Saturday, November 27, 2010

*Sorry guys, a serious blog today, even though I have a fabulous Caribbean cruise to blog about. I didn't change all of the name's in this blog because, well, you change names to protect the innocent, right?*

So my 'Uncle' Michael has died.

I don't mourn his loss at all. Honestly, today felt no different from the day before, or a Friday a few weeks ago. I doubt it will be any different from next Friday.

The only sad or mournful feelings I have over this are for my Grandmother. No one deserves to lose a child. And as my cousin said, "he's proof that bad people can be born of good people." I have no children of my own yet, but I know what it's like to love a child as my own. And imagining something bad happening to them makes my stomach turn. For my grandmother, I feel sorrow, I feel pain. But for no one else.

You have to understand, in my Big Fat Italian Family, I have a lot of different 'Uncles'. I have my California Uncle, who is an amazing writer, has a killer sense of humor, asks me about school, and movies, and boys, and life, over crab nachos at the end of Santa Monica pier. He performs cheesy magic tricks for us whenever he visits. I have early childhood memories of his deep, rumbley voice, and hearing his laugh, and feeling his beard tickle me as he kissed me good night on Christmas Eve. I remember that sort of tangible childhood excitement I would feel when my parents told me he was visiting from California. He's not actually genetically related to me at all. He's just a good friend of my parents'. Yesterday he congratulated me on my recent engagement, and assured me that he'd try his hardest to be at my wedding next Fall.

Then I have an Uncle that now lives in Santa Fe, who is a good friend of my Aunt's, and again, not biologically related to me at all. I remember watching TV with him as a child. I remember him taking me on outings to bookstores and cafes as a child. He loved Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman as much as I did, and he taught me how to use a whip. I remember laughing with him over the way Microsoft Word's spellcheck tried to correct Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as our own very Italian last names. He used to give me candy coated fennel seeds to sooth my stomach. One of his houses had kumquats growing outside near the front stoop. To this day, the smell of eucalyptus oil makes me miss him.

That being said, I have two memories of my 'Uncle' Michael. Neither of them actually contain him, they just happen to take place around him. When I was about ten, I remember going over to his house with Cousinface. We played HORSE on his basketball court in the backyard, and later we played around on his pool table, though none of us kids were good enough to actually play billiards. I seem to remember one of my cousins (I think it was the rapper) showing me how to beat Super Mario Bros. 3 in only ten minutes. On the way home in the back of Cousinface's dad's red Nissan truck, her older sister Jen kept picking her nose and flicking the boogers into the wind. They always hit me in the face.

The only other memory I have is of his Anniversary party. I don't remember what the numerical value was, I just remember that I was a young teenager, and his third wife (the evil, malicious Judy) was so drunk that she forgot Cousinface's name. Cousinface's family visited Michael (her grandfather) every holiday, and sometimes for dinner on weekends in between. Judy remembered me (whom she'd met maybe two or three times before) but forgot Cousinface. I remember the crushed, hurt look on her face more than anything. And the fact that the bartender at the country club (or where ever it was) didn't know what a Shirley Temple was.

So my point is, this 'Uncle' of mine, was not an uncle at all. I would feel more over the loss of an elementary school teacher that I was close to. I have no memories of magic tricks, or snowmen, or bookstores, or Christmas Eve with this man. In fact, all I have are the stories of those he hurt so deeply.

Like how he left my cousin Jinx and her mother (his second wife, whom I consider my Aunt) by telling them he was going to the convenience store for a pack of cigarettes and never coming back. Jinx was six. Her brother was younger. He turned up at one of his mistresses house's a few days later. He never paid child support to their mother. Later, when Jinx sued him for backed child support as an adult, Michael took issue with my father. I remember him telling my dad that Jinx "wasn't smart enough" to do it on her own. Jinx is one of the smartest people I know, and one of my closest friends.

A few years ago, when some family drama broke out, and my little branch ended up sawing off the horribly trashy, obnoxious branch that contained some of his offspring, his horrible third wife sent me a letter telling me to take down my blog and 'never write again.' I hadn't spoken to or interacted with them in years, and the first contact I get in almost a decade is some holier-than-thou attempt at censorship. Based on what? The fact that he was the oldest person with our last name? It takes a lot more to make a patriarch than age.

But the most damning thing told to me was the abuse he put my Aunt Awesome through. (My father's sister.) It's not my story to tell, so I won't elaborate much. Aunt Awesome is my favorite aunt. We have a lot in common, including tastes and temperaments. So when I found out how horribly Michael treated her as a child (when he was a teenager), it spoiled him in my mind forever. It turned whatever traces of familial affection I might have had for him into burning hatred. Aunt Awesome is quite possibly the nicest person I have the privilege of knowing. So to wound her so grievously, and then try to play it off as 'something children do'... no. Unacceptable. He never denied the abuse he was responsible for, he just made a point of not apologizing for it. There are no words for how much I loathed that man.

As far as I'm concerned, a Deadbeat Dad, Philanderer and Child Molester died yesterday. He may have had my last name and some of the same genetic material, but for all intents and purposes, I might as well have been watching the evening news and an announcement of a prisoner's execution. There was no sentimental connection for me, just a sense of relief, because someone horrible is gone from this world. So if you are sad that your loved one is facing his final judgment, fine. Go be sad. Somewhere in your corner of cyberspace. I'm not invading it and telling you how I feel, I'm just voicing my opinion from my own little corner. I am entirely entitled to have my own opinion and state it however, where ever and whenever I want to. You are the one that decides to read it.

Tonight I raised a glass, and clinked it among friends and loved ones. Yes, I celebrated someone's death. And if you have a problem with that, I have a problem with you. Feel free to ask me why, and I will explain it, in the simplest terms necessary for your feeble mind.

A Monster died yesterday, and I am happy.


Unca T said...

And on Saturday, Dec 4th a memorial for him will be held by those that still cared for him. I can't say I'm sorry that I'm going to be in Tulsa for the event, but can't you just imagine if Grandma had insisted that I attend? Oi. I'll raise a glass at 1pm Arizona time and think of what might have been. To quote Bette Davis from 'Whatever happened to Baby Jane'... 'You mean all this time we could have been friends?'.

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