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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Party

"The Party" is the title of a 1968 movie starring Peter Sellers in the pre-political-correctness role of Indian actor Hrundi V. Bakshi, who plays the sitar, is extremely polite and clumsy and, oh yeah, wears swaths of dark brown body makeup. In the film, Hrundi is mistakenly invited to a swank Hollywood bash where feeds a parakeet "birdy num-num," a runaway elephant gets a bubble-bath, and the police are summoned.

This blog post does not refer to that party, but, rather my sister and her new husband's party, celebrating their marriage and the birth of my nephew-- both events happening at approximately the same moment.

This festive do took place on Saturday evening and, miraculously, my wife and I were able to attend, in the one moment of our lives that was not consumed by a "Pirates" rehearsal. My mother, whose neuroses are reaching new and teetering heights with the appearance of her first grandchild, hired a Registered Nurse at some ungodly hourly rate to babysit the child while we all went off to the party to enjoy ourselves.

Or, did we?

My wife and I drove my mother and my other sister to the party, which was held at a nice-ish restaurant. We had the second floor to ourselves. I pulled our car up to a sign that said "STOP: WAIT FOR VALET." No valet was there, so we waited. The man who eventually showed up knocking on the driver's side window and almost giving me apoplexy was not a valet, but a valet-in-training: my father.

"Mummy! Leave the keys in here! Go in-- have fun! I'll take care of this!"

"Where's the fucking valet?" I asked, knowing he was paying for one.

"Sveetie! Don't worry, you worry all the time. Leave the car with me," he cooed, stroking my cheek in that patronizing way of his as three other cars lined up behind mine.

"You going to take care of all these sonsofbitches, too?" I asked, pointing to a white SUV that, whoops, contained my 85-year-old step grandmother.

"Sure!" he cried.

Sure. Why not? He's the Bionic-Jew. He can park your cars, grill the hors d'oeuvres, uncork the bubbly, and clean up afterwards without breaking a sweat.

Oh, yeah, and he's also really good at yelling at everybody behind the scenes while maintaining an unflappable facade. He could have been Head Maitre d' at the Four Seasons. You know, if he wasn't Israeli.

I was very interested in consuming heavy quantities of succulent-looking hors d'oeuvres (yes, they were probably made by my father in between scrubbing the lavatories and applying fondant to the cake) but I was monopolized by a totally bizarre woman with stringy brown hair who introduced herself to me as the woman who "used to make me peanut butter sandwiches."

For a millisecond, I was scared to death that I had just met my real mother.

Fortunately, she was the mother of my first friend, who lived a few doors down from us back in the old days. She had a daughter who was my sister's age, and they played together, and I played with her son until they moved away when I was around six years old. The daughter came bounding in later, proudly displaying her gigantic new husband and her gigantic new breasts, which were careening out of her black lacy top.

"What the hell was that nutcase from our street doing with her tits on display like some Victorian prostitute?"

"She just bought them-- her mother has a new set, too," my mother told me on the phone the next day.

The silicone might have been flowing freely at this shindig, but the mixed drinks were not-- unless you paid for them, that is. This was a huge bone of contention for my brother-in-law's mother, whose family, um, likes their alcohol wet and constant-- through an IV drip, if possible. I was shocked that my parents, both teetotallers and tightwads, even sprung for free beer and wine at the bar. My father was all prepared to make an apologetic speech about the situation to everyone when my oldest sister convinced him to shut the fuck up, which is not an easy feat to accomplish.

Believe me, I've tried.

As for my side of the family, I was fortunate enough to be seated next to my alcoholic aunt, who was already H.O.A. (Hammered On Arrival) so paying for mixed drinks didn't seem to bother her very much. I have no doubt that she had a bottle of rubbing alcohol and a funnel in her purse anyway. She's the one who rather infamously prepared for my dry wedding by dressing in a sari and consuming some unknown, fetid liquid out of a hip-flask in the bathroom.

My thoroughly inebriated aunt hissed and slurred into my right ear for two-and-a-half hours straight, and the topics of conversation roamed haphazardly from her opinion of my long-deceased grandmother ("Biggest snob in the world! When she was diagnosed with lymphoma, she decided she wanted a mink. Your fucking grandfather bought her a mink AND a chinchilla!"), her taste in music, ("I've got Emilie Autumn on my iPod-- she's a punk violinist. Suicidal. A goddamn genius. She was institutionalized several times so she had a lot of time to practice violin."), and her thoughts on male sexuality, ("Your sister should be on top of that handsome young kid at the table behind us. After 18, their semen gets all fucked up.")

I don't want to seem like an exaggerator when I say that she talked to just me for two-and-a-half hours straight-- she graced others with her presence and charming perspicacity as well, forcing my family to make apologies for indelicacies other than just the cash bar debacle.

Maybe I would have had a better time with a different seating arrangement, but I don't think so. The party was celebrating a dubious marriage and a kid who was being babysat by a nurse, harkening back to the way my parents rolled back in the old days, when my mother had a nurse for the first six weeks at home after each of us was born. I suppose, in that and other respects, some things never change. My aunt is always inappropriate. My parents are always apologizing. I never get to eat as much as I want. The best boobs are always fake. And the one thing people really care about is whether or not the drinks are on the house.


  1. This blog made me laugh! I was already smiling as I read the blog but when i got to the millisecond Real Mom line I burst out laughing!
    Always fun to read about your family! Your Dad sounds like a very loving Dad to all you kids!

  2. Sounds like an interesting cast of characters. Ain't family grand?

    Also, I gave you an award. I know you're not really in to that shit, but there it is. Take it or leave it.

  3. Silly Lily-- I'm into that shit, as long as there are no stupid strings attached or requirements (which I know you're not into) like that I have to give it to six of my "special friends" or do a goddamn meme listing 25 engaging facts about my navel.

  4. Are there 25 engaging facts about your navel?

  5. maybe the divorce party will have an open bar? ;)


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