My Birthday

Well, I’ve had better birthdays. Just off the top of my head, I’d rank higher any birthday when my aunt didn’t die.

Yep. You heard that right.

Mid-afternoon I hear the doorbell goes. I assume it’s Amazon delivering something… Hey! Perhaps even something for my birthday!

Except, no. It was a teary relative I’d not seen in a long time bearing some bad news.

I’m still in a little bit of shock, though I should mention at the outset that the two halves of the family aren’t particularly close. There was a whole Protestant/Catholic schism going on in our family that meant that we Protestants (well, atheists really) weren’t welcome. Lots of bad blood. Heritances not passed on. The usual crap which moderated with the passing of years but still produces a bitter taste in the mouth when I think about it too long.

I like to think I’d been particularly nice to my aunt the last few times I’d seen her, sitting in the local coffee shop. We’d chatted and I’d wished her well. I always felt sorry for her, given she’d had a pretty hard life. She was always a constant in my life, even if spotting her around town was often the extent to our interaction. I’m really sad she’s gone.

I’m also a bit sad, of course, that my birthday will now no longer be simply my birthday. Is that a selfish way of looking at it? I can’t help it. This is my Asperger’s breaking through the emotion to make a rational point that’s probably not meant to be expressed at a moment like this. This is me in my Larry David moment, hearing the news and then going “so, I guess this means my birthday will be forever tainted by this bad news…”

Urgh. I’m sorry.

I was going to write a long piece for the blog today but I have a long piece to write which will hopefully appear elsewhere. It’s good to be busy.

I guess all families have these mini dramas play out, that don’t make complete sense to people outside the circle.

3 thoughts on “My Birthday”

  1. Belated happy birthday David. Mine was partially ruined for a long time as my mam died the on same week as my 18th, so it always stood as a bit of a reminder. I haven’t seen most of my family for 25 years and I’ve only seen my sister twice in that time. I actually like my uncles and aunties but I did the whole clean break thing.

    I remember when I was little, I would see this old man at the top of the estate when we went to shops, he was my grandad. As he had fallen out with my dad years earlier, my mam would make sure we studiously ignored him, he would do the same. I used to get the stories about how he used to beat my dad and his mother and what had caused the ructions that finally led to them not talking to each other one Christmas. Many years later I got a completely different story from my auntie, who he had lived with in his final years.

    Apparently my dad had told him not to come near us, or else, among other things. Probably six of one, half a dozen of the other. However, given my dad once stopped talking to me for six months when I was 10 because I had laughed at his hair, then for another four months when I was 16 for the crime of denying having left a tap running then I am minded to look more kindly on my aunties version of events. I got the last laugh mind, I didn’t speak to him for the last sixteen years of his life. I’ll give him one thing though, he provides me with a great mine of stories with which to shock and disgust decent company, most of whom tend to think I am making it up for effect, bigger fools them. And you thought it was your blog, well your wrong, it’s all about me!!!! 😉

    1. LOL. And here I was thinking it was your blog and you’d update it for me today.

      I love family stories, though I don’t really have many of my own. The only one I know that really affects me is that when my Dad married my Mum, my gran was not happy that a Catholic boy was marrying a protestant, so stopped the family from attending the wedding. Except my grandfather, who wasn’t religious at all crept into the back of the church. A small thing but I always felt it touching. A different era, I guess when there were true matriarchs who rules over families. That part of the family was dominated by the Catholic church in ways I can never fully understand except I’m really glad I was raised an atheist and always encouraged to follow my interest in science.

  2. The reaction of religious people to anything that is seen to “threaten” their religion is nearly always at odds with the beliefs they purport to hold. On the one hand their religion is the one true religion, the people who follow it are kind and good and their god is one all powerful god. On the other hand, anyone choosing to leave that religion or even question it must be immediately stamped upon lest others follow suit and it crumbles into dust.

    One of my aunties was a Jehovas Witness. When my two cousins became old enough they chose to leave the religion and were “disfellowshipped”. That effectively meant that any Jehovas witness from their Kingdom Hall had to shun them. Presumably my auntie was expected to shun them too but refused, as she said to me when I asked her about it “there is no way I’m not talking to my own bairns”.

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Yes. It also helps that it’s also my favourite satire written by Alexander Pope, one of the most metrically pure English poets who also knew his way around a crude insult or two. If you’ve not read it, you should give it a try.

So this is satire, right?

Can’t deny it. There will be some. But it’s also an experiment in writing and drawing, giving work away for free in order to see how many people are willing to support a writer doing his thing. It’s the weird stuff that I wouldn’t get published elsewhere in this word of diminishing demands and cookie-cutter tastes.