Three years ago Dave gave me a list of people to call if he died during his bile duct surgery. That list included our mutual cousin Mark, Jerry's brother's son.
I left Mark for last, naturally, given that I'd have to introduce myself as a long-lost cousin. That happened, and it immediately led us down such a tangent that I forgot to spell out exactly why I was calling. I eventually mentioned, "when Dave died last week," as if he knew, as if he'd been one of the dozens of people I already called that day. Sigh.
Even with that awkward situation he continued to talk to me for 90 minutes about Jerry ("raging alcoholic") and his own father ("raging alcoholic'). I also asked about his sister Cindy ("I don't have a sister; I don't even know anyone named Cindy.")
He remembered meeting my Mom once, after which they stuck him in a room to play with my brother, who tried to bite and kick him and generally terrorized him.
He suggested we meet, and then was nice enough to explain that he refused to get the vaccine and refused to wear a mask, to which I noped out of that situation. I did convince him that I was avoiding all germs, not just Chinese-manufactured ones, so we actually did talk the next day on Zoom.
Mark knew Jerry longer than I ever did, knew him in his alcoholic days, even lived with him a while, and got into a fistfight with him. Mark had nothing good to say about Jerry. Oh, and Mark also disavowed Dave's incredible story of how Mark recognized him in a chance meeting at a hardware store and said he had a box of Jerry's stuff. In actuality, cousin Mark stalked Dave on Facebook after he discovered Dave had moved back to New Mexico -- just after Mark had cleaned out his parent's house and found the Big Box o'Jerry.
It was interesting to see how Cousin Mark had essentially the same biological father Dave and I had (both brothers were reduced to violent "raging alcoholics"). Mark had to interact with both of them, while Dave and I didn't. Mark then built an enormous family (seven children or something, mobs of grandchildren and great-grandchildren) while Dave and I opted out of the children game entirely.
Late in life Mom reconnected with her cousins -- because, she said, "they know the history." It was interesting to hear the history, only the history didn't tell me anything new.
... yeah. That's a... mix.
(it has been weird for me to try to figure out which stories are more reliable - but some of them are pretty obvious...)
Posted by: KC | November 13, 2022 at 11:54 AM
KC - The hardware story always sounded a little sketchy. The thing about alcoholics like Dave. They claim to be scrupulously honest, yet they are not.
Posted by: theQueen | November 14, 2022 at 02:26 PM
From interactions with an alcoholic neighbor in childhood, I suspect that when you have partly pickled your brain, it is harder to tell which things you dreamed or made up or mentally exaggerated or wanted to be this way, and which things actually happened that way? (and especially hard to remember *when* literally anything happened; yesterday or a week ago? or maybe last year?)
Posted by: KC | November 15, 2022 at 10:46 AM
KC - Dave probably wasn't pickled; he was sober for 33 years. It would be so wrong if he still died from lying to himself.
Posted by: theQueen | November 16, 2022 at 08:20 PM
Oh, I was under the impression that alcohol abuse does actual brain damage (our neighbor didn't have to be drunk to be substantially inaccurate, although also people are sometimes alcoholics because they are "self treating" something else with alcohol, so it could have been the something-else that did that, not the alcohol history?).
Unless he was buying fancy Alternative Cancer Treatments, Dave probably did not die *from* lying to himself. A lot of cancers are real brutes, and there is sometimes not a lot that can be done once things are found, esp. if someone has a lineup of pre-existing conditions that make them less likely to live through various different types of treatments, which it sounds like Dave had?
Posted by: KC | November 16, 2022 at 10:14 PM
KC - that's Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (wet brain) but it can be reversed with sobriety if you catch it early. Later reality gets fuzzy. And yes, he did have pre-existing conditions. I need to call the hospital and work my way toward getting the real story.
Posted by: theQueen | November 17, 2022 at 09:42 PM