One thing I was never quite good at, and one thing I don’t think anyone should be doing and expect to be healthy for it, is keeping things inside one’s stomach. Don’t ever ask me to keep a secret!
This post is therefore dedicated to something I have been keeping in my stomach for a few weeks now. At first I wrote a very angry would be post but then decided to censor it; then I hinted at it; and now I have determined that for any healing process to be able to take place I need to spill things off my guts first. So here goes.
The matter at hand is a follow up on the quarrel I have been having with my brother. To the benefit of those of can’t be bothered to read the link, I will cite here that he determined he’s not talking to me anymore other than on matters relating to our ill father. His decision was made on account of my views on Israel and the shame these views bring upon him and my family, my own wife included. [Unrelated note: this whole “I think you’re an idiot therefore I won’t talk to you about anything other than X” is bullshit; how can we talk to one another about anything when we totally lack respect for one another?]
The escalation point triggering this post is the involvement of my mother in this quarrel. It’s very simple, really: from the second I told my mother what took place between my brother and I she never bothered to hear any of the case’s evidence; she immediately labelled me an idiot and took my brother’s side.
Now, I have been listening to my mother calling me an idiot on a fortnightly basis, more or less, since I was six or so. I learned to live with that: at first I had to listen to lots of Pink Floyd music to compensate; later I learned to blame my mother for the faults she found in me; and even later I learned there’s this whole joke thing concerning Jewish moms. As in, I found out I was not alone.
There are, however, a couple of caveats to take note of when it comes to my tolerance of the current situation. The first is that the wheels have turned: instead of a dependent boy looking up to his mother, it is my mother who is now seeking my help. There is that much help, or a simple sympathetic ear, that I am willing to lend a person who keeps telling me I’m an idiot. Especially when I clearly disagree with the diagnosis (note it is clearly not my views that are labelled idiotic; it is me, the person). Thus I am rediscovering a deficiency in the Ten Commandments that Christopher Hitchens told us about years ago: they tell us to honor our mother and father; but what about parents honoring their children?
I promised a second caveat. Just like my brother before her, my mother took a step inside my own marriage and suggested that perhaps it was a mistake for me to marry a non-Jew. This was her attempt at explaining my views on Israel; to me, the mere act of throwing religion into the ring was a knockout blow. Obviously, my mother has little grasp of her son's world and where my allegiances lie: I detest religion on one hand and I certainly hold my non Jewish wife and son to be my number one interests in this world on the other. This sub-Jewish, and in effect (and in her view) sub-human, status that my mother classified my wife and by extension my son with is not something I can tolerate, not even from my mother. On the other hand I can say in my mother’s credit she probably lacks the capacity to fathom the potency of what she said. Then again, no one lost credit with me by pausing to think twice.
The problem is that in the shadow of all this arguing about nothing, really (remember, the point of contention was supposed to be my views on Israel, but there never was any discussion there), lies my sick father. While I am getting close to the point of willfully forgetting I ever had a family in Israel, he is not getting any better.