Family Problems

RamFanatic note: It's times like this when I wish I had paid more attention to what was going on in my English classes at UNC. If I had maybe I would know the correct word to use to describe what follows. I don't know whether to call it a parody, satire or a collection of metaphors but I do know that I call it clever and very funny. It originally appeared on the message board of "The", the independent voice of UVA and was written by a person who goes by the name of Battman. I don't know Battman or even who he is,  but he can write. I asked for permission to repost it and Mike Ingalls, the web master of the site, was kind enough to grant copyright permission.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


Dear Abby:

I am tangled in one heck of a mess, and I'm hoping you can help me out of it.

For years, my extended family has vacationed with me annually at a beach house on the Atlantic coast. For most of my life, it has been me and seven of my relatives, but we broke tradition about a decade ago and invited my cousin Noel to join us, and that brought our traditional number from eight to nine. There was no problem; in fact, Uncle Noel has sometimes been the life of the party, so this past year Uncle Noel and a few of the other family members thought it would be nice to invite his best friend Kane, and two more of Kane's friends to the beach house. They were kind enough to run the idea by all of us, and although some family members had some initial apprehension, everyone agreed and we put the deposit down on a rental unit that could hold twelve.

Then came the problems. Kane and his friends had been dating women who are each other's sisters, and come from what I will politely call a family with co-dependence issues. Each of the men felt they were in a dead-end relationship, and recently, they all mutually decided to move on and move out. These women are angry now, and they have been calling up Kane and his brothers, alternately shouting threats or pleading for the guys to come home. They have begun threatening and name-calling my family members, too, in the process.

Now I have to stop for the moment and mention my half-brother. I have this half brother, Okie, whom I try to forget is in my life at all. Okie is is a borderline pathological schizoid case, and spends half his life walking around in the public park in my home town ranting to passersby about how he will become mayor of the town some day, and that he's been close to winning for years, and just needs a few more votes next time to win. He tells this over and over to anyone who will listen. Ironically, our friend Kane was the real mayor until last election, until some guy named Buck won. Okie has never won. He has trouble with facing that reality.

But Okie is a lot creepier than that. The other half the time, Okie tells people that he is a big safari hunter. In reality, I discovered that Okie goes around torturing small animals in the park. Usually the biggest thing he hunts is me, at the family reunion every year, where he tries to sneak up and sucker punch me in the arm. He's bigger and heavier, but despite that, over the years, I managed to defend myself pretty well, so that's not the issue at the moment.

Anyway, the reason I mention Okie is because in the current mixed-up step-family-- which I am in no way related to-- he has these step sisters. Turns out, it's a small world, and Kane and his brothers were dating the step sisters. And that's where the ugliness really begins.

Okie and some members of his crazy step-family asked if they could join on the beach house rental. We politely told them no: we had already put money down, the beach house only had room for 12 and we had already agreed upon who was invited. Okie was particularly creepy. He knocked on my door one night, in the middle of the night, asking if he could go to the beach with me. I heard from some of my other relatives that he followed some of them home, asking them the same thing.

Then things got worse. Okie's crazy step family said they planned to sue Kane's family, and even me and some of my family members, for breaking up the girl's marriages." But Kane and his brothers didn't marry these girls and I'm not sure the girls really would have any grounds for suing. Weird.

But that's not the worst of it. The sheriff came to my door recently and presented me with some legal papers. Turns out, since our dad's death, I am now Okie's only living relative. It also turns out that Okie tested positive as a moron. Through technicalities, I am stuck with the custody of my moron half-brother, and I have to take him with me wherever I go, or so the sheriff says. I might be able to hire a sanitarium to take him in, but at the moment, the sheriff is threatening to arrest me on trumped up charges if I don't "do the right thing." Meanwhile, I am wondering how my technically moronically brother is my ward and he is apparently competent enough to file a law suit along with his step-sisters.

Now my Aunt Unice and Uncle Duke are raving about not going to the beach at all. In reality, I can tell these two old crabs just want the best rooms in the beach house for themselves, and until the rest of us promise that to them, they'll threaten to back out because of the threats from Okie and his scary step-family.

Abby, how can I end this nightmare? I just want to go to the beach with friends and family I invited.


Harassed Yet Hopeful in Virginia