When I started writing this blog initially, I used to write a lot more about my family. I got some of the best feedback from stories about my mother and my childhood. After a bit, a few people who read this, that I actually know in real life started emphasizing how my family would feel if they were to read it. Then I felt bad. I felt like I shouldn’t be having a very public, world-wide laugh at their expense. Most days I still feel like that, but not today. The fact of the matter is that this shit is true. I couldn’t make this up if I tried.
I had received some emails with questions about what the rest of my family was like and what kind of childhood I had. This is my family tree.
Some of you have read my earlier posts where I mentioned my mother. People have told me that she would be great for a sitcom or a movie character. It’s a nice thought, but she actually exists in real life. TV could never capture her. When I was younger, my mother was a very unhappy woman. Truthfully, she was dealt a really shitty deck of cards. No one could have played them well. I remember driving with my mother, in a car that had been sold to her for $500 on the front yard of a trailer park, and complaining about her smoking with the windows rolled up. It would make me sick and I could tell when I went to school that my clothes reeked. I remember so clearly how she turned, looked at me and said, “cigarettes are the only joy I have in my life.” I was in second grade, but I knew that meant her life really sucked. I figured if that was the only joy she had I shouldn’t mind the 3 packs she smoked every day. I don’t have a single childhood image of her without a cigarette in her mouth. This woman washed her hair with one hand and smoked a cigarette with the other. There are still burn marks on the side of her bathtub. If you’re familiar with my early posts, you also know that she has a tramp stamp and a few other bad tattoos. They are in very poor taste, but they truly reflect her life story. She was a single mother, raising 3 kids that she never hesitated to tell a person were all “mistakes.” She wasn’t home much because she was out working shitty jobs and making no money. There were lots of boyfriends, even a couple engagements, some stints with drugs and various mental health disorders. I was well into my twenties before I realized that she wasn’t as much of a complete bitch, as she was a trooper. I moved out of her house when I was 14 and didn’t really have a relationship with her until the past year or so, after I broke up with my ex. I figured if anyone knew about failed relationships, it was her. I had been out of touch with her for so long, that she had become a completely new and different mom. Mom4GS. She got married to a nice guy, renovated her house and found herself in a career. She really got her shit straightened out and I’m happy for her. Sometimes it’s still weird. I’m thankful I got the chance to meet her again.
My father is arguably the most hardworking man alive. In fact, he is so hardworking that one day, when I was 8 years old, he went to work and never came back again. He must be putting in a lot of overtime. When he didn’t come home the first few days, I knew that he was gone for good. People always ask if I worried that he had been hurt or kidnapped or something, but usually when that happens people don’t clear out their drawers and pack their bags. It made things really difficult on my mom. His disappearance catapulted the series of misfortune that was to come in the years ahead. bankruptcy, abusive boyfriends and things of that nature. I had to go to a very exclusive group at my school called, “Banana Splits.” It was run by the guidance counselor. Any time there were family days or activities, we would get pulled out of the room to talk about our “feelings.” It was supposed to be discreet, but it didn’t come close. On the last day of school, the counselor let us eat banana splits to replace the dad deficit. That is the best logic I could ever get from it. There were lots of times growing up and even sometimes now, when I could have really used a dad. I still have not seen or heard from him since he went to work that day. It’s been 17 years.
My Older Brother
Ugh, god. What do I say about this kid? Dumb as a rock…no. He is my brother and I love him. However, it’s not easy. He is living with an imaginary disease that causes him to be 17 years old for the rest of his life. While eating with him at a restaurant one time, he had this to say about his diet, “I only eat once a day because I only like really unhealthy food. I would never eat a fruit or vegetable. I usually just eat cheese steaks and shit. If I only eat once a day, it’s healthier and I won’t get as fat.” No, he wasn’t kidding. That is probably the most well thought out conversation he’s had in years. He is perfectly happy, approaching 30 and serving soup and salad combos at Olive Garden. I’m still learning to get off his case. If he’s happy, that’s good enough.
My Younger Brother
My younger brother is the nicest, most kind-hearted person who ever called in a bomb scare and got expelled from school. I mean that. He’s an amazing artist and an amazing stoner. He is covered head to toe in tattoos and piercings. People often get this hard ass impression of him, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. He is really sensitive and loving. When we were in high school, (pre-expulsion) he cried when our hermit crab died. It’s still buried somewhere in our mother’s backyard. He is still lazy and mooching, but he’s becoming more of a productive member of society. Thank God.
My Maternal Grandparents
My grandfather lived with us much of our lives, though we didn’t see or speak to him that often. I know. This is still a piece that boggles my mind as well. He was a man’s man. Worked in construction, hung out at the Elks and drank a ton of booze. The booze is probably the reason we needed a babysitter even if he was home. I remember staying up late at night when my friends would sleep over and we would have to be quiet so we didn’t bother him. We would wait to see him stumble out of his room inebriated, in his underwear, and scratch his back against the wall, like a bear. A very drunk bear. He chewed Red Man tobacco and signed his Christmas cards using his first and last name, never grandpa. His gallbladder burst and poisoned his whole body about two years ago. 50+ years of hardcore booze ended up killing him. When I think of him, I feel like I never got the chance to know him as well as I should have, but I still smile and laugh.
My grandmother is still alive and well. I believe she owns record-breaking amounts of swishy jump suits and Reebok sneakers. I lived with her off and on a lot through my life. I was a teenager by the time I realized she had ever been married to my grandfather. They were completely opposite people, I could never imagine them being together. Although my grandmother is very dainty and cute, in an old lady way, she is also much like Stone Cold Steve Austin. It’s almost like she has no emotion at all. She blinks a lot and has very dry skin. She doesn’t cry or say I love you. Her ring finger on her left hand is missing because when she was on her honeymoon 120 years ago, she was going down a water slide and her wedding ring got caught on a tiny hook that was used to hinge covers over the slide. She continued down the water slide and when she got into the pool, she had to go back up to retrieve her finger. Medicine then wasn’t what it is today so they couldn’t reattache the finger. You always know when my grandmother is around because her glove only has 3 fingers on it. She’s always cold. She has spent more than half of her life giving the shocker.
My Paternal Grandparents
It is difficult to mention these two because I only met them twice in my life and it was prior to age 8. They are from Ohio. The first time I met them, we had to make the trip to visit my grandfather in the hospital. He was severely diabetic and due to complications, he was having his leg amputated from the knee down. We got there the day before the surgery. I remember seeing him for the first time in a hospital bed and not being able to take my eyes off the leg. Due to lack of oxygen in the extremity, it was solid black from the knee down. To this day, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything that scary. A few years later, we visited for his funeral. My grandmother is still alive, but refuses to talk to us. I don’t know why, but truthfully I don’t care enough to find out.
My Miscellaneous Brothers
I was about 12 when this boy came knocking on my door, looking for my dad. I had to let him know that we hadn’t seen or heard from him in years at that point. He went on to tell me that he was my brother. A half-brother. What was more bizarre, is that he has the same first, middle and last name as my older brother. This new brother was about 3 years older than my older brother. Confusing, I know. Apparently, my father had abandoned their family as well and this kid came looking for him because he wanted to punch him in the face. This new brother also has a brother. So I have a grand total of two half brothers. One of which I have still never met.
To top it off, when my mother got married, I gained two step brothers. They are very nice boys who love to hunt/fish/kill everything. It is difficult for me to find common ground with these guys. I use my fall back plan and get them drunk whenever we are together. One of them is getting close to turning 21. The other is still a few years away.
My Drunk Step-Uncle
This gem also came into my family when my mother got married. This guy is perhaps the drunkest man alive. He’s had two heart attacks. I love seeing him because he reminds me of a cartoon character. He has a blonde ponytail and rosy cheeks. Regardless of season, he is always wearing a sleeveless t-shirt, cut off denim shorts and untied work boots. He has a very bad stutter. On Memorial Day last year, I had gone to a picnic at my mother’s house. Somewhere around 2pm, this drunk step-uncle came screeching into the drive way. He parked on the grass and somehow, fell face first out of the passenger door of his car. When he walked up to the area we were sitting, it looked almost as if he was fighting gravity. I filmed it. After he grabbed a beer and said the N word a few times, he told us why he was in such bad shape. Apparently, the mexicans who live in the trailer across from his had been making a lot of noise and bothering him. He went over to their house to “cuss them out” and they let their dogs attack him. He explained that he shouldn’t have gone over there after finishing both a 30 pack and a 12 pack that afternoon. That’s 42 beers before 2pm. He has become a wonderful addition to this family tree.
You can dispute the accuracy of this if you want, but I don’t have much else to say. This is my family.