16 April 2001

I have a new superhero name. It's superior to my old superhero name in that it's printable. (And this, remember, is a family site.) Yesterday morning, Timprov proclaimed me the Non Sequitess. Hee hee. He also suggested that if I didn't want to be a superhero, I could start a '60s girl group and be Marissa and the Non Sequitettes. I can hardly wait.

Well, I had a good Easter, and I hope you did, too. We already mailed our taxes in, but I'm still bitter about it. Self-employment taxes are nasty. And I resent the fact that work is a privilege for which I have to pay the government. When I was a nuclear physics grad student, they took the taxes right out of my paycheck. I missed them, but it wasn't so bad. Now, I know that how much income I receive is directly dependent upon how much work I do. And I hate knowing that the amount we just had to pay in taxes was only about $300 less than the check I'm going to get for those two immigration books. Essentially, I wrote those books for the benefit of the government.

And don't even try to talk to me about Social Contract theory. The minute I get a contract from the government, in which they agree to provide certain services in exchange for my money, I will quit griping. Of course, I'll also start suing them for breach of contract....

Anyway. Enough on the libertarian rant. It's been a great visit with my folks so far. Yesterday was pretty mellow. We went to church and then hung around Joe's house. The desserts were, I think, a success; we only brought home three pieces between the two types of dessert, so that's generally a good sign. The folks and Mark and I went walking in a garden near Joe's and saw amazingly large butterfly plants (at least, I think that's what they're called) as well as some smaller impressive vegetation. Also, we met a very skittish four-month-old puppy and his very dictatorial four-year-old human.

The baseball game on Saturday was nice. I figured something out, though. If you took away the video display, the scoreboard stats, and the ability to talk, it reminded me a lot of when we went to the Ice Capades when I was little, and they did Ravel's Bolero. It just went on and on, with fairly repetitive motions and two kinds of bright costumes. I think I would have liked the Ravel better if it had been acceptable to mock it with my father. (We did so in whispers anyway. My father and I have our moments when we are the funniest people on the planet. It's always a secret, though. Nobody else seems to notice. You'd think our hysterical laughter would tip them off.... Maybe it's a family thing. I seem to have gotten it from both sides.)

One of the things that's become interesting to me about hanging out with Grandma and Aunt Doris is that I hear some different stories each time, but there are a few that get repeated more often than the others. The story of Great-Great-Grandpa and how Uncle Klein's kids made fun of him and made him cry. How Great-Grandpa was always bringing home servicemen from church on Sunday, during WWII. How Great-Grandpa did the laundry but wouldn't let anybody see him hanging it out to dry. It's not so much that there are object lessons as that these are stylized, symbolic stories. Aunt Doris and Grandma say to me and my mom and Joe and Dave, "Look, this is how our dad was. This is how we want you to think of him. This is what's important. You didn't know him enough, so we want you to know." My mom jumps in with her own stories of what her grandpa was like, sometimes flatly contradicting Grandma and Aunt Dor's viewpoint: as a dad he was strict, but by the time he was a Grandpa.... But I never met Great-Grandpa, so I just listen and take it all in. I write some of it down. When I read it again, years and years from now, it won't be about Great-Grandpa at all. It'll be about Grandma and Aunt Dor. And I'll tell my kids that that's the important part.

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