Ake's Pains debuted in the University of Akron Buchtelite in September of 1977. The school's reputation as an institute of higher learning has still not recovered. Ake's Pains returns after a brief 32 year hiatus. It's back, baby!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

We Are Family – I Guess

This blog post is unique because it is the first time someone has actually requested that I blog about them.  People usually do not want me to blog about them (even if I give them a pseudonym) and my former co-worker Erin would often start out his stories with: “Now Don, this is not bloggable”.

But my cousin Susan requested that I blog about her (and our family), therefore I will grant her wish.  I’m doing this because Susan is family and family is very important to me, which is the essence of this post.

I am an only child of an only child. This means that not only don’t I have any siblings, I don’t have aunts, uncles or cousins on my father’s side of the family. My mother had three siblings and so I do have 10 first-cousins. However that side of the family was never close due to some issues.  We were never all together as a family except maybe a funeral or two.  Three of the cousins moved to California in the early 70’s which further disconnected us.

This introduction is not written to solicit any pity.  I married into one of the greatest families imaginable (they are comparable to the Walton’s) and my extended family on my father’s side includes me in some fantastic get-togethers twice a year.  No, I am explaining the situation so you might understand the significance to me of the event I am about to describe.  While you may have experienced close family interactions thousands of times in your life, I had the opportunity recently to truly experience this for the first time in over 40 years.

My cousin Diane was visiting her father in Ohio and this gave the Roush family cousins an opportunity for a mini-reunion.  Similar to a meeting of mafia clans, all four families were represented. There was Filly Diane (the horse farmer), Patty Ohio (to differentiate from cousin Patty California), The Twins (Susie and Vickie) and Donnie Akron (the city kid).  And at this meeting it is “Donnie”. 
Da family
Only certain people are permitted to call me Donnie, but this group qualifies.

My cousins communicated like they had been best friends all their lives.  It’s like they were speaking their own special language, like it was coded in their DNA. It was amazing to watch. Conversations moved rapidly from subject to subject because it only took a few words to communicate numerous thoughts and feelings.  It was like the words were in a zip file that was exchanged, downloaded and processed instantaneously.  Once I learned how to play this game, I joined in and it was a wonderful experience.

Then we sat around and exchanged old, sometimes embarrassing, stories about each other.  I felt like a politician saying: “While I do not remember the incident in question, I cannot deny that I may have engaged in this behavior.”

While reconnecting with my cousins was a great experience, I’m just not sure that I am related to these people at all.  I just don’t see much family resemblance.  For example, here are some traits that I was able to identify from this encounter.

1.   These People Are Weird

My cousins are a very strange breed.  They think weird things, they make bizarre statements.   I mean they are really out there.  I’m not talking just standard strange; I’m talking nutsy coo-coo here. And that was before the wine starting flowing. They border on insane.

Of course no one has ever accused me of being that weird, have they?  Okay, no one has accused me of being that weird today. Er …all right, I guess I may have to concede this one.

2.   These People Talk Too Much

They talk a mile a minute. Just yap, yap, yap, endlessly. You have to listen fast just to try to keep up.  Of course people never say that about me, because I’m usually dominating the conversation …  Well, it’s a good thing these people don’t write blogs or they would go on and on about the most mundane things in their lives, expecting people to actually care about their off-beat musings. I can’t even image what that would even be like.

3.   These People Don’t Care What Other People Think Of Them

This is who they are and you better get used to it.  It’s the attitude of: “You must adapt to me, because I’m sure as hell not going to adapt to you”.  While this sounds very bold, it doesn’t get you too far in the corporate world.  But I assure you that I possess none of this attitude whatsoever and that my failure to reach my career potential was caused totally by wearing the wrong style of underpants all these years.

4.   These People Don’t Take Life Too Seriously

My cousins have a warped sense of humor. It’s twisted, bent and bat shit crazy.  They are a bunch of loons.  One photo from the gathering features two of my cousins flipping the bird.  They are doing it because they are nuts.  They are not close to being bad-ass, they are in fact good-ass. (Since I am referring to my cousins it is important to point out that I am not using the term “good-ass” in a West Virginia type of way)  Now you know this doesn’t apply at all to me.  I am serious, reserved, and well-refined.

5.   These People Have A Superiority Complex

It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, or what you have. I’m sorry, at the end of the day you still are not a Roush.  We even have a coat of arms.  Yes go ahead and gasp, I am part of a family that possesses a coat of arms! We are Roush and unfortunately you are not.  Fortunately, I do not personally have this superiority complex, because let’s face it, I’m better than that.

All I can say is this cousin reunion was the highlight of my summer. It was an incredibly wonderful time.  My cousins are great people and I Iove them dearly, even though I am nothing like them.

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