It’s time for a tale, my friends. A tale about a young man who has turned family visitation into a monetary exchange. Cue the magical background noise and flashback waves…
Let’s float back to 2010 and the invitation to spend my first Thanksgiving with my future in-law’s. My guy and I had purchased a red hot express ticket into monogamy and commitment when we moved in with one another after just a handful of dates. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, we were spending every holiday with my family or his, making sure to alternate between the two. Political correctness and all.
Little did I know the utter shitshow that was about to ensue. Let me slap a little disclaimer in here stating my guy is truly the best person I’ve ever met, and individually, I love his family members. But, when piled in one room clown-car-style, the animosity and wackadoodle status takes over.
Thanksgiving opened up with frantic yelling from one room to the other about the temperature of the food. My future mother-in-law is particular to say the least. She needs what she needs when she needs it – end of story. No excuses, no back talk, or you will quickly be sucked up into an endless abyss of crazytown.
I lightheartedly giggled when my guy and his father urged me to fill my plate and sit down quickly. At the sound of my laughter, my future father-in-law turned to me, “No, I’m really serious. If she (future mother-in-law) has to wait and the food gets cold… um, um, just hurry.”
We filled our plates recklessly and corn flew all over the kitchen counter and floor, but there was no time to pick it up. Go, go, go! The pressure was breathing down my neck as if we were running from a dope-sick psychopathic killer, two steps behind with a knife. When we all sat down, I felt a small sigh of internal relief knowing we had made it to the table, incident-free.
Or had we?
Five words then took Thanksgiving from a hairy experience to an outright clusterfuck: “Where are the ice cubes?”
The next scene plays cautiously through my memories, as I watched in horror two grown adults fight over an ice-cube tray. The future mother-in-law’s forehead squished into angry rows lined with bulging veins. The future father-in-law attempted to wrap his mind around the hysteria over ice cubes and pulled back with the tray, trying to defuse the situation. It was, flat out, an ice-cube tray tug-of-war.
In the midst of the madness, my guy happily offered a serving of his famous one-liners that slap you like a bee sting. I looked across the table to see his sister gnawing on a meatless turkey leg, with angry background comments about her acting like a caveman. I had only been there thirty minutes and my capacity for wackiness was pouring over the edges.
After saying grace and a prayer for someone no one at the table knew, my guy and I rushed through eating Thanksgiving dinner. Every few minutes I would reach under the table and squeeze his leg, silently praying he would keep his mouth shut long enough to not set off another explosive moment over frozen water.
Through surviving several more family holidays and meetings this way, my guy kicked his business mind into gear. I would like to think my previous career industry helped him out too. After all, where else would he get the idea to charge an hourly rate to spend time with mentally unstable adults?
Completely acknowledging the insanity of his own family, my future father-in-law now pays my guy to see his family. Whether through a bank account deposit, a check, or straight up cash, there is always payment involved for family interaction. When you think about it, my guy is way ahead of his years on this one. Who doesn’t have a family member they would love to get paid to deal with?
Some of you may be sitting in shock, with your mouth hanging open widely much like most women in mom-vans I drive by. (Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon? Look around at mom vans. The women drive with their mouths hanging open, waiting to catch their next dream. I’m not even shitting you.)
The way I see it?
Dog trainers get paid to handle out of control dogs. Police officers get paid to handle out of control humans. Doctors gets paid to handle out of control diseases. And my guy? He takes the cake.
He gets paid to handle his out of control family.