His name was Earl.

It wouldn't be right or congruent with my nature if I didn't break ranks and share this admittedly bizarre incident with my interweb friends. I'll warn you: it's disturbing on the one hand, and lose all bladder control hilarious on the other. It may also give you a good idea why I've cut ties with 90% of my family. In addition to the criminal cruelty and all.


My family (husband and kids) met my brother and sister in law for dinner yesterday. Almost exactly one year ago they lost their son, our nephew Michael (age 24), to a stupid, needless accident. Also, my brother and I just had our birthdays. It was an appropriate time to get together. We live four hours apart, so met roughly in the middle. Family gossip was re-hashed, food eaten and general conviviality had.

My brother's immediate family, I should note, is the only normal branch on my otherwise sorely diseased family tree. I hate most all the rest of the goddamned crackers, and to the remainder I am at best indifferent.

The following is what I would like to relate, because it is so beyond words weird I'd like the world to see with what I must contend, hopefully finding my relative normality that much more remarkable in contrast to the disaster that is my genetic makeup.

SETTING: North-central Mississippi, Faulkner country, the red clay to which I am native

CHARACTERS: The person listed on my birth certificate as the paternal half of my parentage, and a neighbor who lives near some family-owned land in Mississippi

So. Paternal Contributor and Earl, the neighbor, were out and about enjoying some time together. PC went into a hardware store briefly, just to pick up one or two things. He came out, and apparently Earl had nodded off. Yet, something about it just didn't look right. Maybe it was the fact he'd slumped into an unnatural-looking position. A very uncomfortable-looking position. One in which no movement appeared to be forthcoming.

PC gave him a shake. Nothing. Another shake. Nothing.

By now PC had registered Earl's distinct lack of interaction, consistent with either a really deep sleep or a spontaneous game of "freeze tag," at which Earl was a very accomplished player. It was at this point PC became suspicious there may – just may – be something else going on here.

What would the average person do in such a conundrum? One could simply continue on, letting Earl "rest," because he just might be uncharacteristically tired. Hey, it could happen! Some people work hard! And old Earl, he's not getting any younger. Not any older, either, but certainly no younger.

There's the option of calling in a third party, perhaps a person trained in the art of awakening the "very tired." Not a bad idea, though one hates to be a nuisance, or an alarmist.

Or, should all else fail to occur to one, for any of several reasons of which we could speculate on endlessly, there's option three: drive Earl back to his house and see if his wife might have some tips as to possible methodology she may have had to resort to in the past, when the obviously stubborn and recalcitrant Earl has wished to remain in a slumbering state.

Guess which option PC chose? And guess which passenger riding shotgun in his pickup truck will awaken again only when the Angel Gabriel blows that rockin' horn?

Poor Earl. Poor, poor Earl.

Let this be a lesson to you: if you're feeling a bit "tired," it's probably best you just pass on the hardware store. Skip a step and just stay home.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have a wall I need to bang with my head.

2 thoughts on “His name was Earl.

  1. Having met the PC I can’t even feign surprise. Glad you chose “normal” over that! Cool on seeing the bro and family – I know you aren’t able to see them often enough and want to.


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