Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Grande Finale of Assholery

My mother received her mother's last will and testament in the mail yesterday. I was immediately reminded of a simply MARVELOUS post by one of my new favorite bloggers, Maigh. First, Maigh's words of wisdom. Listen closely. I find her scathingly brilliant.
May 9, 2007 at 7:54 am

What ever happened to peace, love and understanding? Or at least being thoughtful, polite and considerate?

Half a dozen grocery carts strewn around a parking lot in an affluent area of town are symbolic of a greater issue: being an asshole is contagious and we haven’t been inoculated.

Leading by example lives on in a gross expanse beyond the urchins that fall from our collective uteri and breaks through the walls of our florescent days. Hell, just look at Al Gore and his bright green interwebs. An Oscar later, the world wakes up to find frog colored glasses strapped on their heads.

Everywhere we go and with everything we do, this simple assholearrific fact has me teetering on the edge of any religion and the core of them all where “do unto others” is the chorus regardless of how it’s interpreted and who said it. Jesus, Buddha, the Dali Lama, Confucius, Allah, Brahman, whatever. It’s all the same.

Don’t be an asshole.

But we are. We’re assholes. We’ve been reprogrammed since the societal high bar crashed to the ground and the collective death rattle of our moral compass went spinning out of control. We’re too far from home to worry if our parents see us doing something we know is wrong (though I’d guess the view isn’t shabby from the after life). We’re not just lazy and inconsiderate in grocery store parking lots - we’re irresponsible with the environment, we’re negligent with the emotions of others, we’re flat out ugly in traffic, and we sure as hell haven’t earned the special treatment we all seem to think we’re entitled to.

So here’s my request. Put the cart back. Say thank you. Smile. Don’t run the red light. Put the seat down. Let that guy merge. Don’t be a jerk to your waitperson. Remember that not everyone harnesses the ability to read your mind.

Find the good, and push it out…infect everyone you meet."

The will that my mother opened last night excluded two of the five surviving children. A mother who played her children against each other in life has succeeded in allowing it (or at least not effectively preventing it) to perpetuate after her death.

What did the two do wrong, you ask? Absolutely nothing. Other than do wonderful things for their mother the entire time she was alive, and fail to always agree with the one favorite child. The favorite child that orchestrated a new will just a short time before my grandmother died. Someday I will publish the writings I've created on the last six months of my grandmother's life, the funeral, and all other fiascos. If nothing else, so that other people can rest assured that they are not the only ones with ridiculous families laden with psychiatric problems and greed.

I have two aunts who will astonish the undertaker upon their respective deaths if they are autopsied, because their hearts will be found black as tar and hard as rock.

My grandmother's coffin was delivered to the graveside service in the BACK OF A MINIVAN "CONVERTED" INTO A HEARSE. But the following week, these women were sipping umbrella drinks on a Caribbean island.

Anyway, I won't (and can't just yet) rant about the details.

But when I stopped over at my parents' last night to offer some words of comfort and read the will for myself, I was reminded of Maigh's words of wisdom. People are assholes. And while strangers, neighbors, and business associates may have truly lost peace, love, understanding, and the ability to be polite or considerate, I think far too many families are in even worse shape than the collective public. Families have come to forget how great the gift of each other. They've forgotten how to love and cherish. They've forgotten what really matters. We may leave shopping carts scattered across a lot or be curt to a bank teller, and while those things are truly ridiculous, what's worse is that some will step on their own flesh and blood to get ahead.

In some cultures, such as most European countries, families are not all that important. Community is actually more important than family. But, family members still wouldn't stick a hot poker into each other's backs if given the chance. Even if they don't travel for weddings and baby's first birthday parties, they are still decent and humane unto one another.

The two people who were excluded from the will were incidentally the two with the biggest hearts you could ever imagine. The two that have by far done the most for their mother over the years, even when there wasn't much to give.

I thank God that I've had the chance to learn what really matters. And that's a post all it's own.

While Maigh has called upon the collective Internet to "find the good and push it out..." I wish to not only heed her advice and be part of a solution as well as spread her brilliant words out as far into the world as I can, but also to add to it and encourage everyone to seize the day to tell someone you love him/her. Particularly those who share your blood. Some aren't lucky enough to have sisters or brothers or cousins or parents. Those of us who do? Let's all count our blessings and make the most of the time we have simultaneously on this earth. Especially if those sisters or brothers or cousins or parents aren't wicked, evil, pieces of shit.

And with that, I'm going to call my grandmother. (The other grandmother...) I will call her this minute and tell her that I appreciate and love her. Please go now and do the same.

With writing that thought down, I was just reminded of dear Eden's words regarding the recent loss of her father... She had put something off until tomorrow and he passed, so it was too late. Remember Eden in your prayers if you say any tonight. Heck, remember my mom too.


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