Sunday, February 29, 2004

Wang, Dang!

It was late and folks were tired and a little sentimental. There had been talk of death and ex-girlfriends and boyfriends, and such discussions often lead to trouble. Ours, however, veered toward familial expectations. Eric had turned out exactly as he was supposed to, he said, having come from a family of artists and career soldiers--he was in film school and adhered to the code of bushido. Bushido tends to be more popular among samurai than film students these days, but Eric's a good guy, and if he says he lives according to bushido, then by god, he lives according to bushido. It's okay with me.

Shifty was much the same way. Her family was made up of artists and musicians, and she was an artist and a musician. She was also kind of boring and didn't say much of interest. She said she lied a lot, for fun, but I think she was just trying to live up to the name.

The Emerald Viper and I were on the same page, only switched around. She came from a family of artists, but she worked as a "field agent" for a "government agency." For the sake of her legend I won't go into detail--the more known about her profession, the less it lives up to a name like The Emerald Viper, but I will say that she's a remarkable human being. She also has a bug collection, but it was decided by all that this too should go mostly unmentioned, for the sake of her mythology.

I come from a family of machinists and poor farmers. My dad built jet engines, and his dad did the same. My brother builds parts of cars. They all put in their time with military, each working on planes in one form or another. They were also married with babies by the time they were my age.

"But they were all storytellers," Eric said.

They weren't. None of them really, no one in my family. There is no oral tradition, no real sense of history. I know my great-grandmother's name (Bertha) because she is still alive; the others aren't spoken of. My great-grandfather, my dad's grandpa, has only been mentioned once that I can recall. He was a police officer, and a drunk, and he beat his wife. There might be a few saints too, but then again, maybe that's why they aren't spoken of.

Dad took a few college courses after he got out of the Air Force, but only because the military offered to pay for them. My mom and my grandma (Corlene, on my dad's side) are very excited about the prospect of a higher education degree entering the family one day. My brother's kids have that potential too, I think, if they manage to get away from Cincinnati after high school.

Adrian and I have wondered, more than once, why we aren't sitting on a porch somewhere at his very moment drinking PBR and talking about nailing some sweet poontang. I can't say I know the answer, and not to sound elitist or snob-like, but I don't know anyone else from our graduating class that actually moved out of the county, much less out of state.

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