Death & Family

Long ago, a girl once said that I wouldn’t be able to survive the death of my grandparents. A comment that disturbed me then and now. She was so up in my shit that she asked me to marry her, and is now entering her sixth year of aggressively stalking me, and yet she didn’t know the first thing about me, or my family, or my life.

Yes, my grandparents are the only family members I’ve really loved, and admired, and all those happy things that make a family a family. I miss my grandmother every day, and the same will be true when my grandfather passes. But there’s this dark passage that my family has been trapped in for, oh, about a hundred years. A darkness that has killed and maimed us all. It certainly infected my grandparents, who had all their fingers in the pie that my dad made and found themselves left, bewildered, in the aftermath of dad’s criminal exit.

When my mom killed herself, it was sort of the straw that broke their backs. My grandmother’s health deteriorated starting in 2000 and, eight agonizing years later, she was gone. Those eight years were spent under the cloud of seething nerve pain. Something I understood well. In her case, though, there was no cure. Operations failed to change her life. She died in agony. And, in her soul, she carried the weight of mom and dad and everything else that had gone wrong.

My grandfather suffers through the same emotional guilt, and, as he gets older, it manifests in strange and broken ways. There’s no digging out of that sort of thing at 85, I think.

In these cases, death becomes a release. My stalker, perhaps, doesn’t understand that. Maybe she fears death, as normal people do. Which means she’s never understood pain. She voiced her idiot concerns back before my operation, back when I prayed daily for death to end my neuralgia. During the 12 years I was a chronic pain sufferer, I began to see death more as a welcome change than something to fear.

When my grandfather dies, so ends the long, tragic fuckery of a family saga that began when my paternal grandfather fucked over his brother in 1940 in order to steal the family business.

Now there’s a story. That grandfather, who died in 77, started up what would become a Washington institution (remembered and cherished forever, much to my dismay) with his brother in the 1930’s.

The plan was that my dad’s father would come to DC and get the company off the ground while the brother wrapped up business ties in Jersey. One winter night – roundabout the date I plan to post this story – the brother was driving into town to take up reins as co-owner of what was, almost instantly, a booming business. He lost control on icy roads, crashed, and was crippled.

My dad’s father, then, made the decision to erase his brother. He claimed alcoholism was the problem (which, interesting enough, would eventually kill him and his wife in the 70’s). As his brother lay in a hospital bed, my paternal grandfather lawyered up and removed him from the incorporation papers, shunned him, and never spoke to him again. The family Bible was blacked out, pictures were cut up, paperwork was destroyed, and, from 1940 to 2008, nobody knew that branch of the family even existed.

So empires are founded. When my paternal grandfather died and my dad took over the company, he spent a quick five years embezzling every cent and vanished without a trace for 20 years. By then, my maternal grandparents, and their children, were inexorably tied into the fabric of the company, and took the brunt of prosecution and retribution. Hell, to this day, I get hate mail from former employees and jilted investors.

I know, I know. Does it really end with my maternal grandfather’s death? After all, I fly the flag of family history. I’m the “scion of an empire,” and tell the story to any reporter listening. Of course, I’ve turned my story, my pain, and my past into a marketing tool. I hope it inspires people to buy the books that I published to give away as Christmas presents because they’re actually very good titles.

Or, failing that, I pretend it inspires people to get me stuff from my ridiculously long Amazon wish list.

Or, if even that’s impossible, maybe it’ll get me laid.

Amusingly, The Boble gets me laid more than my story. Perhaps that’s a lesson? Time to put the family and personal history aside and preach the Good Word of Bob Jr. In the end, what’s important? Selling books, getting Dr. Who DVD’s from friends and strangers, or strange pussy?

The answer, of course, is strange pussy.

Leaving the family matters behind is something I often pine about. Move to a place away from DC and the constant shadow of the family business. Go a fucking week of my life where someone doesn’t recognize my name. Yes, I know, it’s hard being famous. That’s what my stalker would snidely say. I think my problem is that it’s more infamy than anything else. It’s not a nice story, and evil things were done to many people and their families by an evil man. The name is remembered more for the collapse, and the strange story surrounding it, than any sort of innocent nostalgia. And, of course, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Even folks with fond memories of the family business stir up the shadows because, while they wax nostalgic, I know what was happening. Decades of fucking fantasy-book-grade foulness pouring out of the main office, weaving through the corridors, dripping into the factory and oozing out onto the main floor.

For every sweet story, I hear one from the descendent of someone who worked for my family for 60 years and was left penniless when my dad emptied out the pension account.

My grandfather is the last who was really there. And, with him, the adult memory of all that bad shit also passes from my family.

With him, also, will go my ties to the area. The feeling that I should stay close and be somewhat available, continue to get involved in the antics of a broken, diseased family. Nothing matters after he dies. The children of the family empire — my uncle, my aunt, my cousins, and Nacho the scion, are nothing but dust. The debris of madness, greed, hubris.

Confession time: Part of me does revel in it. That’s why I’m able to be a whore about it and blab to reporters. I’m innocent. My hands are clean. And, given that dad ran off with millions, I feel like I should cash in on whatever I have. I do feel entitled, but not in that demented way where you, or you, or the world owes me this or that. No, I know who owes me what. My parents, for their various shortcomings and crimes, are the ones who owe me. And they’re dead. So, in death, I’ll put them to work. I’ll tell their wicked story. If I’m going to carry around ghosts for the rest of my life, then you can be damned sure that I’ll make them fucking dance for fun and profit.

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