We all have that side of the family. For me, it’s my mother’s side of the family. Rural Texas folks just trying to make a dishonest living. Just to give you a peek at the level of dysfunction in which I grew up; my aunt and uncle are con artists, and bad ones at that. My cousin is a meth addict that’s been in and out of jail for the past 4-5 years. She has six kids between three different men and in court, stood up and said her first son belonged to her stepfather, to which he jumped up and yelled “Ya’ll take my blood, ya’ll take it right now!” which resulted in her being charged with perjury. A few years ago, she gave up custody of her children to pursue a dream of theft and meth addiction.
This is my favorite mugshot (she has more than one). She is currently serving a short sentence in jail.
Trust me when I saw that this is only the tip of the tip of the iceberg. The majority of my mother’s family remained in small towns or little “big towns” that don’t really provide people with successful opportunities.
A lot of people will argue that it’s up to a person to decide, but anyone who knows anything about small towns knows that they’re black holes. How my mother escaped, I will never know, but each time I see my family (who I do love very much), I am extremely grateful for the choices she made.
That being said, I’d like to tell you about my cousin David. David is my grandmother’s nephew. He is the youngest of three children – only one of which turned out normal. David is ginger as fuck. The last time I saw him was at my grandmother’s funeral a year and a half ago, his teeth were black and his hair showed signs of whitening at the sides. I didn’t talk to him that long, but the first thing that came to my mind was the time he kidnapped himself.
Yep, you read that right. He kidnapped himself. I was talking to my mother the other day and we were talking about how incredibly fucked-up our family is and I brought up David.
I was always under the impression that he did it because he was broke, but it turns out I was wrong.
The story is; one day he disappeared no phone call, no note – nothing. A couple of days later, someone received a ransom note (either his parents or his boss) asking for x amount or he was going to die. However it came about, the receiver threw the note away knowing that it was David.
Getting no response from the first note, he wrote a second one. Finally, I guess he gave up and turned up a few days later saying he chewed his way through ropes and broke free. Even took the liberty of bruising himself up for effect. It was shortly after that that he was turned over to the state hospital.
Again, I always thought it was because he was broke, but after talking to my mother, I learned that it was because he didn’t want to go to work.
I have spent quite a bit of time thinking of ways to get out of work, but I can’t even fathom how kidnapping could even makes it way to a list of options. Granted, he’s bat shit crazy, but “kidnapping” yourself to get out of work is an entire realm of fuckedness that I can’t comprehend.
Even worse that that shit runs in my family, leaving me open to a world of possible mental-illnesses. However, when I saw him at the funeral, he seemed pretty normal. But that shit doesn’t just go away, oh no, it’s the herpes of the mind, and I am more than ready for the next flareup.
Unfortunately, I’m not ashamed of how trashy my family is. I’m so completely entertained by it that I feel it’s 100% necessary to tell anyone who will listen and it generally opens doors for sharing.
My favorite documentary is The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia because it reminds me so much of my family. I made my mother swear to watch it and after she did, she said the exact same thing. While only a few family members have developed drug addictions, at least 75% of them are plagued with mental illnesses that stretch out beautifully over decades of rural country life. And there is little I’m more proud of than having a front row seat to the best shit show around.