The Wall That Family Built

August 18, 2010

When I get emotionally overwhelmed, the plates under my left shoulder cross. This causes great pain and prohibits me from looking left, an awkward conversational disability and extreme danger to those driving in my blind spot.

I’ve been locked up for three days now and it’s because I choose to bear the emotional weight of others, particularly family. This last Bible reading (Ezra and Nehemiah) brings all exiles back to Judah and Jerusalem, the cities of their ancestors, reuniting them with long lost relatives. Apparently exile erases memory because these individuals appear to be excited by the prospect of getting back together. Excited.

I have been living in exile from large portions of my family for 29 years. If we were all thrown back together, my plate problem would likely accelerate into full-fledged physical and mental paralysis. The decline would go something like this:

One grandmother eating over easy eggs, the other wearing lacy negligees: Eye sight destroyed.

Full contact with hillbilly hygiene: Audios olfactory.

Grandpa Number One’s encouragement that I, as well as my siblings, should enjoy killing as much as he does: Morals eviscerated.

Aunt M’s aggressive motor scooter maneuvering: Bye-bye toes.

Uncle J’s fascination with drinking and tree trimming: Peace out limbs.

Grandpa Number Two’s conviction that the shit brown spot on his arm is an “angel kiss”: Appetite out, nutritious tube in.

Aunt P explaining the pizza delivery boy’s role in her eight month stint as a homeless woman; Uncle J reliving how his life as a counter boy brought down not one, but three corporate fast food chains; Cousin T and his three children Sofa, Essence and Pillow; and Uncle L’s invisible friend: Nice knowing you mental stability.

Aunt T’s moonshine: Shaved taste buds.

Quantity of Aunt T’s moonshine necessary to survive the return: Cheers to liver disease.

Cousin Z the Pyro, his disregard for property and his investment in kerosene: Hair — poof.

Sheer volume of high school dropouts discussing politics, religion and the WIC program: Audio silenced.

I would love to read an unabridged book about this great return to family B.C. Wrath, donkeys, concubines, sacrifices, fiery balls and magic walking sticks would certainly stir up old rivalries and provoke unstable units. Unfortunately, this momentous occasion is practically documented. This clan went here. This one went there. This one guarded the tent.

Perhaps I just have to read between the lines. The people have to build a wall around the city and in doing so, they say:

“We grow weak carrying burdens; there’s so much rubble to take away. How can we build the wall today?”

Burden, rubble, walls. Sounds like family to me. Then again, one man’s rubble is another man’s religion.

Stopping Point: The Book of Esther

One Response to “The Wall That Family Built”

  1. […] I been an oppressed B.C. concubine or prophet, Job could have turned to me. I carry other people’s burdens well and identify (monthly) with the absolute collapse of spirit. However, if I had been around […]

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