Family scandals

So, I was talking to mom the other day about the death of Uncle Em — asking if she was going to go to the viewing, or just the funeral, or what. She said, “Well, I don’t know. Uncle Em wasn’t exactly the most favorite person in the family, especially with the aunts.”

Now, this was the first I ever heard this — and I’m usually pretty good at hearing the family gossip. But there’s a distinct difference in the two sides of the family … on dad’s side (the Irish side), everything is above the surface. If you suck, someone’s gonna tell you that you suck (sooner or later, or depending upon the availability and amount of alcohol nearby). Even scandalous behavior is known … my Irish uncles were well known for cheating on their wives and having illegitimate children. One of them brought his illegit daughter to family gatherings — and apparently, one Thanksgiving, one of the younger cousins went up to her and asked, “Why do you call Aunt D ‘Aunt D’ when you call Uncle J ‘Dad’?” I can just see the family bursting out laughing when they heard about this. Well, except for Aunt D (who was probably mad as hell), but she was a saint who put up with all kinds of shenanigans from Uncle J.

But the Italian side — the Italian side always has a nefarious story or scandal lurking under the surface. Like, when one of my Italian uncles passed away, I found out that not only was he decorated for his actions during Normandy in which he saved hundreds of lives, but that he was also a pimp at a local brothel for a long time, before he got busted. Mom was all “Oh, it was so terrible. The family was so embarrassed.” But me, I couldn’t keep from laughing — especially since I just couldn’t envision it. So, with Uncle Em married to that side of the family, there had to be a reason for the aunts to dislike him. And it had to be something seedy. So, I opted to press mom about it.

“Didn’t like him? Why is that? I never heard anything about that.”

“Oh, uh, well … he was kind of an exhibitionist.”

After I managed to stop laughing, I said, “You have got to be kidding me.”

“No no — all the aunts used to get together to play cards, and he would always come out in a bathrobe with nothing on underneath. And then he would do stuff that would always cause him to be exposed, like sit down and spread his legs and things like that. It was terrible.”

So, I’m dying laughing at this point. I manage to get out a “Seriously mom, what the hell?”

By this point, she was laughing too. “Oh, they were always so mad at him. And then he’d have to drive Aunt Zee home since she didn’t have a driver’s license, and he’d do it wearing that damned bathrobe. And there was always something with the stick shift and her wanting to just jump out of the moving car.”

“Oh dear God … Bwhahahahaha!”

“And then Uncle Chuck would always yell at him — ‘Em, put some damn pants on! What the hell’s wrong with you?'”

So, by the time mom and I stopped laughing, I already had the fictional version of his funeral planned out in my head. It gets too foul to write out in detail, but involves Uncle Em being buried in a bathrobe and nothing else, with it left slightly open so that you couldn’t help but notice his junk.  And  the attendees who went up for the final viewing would turn away quickly, clutching their foreheads and groaning “Oh for fuck’s sake!” And then the reason for his face having a shit-eating grin would be understood ….

Yeah, deaths and funerals are always sad … but sometimes, just sometimes, they can be cause for sheer hilarity.

(Yep Drey, you’re right  — “Mofo, you ain’t bein’ saved.”)


2 Responses to “Family scandals”

  1. December 29, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    Jesus Christ.

    Now you have me wondering what my family will be saying about me when I’m dead. “Not a single Halloween party when by without him flashing his nuts to someone. I swear the man must have been in love with his junk.”

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