Is Irony a REAL Thing?
Yes. Irony is a real thing that takes place if one lives long enough to see certain connections in life that are such a ridiculous contrast of juxtapositions that one cannot help but laugh after the shock wears away. Different Strokes for different folks. I have a large family full of different folks…and, I think they are all nuts who didn’t fall far from the family tree.
Some of them are rock solid. Some of them are solid rocks and very stubborn. Some of them are so stuck they are like petrified rock. Some of them give me a petrified look if they see my face, such as my delusional ex-husband and some of my misled children who have been estranged from me for years now. Some of them are stoners. Some of them are pot-growers and glass-blowers. Some of them are so cold, they are literally stone-cold dead and their ashes are blowing in the wind.
I still think they are all a bunch of nuts…some of them are even a little fruity. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and all that kind of irony we see in families.
For an example: I just turned 51 this year. I feel older than the hills, but many people think I look much younger than I am because I have a young spirit about me, I eat as healthy as I can, exercise as often as I can and don’t smoke or do any drugs beyond some legalized alcohol (which I have to watch as I can build up a tolerance very quickly like some of my other family members) and I have dabbled with some legalized cannabis at the recommendation of my medical doctor (which I also have to watch as I can build up a tolerance very quickly to that as well like some of my family members).
So, I have lived longer than I expected, especially given some of the dangerous environments in which I was thrown into, wandered into, or was even intentionally led into during my lifetime. I also inherited some very good genes that are from strong, resilient stock.
Not too long ago I was at my childhood home, visiting with my brother who is five years older than me. It was the last time I saw him. He began yelling at me, telling me there was something wrong with my head because I am a writer of comedy and satire. He’s dyslexic, doesn’t read much, and never went to high school. I am not dyslexic, read voraciously, and graduated with honors from a University. I kept insisting that my head was fine. He kept yelling at me that it wasn’t. I became frustrated and ended up raising my voice as well. I finally stopped engaging and sat in the car while my partner tried to talk calmly to my upset brother.
I know my brother and I love each other, because he was worried about me, and I often worry about him. We see the world from different perspectives.
He was yelling at me about something being wrong with MY head, when there was clearly something going on with his own. Not too long after our encounter, I find out he had a stroke. That is ironic.
He had gone off his blood pressure medicine and his blood pressure went through the roof. I cannot control my brother’s decisions, his health, or his ability to regulate his blood pressure. I wasn’t even aware he was on blood-pressure medication. He has had blood sugar level issues most of his life, and there is not one thing I can do about it. Only he can determine what he puts in his mouth and how he processes lie and stress. Now, he has a healing journey to travel. Thankfully, he has a family that loves him and will support him.
My sister, who is ten years older than me, calls me up to yell at me for yelling at my brother. That is also ironic. I guess it is alright to yell at me, and I am designed to take it as the baby of my family. Maybe my siblings are repaying me for crying too much as a baby and toddler. It is a family tradition to blame each other during times of trauma and high stress and yell at one another like a game of “Hot Potato.”
My mother had strokes before she died. She smoked cigarettes and did not eat a very healthy diet. She also was taking different medication that may have screwed her system up. Maybe, her health-conditions were passed along to my brother. Who knows?
I can remember as a little girl, my second to oldest sister yelling at traffic, yelling at her siblings, and yelling at our parents. Maybe yelling runs in my family. Maybe sugar-level issues, thyroid issues, blood-pressure issues, or healthy lungs run in our family.
My brother recently sold our family home and moved away to live with our oldest sister who has hardly ever talked to me. I don’t recall her being a loud, outspoken, yelling sort of person. She was usually the “perfect” daddy’s and mama’s girl…classic oldest sibling dynamic…loyal, parent-pleaser, devote, religious, beautiful big sister to always look up to and emulate. She played the acoustic guitar and sang like an angel. There was never anything to criticize. She married a very quiet man named Robert who once tried to strangle her while she was sleeping. He was having a night terror episode and doesn’t remember any of it. That is some scary shit. I think I’d rather be yelled at while awake than strangled by someone who is asleep. She had an average three-child household and still enjoys a close-knit family. All of her children still attend the cult we were raised in and are very narrow-minded in their belief system.
None of them care to talk to me since I went off to school and studied the formation of cults, the power of dogmatism, and blind trust.
Ironically, I married a man also named Robert when I was younger who used to yell at me almost every day. Sometimes, I’d yell back. That usually made things worse, so I trained myself to ignore his ranting and raving. Sometimes, I’d yell at our children. We had eight of them. We had to run our home like a tight ship at times. My husband ran his home like he was the head coach of a basketball team or a football team. I blindly trusted him and he broke that trust bond with a cute little blonde. I divorced him.
Then, I took a boatload of parenting classes and trained myself not to raise my voice to our children. Then, ironically, when my children reached their teenage years, they began yelling at me and each other. They began acting like their dad right before he sucked them all away from me to play football and basketball for him, and now he won’t even let me talk to them on the phone. Complete silence. That is not only ironic, but extremely concerning to me. I am a sensitive writer and artist and miss getting to create art with my children. I used to be afraid of him, now he tells people he is afraid of me. Whatever.
When I was married to my children’s father, he kept his family very tightly under wraps so everyone around us would think we were “perfect” while he used intimidation, force, threats, and physical abuse to keep his family “in line.” I married a dictator husband, who parented with a loud-speaker and the threat of an iron fist. I tended to be more of a helicopter parent with a semi-loud speaker that I eventually learned to turn down to silence.
Now, my family seems to hide, or are being hidden, behind an “Iron Curtain” of silence of their Daddy’s and their own making. It happens in situations like mine. Sometimes, people choose to shut down all communication, rather than begin to heal. It is tragic and sad beyond belief. But, we see it happen every day. We see it in stories and movies. We see it in conflict between nations on the news. It is called estrangement and alienation, and it is LEGAL. People make money off of situations such as found in my dysfunctional family.
I remember my best friend who moved to Idaho many years ago used to call me a “screaming Marshmallow” and we’d laugh about it. I chalked it up to my Greek heritage and the fact that my father was near-deaf and we had to speak loudly for him to hear us growing up. I would tell my children to clean up their rooms. An hour later I’d blow a gasket and yell at them to clean up their rooms. Sometimes, I would spank them as corporal punishment was encouraged by our pastors and the teaching of the church we attended. I even remember a sermon given by Robert and Diana Medlin on the merits of the tush as the proper place to spank children due to it’s cushioned nature.
Every one of us young mothers were taught to spank our children within reason. Now, a parent can go to jail for spanking a child. I do not spank children these days. And, I certainly do not “beat” children with weapons such as hammers, or boots. And, if that is what others in my ex-husband’s delusional bird-brained realm choose to believe, then they can go take a flying leap and flock off!
Today, I think of an old friend of mine from my church-going days as my “Spud Bud,” who took her “Couch Potato” and her little “Tater Tot” and moved away to the quiet, comforting land of Taters and Gravy in Idaho...leaving me behind in Oregon to deal with my European Yeller-bellied Englishman of a husband who demanded “Bangers and Mash” and whatever other meat and potato dish he wanted to eat to keep him satisfied and not so angry while I walked around on eggshells during our marriage. I try not to think about the times he banged me and mashed me and my self-image to the ground during our twenty year marriage. I guess it could have been worse. I got my delicate egg-head away from getting too scrambled as I scrambled away and began a new life. Sadly, I was forced into empty-nest syndrome as I was creating a new nest for my little chickadees and now I live in a VERY quiet environment most days.
Ironically, I quietly made myself a couple of fried eggs in my iron skillet this morning with fresh eggs from my backyard chickens. I said grace over my eggs, toast, and coffee and am grateful my iron levels are good since checked last.
I also recently wrote a song called “Yeller Taters” about a twenty-year old woman in Pennsylvania who went into a Walmart Store and peed on potatoes. Her first name is Grace. That’s ironic. She needs some. And, possibly some potty training lessons. I am sure I taught my own children how to find and use a bathroom while in a public building…or, at least how to find and use a private bush if in an emergency while out in the woods hiking or camping. Sheesh! Talk about yellow potatoes!
Sometimes, I think of my diverse and large family as “The Yellers” vs. “The Cluckers”…or, “The Fluckers” vs. “The Flockers”…or, “The Livers” vs. “The Lovers”….and, since I know my children’s father is afraid of rats, mice, and most women and men…I think of him as a scared little boy…or a “yellow-bellied, lilly-livered, chicken-hearted” fluckety, fluck, fluck, flucker, and a thief who is trying to steal time away from me with my children!
My other good friend, “Mother Theresa,” or “Darlin’ Teri” once told me it was a rat race and the rats were winning. I guess she must have known what she was talking about with her home-spun, Oregon, Hill-billy wisdom.
Ironic? My children’s father once told me when we were young that he didn’t even want me to get pregnant, because he didn’t want me to get “fat” and lose my “perfect” figure…so, I gave him eight little chickadees and remained a skinny little dancing chicken and I got “slaughtered” in court instead…like a healthy little Mother Hen who put all her eggs in one Rooster’s basket…an ironic, unhealthy Rooster who now has a bunch of health problems from years of an unhealthy diet and lifestyle, who found a larger Mother Hen to give him his ninth baby and replace me…her last name is Slaughter.
Is irony a real thing? It is in MY life. But, I’m Greek and Nordic. Maybe my brain is just wired to see the world that way.