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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hi, I'm White Trash

My telephone rang at 11:04pm last night, and, like any neurotic, Jewish worry-wart, it scared the shit out of me. Someone's dead. Or at least bleeding profusely. I had left my telephone upstairs on the bed and my wife and I were watching "Law & Order" downstairs because, now that we have cable, there isn't a moment when "Law & Order" isn't on. And, even though Elliot was shouting at tear-stained Hillary Duff about pictures of her grabbing a man's crotch on her "Face-Space," I distinctly heard the theme from Terry Gilliam's "The Adventures of Baron von Munchausen" blaring out from upstairs.

Tell me there's someone else in the universe with that ringtone.

I raced up the stairs to retrieve my phone and saw that I had just missed a call from my oldest sister. My oldest sister is a world-renowned hypochondriac. Having a younger brother who is an emergency medical technician only makes this condition worse. Every time I visit my parent's house for a quiet family dinner, she is there, in her assigned seat, waiting patiently to accost me with some ridiculous malady that I can diagnose and/or treat. When I enter the dining room, she promptly sticks a rash-covered limb or a misshapen mole or a prominent zit in my face. Most recently, I was greeted by her wide-open mouth displaying a uvula covered in dark blood.

So, naturally, I feared the worst.

Fortunately, this time, she wasn't lying on her kitchen floor in a pool of phlegm or urine. She was calling to gossip about our other sister.

"Did you know she was getting married?" my oldest sister blurted out on the phone.

Actually, I did know, but I had only found out that morning. It will be a civil ceremony, in judge's chambers, sometime during the week of August 10th-14th-- whenever the judge gets a break from mediating traffic court, I guess.

She's marrying the guy she's been seeing for about a year-and-a-half. They guy who impregnated her. The guy who already has a kid from a one-night stand in college. The guy with tattoos all over the parts of his body that the outside world can see. The guy who's a post-man and also a part-time employee at the pizza joint where he's worked since before he could drive a car. The guy who has a baby mama.

My sister is eight-and-a-half months pregnant with this guy's kid. The kid who will be my nephew. When she told me of the impending marriage to the unenthusiastic lothario, who apparently proposed to her while they were sitting on the couch watching TV, my response was,

"Oh. Okay."

I wanted "congratulations" to slip from my lips, but I didn't feel very congratulatory. Besides, the information was presented to me in a very ambivalent way, so that's kind of how I responded. Tone for tone.

My oldest sister, unfortunately, had found out about the impending nuptials from our 84-year-old great-aunt, who lives in Pompano Beach where she takes care of her 92-year-old husband who is suffering from Alzheimers and, consequently, tries to pick up married women in their twenties at the local country club and routinely walks around his condo in nothing but a t-shirt that doesn't cover his dong, as my parents observed when they spent a week there two months ago.

"Is your mom happy about the wedding?" my great-aunt asked my sister.

"Um, what wedding?" my sister asked.


Yeah. It's that kind of a thing.

In conversing with my pregnant middle sister, she also told me to "save the date" for a "beer and hoagie, hey, we got married and had a kid party." She also warned me not to make her beau's family feel "uncomfortable" by wearing a tie to said event. I wanted to ask her if I should not shower for a week or tug on my crotch incessantly at the party in order to make them feel more at home, but I didn't. I've done a lot of growing up since I was fifteen, and I know now that the cheap thrill of engaging my sister with smartass comments is short-lived and only causes familial turmoil.

"Oh. Okay," I said as I put the event into my Treo's calendar.

I don't know how this all happened to our family. Children out of wedlock, baby mama drama, white trash inlaws... it just doesn't seem real to me. But it is. The bulge underneath my sister's shirt tells me that it's very, very real. I know my mother wants my sister to be married before this baby's born, to legitimize the whole thing, but is what's happening here worth legitimizing? What if she doesn't love him?

"Well," my great-aunt opined to my eldest sister over the phone, "after the baby's born, they can just get divorced!"

Yeah. Good idea.


  1. Wear a tie. I think her asking you NOT to wear a tie is like asking her Fiancee to WEAR a tie.
    I am surprised your mum would want them to get married considering her own past. She did well by your Dad but obviously the first guy in her life was the wrong guy for her.
    This post made me feel sad for everyone involved. Even the baby. Never mind.. I am sure he will be loved to bits by your family!

  2. I kind of love your great-aunt...

  3. Okay, I am a creepy stranger reading your blog. And you are hilarious! Nice to know that white trash can work its magic in any family.


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