Dad and I were recently joking about one of those serious family matters – the ones that are easier to take with a smile because otherwise it’s too serious and a tad too painful. Dad suggested I turn it into a story for my blah-g, which made us cackle a bit, because again it’s one of “those” stories that would make your grandmother gasp if she read that dirty laundry hanging out there for the world. We went back and forth until Dad suggested a “Top Ten Reasons My Family is Crazy” or “…Crazier than Yours” or my favorite “…Should be Characters in a Faulkner Novel”.
I ran with the Faulkner idea then spent some time working that up trying to eek some funny out of it. But here’s the thing… Faulkner wasn’t exactly a humorist (well, maybe in a dark, stomach-churning, awkward way that makes you want to intervene – you know – that kind of funny) and shoving my family into roles that would suit one of his novels was becoming really un-funny. I laid out our Southern creds that would establish our claim, mentioned the family tree that occasionally looked more like a trunk (I think that makes us more rednecks, but that’s another top 10) By #7 I had – “Some family members only recently got electricity.” I think that makes us… Amish? but not really funny. I moved down to #2 “We buy our children to help-out less fortunate relatives.” Ok, a good family story, but maybe not funny. The guy that the relative attempted to buy would agree. Finally, I made it to #1. But here’s the hitch or the rub or whatever you want to call it – the #1 reason we’d fit in perfectly with Faulker recently made the local press, it involved a corpse and some jail time. Thankfully CNN wasn’t having a slow day, because it read like one of the headlines that might have followed Britney Spear’s womb. And I just couldn’t make my fingers type that story. Sure, it was funny in that “OH MY GOD, I CAN’T BELIEVE IT” way but didn’t have that “universal” appeal.
So, you’re going to have to trust me when I say that My Family Is Crazier… Would Make Better Characters in a Faulkner novel, etc and, if pressed, I could give you 10 reasons in a flash. Apologies to Dad that I can’t do more with it – we’ll have to recite the list to ourselves and snicker quietly. (To the Cearley’s, it’s not just Dad’s side of the family that made that list. 😉 You don’t get off that lightly.)