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Sunday, February 06, 2005

My family

My relationship with the rest of my immediate family is fairly complex, despite not entirely existing. Come to think of it, I don't entirely understand that sentence myself, so let's start over. My family is strange. Yes, that's a bit more comprehensible, and I think it's indisputable, so it's a good starting point. It's strange in a similar way to an Escher painting, in that each individual part makes perfect sense on its own, but has a completely different perspective to all other parts of the painting, so that looking at the whole thing gives you a headache and makes you wonder how all those parts can have been put in one picture. Or, at least, it gives me a headache. I don't know about the rest of my family, since I don't really understand them. You know what, this paragraph is incomprehensible, and I'm not quite sure I have any idea what I'm talking about. Let's start over.

I find my family strange. Now, I think this is how many people feel about their families, but my case is a bit stranger, I think. Most people can explain what is so strange about their families, and can explain away the particular ways of thinking their family members have which particularly get on their nerves. But I don't understand how anyone in my family thinks. I do notice certain strong patterns in their behaviors, and this is good because it means I can sometimes have a good idea of what to expect from them even though I don't have any idea why they do what they do. I am told that family is important, so I might as well describe my family members to you. But I can't guarantee that anything I say about them is correct, because I am basing these descriptions on my own impressions of my family, which as you should have gathered by now is a bit muddled.

My father is a doctor and is often out at work. I don't mind this at all, because it means I can play games, watch TV shows on my computer, watch movies on my computer, write on forums, write on my blog, and generally have a good time. When he comes home, fun is the first thing to go. He has a lot of unspoken rules which he would like to enforce. One of these unspoken rules is that any fun is forbidden for prolonged periods, where "prolonged periods" is defined as more than two minutes and seven seconds. Oh, and fun is forbidden in the morning for any period of time. And when I am having fun, I may not get too involved in it so as not to give the impression that I am enjoying myself to an unhealthy degree. Failure to comply with these or any of the other 92 unspoken rules lead to punishment. Punishment consists of having my father's face three quarters of a centimeter from my eyes as he recites the unspoken rule I have violated in louder and louder tones, plus having to suffer my father's wrath. This consists of any punishment my father thinks of once he has lost his temper. The goal is to instill respect for my father and more importantly, respect for discipline. Yes, my father upholds the time-honored tradition of the disciplinarian, trying to prove to himself he is a good parent by making the children fear him. I'm always glad to see him get out of the house.

My mother is a lawyer. No, not that kind of lawyer, because she wouldn't hurt a fly if it were jumping up and down on her head along with all its fly friends. To tell the truth, she never wanted to be a lawyer, but her parents did. To the best of my knowledge, she has never in her life done anything to please herself, instead trying to please others. She says that her parents weren't happy about her marrying a religious man, but I suspect she was just trying to make him happy. She can't stand the idea of having fun, because it's simply not productive. So she will go to great lengths to give herself as much work and little fun as possible, even though she wants everyone to know she hates it. Yes, she complains every so often about how no one helps her in the house, but I'm convinced she'd be very disappointed to have someone else do housework for her. It would make her feel inadequate. Since I am not one to argue with something like that, I sit and play games while she works. Her job is writing things that the lawyers who actually do do something will use, and she does this over the internet, so she stays at home all the time. She seems to have only two things in her life that she enjoys: chatting with all the neighbors, and Shabbat (Saturday), when she can sit down and read the newspaper. As a parent, she's not as good as my father but much more likeable. She tries to prove to herself that she's a good parent by being as nice to us as possible, which is always nice for us, at least in the short term. I think that she actually can't stand me but she forces herself to because I'm family and family is said to be so important. What she doesn't like about me is that I'm so abnormal, whereas she has learned over the course of her life to put up with normality.

My older brother Benjy (or Ben, as he since recently calls himself) is the rebel, but he never allows himself to notice that he's rebelling. He is a tremendous rationalizer, thanks no doubt in some degree to his practice in debating. (He was on the Israeli young debating team and went to international competitions, which he did well in.) I respect him more than anyone else in my family because of this skill. The only trouble is that he seems to get the end result of his rationalization mixed up with the actual cause of what it was he was rationalizing. He is an atheist, and says our rituals are silly. That's fine by me, although I completely disagree with him, because it leads to some very interesting arguments. My parents hate getting into arguments with him, in part because they almost always lose, in part because they don't know how to enjoy it. He's in America now, at Boston University, and I'm not really keeping in touch with him. When he left, I wrote him an artistic goodbye note which perfectly summed up my feelings about his leaving, which I am positive he never understood and took to be gibberish. I have very few interests in common with him. TV shows, maybe certain movies, and that's it. I tried to get him interested in videogames, but he didn't care. Except for a few games which are hardly masterpieces but are pretty fun nonetheless- Commandos 1&2, Splinter Cell. I could rarely talk to him because I wanted to talk about videogames and he really really didn't. But my interests are somewhat limited.

And then there's me. I won't go on in length, because you already should have gotten a decent sense of what I'm like. But I will say that I am by far my favorite member of the family.

My little sister Miriam bothers me somewhat. I think she's fairly normal for a teenaged girl, which is to say that I find her shallow and irritating. For the most part, I ignore her and she comments on what a moron I am. I tried to get her interested in Zelda and failed. But she did like the game Yoshi's Island, so I keep trying to introduce her to new games in hope that I will eventually be able to share one of my favorite games with her. Every time she gets bored or gives up or just generally does not notice the beauty of the game. I think she finds my habit of trying to get her to play games detestable, but that's never stopped me.

Finally there's Dena, who reminds me more than anything of my grandmother on my father's side. She is somewhat bossy, but I think she's always trying to act as "normal" as possible. She does occasionally act a little weird, and I like her for that. She often gets very aggravated at me at how little common sense I have, and I sometimes find this bewildering, sometimes amusing. I think she loves Benjy more than any of us. As far as games, she plays Mario Party with her friends and isn't really good enough to play anything else.

The thing that bothers me most about my family is that there is not one person in it who can appreciate The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. When you play a game that good, you naturally want to share it with someone, but there is no one here who cares. Anyhow, that's my family. But I may be completely wrong.



I really am in no state to argue with you about your family members & to a certain extent you did a great job (definitely an entertaining one)- but to call Miriam shallow is like to call her a rabid cow- there's NO truth in, around, or even near it…
lol, & you mused have a wonderful family if what bothers you most about them is that they can't appreciate Zelda.

It's amusing to see that Miriam has a loyal defender. My comments are based on my own personal experiences. In those experiences I have never, not even once, had the perception that Miriam is shallow and pretentious challenged by her own behavior. On the other hand, I have been very clear about not understanding my family, especially in this post, so I could be missing the truth.

I suppose you have a point about my family as a whole, though. While you might not see the importance I attribute to being able to share Zelda, there is certainly something to be said for their all-around inoffensiveness.

By the way, I wouldn't say Miriam is a rabid cow because that claim doesn't hold up to scrutiny. She has none of the visual characteristics of a cow, does not moo, and has not bitten at any time I can clearly recall in years.


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