WARNING: Massive ellipsis use ahead!
Shucky darn. Doesn’t that phone message just make me want to dive into my car and speed 100 miles north to hug and squeeze what’s left of my nearby family into little itty bits?
A little background is in order.
This call came from my older brother who still lives at home with his mother. It’s pretty obvious that she’s still rather deft at pushing people’s buttons. I can only imagine that she threw a passing mention (said by me to her over a decade ago) concerning how my own brother made a pass at me.
Trust me, I know a brotherly embrace when I get or give one and I also know when someone puts their hand on my thigh. A hand on my thigh is not a brotherly embrace. That was, what? Over thirty years ago, I’m quite sure. I remember the exact spot and circumstances to this day.
Now I’m confident that my brother and mother were probably arguing about something and my loving mother managed to throw this in his face to divert attention away from another more important issue. It took a while for me to notice how she does this, but it is a consistent trait that her and my father share. Backed into a corner? Toss out an unrelated emotional hand grenade and get the spotlight off of you quickly as possible. It’s pretty safe to assume that this is what drove my brother to call me. After all, I hear from him about one a year at most. Amazingly enough, I see him even less often.
My brother’s mention of his old girlfriend was pretty hilarious too. Sure, everything she told me is “a pack of crap.” Right down to the police report about my brother’s arrest and conviction for spousal abuse. I’m sure it’s all a “pack of lies.” It’s easy to believe that the black eye she got wasn’t anything at all like the ones I wore to junior high school courtesy of you, dear brother.
The “movie theater” crack is even more precious. My brother and I haven’t been to a movie together since Fellini’s “Satyricon” was playing its first run at the Elmwood Theater. That was over thirty years ago. Where in the Hell the “gave up smoking” bit came from is anyone’s guess.
Yes, I know that my brother had his spirit broken by our physically and emotionally abusive father. My father and brothers did their level best to break mine too. I just refused to permit something like that to happen to me. I didn’t allow myself to be weak enough where my personality imploded and withdrew into a self-absorbed world of twisted shit. Yes, I’ve had every opportunity. Believe me, I gave myself plenty of chances to do the same. Somehow, never having a career or real life just didn’t have the same appeal for me. Go figure. Maybe my resolve to actually have a life is one of the things that led me to vow that, never, ever, fucking again will I speak to my father for the rest of his natural life. Maybe, just maybe, it turns out to be one of the healthiest decisions I’ve ever made over the entire span of my years.
Nope, I didn’t go to one of the finest universities in the world like my dear brother. I didn’t piss away such a grand opportunity by taking Icelandic and astronomy. Instead, I trundled down the road to Silicon Valley’s satanic mills, er, silicon foundries and tried to make a life for myself with only a high school diploma and not much else. It took me decades to figure out that my mother and father would rather drive 1,400 miles to visit my oldest brother in Canada rather than cruise the forty miles to visit me. I guess it has something to do with the fact that I’ve always called them on their bullshit instead of politely ignoring the rhinoceros in the living room. I’m such a rebel. Being the family’s black sheep is one Hell of an onerous task, let me tell you.
Sure, I lose out on all of the financial support and material gifts my father loves to lavish on those who never, ever bring up what a crappy and violent dad he was. I can’t bring myself to betray my love of life that way. Seeing my father repeatedly spread blatant and outright lies about me only made the decision easier. Maybe it’s part of the reason why I eliminated my father’s last name from my own monicker more than a decade ago. Only my passport shows it and one of these days I’ll get off my ass and obtain the court order necessary to change that too. The children I’m going to have someday will not carry on the name of an abusive and worthless tyrant.
Let’s see, where were we? Oh yeah, this morning’s phone call. What do you think of them apples? A merry lot my family is.
And people wonder why I am a self-declared orphan.
I, most assuredly, do not.