To my goddamned deadbeat uncle

I love you. I really, truly do. You’ve always been kind to me. We’ve had good times together. Well, you’re a sore loser at chess, but you’re competitive, so I can overlook that. Nobody likes to lose to someone 40 years younger.

You’ve never had a steady job in your life. You’ve always eschewed such things in favor of trying to follow your dreams of financial independence. Un-fucking-fortunately, you’ve always done so in the most hare-brained, hard-headed, disorganized, halfassed ways imaginable. Want to sell shiitake mushrooms for a premium? Fine, but you’re going to have to learn something about mushroom agriculture (hint: it’s exacting, detail-oriented shit). Want to make a mint extracting and peddling aromatic oils? Awesome, but you’re going to have to learn something other than what you read on the internet (and if you want to make different concentrations of it, you’re going to HAVE TO KNOW ENOUGH FUCKING ALGEBRA TO BE ABLE TO SOLVE “c1v1=c2v2”. Don’t call me up every fucking time you need to figure this out. I’ve already told you a thousand times!)

My entire life, every time you end up in a financial bind, you’ve called my parents. And they helped you out. Every time. And you repaid them by doing SHIT with it, and embarking on some other half-assed snake oil scheme. GodDAMN it.

You’ve been an unapologetic financial drain on this family for decades. We’ve put up with it because we really do love you.

And so now you’ve had a stroke. And you have never had medical insurance a day in your life. You’ve never planned that far ahead. The best we can hope for is that it’s not debilitating, because we can’t pay for your shit.


My father, who has a very small nest egg, because every time my mom and dad saved something up, you needed help, can’t pay.

My oldest brother, who scrapes every day to get enough scratch to put two daughters through college, can’t pay.

My older brother, who has two kids in college AND a chronically ill wife, can’t pay.

I, who am a poorly-paid grad student with a newborn on the way, CAN’T. FUCKING. PAY.

Goddamn it, what the fuck am I supposed to do? You just called this afternoon, because you can’t stand the rehab facility you’re in, and would prefer to be in a better one. Turns out that they require you to ride in an ambulance between facilities. Oh my, I guess ambulances cost money, huh? $450, right?

Go back to your room. Nobody on this end has $450 to transfer anywhere. We simply do NOT have it. Don’t even try to lay a damn guilt trip on me.

But still. How can I turn my back on family, even a deadbeat airhead like you?

Fuck you. I know you’re getting older, and you can’t help your health issues. Fuck you. I know that it’s going to get nothing but worse. Fuck you. I know we’re going to be getting more and more desperate pleas for help.

What the hell else can we do for you? You’ve already taken most of it.

What a worthless fucker to have a stroke. Dumb-ass didn’t plan on that.

Yikes what a horrible situation for all of you. Don’t be made to feel guilty. It’s ok to take care of yourself first.

Not to mention that the work is a shit-oriented detail.

Why wouldn’t he expect you to pay? According to your OP you’ve ponied up every other time he’s asked.

I don’t actually know this but I’m going to say it’s the first rule of a con man, “As long as the smucks keep giving, keep going back.”

I may be being whooshed here, but if not, you can kiss my ass. That’s the point. He’s never planned on ANYTHING. He’s been able-bodied and in good mental health (except for his sense of responsibility, I suppose) my entire life. Why the fuck has he been sponging off my parents for years? And now, what? None of us have a penny we can pay.

And no, he hasn’t personally soaked me for the startup money for all his air-headed shit. I imposed a moratorium on that a long time ago. I don’t contribute to that. But now that he’s sick, and with no prospects, he’s coming to a dry well. We do not have the sum he needs. Period.

The journey of a thousand miles away from someone like that starts with but one word: No. It’s far too late to get him to understand the impact of his behavior, but there is a point where you have more responsibility toward yourself than to him, family or no. I think you reached that point some time ago, and rather than appearing to kick a man when he’s down, you may be allowing him to hit rock bottom. That’s the only way you’re going to get him to hear the word “No” that you are speaking. Don’t confuse mercy for being taken advantage of.


Very good, but you missed the one about “mint” and “aromatic oil”. You receive a C.


Your unborn kid and your nieces and nephews are the future and an investment. This guy is the past and a no-return on investment money pit. That $450 put into a savings account now would probably draw enough in the next 18 years to pay for your kid’s flying car. (Our friend in Atlanta is in a similar situation with his mom incidentally; she only calls when she needs money but when she does she’s crying and pitiful and to salve his conscience he pays and never can save anything [or pay back certain other friends he owes money to that he lived with rent-free once in Georgia and once in Alabama but who would never ever complain about it because that’s not their way].)

Ha ha strokey! No money for you! Let that droopy ass face be a reminder that your family ain’t gonna give no hand-outs when you actually need 'em! We’ll support you for trivial shit, than get all moral and indigent when fate frowns upon you, sucker!

You’re cute. You picked the perfect time to teach a man a lesson. Call him up and remind him of all his past failings, what a worthless fuck he is and how you aren’t going to help him. That will solve the situation once and for all and make everything better.

Choices have costs. Your first, unapologetically critical responsibilities are to your immediate family: spouses, children.

The primary error was in not cutting him off earlier.

I can’t tell if you’re a troll or just a giant fucking moron. Oh well. Either way, ignore-listed. shrug

Dude should have thought of that when he was bleeding them dry over that trivial shit. Now they’re poor and he’s fucked, and people like you get to laugh over the travails of the uninsured and their financially-struggling relatives.

I have sympathy for the uncle. Illness is when you need your family the most - both financially and in spirit. It isn’t a time to remind the sick of their faults and shortcomings. I have been fortunate enough in my life to have people who love me enough to help me over some humps, and in turn I do the same.

I sincerely hope the uncle recovers. He needs people around him now who will remind him they love him - not people ready to list their grievances.

Yep. Help your family when they are ill, no questions asked. Our health is all we have.

Am I missing something? Ogre is telling him that they’re not going to pay for him to ride an ambulance to a rehab facility that’s more to his liking than the one he’s already in.

Some of y’all are talking as though he’s leaving the man to die in the gutter.

“You are familiar with the adage ‘blood is thicker than water’…”
“Yes. It was invented by a broke relative wanting a favor.”
(from Camelot)

I’m saying we can’t. We may eventually move him in with one of us (he’s 300 miles away, and he’ll be kicking and screaming the entire time).

And yes, you’re right. This is an elective move by him. And I’ll tell you something else. He won’t be satisfied there either. So next time, it’ll be another $450, or $1000, or something else.