I think writing as a failure is because it’s expected that the whole story can be captured in five minutes. The extent of the attention span it seems. At least mine most days. But writing isn’t like that, life isn’t either. Nothing good ever happens in five minutes, it takes time, maybe even a lifetime before you get good at something. Then you die. That’s the bitch of it.
I was just sitting on the couch (I say couch, not sofa, even though I worked selling furniture for a while and when I said couch my managers cringed.) a minute ago thinking about my brothers kidney. I was also thinking about you, whoever you are, reading this and wondering to myself, why would you want to read this, and why does my brother have a tumor the size of a softball on his kidney?
And does it really matter?
My name is Dan, my brother is Dave. We have a sister Sue and we were all born to a woman named Rebecca who married a man named Edmund.
For the longest time, I thought my mother’s middle name was Sue, in fact, in the Navy I put that middle name on more than a few official papers, the fact of the matter is her middle name is Marie. That’s why my sister’s middle name is Marie too.
My brothers middle name is Lawrence, after my father’s middle name. My middle name is Earl which is after my grandfather’s on my mothers side. Granddad was a Kentucky coal miner back in the day when they actually dug deep holes in the ground and men went into these holes and picked away at the coal by hand until they had a tidy pile and then they shoveled the pile into a coal car which was pulled to the surface. Talk about some bullshit hard work, coal mining is that. But Grandpa Melvin did that. And when he wasn’t mining coal, he was tear assing around the county where Central City is located. So I hear. Which is where he met my grandmother on my mother’s side, Alice, Alice Gay Day.
Alice was a little crazy. I visited her when I was sixteen while she was in the purple wing of the Novi Regional unit one day after she had an episode. I remember vividly the nurses telling me to follow the purple tiles on the floor and that would lead me to the purple wing, where, Alice was found propped up in bed, gray disheveled hair springing forth as if Medusa herself had officiated the styling, and babbling incoherently about the martians coming to take her home. My grandmother always wanted to go home. We all assumed home meant the great hereafter. Grandma played the organ in church in Kentucky and took a shine to god and his kingdom. So we just assumed that she was talking about the kingdom when she talked about home. Martians or not.
Alice and Melvin had a brood of their own. Uncle Kenny, Aunt Debbie, Aunt Phyllis, Aunt Linda and my Mom Rebecca. Alice had a child die in infancy. She never got over that.
They’re all Fogles, but according the the social security office the name is Fogie, that is if you are trying to verify some sort of birth record or such. I found this out one day when I was at the social security office doing just that. I was having a bitch of a time and the lady I was talking to obviously saw how frustrated I was. She is the one that told me the spelling of the name is Fogie. Thank god for small favors and federal workers able to put two and two together. Something of a lark it seems these days. But then again that was twenty years ago and I don’t suspect that the government has gotten any wiser. So maybe if I needed to do that again I’d be fucked.
Alice also guilted Rebecca with a mind full of bullshit that she never got over. Rebecca felt she was the perpetual keeper of her siblings. Because that’s what Alice told her. My mom rarely had a day of peace because of what Alice did. Not until she died, and even then, I’m not sure she found peace. Especially if Alice beat her there, which, of course, was the case. And of course, assuming there is some sort of hereafter. Who the fuck really knows?