Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Family intrigue

It so happens that everyone in the paternal branch of my family is speaking to everyone else; this cannot last. It never does.

Resentments either fester underground or flourish as full-blown feuds.

We would rather not blame our own blood relatives, so we cordially hate those outsiders who had the unmitigated gall to marry into our family! They are troublemakers. But our own relatives must shoulder some of the blame: they forgot a birthday; did not send a thank-you note for a very thoughtful gift; did not invite so-and-so to a bat mitzvah; neglected to send a baby gift until the child was two years old; were in New York but did not even call. And so it goes.

This makes for a lot of resentful and/or stimulating e-mails among family members. I myself have managed to keep out of the fray and so can manage a detached attitude. Both sides of these quarrels send me copies of the insulting e-mails they send each other and appeal to my sense of justice--surely they were insulted! Neglected! Maligned!

Those of us who are not directly involved enjoy reading these vituperative missives. We find them a source of innocent merriment and e-mail each other about how unreasonable the participants are. It gives us something to talk about other than our troubles (we have plenty) our health (not good) and politics (we disagree violently). Thus family ties are strengthened.

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