I am not exactly the black sheep of my family, but I am at least gray. I am the most intelligent and most highly educated member of my extended family. I am also the most intelligent and most highly educated member of my wife’s extended family. It’s really awkward at times.
Just the other night we were watching a movie on television. An easily recognizable actress appears in it, and my sister-in-law is not sure about whether she wants to keep watching the movie. “I can’t stand her,” she says. Apparently the actress plays a really obnoxious person in a TV series. I refrain from explaining that when an actor plays a role, the actor himself or herself is not like that. My sister-in-law is surprised at how nice this actress is in the movie that we are watching. Ugh!
My brother loves Barack Obama. When I ask him why, he says that he has restored hope to people. When I ask, “Hope in what?” he cannot really say. When I ask what the President has done to inspire such hope, he mumbles something about a black man finally holding such a high office. Oh, and he closed that prison in Cuba. “No, he didn’t,” I point out.
“Whatever!” my brother says.
My sister offers a different opinion of our President. He has ruined the country, according to her. “In what way?” I inquire.
“Well, he’s not a real American. He’s a secret Muslim.”
I want to say that it must not be a very well-kept secret if she knows about it. I bite my tongue instead. Peace matters more to me than correcting my sister.
Most of my relatives are overweight. I watch them eat junk food all day long and wonder how they can say that they do not understand how they got so heavy.
Most of them squander money on junk. Then they complain about not being able to make ends meet.
I don’t fault anyone for having a low IQ. However, it annoys me that my relatives and my wife’s relatives fail to make the most of the information available to them. They make no attempt to educate themselves on politics or economics or health or anything important or useful.
It leaves me with little to talk about. I don’t enjoy hearing about their recent trips to the grocery store to buy peanut butter. I don’t enjoy hearing about the spark plugs that they recently changed in the lawn mower. I want to talk about people’s thoughts and feelings about current events. I want to talk about the meaning of life.