Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Shootist

Death is never a fun topic. This past week, my grandmother passed away. It was an exhausting week, considering that throughout it, my grandfather threatened to shoot two people.

It's difficult to think of freelance work and the job hunt in trying family times. But when you grandfather hurls threats at family members along the lines of "if he comes to front door, I kill him," you feel a little thrown off your game. No, I didn't leave out a "the" in the last sentence. My grandfather likes to get his point across as quickly as possible.

Lets roll back the days a bit. Approximately 10 days ago, I was sitting in my girlfriend's studio apartment applying to jobs and trying to get the dog to shake with its left paw. My father called with the bad news and I raced home to a solemn house and a kitchen full of food brought by generous Italians. Three days later, I was sitting in my grandfather's kitchen with Polish relatives who like to drink shots and accuse the 7-year-old paperboy of being a meth addict. I argued to the contrary, but they heard nothing of it.

During the afternoon, my grandfather turns to his cousin Henry and after a few choice shots at his character, threatens to shoot him if he doesn't carry out my grandfather's plans to the letter. I think those plans included something about pulling weeds and reading Exodus. Then, exactly one day ago, my grandfather threatens (via long-distance phone call) to shoot his granddaughter's licentious ex-boyfriend if he ever steps foot on the family property again.

Threats of death have never sat well with me. How does one react when they witness such things? Not that any of us believe the old man can actually stand up, much less hold a gun and aim it at a moving target. Such words have become "normal" in these parts, but to my knowledge no one has ever been shot with anything except a cork on a bottle of wine.

This week, thank God everything is back to normal. The Photoshop tutorials have continued, the resume is updated and I'm looking up bullet-proof vests on Ebay just in case I don't show up for Sunday dinner on time.

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