I went to see Jackie Kashian live today, and if you’ve never seen her comedy, you should. She’s got timing down fabulously, and I had a fantastic time. This blog about my family is inspired by her quote, “My family are not nice people. They are funny people. They make up for it with the funny.”
My father once told me the scariest joke ever: “Raising girls is harder than raising boys. With boys you only have to worry about one penis; with girls you have to worry about all of them.” My grandmother was having a few people over for a holiday, and I don’t remember which holiday because I’ve tried to destory the part of my brain that remembers this conversation, where my grandmother, her boyfriend, and their friends were talking about sex, and I wanted to rip my ears off of my head. I much prefer to be thousands of miles away from any sexual references in conversations with people to whom I am related.
We regularly play scrabble in my family. The guage for whether a word is considered real is based entirely on who played it.
At my Nana’s house, the timer for the toast is the smoke detector. Usually in playing a board game, after someone has already won, you will discover 3 game pieces under the sofa. If you want to wrap a gift, you would normally use wrapping paper, tape and scissors. If you ask for these fairly basic items at Nana’s, she gives you the newspaper, rope and a knife.
We don’t communicate with each other. We communicate at each other. If you can’t get your point across, then you make fun of the other person mercilessly for years. I’m still getting crap for things that I did when I was ten. My father and I had a discussion once where he accused me of being argumentative, and predictably I retorted, “I am not argumentative!” I still hear about it at family parties. It’s really convenient when the judge, jury and executioner are all in one place at one time.
Normal people go away to college and gain a “freshman-fifteen.” I gained two of those. When I called my mother to tell her that I needed to buy some new pants, she said very matter-of-factly “well, maybe you should exercise, like some self-control.”
One of my aunts told us that helping pregnant women gets you time out of pergatory. She had herself five little gullible gophers all throughout her pregnancy.
Half of me is Italian. I believe that half is the hair, the hair-line, the nose, and the fact that I’ll probably be a much happier person if I would just go ahead and let myself get fat. I also have a compulsive need to feed people in my house, because if we can’t be nice, at least we won’t be hungry. It’s like a mantra. “I’ve got some chicken. Do you want some chicken? I can always make some chicken!”
And of course, the insanity doesn’t end there. The direct result of this kind of upbringing is a tendency toward mouthiness, sarcasm, and a need to make fun of everyone. This is the kind of offer no one can refuse. So, today, in autographing my CD, Jackie Kashian wrote, “Thank you for not being Hitler” because we don’t thank other people enough for not being fascist dictators trying to take over the world. It’s nice to be appreciated.