Monday, September 6, 2021

"Dad, you're an orphan now"

That's my father holding newborn Jared, August 1998.

We share what could be described as a dark sense of humor in my family.

There are many examples of this, but one of the funniest happened last summer on the day my mother passed away.

That sounds terrible, but it's true. When we got word that she was gone, there were the initial tears and hugs and sharing of memories. And then my daughter Chloe informed me that, as of that moment, I was officially an orphan.

I laughed at that. Hard. Something about the use of the old-fashioned word "orphan" juxtaposed with the situation just made it funny.

That, I guess, is how we sometimes deal with painful realities: We turn them into somewhat-less-than-polite jokes.

I bring this up because today would have been my dad's 92nd birthday. I inherited my sense of humor largely from him, and I think he would have found the orphan comment funny.

When someone would ask him whether a certain person had died, he would almost always reply, "Well, I hope so, or else they played a hell of a joke on her when they buried her."

If asked how someone died, he would invariably tilt his head to one side, close his eyes, and say, "Like this."

I'm busting up just thinking about it.

Dad has been gone for nearly 22 years, but his legacy of inappropriate remarks and ill-timed humor lives on in his children and grandchildren.

He would be proud to know that.