Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Money - Tact + Alcohol = Aunt Ethel

So. Back to the neglected blog. Understandably, I think, I just couldn't string any sentences together last week after I finished. My fingers are just now regaining their feeling. But I'm back, and I will make an attempt to be slightly more interesting than I have been. (Sadly, this should be all that hard.)

As the title suggests, Aunt Ethel is not, perhaps, the most charming of women. Her husband left her millions when he died, and her son now manages the family fortunes, leaving Ethel to do... hell, I have no idea how the woman fills her days. Not doing charity work, I'm pretty sure.

She is a hardcore Republican, not because she believes in the values and ideology of the party, but because rich people are republicans and poor people are democrats. In Ethel's world, anyway. She is unabashedly racist, and treats us to her views on all those of non-western-european descent. There's no arguing with her, because the intake valve on her brain is entirely faulty. She only hears the things that you don't want her to hear. Usually things that start with "She's &*@^! nuts. Did you hear what she just said?!?!"

This year, she had us all write our initials on our plastic cups so we wouldn't waste so many. Good idea, I thought. However, when she looked at my initials (which are KEG, by the way... my students think that's hilarious), she says "But jayslastname doesn't start with "G"!" And when I replied with the usual comments about "married not adopted" and "decided not to change his name, so I decided that I wouldn't either..." She came back with "Well, I'm not saying that you're less of a person if you don't change your name...." If she weren't so comically over-the-top, I might have been offended. As it was, I just had to leave the room so I could laugh and not fall over in the kitchen. Heh.

Oh, and then when she found out what the "G" stands for, she busts out with "What? Are you a Jew or something?" Followed by a lovely rant on some of the Jewish people she knows and how dreadful they all are. I wish I could recreate the exchange, but my mind was so busy going :holy crap, she IS nuts. totally wacked. good lord, can I get in a word here?: that I wasn't paying close enough attention to retain the random insults she came up with. I do recall telling her that as far as I knew, I didn't have any Jewish ancestors, but that there were plenty of drunks and fools in the bunch, which was probably why I fit in so well with Jay's extended family. I don't think she really processed that, but Jean (her sister, Jay's g-ma) thought it was pretty funny.

And so Ethel's legend grows. We'll add this year's comedy to the time that she slurped some spilled King Louis Cognac from the counter "because it's too expensive to waste", the time that she commented on evil women who leave their husbands and steal other people's men while Jay's father's girlfriend was at the table, and countless other drunken and tactless comments that she's made over the years.

Ah, Ethel, just keep on telling it like it is. The Jersey gatherings wouldn't be the same without you.

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