Sunday, July 30, 2006

Holy Skeletons in the Closet Batman!

A few years ago I drove up from Florida for a visit to my parents on a school holiday. After I had packed my car and was on my way out the door I was saying “Bye” to my dad and in the process I casually asked whom the pictures on his desk were of. “Oh, my first wife”, he responded in an uninterested tone. “Ok, I’ll call you when I get back home. See ya.” “Later”, he called out. I actually made it all the way down to my car and was on my way out of the driveway before it fully hit me; “My first wife”!? I quickly ran back up the steps to see what the hell he was talking about. My dad then explained to me how he had been married before to another woman and then had a divorce a year later. Let me just say that he couldn’t understand why this had struck me so hard. When I asked him why he had never told me he merely replied, “It never came up.”

Today my parents and sister came to visit me in Nevada. While everyone was going through their morning routines my mother leans towards me in her chair and says, “I have to tell you something”. After a little back and forth she tells me that she had had a child before she met my dad and had to give it up for adoption. Also, that he had recently contacted her. I have to tell you here that I used up all my disbelief those years ago on my father’s whole first marriage bit so my reaction was a lot more subdued. Still, when I asked why she had never told me the answer was, again, “It never came up.”

It never freakin’ came up! In twenty-seven years of conversations with these people you’d think that at some point the discussion would have veered close enough to make the leap to this subject, let alone crashing directly into it. That aside, I have a biological half-brother out there. Exciting news really. I read a letter he had sent and saw a picture of him and got a bit of a biography too. Interestingly he had slipped his name into the letter through random capitalized letters. I just happened to be the first one to notice this and subsequently fueled a bit of a frenzy this morning that resulted in my mother writing an email to her first son.

You know as proud as I was to have studied and become an archaeologist it ain’t shit compared to this dude. As unrealistic as this may sound to those who know me and thereby feel that anyone hindered by my family’s genetics should achieve this; I swear it’s all true. He is a PhD in atomic physics and works at a particle accelerator lab. That is a lot to meet up to, but hey maybe this is how all younger siblings feel (I’m new to that feeling).

As curious and exciting as this news is I am rather taken aback. I mean is this it? Ok, my dad had a former wife, my mom had another kid. I am terrified to talk to my grandparents. I can just imagine sitting down in their family room chatting about whatever when my grandmother lets it slip that she worked as a spy during WWII and my grandfather wasn’t really in the armed forces, he was actually a globetrotting jewel thief…”d’you want more ice tea honey?”

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Mediation = Awesomeness

So, I am one of those people who are unshakably sure of themselves most of the time. In fact, I am so sure of my correctitude that in a friendly discussion I will fling the rules of etiquette and good graces out the window faster than a pissed-off Russell Crowe in a hotel room and become quite belligerent toward my adversary. At this point I will usually call on my own personal mediator. That’s right, personal mediator.

While most people have personal financial advisors, physicians, lawyers, nutritionists, therapists and trainers; I feel it more advantageous to have a personal mediator. Someone with whom I can call upon to offer an unbiased appraisal of my current discussion. Someone to settle any conflict of trivial fact or opinion that might arise in any of my discussions. This personal mediator, in my opinion, is on call 24 hours a day and will always field my questions whether they are about movies, video games or deep societal issues. So, I guess this post is to say thanks bud for all the outrageous questions you have answered over the years.

Don’t think I don’t appreciate your willingness to wake up on a weeknight at 3:30 AM and entertain my drunken half-baked questions on whether the winged animal in Super Mario Bros. was a flying turtle or a duck. Or answering bizarre questions while at work or in the gym. Even taking impromptu polls, when asked, of your fellow compatriots or co-workers to solve a matter of popular opinion. It is this selfless attitude and willingness to entertain ridiculous questions posed at the most inopportune times that will assure your top five ranking on my cell phone’s speed-dial for years to come.

Kudos to you my personal mediator and kudos to all who toil fruitlessly for the benefit of us, the burdensome friends out there.

At this point I would like to cordially invite my mediator to become a full member of the Half-Assed Opinions Technical Staff. This will mean longer hours, a heavier workload, and an almost palpable sense of slackery that you must exude everywhere you go. Don’t think that this position doesn’t come with an awesome benefits package though. As all members of the H/A staff you will have a .002% financial right to any of the half invented products that will never be created, marketed or even discussed at future H/A meetings. Also, you might get a cool H/A T-shirt someday…if I remember to make one…ever.

This offer will self destruct all over your CPU in; 5…4…3…2…

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Putting the ‘Dis’ in Dysfunctional

So, LJ has been riding my case about having kids for like the last three months or more. It has gotten serious enough that when she goes to Wal-Mart, Target or any other clothes retailer she might want to stop by the kid sections to look at baby clothes. Maybe she’ll just tell me about reading numerous articles or blogs about babies. Hell, today we had to go to Babies R’ Us just so that she could look at baby room furniture.

Its not that I don’t want to have kids, it isn’t that I don’t like kids. It’s just that I don’t know if I can handle kids in a daddly way yet. For example I just know that to me having a kid around would just be, in my mind, supplying me with a punching bag for practical jokes. Now, before any of you fly off the handle you have to realize that this is just about normal behavior in my family. For the first five years of my life my father, in a rather brilliant parenting ploy, had me convinced that he had killed and devoured my older brother because he had misbehaved so grievously one day. Honestly this may have kept me inline somewhat for a time. I’m only trying to illustrate that in my family it was okay to bend the truth with your children because, hey they were easy dupes and it was amusing for the adults.

I can just imagine myself doing all sorts of crazy-ass things to my kids simply for my own amusement. Just off the top of my head the other day I thought about how funny it would be to sneak into my kid’s room at night and pee in his or her sock drawer. Then the next morning when they come running downstairs to tell me that their sock drawer smells like pee, I can look up from my coffee, with a shocked and dismayed look on my face, and say “Oh…jeeze…Well, some kids have this problem…I guess. You know Billy most kids have trouble with wetting the bed but you must be extra messed up…you pee the sock drawer in your sleep. How embarrassing.” Or maybe while they are at school I could raise their bike seat a little bit every day for a week until they come and tell me that their feet don’t reach the peddles anymore. At this point I say something like “Well Susie most kids your age grow up, but I guess you’re shrinking. Not a lot of kids shrink you know. You should be happy though, it’s kinda like winning the genetic freak lottery. Still your Mom and I are pretty disappointed though…(sigh).”

God, that is some heartless shit. That is way worse than any of the pranks I pulled on Mike or Danny, Beth and Brad. I just feel like maybe I need time to mature a little more. I am more concerned with my toys than the possibility of buying some other kid toys. I want a motorcycle damn it! Still, the idea of having a little kid to mold into a pranking-video gaming-punk music listening-machine. That…could be kinda fun. LJ seems enamored with the idea. Sometimes it’s all she ever talks about. It just worries me because it is so much responsibility and we have so many other things going on right now. My mind is just filled with the neat things I would love to do with the kid, but then I think of all the things I have to do for the kid. I’m a little scared. You know my Dad always told me that he wanted a sports car but my Mom wanted children, and she got her way. I better get that motorcycle.