Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Family Rant

As they say, you can pick your friends but you can't pick your family.  I have often wondered if I'm truly related to Shotgun Bob, or if he'd really adopted.  Maybe Mom found him in a garbage pail and took him home.  That would be just like Mom; she's always doing nice things for people.

Some time back I got a nice surprise in the mail which brought home the differences between the relatives I have and the ones I wish I had.

Thank You Note
You see before you a thank you card.  It's a very nice card and comes with a legible hand written note inside.  The card is the result of a wedding.  You see, it's like this...

Some years ago Big Frank got together with a crazy, violent little psychopath whom we'll call Jezebel, and as a result of this union Frank quit school when he was 16 and went to work to support his new family.  Frank would work a regular job during the week and then pick up odd jobs evenings and weekends.  A couple years down this road Jezebel falsely accused Big Frank of domestic violence and filed charges, then filed for divorce.  After speaking to Jezebel for ten minutes, the prosecutor (a woman) came back to Frank and asked in disbelief if Frank was actually married to that thing for three years.  Big Frank got custody of his daughter Penelope and started in raising her.  Penelope went to college on a scholastic scholarship and graduated cum laude.  A short while back Penelope happily married Poindexter, who also attended college on a scholastic scholarship and graduated suma cum laude.

Main Lady and I were invited to the wedding, so naturally we wondered where the bride was registered.  I was a little surprised at the answer.

"I'm not registered anywhere.  You see, Poindexter and I have already set up housekeeping and we really don't need anything, but we'd both like it if you'd come to our wedding."

Impossible.  Both young people are recent college graduates, neither has a regular job yet and their car just gave up its transmission.  Surely they could use something.

"Nope, not a thing except you two coming to the wedding."

So we got them a gift certificate.  It wasn't an outrageous sum of money ($50), but they'll likely come up with something they need and there it will be.

They got married, we attended the wedding and according to Main Lady it was a nice wedding.  And that was that.  Two weeks later I got a thank you card for our wedding gift, and the hand written note inside described what they'd spent the gift certificate on and how happy they were to have the item - whatever it was.  Nice, huh?

Then there's the other side of the tracks.

A couple years back Shotgun Bob announced that he and The Girl were getting married, and would I serve as best man?  Just what the hell could I say, anyway?  So it's off to the wedding planner and away we go, but keep in mind that both Shotgun Bob and The Girl are well over 40.

The Girl informed her brand new mother-in-law to be (Mom) that she wanted a bridal shower, so Mom got all the ladies of her church together and gave The Girl a shower.  There were around 30 women in attendance including several teenagers to help serve refreshments, manage the presents and make a list of gifts and givers.  Mom spent a lot of time and effort putting the whole thing together and never received a word of thanks from the bride.  The real kicker to this is that The Girl received a second shower in her home town in Wisconsin.

Then there's the wedding.  The Girl is registered with several places, but she made it clear that she expects a few place settings from us.  Here's one such setting:

Place Setting
A five piece place setting listed at $275; I found a few on sale for around $200.  The Girl now has ten such settings, two of which were given to her by Mom.  I gave The Girl one setting; I gave Shotgun Bob a brand new commemorative Winchester 30-30 lever action rifle that he'd always wanted.  I also provided ballroom dance lessons for the bride and groom and their entourage so that they could waltz together at the reception, and I included instruction on how to get on and off the floor gracefully.  I gave the traditional toast to the bride and groom, and by the time I raised my glass half the women were in tears. 

All of us traveled across the country to attend the wedding, which meant travel expense and lost time at work.  Everyone gave up a lot of time, effort and money for this wedding; and my family was generous.  One month later no one had received a thank you note.  At the three month mark I had a talk with Shotgun Bob and informed him that he should make sure the notes get written as he was running into some hurt feelings and he and his wife were acting like very boorish people.  Shotgun Bob gave me a salty reply, so I let the whole thing slide.  Six months after the wedding and after more prompting I received a small note from The Girl and Shotgun Bob with a single, indecipherable line scribbled on it.  I think I pitched it, but it may still be around somewhere.

For the amount of time, effort, good will and money that Mom spent on this entire business, Mom deserves a thank you note that's suitable for framing along with regular phone calls from The Girl just to see how she's doing.  She got neither.  Mom's response was to produce a hand sewn quilt for The Girl that took Mom a little over a year to finish.  Again, no response from The Girl.

Treat me poorly and I'll tell you to go play a solo version of blind man's bluff in the middle of I-75 during rush hour traffic, and I'll refuse to buy you a drink the next time we see each other.  I tend to avoid the people who treat me poorly, which is the easiest path I've found so far.  It works for me anyway, and it keeps the peace.  Treat Mom poorly, and what I'd like to do would make the Spanish Inquisition sit up in their graves and take notice. 

All this would concern me a whole lot less than it does except for a few things that are headed my way like a runaway train.
  • Shotgun Bob and The Girl truly believe they've never done anything to offend anyone, certainly not me.
  • Easter Sunday is approaching, and the Tennessee brood is headed into town for Easter.  That means Shotgun Bob, The Girl and Feed Bag will be throwing their feet under the dining room table for Easter dinner.  Feed Bag has the table manners and social skills of a starving hog, but I'm told he's improving.
  • Centenarian isn't going to last much longer, and that's a cold, hard fact.  What am I going to do about the funeral that Shotgun Bob and The Girl very likely will not attend, and what should I do if they don't send so much as a sympathy card?
And now, on top of everything else, I have an attack of gout to contend with.  For those of you who don't have it, I hope you never get it.  It's a fiendish malady and the pain can rank right up there with having your teeth drilled without Novocaine.  I'm taking Ibuprofen, drinking lots of water and going on the wagon until this is over.  I require a cane to walk, and the only cane I've got is a sword cane that Big Mike gave me one Christmas.  This, by the way, is not some sort of pseudo weapon sold to tourists in Florida.  The cane looks and functions as a real, modern cane and holds a razor sharp sword that is easily capable of amputating a limb.  Well, at least I'll hobble around in style.

Now I've got to call my sawbones and request some pain killer, and he's the type of witch doctor that believes suffering is good for the soul, or some such.

Ah, well... bottom's up!


DaddyBear said...

I have to say, I'm closer to most of my friends than I am to most of my family.

Momma Fargo said...

Gee whiz. Lots of dough shelled out for those two on top of the thoughtfulness. I would have killed for ballroom dance lessons. My dad started to teach me when I was young, then passed away before I could finish. And you two traveled, contributed, and gave a lot up for them. I am sure they are grateful but maybe don't know how to have manners? I hope anyway.

I'll let you know when I get married so I can get dance lessons and a new gun? LOL

Hang in there.

Mad Jack said...

Thanks DaddyBear. I always wondered if I was all alone out there.

You don't have to kill anyone for dance lessons, Momma Fargo. I'll be glad to teach you and yours. I did it for ten years and only found one person I couldn't teach.

I think it's a combination of Shotgun Bob being oblivious and somewhat self-centered, coupled with The Girl's crude lack of manners and inscience. Also The Girl truly does not like me at all and I think that feeling might extend to my family.