just as much of a fiasco as the get togethers at her house. Now I can see why my SIL talks about her step-mother the way she does-no one wanted to sit next next to her and that was the only chair available. She latched onto me quicker than a leech in a bog. Next time, I’m not being polite and waiting for my husband to push my MIL inside-I’m going for the chair furthest away from her!

    Snide remarks always fly at our family gatherings: “Make sure that you don’t get any more food, child, because you don’t want to end up as fat as your Aunt Bobbie is” and the kicker is that I weigh less than the kid’s mother does. Another good one is “You’re not part of the family”, but obviously I’m good enough to be the errand girl whenever my MIL needs something done.

  7. K2 said,

    Families sure can be difficult, but from my experience, when the chips are down, they’re the ones you can usually depend on most.

  8. Bulldog said,

    We had a family reunion about 5 years ago. It was the first one we’d had in about 30 years and we’re not having another one anytime soon. The funny thing was that I did know alot of the people there, but not because they were family. They hung out at the same watering hole as me. We never knew we were related!! Needless to say, I don’t go to that watering hole much any more…

    The one thing I despise: my mother introducing me as her “baby”. “Ann, come here and meet my 3rd cousin’s aunt’s husband’s mother.” Just shoot me now (or at least make me another Captain and Coke).

  9. jarheaddoc said,

    The wrost damn family gathering I ever went to was one when I had a loose tooth. My father had tried to yank it and I wouldn’t let him, so he turned my grandfather loose on me.

    The family thought it was just fucking hysterical to watch me try to get away from Grampa as he chased me around the lilac bush. My fucking father finally tackled me and held me down and good old Gramps reached into my mouth and YARDED OUT THE WRONG FUCKING TOOTH!

    Gramps died a couple years after that and all I could see in that coffin was a mean old bastard who was some goddam unapologetic about the whole thing and my aunt, to this day, still thinks I should have at least gone and touched Grampa in his casket.

    I was eight years old, for Christ sake.

    Now, that same family also recalls a time when I was five or so and they were talking about a woman wearing pasties. I had no idea what they were talking about, but out of the mouths of babes “And all she had on was two band aids and a cock stoppa!”

    I was probably fifteen before I really understood just what I had said.

  10. hedonistic said,

    You see, this is why I moved far, far away from my childhood home.

    My dad’s side of the family is of the Brethren, an Anabaptist sect that’s sort of like the Amish religion, except most of the people drive cars and such. I do have an uncle who still plows his fields with draft horses and distant cousins who still dress like the cast of Little House on the Prairie. The folks range from really cool to freaking NUTS. There is NO drinking at these gatherings.

    Once a college buddy came to my father’s family reunion in the back woods of Northern Minnesota. He brought a video camera and spent the entire day filming the womens’ prodigiously-sized asses, along with anything else he found funny. It was nice, however, to be informed by an outsider that it’s not just me, my family really IS crazy.

  11. Sue said,

    At one of my family reunions, one of my drunk Uncles remarked how one of my siblings looked just like the next door neighbor kid they all grew up near. You guessed it, during that family reunion my older brother was found to be my half brother. That was 15 years ago and we haven’t had a family reunion since.

  12. AO said,

    Ouch! Can’t blame you for not having another reunion. I think that, so far, your story wins top prize for ‘worst family reunion’, Sue.

  13. Mainetarr said,

    No kidding. Ding ding we have a winner!! Geesh…

  14. Bulldog said,

    Definitely beats JH’s tooth drama, hands down!

  15. Bobbie said,

    It didn’t take a family reunion for a former friend of mine to discover that her look-a-like “cousin” was actually her twin sister.

  16. jarheaddoc said,

    I’d vote for Sue, too. It’s amazing the skeletons you find in the family closet

  17. Linda said,

    Secrets and Lies. Good title, good movie. Congratulations, Sue

  18. Mainetarr said,

    Well, it certainly is quiet in here this evening. Are the Red Sox on or something? Ha!

  19. Linda said,

    I was thinking the same thing, MT! The Sox ARE on but that’s not enough to keep us off the blog. Hmmmm.

  20. Mainetarr said,

    Weird, very weird. I see there is a new blog posted already. Imagine that!!! The blog master is right on top of things tonight. Last night, she had gone to bed, suddenly jumped up and ran to post a new blog. LOL

  21. Linda said,

    Gee we are not used to such attention to detail!

  22. Mainetarr said,

    hahahahhahahahhaha, I jumped up from a sound sleep even….

  23. AO said,

    I had a hot date with my handsome son tonight. We went to see the new Superman movie. It was very good but, slow beginning. My butt was killing me when we left. I’m just not used to sitting for that long a time.

  24. Anna Templeton said,

    Google is the best search engine

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