7.09.2004

Welcome to the Family
When I was a kid I spent all my time buried in books and submitting stories to DRAGON. My father, who had never heard of role-playing until his nine year-old son tried to run a Caves of Chaos game for his parents, was understandably concerned about his son's obsession with worlds that didn't exist.

At the high point of the public fervor over DUNGEONS & DRAGONS I recall my father worrying that I might be using drugs. I remember him coming to me one night, as I sat up making the nth level of a dungeon and saying:

"Harley, if you are ever addicted to cocaine, I will drive you to Canada, lock you in a cabin and live with you until it passes."

This was a testament of the love my father gave me, and the conviction he possessed. At any point in time, without any notice, he was willing to throw down his life plans and do whatever it took to get the job done.

My brother and I inherited a lot of that rocket-fueled "It has to be done? Then do it NOW!" attitude. It gets us into trouble sometimes, but just as often it gives us the drive to handle situations that might not otherwise be dealt with.

Okay, so enough back story.

I've just been married into a new family. I have a cousin-in-law, a woman my age, maybe you've seen her in the photos. She's the slim one with shoulder-length. But slim connotes health, and my cousin isn't healthy. She passed over from "slender" to "fashion model/culture-condoned anorexic" years ago, and since moved on to the "no longer gets her period/is unable to control body functions" stage.

My cousin is starving herself to death; she is very literally in trouble, and her immediate family seems unwilling to take the socially unpleasant steps required to get her help. No one wants to be the bad guy, and their fear of being rude outweighs their anticipation of the guilt they will carry when my cousin is dead.

Is it my place to step in? I am the new kid after all, and family relations are nothing if not complex. If I were polite I would respect my elders and defer to the folks that have run family for decades now.

But then, again, what would my father do?

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