Jonathan Kahane: On being a ‘family man’ this holiday season


Published: 11/30/2018 9:28:54 AM
On being a ‘family man’ this holiday season

Just this past weekend, I found myself at yet another one of those holiday family gatherings (’tis the season, after all) where I crossed paths with one of my distant relatives. During our conversation, he characterized me as a “family man.” Actually, I think of myself as one as well and am quite proud of that appellation. I have worked hard, and continue to do so, in order to support my family emotionally, financially and in every other way I possibly can. I don’t regard it as a duty but rather as a joy. 

However, most recently I have become aware that things have gotten completely out of hand. It seems that now I am considered to be a member of more families than I could have ever thought possible. This is particularly vexing to me right now since we are currently in the midst of this “joyful” season. It looks as if I will have a lot more shopping to do, and I am dreading more of those family get-togethers and ensuing discussions. I’m sure you know what I mean unless you happen to live in Norman Rockwell Land. Perhaps I should have listened more carefully to Dan Quayle of “potatoe” fame, instead of laughing at him when he was instructing all of us about “Family Values” in the ’80s. 

I worked as a professor for over 40 years at a local college and am now happily retired. That is I was happy until I recently received a note from my ex-employer reminding me that I still am (and always will be) a member of the College Family. In the next sentence they asked me for financial support.

It seems that I am also a member of my high school and graduate school families which also seem to have fallen on hard times. If anyone out there is trying to locate a lost relative in order to invite him/her to the party, you might want to contact any one of the schools they attended. They keep closer tabs on you than the government. 

That’s only the beginning. I bought a Toyota recently and am constantly being reminded that I am part of their family as well. (I have been supporting them for years, but they always seem to be very needy.) It seems that after being issued my supermarket identification card, I became a member of their family as well. 

I asked a friend of mine (not part of any family of mine — at least not to my knowledge — yet!) where I might be able to order a DNA test kit to determine once and for all if I truly am kin to all of these groups. My buddy told me that my best bet would be to find a lawyer. That’s exactly what I’m trying to avoid! Before I speak to an attorney, I will do some research on Ancestry to hopefully sort things out. If that fails, I’m afraid I might end up in Probate Court.

Perhaps one of my many “relatives” will be kind enough to bail me out of prison, having been incarcerated for non-support of myriad “family members.” Somehow, I think my “family members” will be difficult to find at that point. 

Jonathan Kahane 

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