I was howling with laughter when I read that the head of Thomas Nelson has stopped paying attention to financial news, because it’s making him kind of sick to his stomach all the time.  I mean, how sad that he’s a little sick to his stomach when so many of his ex-employees are without jobs right before the holidays.

But now I feel bad for laughing, because the Professor called me last night to tell me all about folks who, like me, must have thought their jobs were pretty damn secure, who found out Thursday that they weren’t.

We’ve already been scraping by for longer than I care to think about on just my income.  I have no idea what we would do if we lost that.  Part of me is all like, “Of course I’m going to lose my job.  I’m taking too much pleasure in this great house.  Too much unbridled happiness is always met with comeuppance.”  And I try to remind that part of me that such a worldview is pretty fucked up and that a person ought to be able to enjoy a little something without feeling bad about it or being punished for it.

So, I don’t know.  I’m pretty positive there are things before us that will go, if times get that rough, but this is the first time I’ve felt like, “Wow, it could be me,” and what would I do?  I’m not sure I have useful skills.

My dad is all excited because he believes that God will provide.  I’m annoyed by this, of course, because I’ve spent so much of my life being pissed off that God would as so much of my dad and in return let the kind of hearbreak he’s had visit him as strongly as it has, like God wasn’t living up to His end of the bargain.  And now my dad’s all convinced that the terms of the bargain have been met, hallelujah, start preaching to the recalcitrant daughter.

And you know, I sat there on the phone wondering if it was true.  And then a mischevious voice in my ear asked, “What if it took you doing what you do to get the Old Fart to come through?”

And I laughed, because, who the hell knows?

In doing this geneology stuff, I’m struck by the constant feeling that everything you know about your family is true and untrue in equal measures.  My grandpa, Hildreth Heistand Phillips, for instance, given at birth three last names.  And I easily found the Heistands, once I had the spelling right, but I found no more Phillipses than Hick’s grandpa Oscar (and grandma Mary) and no Hildreths.

Of course, I have heard all the stories about the two deaf-mute great grand howevermanys back there, but always as being on the Heistand side of the family, as an explanation for why my grandpa’s mom was so abusive.

But I’m digging through old census records to see if I can find anything about Oscar Phillips (I’ve had good luck finding branches of families by reading down the whole census page and seeing who lives right near by that has the same last name) and I find Oscar and Mary listed living next to Alfred Phillips and his family and Charles Phillips and his family and there, next to both Oscar and Mary, it says “deaf/mute.”

And playing a hunch I start searching for Mary E. Hildreth with my Mary’s birthdate, born in Ohio, and in short order, I’ve found her, in Ohio, listed also as deaf/mute, living with her parents and then, same parents, living in Michigan, in the same township she would later live in as Mary Phillips with Oscar.

So, there’s the last last name I needed to make my grandpa’s name make sense.  And there’s the proof that it wasn’t on the Heistand side that this happened, so, if my great grandma had some anger issues, it wasn’t the fault of her deaf/mute parents, because they were not.

Of course, in talking to my dad, he claims that Oscar wasn’t mute anyway, that he went deaf from scarlet fever he came down with in his late teens or early twenties, so he spoke just fine.

I don’t know where I was going with all this.  In my mind, it seemed to be connected, but looking back on it, I’m not sure it is.