Dysfunctional Family Dialogue

Right before our Thanksgiving dinner of Stouffer's frozen lasagna and ready-made pecan pie (and nothing else), the conversation went a little something like this:

My Crazy Grandma: "They give us our baths on Saturday."

Yuppie Sister-in-Law: "So you're rolling up on day 5 then? Good to know."

(4 children screetching at full volume and running through the hallway)

Crazy Grandma: "You know this spot, this spot here on my face? . . . I pulled this thing off a couple days ago that looked like--"

Yuppie SIL: "Well I'm going to go see if the food's ready now. (grumbles) There goes my fucking appetite."

Yuppie brother: "When the fuck are we going to eat?"

(overhear Dad and Mom shouting at each other in the kitchen, as per usual)


(all four children run to the kitchen to watch their grandma open the oven)

Child #2: "I hate lasagna! I'm not eating nothing!" (begins wailing)

Child #1: "Why you cry all the time, baby?"


Yuppie brother: "Nothing says Thanksgiving like stouffer's frozen lasagna. Oh, and paper plates too, you've spared no expense.


Yuppie SIL (speaking to me): "Am I in your way?"

Me: "No, I'm just standing here till grandma picks her spot before I pick my spot."

Yuppie SIL: "What, you don't want to listen to her talk about their bathing schedule at the home?"

Me: "Not this year. If I sit down first she'll sit by me like she does every year."

(Child #4 bawling at full volume because his mother isn't in his line of sight)

(Child #3 in highchair throws lasagna onto floor)

Child #2: "I no sit by you, I no like you anymore."

Child #1: "I no like you either."

(Child #2 wailing)


Dad: "Mother, where do you want to sit? Mother? Mother? SIT DOWN!"

Other brother (singing): "It's the most wonderful time of the year . . ."

Today was Thankgiving Day, here in America. I didn't do a lot of thinking. I didn't do a whole lot of eating. I tried, but didn't get a whole lot of sleep. And now I shall proceed to lose more sleep while doing the thinking bit. Maybe a little eating, too. Mom makes killer dinner rolls, after all.

Let's put it this way: I am forever indebted to the people around me. I am forever indebted to the human race, as are all human beings, in my opinion. No, not everyone is indebted to everyone, but in general, it is my belief that human nature is such because other humans exist. But this is a, "me, me, me!" node, so I'll get back to the point. I am now 18 years old, heading on 19. This is no great feat in modern America, but I am thankful that things have changed since the Age before biologists, vaccines, hygiene and clean water and food.

At 18 years of age, I have had the opportunity to learn more than my father or his father and mother before him learned. On my mother's side, I gather both her parents had at least minor stints at college, though I do not know for sure. (My mother's father was a very successful businessman.) My University has so graciously allowed me to borrow the money to attend school from them. Even with interest, I believe the investment will be worth it. Had I relied solely on what the Federal Government allowed me to borrow, I would be working a minimum wage job right now or living in California and attending school there. For this, I am eternally grateful. As much of a vacation Cali felt like, I do not like the state enough to live there. However, had I not been loaned money from WWU, I could not afford to attend such a school or live in my beautiful home state of Washington. California's community colleges are magnitudes cheaper, but I don't believe I would be better off down there.

At 18 years of age, I have a couple years' work experience. I have refereed 150+ outdoor soccer games (for 6-10 year olds) and 50+ indoor soccer games. It was a job I liked because I could make money at 14 and 15, rather than having to wait until I was 16. I built a solid reputation as an employee, having refereed for so many games for both leagues and having made myself so available for work for either. I held a job as a desk jockey for a year and a couple months also. It opened my eyes: I realized I will never work in an office filled with grandmothers and mothers alone again. While, maybe I will. I did not have quite the reputation I did as a referee, in the availability category, but I did my best. One thing is for sure, though: If you want time to think, be a filer. There's some mental work, but if you have one of the nifty alphabetizing strips like I did, there's not a thing to most of the work. Though this has given me much money as a teenager (more than most my age, it seems), it has caused me no physical harm. I do not have any scars from work, no stories that start with, "While, this one time at work, my (insert body part) was (xyz)ed." Though it seems few have had such jobs in my family tree for the last few generations, I respect those who do have such jobs. I also respect these jobs as work in themselves. And I realize that each job has subtle things which people who do not perform the job often do not notice.

At 18, I would have to say I am most absolutely grateful for my health. I have had minor surgery, a couple of sprained thumbs, and a lot of bruises, cuts, bleeding and the common cold. But I have never had a broken bone, been diagnosed with a terminal illness, fought cancer, lost a limb, lost mental control, or anything of the like. I have seen and known people who have mental illnesses, physical disabilities and the like and am grateful that I have not one of these. I value every sense, every muscle and every last bit of control I have over myself.

I am grateful towards my friends. They have put up with so much bullshit for me over the years. Hell, we went through puberty together for the most part, so the bullshit thing was pretty much all the halfassed melodrama and angst that junior high schoolers and high schoolers were willing to make an attempt at. And it was mutual, they gave me plenty of shit as well. Almost without exception, I don't care. They're friends and most are people who I would trust my life with.

I am grateful for the time I was allowed to spend with my friends and the school's willingness to look the other way. No, we were not a gang, we were not petty thieves, we weren't any manner of bad. We did break an asston of rules together, though. My memories are pretty much from the 7th grade on. I remember how I garnered my nickname, Rollo. I remember the day the librarian, a 60-odd-year-old luddite hag, saw the overhead in my humanities class. (It read, "How to bypass BESS," the school's blocking software. She erupted, "WHO WROTE THIS!?" I said in my most normal tone, "Me," while continuing to lounge in my chair reading a book. She turned around and gave me the look to end all hilarious looks.) I remember the hairy-eyeball, which the humanities teacher could've used to stare charging rhinoceroses down. I remember a lot of fun stuff. The memories of this year, even, are great. I love knowing there is more fun stuff to come.

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