clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Sunday, December 21, 2014


At left, an image of Santa and sleigh from wikicommons which is listed as no longer under copyright.

I went to see the Santaland Diaries last night. Good show. Small intimate theater. Dinner with friends before, and drinks afterwards.

These were members of my "chosen family." I'll explain.

There's the family you have because of blood relation and marriage. It's a kind of random number generator for relationship potential. It has about the same success ratio as random chance, too. There's all sorts of people in your related family with whom you'd have no social contact were they people you encountered in everyday life.

My own wife doesn't talk to either of her sisters, for example. I'm contact with but one of my own daughters.

It isn't something with which I'm proud.

I could relate the allegations of deplorable precipitating history but it wouldn't matter to you. It's a judgement call. In my judgement, I don't want to associate with my relation. Think of it as leaving the train platform and taking a cab after someone falls (is pushed?) onto the tracks, is crushed by the incoming train, and you having no responsibility at the site whatsoever decide to distance yourself from the events as if they were contagious.

For me, that's it. I don't want the worst parts of my family to "stick."

The chosen family are those folks you choose to have in your life as the surrogate for the loving and supportive folks you were otherwise not blessed with by the gods of random biological chance, or marriage. Don't forget those pieces of shit you suddenly inherit by virtue of your spouse.

Too harsh?

My own mother treated my first bride horribly even at the wedding.

Now, mothers ... you should consider this carefully. With whom is your son more likely to spend his life in loving partnership: you who are a horrible esteem-defeating bitch to his new bride or his chosen bride? Think carefully. You get one chance.

So, horror stories of social events aside, we have those inherited by chance and those we inherit by choice and invitation.

I love my chosen family.

I'm going to be away spending the holiday with my step-son and the grandchildren.

It's my own version of Santaland: the fake commercial environment subject of plastic merriment and satirical literature.

I'm playing my part though. I'm wearing the dickey and the elf shoes and smiling with all the authentic joy I can swallow from a bottle.

I'm doing it willingly.

Know why?

I have a dream of a world in which the fucked-up familial bullshit of which so many of us have suffered does not extend to the next generation. I want my grandchildren not to know petty hurt which becomes with time great chasms of emotional ruin. I say this knowing I'm hurting the industry by which legions of psychologists and councilors earn a living. Sorry guys. Nothing personal.

So, in the eternal advice of Mrs. Marie Bloom - a loving and patient kindergarten teacher who endured my antics - let's be nice to each other even though we're all different. We all sit at the same tables together through the whole school day, after all.

I was at the redbird table in kindergarten. Donna Allen was at the bluebird table.

I've been disappointed by that happenstance of geography for forty-five years.

I hope she's having fun with her chosen family.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I saw Santaland with my husband....probably been 5 or 6 years ago now...but we really enjoyed it.

There's no hurt like family hurt, is there? I'm sorry you've had to deal with it. I think you've got the smartest approach--go where you are happy and spread that happiness and love to your chosen family. Hope the holidays are safe and happy ones for you.

jack welling said...

I love the squeals when the presents are ripped open!

Hope you have a great holiday, too!