Friday, June 30, 2006

Jailhouse Rocky, Part 1

I haven't posted in a while, but don't worry I haven't been in prison. Instead, I was sentenced to 30 days hard labor by my boss at work. It was our busiest time of year, and being a new inmate, I wasn't about to argue with the warden. I was "paroled" June 30 for good behavior.

Now, to repay my debt to society (a.k.a. my faithful and patient readers), I sentence myself to hard labor on this blog to win you back. I figured a fitting topic would be a three-part thriller about my time behind bars.

One of my relatives has this complex that her kids be "the first" to do just about anything. Maybe she's insecure that my Mom churned out the first and second grandchildren and has been on a payback mission ever since to make sure her family always finishes first in any other category she can think of.

Every time we see her, she points out all the blue ribbon accomplishments by her offspring as if we're in the livestock pen at the State Fair.

We'd have to listen to her cluck "Do you know Sparky has a paper route? He's the first grandchild to have a paper route - or a job for that matter!" and "We pierced Penelope's ears a second time. She's the first grandchild to have more than one piercing on each ear!"

Needless to say, this grew old incredibly fast. I think I may have been the first grandchild who felt like duct taping this woman's mouth shut and rolling her up in a throw rug, but I think I have about a dozen cousins who would argue that point.

When the rankings for normal behaviors were exhausted, it eventually regressed into weirder things like bragging about whose child was the first to have broken bones, mumps, or other ailments. I wanted to tell her I was the first grandchild to shit my pants, but my sister Bubbles held that honor.

You'd figure this behavior would diminish as we kids got older, but it didn't. It just carried over into adult situations like "Penelope is getting married next summer, isn't that something? She'll be the first grandchild to be married" or "Sparky just graduated from college, he's the first grandchild to do that you know!"

This was good news that we liked to hear, but the continued tack-ons about how they ranked first on the family tree in that subject was mind numbing. I wondered what first would spew out of her mouth next.

"Sparky was injured in a freak lawn mower accident last weekend," she'd sob before breaking into an enthusiastic smile. "But, hey, on the bright side, he's the first grandchild amputee!"

At a family reunion about 15 years ago, she had the floor running down the first-place statistics as usual. The only blue ribbon I cared about that night was the cold Pabst I was chugging by the bar. After hearing about 21 years worth of this bullshit, I decided it was time to throw some firsts back in her face to finally shut her up.

"Oh, yeah? Well, a month ago I was thrown in jail," I interrupted. "Isn't that something? Hey, I guess that makes me the first grandchild to get arrested!"

"You mean in Monopoly, right," she said, hands wringing, worried that her kids might have to settle for being the second, even in a slightly shameful event.

"No, I'm talking the real thing - 18 hours in the county jail," I bragged. "Heck, if I had been there just a bit longer, I probably could have had my own bitch. And that would have made me the first grandchild to have my own bitch, too!"

For the first time in two decades, this lady was speechless. And I'm sure I don't have to tell you I was the first grandchild to accomplish that feat.

But now I had everyone's attention at the reunion and had to come clean with my "criminal" escapades...

To be continued in Part 2