Editor’s Note: I found this delightful little rant in the archives whilst looking for something else entirely, which is essentially how my life works. I don’t know what was in my craw back on this day, but it apparently had an aroma of bitterness. Enjoy…
1. The Phone Calls.
Why must you call me constantly like that? We just spoke two hours ago, which means you’re probably still wearing the same outfit and therefore our conversation will be limited. I know that nothing exciting has happened to you, because nothing ever does, even though you insist on talking about it. Here’s a handy guideline: If whatever you’re doing has not attracted the attention of a TV news reporter, don’t call me.
And that tracking device you apparently have, the one that signals you to call me at the precise moment when I am sitting down to watch “Downton Abbey”? Take a hammer and smash it, then burn the pieces. Yes, I have a DVR and I know that I can pause the show. That doesn’t matter. Just text me. So I can ignore it.
2. The Refusal to Listen to Me about Food
I don’t like okra. Let me try that another way: I don’t like okra. One more time: I don’t like okra. Would you stop making dishes that have okra and bringing them to my house? I’m not going to eat it. The second you turn your back, it’s in the trash. I have been telling you this for 50 years. Jesus, Mary and Jose Canseco.
Oh, while we’re at it. My partner? The one you’ve known for almost two decades now? He doesn’t like seafood. ANY kind of seafood. Never has, never will. Just because you might give it a fancy name or use a concealing sauce, it’s still seafood. Leave it at home, and don’t even mention it when you’re in my house. And stop suggesting “Red Lobster” every time we go out to eat. We can’t do that. What do you not understand? God.
3. The Great Holiday Travel Debate
Seriously, I really don’t care where we meet for Thanksgiving. Your house, my house, Jupiter. Doesn’t matter. What I do care about? Making a decision. Can we do that? Like today. Stop with the nightly conference calls where we all analyze every possible reaction by every known relative to each suggested scenario. This year, I just want you to call me, plainly say the name of the selected location, and then hang up. Wait, scratch that. Just text me. Two words or less. If you can’t get it down to two words, pick somewhere else for us to go.
4. The Evil and Vindictive Photo Albums
Why do you have old pictures of me looking like that? I was clearly not amused then and I’m certainly not now. The mere fact that you would hang on to these hated relics means that you wish me personal harm. There’s no other explanation. I don’t have anything in my archives that would cause you distress, and even if I did, I wouldn’t tell you about it or parade those things in front of other people. This is the difference between you and me. I just want people to leave me alone. You want to psychologically scar them.
5. The Tragic Personal Stories That Won’t Die
I don’t find anecdotes about my troubled childhood to be amusing. I was miserable, awkward and had no sense of fashion. Why must you share these tales with everybody you ever meet? They can’t possibly care, they barely know you, let alone me. If you just can’t help yourself, try to at least go with something light and charming, wherein I rode my first bike or rescued a bunny. Stop going directly for the sordid accounts that cause listeners to think “oh my GOD that boy was one geeky freak”. This does not help me with my self-confidence therapy. Or the inspiration to ever speak to you again.
6. The Way You Decorate Your House
How is it that we grew up in the same family and yet turned out so differently? Seriously, what happened when that makes you think that the things you put on your wall are okay? This is why I lie to people who see me coming from your house. I tell them I’m doing social work.
7. The Christmas Presents You Pick Out for Me
See #6. If you like it, I probably won’t. Go with that.
8. The TV Shows You Watch
If the wrestlers have to wear costumes and fake names, it’s not real. If “reality programming” is in the description, it’s probably totally scripted and not real. If it’s on Fox News, it’s most likely not real. (I think they get the weather right every once in a while.) If a woman is buffing a muscle car while wearing a bikini, the breasts are not real. If any member of the Trump or Kardashian families is involved in any way, it’s not real. Are you seeing a pattern here?
9. The Way You Act in Restaurants
I understand that gas bubbles can be painful. However, there are discreet ways to remedy this situation, and none of these methods include sharing trumpeting body noises with the rest of the innocent folks waiting for a table at “Olive Garden”. Likewise, whilst at that table, swallow your food before sharing yet another inane detail of your life. And stop stirring your iced tea with your fingers. I know you didn’t learn that from me. The dang glass comes with its own spoon. Use it.
10. Your Misunderstanding About the Visiting Policy at My House
This is not a church. My door is not always open. It’s usually firmly closed, and double-locked. Do not show up at my house unannounced. If you do so, prepare for possible humiliation and dissatisfaction. Do not prepare to be let in. I love you all very much. I love you even more when you stay away long enough for me to actually miss you. Cheers.
Previously published in “The Sound and the Fury” and “Bonnywood Manor”. Minimally revised and updated with extra flair for this post. And for the record, I do actually like okra, I just picked a food item that many find a bit slimy, as we all have our quibbles about certain ingredients.
And yes, I’m in both of those photos. The first is of me apparently channeling Dale Evans and wishing Buttermilk the Horse would show up and carry me away from late 60s family hell. And in the second, I’m working on a story for “The Tee Pee Press” (not kidding about that name), the newspaper for my middle school. Clearly, I should have been working on my obnoxious hair or reupholstering that wretched couch. Sigh.