Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Uncle Lee, Lee Harvey Oswald, Bigotry, Unresolved Grief Pertaining to Judge Alex, and Catholic Doctrine

Add a few wrinkles, take away a bit of hair and the booking number, and you have my Uncle Lee, not to be confused with Lee harvey Oswald, though the resemblance is remarkable.
Note: Sometimes my blogs run too long because they're my real life that I wish to get on paper. If this is too lengthy, you don't have to read it.

I really need to deal with the cancellation of "Judge Alex" the TV show, but I'm not yet ready to blog about it , so I'll let you in on the latest happenings in my boring life so that you don't think I died and went to purgatory or worse. By the way, according to the priest who taught my Roman Catholic confirmation class, purgatory is not now, nor was it ever, an official doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church.  He's no longer a priest. If purgatory is not an official teaching of the church, what the former priest taught us probably wasn't, either. Does that mean I'm not a confirmed Catholic? I suppose I'll find that out if I end up in purgatory or worse. My situation is no worse than that of my pseudoaunt and uncle, who were married by a priest who is no longer a priest, and chances are wasn't being all that priestly when he performed their ceremony. Google Albert Cutie (pronounced /cyu/tee/AY/ ) for more information.

My uncle by marriage on my dad's side (there are seven of them; I can hardly keep them straight, so I would never expect readers to be able to do so) made an impromptu visit to our home today.  He didn't come right out and ask for money, which is the usual reason for any of their visits, except for Mendel. Mendel is the one of my dad's sister's husbands whom I like. When he visits, it is never to hit us up for money. He was a trust fund baby and has never touched the principal of his trust; he probably has more money than everyone else in the family combined, including my grandfather, who is himself no pauper.  

I probably shouldn't have included knowledge of Mendel's financial information in my blog, because I don't think the other sisters and their husbands knew that Mendel and Cristelle are wealthy. C'est la vie; now Cristelle and Mendel will probably be hit up. It is lucky for Cristelle and Mendel that they live on the Isle of Man. They'll only be bombarded for cash by text, email, phone call, or snail mail. Who has the money to fly to the Isle of Man to ask for money?

Anyway, the uncle who visited today was traveling from the San Francisco bay area to the LA area by rental car, and decided to stop and visit us, of all people. He has two other brothers-in-law in the immediate area. Why us?  We telephoned my dad's two brothers who live nearby. One had to assist with an emergency c-section, or so he said. Actually, he put his eight-year-old daughter on the phone, who said he had to perform an emergency ski session. The moral of that story is to do your own lying instead of relying upon your eight-year-old child, who doesn't even freaking know what a c-section is when she was delivered by one. I would love to check the hospital records to see if he was within a mile of the place at any time today. 

The other uncle I called  came over with his family to dilute the misery. He brought his wife and kids. We mostly stared at each other and ate cookies and drank bottled Grape Crush. That stuff is hard to get around here now. My mother heard it was at KMART, and she bought the last five six-packs. She ended up giving an entire six pack to my uncle just to get him out of our house and on his merry way.

For the record, this was not the uncle, who shall remain nameless,  whose wife nearly killed me via smoke inhalation by leaving me in a seriously injured and immobilized state by myself in the unfinished attic of her house while she left a casserole not even fit for consumption by members of the Donner Party burning in the oven at 425 degrees, as the fire department later reported. This uncle is not the thief or kleptomaniac. We're all still arguing over which diagnosis is the accurate one concerning Mahonri. All we know is that he steals others' belongings almost on par with the way Rickey Henderson stole bases back in the day.  

So if it wasn't Mendel, it wasn't Mahonri, it wasn't the one who shall remain nameless here whose wife tried, intentionally or otherwise, to kill me, that leaves four other of my dad's sisters' husbands. This one is most notable for his uncanny resemblance to Lee Harvey Oswald, or at least to what L. H. Oswald might have looked like had Jack Ruby not thrown a hatchet directly into his plan to live to the ripe old age of forty-six, which is Uncle Lee's current  age. (I had to look that up in a family genealogy record. I don't walk around with that sort of useless knowledge in my head.) Furthering the confusion is the fact that this uncle's actual first name is Lee.

Once my mom had asked how Uncle Lee's wife and nine children were and he had answered, there wasn't a hell of a lot left about which to converse. Uncle Lee asked Matthew about his future plans. Matthew told him he had been accepted to ********  Medical School. Uncle Lee reacted enthusiastically, jumping up to shake Matthew's hand and pat him on the back.

Then he asked me if I was in high school yet. My Uncle Michael started laughing hysterically, because it's no secret in the family that Matthew and I are twins. I quietly said that I had finished high school. "You're going to college?" he asked somewhat incredulously.

"I finished that, too," I told him. "Triple major."

"So what can you possibly do now now?" Uncle Lee asked me. "Teach preschool?"  I share this with my deepest apologies to preschool teachers everywhere. Teaching preschool is a noble calling in the minds of everyone more intelligent than a single-cell organism, which my Uncle Lee apparently is not.

Lee looked at my dad. "John, I just don't get why you pushed this child so hard to get through high school and college when she's obviously not qualified to do anything. She probably can't even cook."

"She baked the cookies you've eaten at least a dozen of," my Uncle Michael commented. 

Uncle Lee chuckled. (I hate that word chuckled, but it best fits Uncle Lee's inane laugh.) "Have I eaten that many?" 

My eleven-year-old cousin Ariel shook her head affirmatively. "I've been counting," she chimed in.

Meanwhile, my dad had run up the first staircase to try to find my university paperwork. "Alexis, where's your stuff?" he hollered from the balcony.

"What stuff?" I answered his question with a question. I didn't know if he thought I had a private drug stash and needed to raid it to get through the remainder of Uncle Lee's visit.

"Your university and med school information," he answered.

"Black file  cabinet, second drawer," I answered his answer.

A moment later he came down with a folder containing everything pertinent I had done to get into college or medical school. Uncle Lee smiled at my first mediocre stab at the SAT, which was 2240. "Not a lot higher than Gina's (his kid number three) third try," he commented.

"That was Alexis' first try," my dad explained. He placed another paper in front of Lee's face. "This was her second and final try." Lee looked down to see a perfect score of 2,400.The grin turned to a grimace.

My dad showed transcripts, my valedictory certificate, framed scholarships and grants, and the grand finale, which was my MCAT score. I don't think I've shared it here before, and I don't like to share it, but in this case I forgive my dad for showing it to Uncle Lee. It's higher than one would expect.

"So she's trying to get into to medical school, too?" Lee asked with, for some reason, dread in his voice.

Uncle Michael entered the conversation. "She's going, Lee. With grades and scores like hers, she had her pick of programs."

"She's a legacy," Lee scoffed.

"No, I'm a legacy," Matthew said proudly, pointing at himself. Who else would be proud of admission to a program based on nepotism? Sometimes Matthew acts like he's so dumb that he can't even blow his own nose, but in this case, I think he knew exactly what he was saying. "Alexis got in on a blind application. It wasn't early admisssion because ********  doesn't do early admission, but she's known since late fall. I needed dad's name to as much as get an interview even though my grades and scores weren't bad. Alexis had her choice of everywhere she applied. She didn't need any help."

"Affirmative action," Lee pretend-coughed.

"Look at her, Lee" my Uncle Michael again joined the conversation. "She's as 'white and delightsome' [a formerly popular Mormon phrase] as anyone in this room. And ******** doesn't care about that anyway. They take whomever they want."

"It couldn't possibly have anything to do with her gender, then, could it?" he asked/whined even more quietly.

My Aunt Joanne, a graduate of an Ivy league medical school, bristled at this. "Do you want to compare MCATs and grades with me, Lee?" she asked.

"You're all taking this so personally," Uncle Lee complained. "All I'm suggesting is that this . . . this little girl might not be ready for the rigors of medical school."

"If she isn't," my mom responded, "she still has a home and plenty of other options. This is what she wants, not what we want."

"But is she old enough to know what she wants or what's best for her?" he asked.

"Is her brother?" my mom asked him. "He's the same age."

Uncle Lee made a few comments about freeway traffic that were likely veiled attempts for an invitation to use either our guest room or Uncle Michael's. An offer for neither was forthcoming, so my mom packed and sent a sandwich, some cookies, and a six pack of the precious Grape Crush (gawd, the stuff is amazing) with  Uncle Lee, and he left to accept Tom Bodette's hospitality somewhere along the way to Los Angeles. I do not think I would have slept soundly with such a bigoted person under the same roof, or even in the same zip code.  I'll probably have Oswald dreams tonight even with Uncle Lee well on his way into the next county by now.

Postscript: In a phone call with Judge Alex, he asked me if I knew my parents were proud of me. I didn't really know how to answer because it's not something we talk much about. All it took was a visit from Uncle Lee for me to be able to answer the judge's question with a yes.


  1. Alexis,I love stories of your crazy Mormon relations.

    I ran screaming from Mormonism as soon as I was adult,but saw enough fawning on Utah Mormons and the oddball behaviours of those entrenched in the lunacy to write several books. I did actually visit Salt Lake City many years ago and visited in-law's family and families who had stayed in contact with my deluded still Mormon parents.Some people were kind and genuine but definitely insular and proud of it.

    I always cringed at the attempts to graft mid-western,mid century USA culture onto my corner of the world. Made me a very proud Australian and not fitting the Mormon mold. Thank goodness for that.

    More please!

  2. Damn.. Judge Alex was cancelled?!

    I, too, enjoy your crazy Mormon stories.