Women, You Too Can Join Our Disorganization

Bridgett had this brilliant idea that we should form some kind of anti-DAR, for those of us women from less than proud lineages who might want to band together to commiserate and, I presume, drink beer. In general, I think the only requirement to join such an organization, which would, by definition, be a disorganization is that you come from a family that makes you carefully consider how you’d ever explain them to your co-workers.

But I thought that some of you might need a handy quiz in order to decide if you should join.

So, here goes:


1. Count the number of children in your family conceived out of wedlock. (+1 for each of them)

2. A relative named “Bubba” or “Bub”? (+10)

3. Relatives who have two names, like Betty Anne or Billy Joe or Mary-Margaret? (+5)

4. The names in your family have a theme, like beginning with the letter “B” or all the girls sharing the same first or middle name or the boys all having Biblical names (+5)

5. Folks in your family have made up names like Kayden or Latrell (+5)

6. Give yourself five points for every living generation of your kin.

7. Give yourself a point for every “relative” you have that’s not really related to you, but comes around so much everyone just calls him Uncle Jimmy or Aunt Sally or whatever.

8. Your mom and her sister married brothers (+10)

9. Your mom and dad are step-siblings (+25)

10. Ten points for every relative living with you.


1. You make more right now than your dad did the whole time you were a kid. (+10)

2. And you have a job that doesn’t pay that well. (+10)

3. And you feel really, really guilty about it. (+5)

4. It’s just assumed that the more successful people in your family will give money to the less successful (+5)

5. You win $100 million in the lottery. What do you do?
a. Take your loved ones to a fancy restaurant to celebrate. (-25)
b. Take your family to Red Lobster to celebrate. (+5)
c. Red Lobster was your idea of a fancy restaurant. (+25)
d. Buy your momma a real house. (+10)
e. Don’t tell anyone in your family because you know the second your dad finds out, he’ll tell your uncle who will tell your cousins and the next thing you know you’ll have thirty people showing up at your door looking for handouts (+50).


1. You’re the first person in your family to go to college (+50)

2. You’re among the first generation of people in your family to go to college (+25)

3. You’re the first person in your family to graduate from high school. (+75)

4. You were pregnant or already a mother before you finished school. (+20)

5. You went to school with your cousins (+5)

6. Your high school was in the same building as the grade school (+5)


1. One point for every preacher in your family.

2. One point for every Bible in your home.

3. Your family belongs to a church on the FBI watch-list (+30)

Illegal, Semi-Legal, and Unpopular Activities

1. A point for every gun in your family.

2. A point for every scary dog.

3. A point for every hunting dog.

4. Ten points if there’s more than twelve beers in your fridge right now.

5. Twenty points if there’s moonshine in your house.

6. Someone in your family grows his own pot (+10)

7. Cooks his own meth (+25)

8. Shops at Walmart, happily (+25)

9. Works at Walmart (+30)

10. Works at Walmart for access to the pseudoephedrine (+40)

11. Five points for everyone in your family sitting in jail right now.

12. Go ahead and give yourself five points if you thought about calling down to the jail and asking the sheriff for an accurate head-count.

13. You can trace your ancestry back to a penal colony (+20)

14. Your family has ever been run out of town (+20)

15. When you see a police car in your neighborhood, your first thought automatically is that someone you know is going to jail (+30)

Whoo. Well, I could go on, but I’m out of funny things to say and I think you get the point. If you’ve scored more than 300, you’re welcome in the club. If you didn’t, well, don’t be too hard on yourself. There’s still plenty of time for folks in your family to fuck up.

The Murfreesboro Greenway Review

I have many hobbies, such as driving around and looking at things and driving places to walk around. Today, Mrs. Wigglebottom and I combined both of those hobbies into one fun-filled trip to the Murfreesboro Greenway.

My take: Wow. How beautiful! You can walk right along the Stones River and it’s not very crowded, so it’s peaceful. Plus, I saw something I’ve never seen at a Nashville park–a clown and a princess filming a movie.

Mrs. Wigglebottom’s take: There are a lot of things to sniff and plenty of rocks that need peeing on. The water in the Stones River is too cold for much splashing, but the splashing that did take place was marvelously fun.

The Top Five Outrageous Things that Happened at My Grandma’s Funeral, in no particular order

1. Though I asserted that people in my family don’t go to rehab, they go to jail, I should have clarified and said that we don’t go to rehab unless we’ve found someone we can con into paying for it–tax payers or church goers.

My cousin, G., was in court-appointed rehab for his decades-long coke problem, when my grandma died. He was there ostensibly to get clean, but really, he was there because he owed his drug dealer a couple of thousand dollars and he was hiding from him.

Unfortunately for G., my grandma was a prominent citizen in her famous small Midwestern city, and when she died, it was in the paper, where G.’s drug dealer saw it.

He and his associates hung out in the parking lot of the wake in order to discuss my cousin with my uncle and they, like many of us who had little idea one could leave court-appointed rehab to go to the funeral of your grandma, were surprised to see G. strolling into the funeral home.

They cornered him in the vestibule, had a little meeting with him, came to some kind of understanding, and the next thing I know, he’s going around to all my younger cousins, begging them for money, saying he’s going to be killed–knowing that they would both not have the guts to say “Well, then, tough shit for you” or “Someone’s trying to kill you? Let’s call the police.”

The attempted change-based appeasement of the drug dealer did not go over that well, but G. escaped back to rehab before they could exact their revenge.

2. It just so happened that the same week my grandma died one of the people my dad and uncles and aunts had gone to school with died. Now, here’s what you must know to understand the funny. My Aunt C. is crazy, has been for as long as I’ve known her. Crazy to the point where you wonder just what the fuck my parents were thinking when they let me spend the night there when I was little. She steals things and never pays her bills and the second my uncle died, she took up with some ancient guy down the street whose kids are still begging my other uncle B. to help them ensure she doesn’t con their dad out of his money.

Anyway, after my grandma’s wake, my Aunt C. waited for almost everyone to leave and went around and took all the little cards out of the flower arrangements, replaced them with cards appropriate to the dead friend, and packed up all the flowers–none of which she’d actually paid for, mind you; these are all flowers poor unknowing souls thought they were buying in commemoration of my grandma’s life–and took them to the dead friend’s wake, thus giving the dead friend’s family the false impression that my aunt was generously supplying them with heaps of flowers.

3. So, it’s no wonder that C.’s daughter and her husband were acting strange throughout the funeral festivities. The weirdest? They were carrying around a cooler with them, every place, even into the church. Finally, at my uncle B.’s house, the husband went to the bathroom and the wife went to get in on the divvying up of grandma’s shit, and my cousin A. and I, who had been sitting in the kitchen talking smack about everyone, saw our opportunity.

A. ran over and opened the cooler and there, inside, was an almost empty liter of Wild Turkey*. We both laughed so hard we nearly peed ourselves. I mean, as a people go, we spend a lot of time strutting around like sanctimonious jackasses who have the whole world figured out. It was nice to see that some of us have as much trouble as others of us facing the family stone cold sober.

But Christ, to get through that much whiskey undetected by anyone but the two catty cousins in the kitchen in two days?

I bow to that.

4. My sister-in-law is an evil liar and a crack whore. Well, technically, because she’s an evil liar, I don’t know that she was actually a crack whore, because I wouldn’t believe her if she said that dirt was earth, but she told me that she met the recalcitrant brother when she was living at her old boyfriend’s house and sleeping with his friends for drugs. Who knows if that’s true, but that’s what she told me.

Anyway, my sister-in-law had met my grandma a whole total of twice, but when my aunt J. brought out all the little crap that hadn’t been designated for anyone and began to divvy it up among the grandchildren, my sister-in-law got right in on it, justifying it to my aunt by saying that she was just getting stuff for my nephew to have to remember his grandma by.

But you know, my sister-in-law is the kind of woman that, when she and her husband get thrown out of an apartment, my brother’s stuff is nicely boxed and left on the curb and her stuff is left burning in a big pile on the driveway, while the landlord stands by with a hose to make sure the flames don’t spread to the yard (actually happened), so really, all that stuff was as good as gone the second it touched her hands.

Luckily, my uncle B.’s wife is assertive in a way that no other adults in my family are and she, after two rounds of “crack whore takes shit that means nothing to her” grabbed the stuff out of her hands and said, “Really, this is for Grandma’s relatives, not you.”

My sister-in-law was pissed, but I thought it was pretty funny.

5. You’ve got to understand that the kind of shit my aunt was passing out was just the crappiest crap that my grandma would have been mortified to find that my aunt was giving away instead of throwing away–sun catchers, tacky jewelry my grandma never wore, broken Christmas ornaments, etc. And my aunt J. wanted us to all sit there and decide who should get what, as if anyone really wanted a half-done needlepoint bookmark no one ever remembered Grandma using.

So, y’all, imagine my shock when I went into the living room after almost everyone had gone home and there was my aunt J. tossing old photos into the garbage–photos of my grandma and her brothers in front of their old one room schoolhouse, a photo of my grandma in an audacious stripped dress the year she taught at that same school house, old photos of her parents right before they got married and of each of her parents’ fathers, photos of my grandpa as a young man. She said, “Why would anyone want these old things?”

I waited for her to leave and scooped up all the ones full of faces I recognized.

Edited to add: I asked the Butcher what he thought the weirdest thing to happen at my grandma’s funeral was and he said that it was when my cousin took him to a strip club in Kalamazoo to help him overcome his grief, and where he met a stripper who claimed to be a school teacher in Grand Rapids** and wanted to take the whole lap dance to tell him about her students.

*I should point out that, though people in my family drink, we all, for some reason, pretend we don’t, hence the reason that, if my cousin wanted to drink, she had to hid it.
**Where, tangentially, both the recalcitrant brother and I were born.

Some Things Are Worth Fighting For

It’s a good thing Mrs. Wigglebottom is so cute, because she’s not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree.

She and the orange cat have been having a vicious fight all week and Mrs. Wigglebottom has yet to notice. For instance, the orange cat was sitting on my lap. Mrs. Wigglebottom, of course, wanted in on the action. She got up on the couch and proceeded to put her head on the orange cat. Back go the orange cat’s ears, out come the claws, commenced is the hissing, and the orange cat smacks Mrs. Wigglebottom as hard as he can with a full paw of claws.

Does Mrs. Wigglebottom notice? I see no evidence.

Then today, there was some disagreement over who would sit in the sunny spot outside the bathroom. The orange cat was sitting there and Mrs. Wigglebottom came up, put her cold nose right in his butt, and tried to scoot him out of it. He rolled over so that he was all teeth and claws and started swatting at her and she just shut her eyes and kept pushing and then settled into the sunny spot herself.

As those of you who know her know, Mrs. Wigglebottom is not a laid-back dog. I sincerely believe that, if she knew she was in an epic week-long battle, she’d do at least a little barking, since she knows the cats don’t like it. But here she is, just obliviously annoying the shit out of the orange cat.

It’s pretty funny.

This One’s for the "Bag of Dicks"

So, it turns out that the Uncle’s friend is a felon, thus making his gun problems a little stickier. Uncle says he feels “like a bag of dicks for bringing all this up, though I did so based how it was presented to me. I wasted everyone’s time.”

Uncle, I understand your embarrassment, but really, you have no reason to be.

It got me thinking of how, a couple of years ago, one of my upper middle class acquaintances asked me if I could recommend a good rehab program because people in my family have had “drug problems.”* Without even thinking, I just blurted out, “People like us don’t go to rehab, we go to jail. I have no idea what good rehab programs are, because that’s not an option for us.”

I know how much you conservatives love to believe that all a person has to do is work really hard and keep his nose clean and he can rise up from abject poverty and become president, but it’s late, we’re all tired, let’s just admit that some of us, no matter how hard we try, seem to have the deck stacked against us. And, true, sometimes we do some of that stacking ourselves.

But people fuck up. They fuck up all the time. And you guys, good god, it’s like you go crazy at 15 and don’t rejoin the land of the sane until you’re in your early to mid twenties.

It’s not the faultless who need our help and protection. Those above blame almost always emerge from shit unscathed. It’s those of us who royally fucked up at 18 or who spent their thirties in the bottle or who sold their brother out to keep from going to jail or whatever, it’s those of us who have something that can be used against us who need to be protected from the government most of all,precisely because it seems like we deserve it less.

It’s like Blake says, this is how it works–“they will more than likely try to pin something…anything…on him. When a government’s wheels are set into motion, there’s no stopping it.”

The only mistake you made was not realizing that, in this case, the government’s wheels were set in motion against this guy a long, long time ago.

*Remind me some day to tell you about my grandma’s funeral. The most alarming part was when my cousin’s drug dealer showed up to collect some unpaid debts and my cousin talked all my younger cousins into letting him have the spare change out of their cars. I think the only thing worse than not paying the man who supplies you with coke is trying to pay him in change you’ve conned your little cousins out of. Though it’s pretty damn funny.