When I was growing up, I knew my parents were weirdos. They had both immigrated to the U.S. in their 20s, so they were a little different than most of my friends' all-American parents. My dad, for example, knew nothing about sports and my mother persisted in referring to popcorn as "cornpop". See? Weirdos.
It was only after I became an adult and reflected upon my childhood that I realized how very normal and stable it was. My parents just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and they still live in the same house that I was raised in. They had 2 kids, we lived in the suburbs, and my mom was a stay-at-home-mom. Really, in hindsight, we were normalcy incarnate.
I feel even more strongly about this when my friends tell me about their crazy families. Today, for example, I heard one of the craziest stories.
About a year ago my buddy Scott's father-in-law became ill with a terminal disease. Scott's wife flew out to Idaho a few times but at one point her father requested Scott's presence as well. He had a special "project" that he only entrusted Scott with.
When Scott arrived, his father-in-law led him to a large locked garage, told him to wait outside, and then disappeared into the building. He emerged an hour later, and told Scott to follow closely behind him. The garage, which was probably about 5000 sq feet, was filled floor to ceiling with boxes containing all kinds of junk. Scott followed the man through the maze, up a ladder, and into an equally cluttered attic. It was there that he showed Scott his arsenal of weapons and stock of ammunition. Now that he was nearing death, he was prepared to part with some of his weaponry and needed help cataloging and selling it.
What had he been doing for the hour while Scott stood outside in the cold? He had been carefully disarming the various booby-traps that were scattered throughout his locked storage space. Trip-wires, shotguns, etc. The man was paranoid about securing his belongings.
Well, Scott's father-in-law died this weekend without ever really getting around to clearing out any of his storage space. So, Scott flew out yesterday charged with the task of disarming the various booby-traps on the property.
As it turns out, the man was pretty good at setting these traps. Today Scott accidentally set one off and gassed himself with teargas.
Teargas. Jesus. I am so happy I got the cornpop parents and not the teargas ones. Thanks, mom and dad!