It’s always amazing to me how often people point out that their family is crazy and seemingly forget that, if everyone feels that way, then EVERYBODY’s family is crazy. I’ve remarked on many occasions that, if you’re one of the few that doesn’t feel this way, then you are, in fact, crazy, thereby proving the point all around.
A movie villain, after garnering a ransom from the hero, once said, “Poor people are crazy… I’m eccentric,” and I suppose that’s the way that I look at my own family and new in-laws.
Not because they’re rich, mind you, for they are all far from it, and not because they fling cats from hidden compartments beneath their housecoats (though I am anxiously waiting for that one).
No, just because they are the way they are, they are unapologetic about it, and the way they are is easily enough explained to others as “a bit goofy” but is cemented into our minds as a lifetime’s worth of wackiness.
“Oh, your mother used to ditch shoes at your head from out of nowhere? Kind of explains why you flinched the other day when she slid her sandal off, doesn’t it? Heh, heh…”
“Phone for you, it’s your dad… Father… Hole… Father Hole in Montana… talking through his computer… all of which he felt the need to remind me of, several times.”
“Eleven?!? Your mum has eleven freakin’ cats? I thought there were only the 2 on the couch and the 4 that sit on the table and watch them eat dinner.”
“Your father didn’t really wear a batting helmet while he drove late at night did he?”
“Your mum just handed me a newspaper clipping detailing a woman clubbing a preggo and attempting a Criminal Caesarian, then told me that I had better read it. I’ll just put it on the pile next to the article on ‘Deaths at Water Parks’ and ‘Are You Getting Enough Xanthones?'”
My mother-in-law lives next door. The “Everybody Loves Hole” sitcom references never really get tiring except in light of the fact that she actually IS that crazy. I want to preface it all with the fact that I love that woman, my wife loves her too (though has that whole being-raised-by-her context thing), and I find her so incredibly entertaining sometimes that I feel like I should’ve paid for a ticket.
She pops in. She does live right next door, and I fully expected these visits as well as their seeming randomness and futility. I thought I was well enough prepared for it but, like many of my lessons in this new land, you can’t prepare for everything.
When you’re post-coitally standing in your own kitchen, still sweating, breathing heavily, and quite amorously aromatic, one of the last things you expect your mother-in-law to do is waltz in the front door shouting, “Are you in here!?! I kno-ocked!” plop the local newspaper across your kitchen counter, and begin a diatribe on why we should be buying “colored” garlic instead of “bleached.”
It may have been because I was still gathering the parts of my head that were previously circling the outer realms of the Solar System, or it may simply be that I’m a Great Big Asshole, but I simply can’t imagine caring less about that issue than I currently do. Reading about it will undoubtedly do absolutely nothing to change this, I’m pretty sure.
So, I stayed quiet. I said nothing and simply nodded my head. I thought that this would mean that she would say her piece and move on.
Nope. It continues.
My brother-in-law then drops by and bravely enters into the fray. He quickly defuses any possible gravity that CrazyCatLady may have had by interpreting her descriptions of the “bleached garlic grown by the Chinese” and it’s accompanying fertilization process by saying, “I can just see it now… a field full of Chinese workers, all in Assless Chaps, squatting and pooing whenever they can, JUST to grow better garlic than the Australians.”
CrazyCatLady scoffs at this, and begins her point again (yes, again, almost freakin’ verbatim) until my wife finally drops her hand onto the paper and says, “Seriously… mum… I’m on a Campaign to Care and all, but c’mon…”
The unspoken ending of that sentence is the implied, “We just had some amazingly-awesome-newlyweddy sex and we’d like to relax and have a smoke.”
It took a few seconds, but CrazyCatLady relented. On her delayed way out, she repeated her point (yes, AGAIN, almost fucking verbatim) in as dramatic a fashion as I’ve ever seen. It’s at this point that I allow the fact that I am highly amused, even in spite of my wife and brother-in-law’s obvious frustrations.
Actually, my wife is the one looking mildly frustrated and my brother-in-law is the one shouting happily and in slight disbelief, “They grow it in human poo!”
After another of those amazing, far-too-good-to-soil-with-mere-wordage nights, I’d gotten up early in the morning, fed, watered, and loved on the tiny rampaging elephants in our living room and gone back to bed, thoroughly exhausted.
I heard her voice before the door opened, rolled over, and noted that she held an amused look while handing me the phone, “It’s your dad.”
I’d warned her how he is on the phone. The man simply loses all track of contextual reality. He is well-known for calling my place back in college, a place I’d lived for over a year, and announcing himself to the answering machine as, “Father… ah… Hole… calling for Judd… ah… Hole… I’m his DAD! Have him call me at… ah… (phone number I’ve been dialing since I was 5 years old)… that’s our home number (again, I GREW UP THERE, I probably know the fucking number)… ah… thank you!”
I remember listening to those voicemails and thinking that he must’ve been envisioning a room full of college kids, all staring blankly at the answering machine and saying things like, “Judd, eh? Hole? Which one is that? Is Hole the Judd that lives in the attic, the basement, or the garage?”
This just made sense, for surely a house full of Judds would confuse even the most advanced college student, would it not? Never in a million years would DoctorFatherHole ever seek to condescend. NEVER.
When our brief morning conversation was over and he was finished explaining, ad naseum, the intricacies involving phoning someone through the internet, I found out that my descriptions of him to my wife did not disappoint. She was not only introduced to my old man in highly amusing fashion, but she got to experience him at his classic best.
If he’d lectured her on staying warm or getting enough fiber while flock-of-ducks noises escaped from out his pants, there’d simply be nothing left for later.
You can’t just leave the Crazy Door open, you’ll let all the Eccentricity out.