Monday, June 11, 2007

Making lists, or the scale of crazy to limbless

Last night, during our family meeting, I remarked on how exhausting, horrible, terrifying, kick-the-daylights out of you terrible this is.

We all agreed. My brother said he can't imagine being immersed in anything more heart and gut wrenching. There probably isn't anything worse than dealing with all of the details of a suicidal father.

Is there?

I thought for a moment. "Pedophilia. I think dealing with pedophilia might be worse."

We all thought on that and agreed.

I am pretty much in a state about this. It takes all my time and energy just to hold it together. The Director thinks I'm doing a good job of it, and I so appreciate that. But I feel like I'm on the very narrow, sharp edge of not keeping it together.

I am so glad I have this blog, and this time have chosen to be totally candid with the entire world. Getting it all out whenever I need to helps so much.

On the one hand, I do realize it's bizarre to offer all these grim, personal, family details out to the world. On the other, it keeps me from being completely and totally flattened by them. And if it's a choice, I chose not flattened.

So today, when my friend Maricel at work came over to see how my weekened was, I told her what was going on. Bob's cube is catty-corner to mine, so he overheard and joined us.

She said she just never knows what to say when I talk about this. She asks because she cares about me, but she just doesn't know what to say.

And I said, "That's OK. What can you say? Nobody knows what to say. Really, who has any experience dealing with this? I don't know anyone who has. This is the worst thing I can imagine dealing with."

Then I remembered that I decided pedophilia could be worse. So I told them so.

Bob said, "Yeah, that might be worse. I hope you're counting your blessings."

It suddenly occurred to me that being a Tutsi and having had your limbs hacked off with a machete during the Hutu-Tutsi conflict could be much, much worse. So I said so.

And since we are so, so sick and wrong, I suggested that since Maricel is Filipina, she might, in fact, have a machete. And she said of course she does. Because the suburbs of Virginia can be a scary, scary place.

Maricel is very pretty, and wears cute, trendy outfits and heels. She is always outwardly serene, and says these things with a totally straight face, in a very calm voice. And so it took a couple seconds for the visual of her machete-ing her way through the jungles of suburban Virginia to sink in.

Bob assured me that he'd spend at least 30 minutes this afternoon compiling a list of possible worse things to deal with than a) suicide, b) pedophilia, or c) having your limbs hacked off with a machete.


  1. It's one hell of a skill, being able to see the bright side or, failing that, to at least say "I could be getting hacked to bits in the midst of an African civil war..."

    I say this in all seriousness.

  2. Ah, thanks INPY. We are definitely able to delve into sick humor to alleviate some of the tension.

  3. Really, humor is one of the best coping mechanisms we have. Good for you for embracing it.

  4. Monty Python's "Life of Brian":

    "It could be worse - you could be stabbed. At least with crucifixion you're out in the open air."

    And my sister and I have these conversations all the time. Perfectly normal. :o)

  5. SA - You are right, it's the best coping mechanism. Thanks.

    Dagny - Ha ha! Great quote from Life of Brian. Thanks!

  6. Here's a test of your old/bad joke memory for what's worse:

    death by roo-roo.

    I'm never a big fan of comparative misery, but this is really funny. And if you're wondering why people are impressed with how you're handling things, this is a perfect example. As long as you can keep your sense of humor, I'd say you're safely on the right side of that edge.

  7. Oh, thanks WiB - that's really kind of you. But no, I don't know what "death by roo-roo" is. That joke must not have made it to New Delhi. :) What is it?

  8. I'm familiar with two versions of the roo-roo joke, depending on which punch line you prefer. But it goes like this:

    Two missionaries are captured by a savage tribe and offered the choice of death or roo-roo. The first missionary chooses roo-roo, figuring it can't be worse than death. Roo-roo consists of being tied to a tree and violated, serially, by all the men in the tribe for several hours. The second missionary watches this in horror, and then is given the same choice. He, of course, chooses death, at which point the chief says, "Very well. Death, by roo-roo."

    The other version (which I think is better) has the choice being sudden death or roo-roo, and the roo-roo being fatal to the first missionary. The second missionary then (naturally) chooses sudden death, to which the chief replies, "Very well. But first, a little roo-roo."

  9. Keep yourself sane however you thoughts are with you, and I truly, truly hope that one of those shit head doctors gets it together sometime soon.

  10. WiB - Haha. That'll teach a person to proselytize, no?

    Moosie - Thank you. I realized today they're doing what they can. Granted, my dad's Dr. said it was good we pushed things, because my we and my dad have gotten a lot more from them than we otherwise would...It sucks that you have to push to get good care, though.


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