“Able” To Bring Her Down

, , , , , , | Friendly | September 15, 2019

(My uncle is considered by the rest of my family to be a “child-whisperer” because he can easily manage five children at a time by himself. He can take five of us — his kids and my siblings and our other cousins — on outings and manage to keep us all safe while we have fun. We all love him because he is very easygoing and patient but also can be silly with us. We go to the zoo when I am nine, with my ten-year-old and four-year-old cousins — his son and daughter — and twin six-year-old cousins — his nieces. We overhear two old ladies speaking. One of them points at my six-year-old cousin who has one leg.)

Rude Old Lady: “It is fitting that they brought that freak to a zoo.” 

(Her companion laughs. My uncle overhears this comment, as does my cousin, who starts crying. While her twin and the rest of us are attempting to cheer her up, my uncle walks over to the ladies, smiling.)

Uncle: *in a jovial sort of way* “Hello. Would you kindly repeat what you said?” 

(One of the women looks apprehensive, but the other doubles down on what she said before.)

Rude Old Lady: “I said that it is fitting that you brought your freaks to the zoo.”

Uncle: “Freaks? That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it?” 

Rude Old Lady: “No, it’s accurate. You’ve got two kids wearing glasses — that ought to be child abuse, especially when you’re doing it to a little girl — and a kid with one leg. Plus, that kid has another kid who looks just like her except she’s whole.”

Uncle: “Oh, the twins? They don’t look that similar. For a start, she has blonde hair and she has black hair. I might consider it child abuse to not let children wear glasses, regardless of gender.” 

(So far, my uncle has been very conversational in tone. Now, he spreads his arms out like he’s making a grand speech and starts speaking loudly. The other people near the bear exhibit — and even the bears themselves, probably — are listening now.)

Uncle: “Understand this, O ableist hag! I do not appreciate you calling my family freaks, O she-who-made-a-kid-on-crutches-cry! I have nothing more to say to you, O demon-in-a-woman’s-body! Begone, I say!” 

(While my amputee cousin starts laughing at the absurdity of the statement, the rest of us cheer, and the woman, publically humiliated and shamed, stalks off, her companion saying, “Well, you were a bit rude, don’t you think?” to her on the way out. I bring this up now, years later, only because while visiting our grandmother during the summer, the oldest of my cousins and I go to the grocery store. My cousin nudges me in the ribs and says:)

Cousin: *just loudly enough for her to hear* “Hey, it’s the demon in a woman’s body!” 

(She scowled at us and kicked in our general direction before walking away.)

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Cobbled Together Some Clothes

, , , , , , , | Related | August 15, 2019

(I like to get all my errands done as early as I can on a weekend so the rest of my time off is mine. I go to a cobbler to get a zipper replaced on a boot whose teeth keep separating.)

Cobbler: “Hmm. This repair is expensive.”

Me: “What? What’s expensive? How much are you thinking?”

Cobbler: “It’d be, like $35.”

(The boots are over $600 new; their worth should be pretty obvious to someone in his field. I imagine the manufacturer would repair it for me — being a defective zipper — but I don’t want to waste my time figuring it out if I don’t have to.)

Me: “That’s… not expensive.”

(I pay and then head out, calling my aunt to complain that the race-to-the-bottom pricing we face every day now makes $35 seem too expensive to fix a boot.)

Aunt: “What are you wearing?”

Me: “Umm, a rock shirt and jeans.”

Aunt: “Ironic rock shirt or real rock shirt?”

Me: “Real rock shirt.”

Aunt: “Do your jeans fit?”

Me: *confused pause* “No.”

Aunt: “How’s your hair?”

Me: “Greasy and messy… Aww, man, he thought I was homeless.”

(Now I know why I get all my best deals when I shop Saturday morning.)

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It’s A Dog’s Life, Indeed!

, , , , , , | Related | August 1, 2019

My aunt is one of those people who treats her dogs like her biological children, but she takes it to the next level. Here are a few of the things that she does for them:

She feeds them only eggs for every meal.

She has rugs laid out so they don’t have to walk on the hardwood floors.

Every holiday, she gives them each a full human meal.

She has them open their own presents every Christmas and still gives gifts in their names — we’re all above the age of 25, by the way!

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Dye-ing With Laughter

, , , , | Related | July 27, 2019

(My sister and I drive to Florida to take my five-year-old grandson to visit his great aunt and 85-year-old great-grandparents — my ex-in-laws. While there, his great aunt is very happy about getting to color Easter eggs with him. Her parents are relaxing in the backyard while she gets everything set up. When she’s done, she tells my grandson:)

Great Aunt: “Okay, go ask Gramma and Grandpa if they’re ready to dye.” 

Me: “NO! NO! WAIT! DO NOT SAY THAT! GO ASK THEM IF THEY’RE READY TO COLOR EGGS!”

Ex-Sister-In-Law: *as we’re all laughing hysterically* “OH, MY GOD! NO! I WASN’T THINKING! AUGH! THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN HORRIBLE!”

Me: “You’re welcome.”

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Possessed Of An Overactive Imagination

, , , , , , | Related | July 7, 2019

When I was eight, I developed epilepsy. It was on both sides of the family, and my mum had it as a child. So, as the oldest, I am the one unlucky enough to have it, as well. 

I didn’t find out by dropping and having a seizure or staring off into space like usual. My aunt was cutting my hair when it happened. I don’t remember it very well, but she does. Clearly. She had no idea I was epileptic, so her first reaction was to scream and yell about possession. 

I had apparently stood up without warning, walked in a straight line, and started talking in what she thought was Latin. For months, she tried to say it was demonic possession, regardless of the countless doctors and MRIs and CAT scans showing I had epilepsy. She was always overreacting about everything, so no one believed her. 

She is still claiming my case of chicken pox at nine was the fifth disease.

And that she isn’t insane.

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