EppsNet Archive: Family

I Think the Camera’s Upside Down

22 Feb 2014 /

Upside down

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It Is Hard Living Down the Tempers We Are Born With

30 Nov 2013 /
Gertrude Stein

Once an angry man dragged his father along the ground through his own orchard. “Stop!” cried the groaning old man at last, “Stop! I did not drag my father beyond this tree.”

It is hard living down the tempers we are born with. We all begin well, for in our youth there is nothing we are more intolerant of than our own sins writ large in others and we fight them fiercely in ourselves; but we grow old and we see that these our sins are of all sins the really harmless ones to own, nay that they give a charm to any character, and so our struggle with them dies away.

— Gertrude Stein, The Making of Americans

Mothers Day is the Biggest Headache on the Calendar

13 May 2013 /
Mother's Day card

[Editor’s Note: Obviously I disagree with this egregious opinion, but I’m committed to hosting a wide range of viewpoints. — PE]

You have mothers, you have wives who are also mothers, you have daughters who are also mothers . . . attention has to be divided and no one is satisfied with her share of the pie. As a son, husband and/or father, you can’t win, it’s just a question of how badly you’re going to lose.

Women are bitching on the run-up to Mothers Day, they’re bitching on Mothers Day, and they’re laying down ground rules regarding what they will and will not put up with on next year’s Mothers Day.

It’s a big foofaraw and nobody’s happy.

Conversely, on Fathers Day, everyone’s as happy as a lark, despite the fact that Fathers Day is commemorated, in my family at least, by absolutely nothing.


Happy Mothers Day!

12 May 2013 /

Hi Mom! It’s me, Lightning! Happy Mothers Day!

Sometimes I wonder if you’re still alive. I know you could be, even though I’m almost 70 years old myself.

Here’s a recent picture of me . . .

On the Ottoman

I’m taking a lot of naps now that I’m older. Although come to think of it, I took a lot of naps when I was younger too!

I can’t move my legs very well now — my back legs, mostly. They don’t hurt, but I can’t feel them very much and I can’t tell where they are. It’s funny that I used to be the fastest pug and now I’m the slowest.

I remember you told me that dogs teach people about two things:

  1. Unconditional love, and
  2. Nothing lasts forever. Everything ends so don’t take anything for granted, even for one day.

If you don’t hear from me next Mothers Day, it’s not because I forgot. If I go to heaven first, I’ll wait for you and we’ll all be together again!

Love,

Lightning paw


You Sat There All Your Life

5 May 2013 /

The taste of self-inflicted suffering, of an evening trashed in spite, brought curious satisfactions. Other people stopped being real enough to carry blame for how you felt. Only you and your refusal remained. And like self-pity, or like the blood that filled your mouth when a tooth was pulled — the salty ferric juices that you swallowed and allowed yourself to savor — refusal had a flavor for which a taste could be acquired. . . .

And if you sat at the dinner table long enough, whether in punishment or in refusal or simply in boredom, you never stopped sitting there. Some part of you sat there all your life.

— Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections

Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin

20 Jan 2013 /

This book should be read by everyone — especially anyone with grown children and/or older parents.


The Season’s Upon Us

21 Dec 2012 /
Christmas carolers

There’s bells and there’s holly, the kids are gung-ho
True love finds a kiss beneath fresh mistletoe
Some families are messed up while others are fine
If you think yours is crazy, well you should see mine

— “The Season’s Upon Us,” Dropkick Murphys

You Can Make It If You Try

14 Jan 2012 /

“It’s becoming conventional wisdom that the U.S. does not have as much [economic] mobility as most other advanced countries,” said Isabel V. Sawhill, an economist at the Brookings Institution. “I don’t think you’ll find too many people who will argue with that.”

English: Jerry Buss (LA Lakers owner) playing ...

Jerry Buss

I’ll argue with it . . . the fact that people are not doing something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a hard thing to do. Maybe people aren’t trying to do it. Maybe people don’t want to do it.

From Daniel Kahneman‘s Thinking, Fast and Slow:

A large-scale study of the impact of higher education . . . revealed striking evidence of the lifelong effects of the goals that young people set for themselves. The relevant data were drawn from questionnaires collected in 1995-1997 from approximately 12,000 people who had started their higher education in elite schools in 1976. When they were 17 or 18, the participants had filled out a questionnaire in which they rated the goal of “being very well-off financially” on a 4-point scale ranging from “not important” to “essential.” . . .

Goals make a large difference. Nineteen years after they stated their financial aspirations, many of the people who wanted a high income had achieved it. Among the 597 physicians and other medical professionals in the sample, for example, each additional point on the money-importance scale was associated with an increment of over $14,000 of job income in 1995 dollars!

In other words, one reason that people differ in their incomes is that some people care more about having a high income than others. People have different ambitions. Some people will gladly sacrifice things like family and leisure time for money and some people won’t.

Here’s an example of what it takes to be rich in America: Laker owner Jerry Buss spent so little time with his family when his kids were growing up that when he and his wife separated, they didn’t tell the kids, and it was five years before any of them noticed the difference.

True story.

Not everyone is willing to show a Jerry Buss level of ruthless disregard for their family in their pursuit of financial success.

I’ve spent a lot of time with my family. Jerry Buss owns a basketball team and I don’t. Good for him! I’ve lived my life a certain way and I could have lived it a different way if I’d wanted to.

A lot of Americans are self-absorbed morons whose principal activities are eating and watching television. The fact that these people are not shooting up the economic ladder doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a hard thing to do if you really want to do it.


Brown Vetoes SB 185

8 Oct 2011 /
Jerry Brown 2

Jerry Brown

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a controversial, affirmative action-like bill Saturday that would have allowed public colleges and universities in California to consider demographic factors in admissions processes.

Like!

I hate to sound selfish but whatever “demographic factors” they were planning to consider, I’m 110 percent sure they’d serve to penalize my kid, nieces, nephews, grandkids — everyone in my family now and forever — and for what? Racial inequities of the past that they had nothing to do with?

Not interested in taking the hit for that, sorry.

We’re good people. We stopped inviting the slaveholders to the family reunions because they’ve all been dead for about 100 years . . .


My Family’s Guide to Failure

19 Dec 2010 /

At a recent family gathering, someone whom I won’t name here recommended to my son, a high school senior, that he start looking for a community college to attend for a couple of years before transferring to a four-year school.

“That’s a good idea,” I said. “Do you have any more good ideas? Maybe he should punch himself in the face really hard.”

One of the things I love about my boy is that when he does something, he puts his heart into it. He takes on the risk of failure.

The safe approach — and historically the preferred method in my family — is to do things indifferently, fail, then announce that you weren’t really trying and that you could have succeeded if you’d wanted to.”

We have family members who — despite, to my knowledge, having never done or said an intelligent thing in their lives — never seem to lose their reputation as untapped geniuses who could have done great things if they’d ever set their mind to it.

“You apparently haven’t been paying attention the last 17 years,” I continued. “You’re not there every night when he’s up late working on honors classes and AP classes, trying to accomplish the goals that he’s set for himself, which as far as I know, don’t include community college. Why don’t you ask him if he wants to go to community college? Or is that not relevant to your recommendation?”

“Community college is a lot less expensive and he’ll take the same classes the first two years anyway.”

“They’re really not the same classes,” I said. “You have to teach a class to the level of the students.

“If you’re teaching a general ed class at a highly selective university where every kid came out of high school with a 4.3 GPA and 10 AP classes under their belt, then you can conduct the class at a very challenging level and expect that the kids will get it.

“If you’re teaching the ‘same’ class at a community college, where the only prerequisites for being there are opposable thumbs and a pulse, then you’re going to have to dumb it way, way down.

“Throw in the fact that the students will add no value to the teacher’s ideas, no one will ask an interesting question and no one will answer a question with an interesting answer and you’ll find that the ‘same’ classes are not the same classes at all.”

To summarize the Epps Family Guide to Failure:

  • Aim low.
  • Revel in mediocrity.
  • Hide your light under a bushel.
  • Hide it under a bushel of idiots at the local community college.

Twitter: 2010-12-11

11 Dec 2010 /
Twitter
  • RT @eddiepepitone: Folks remember: just because we are powerless doesn't mean we can't ruin our health and the lives of those close to us. #

Happy Veterans Day

11 Nov 2010 /
World War II Memorial

My dad was a Naval Academy grad who served in World War II.

My brother retired after 20+ years in the Air Force.

Our family is not piggybacking on others when it comes to service to America.

So why do I not get the day off?


We All Keep Going

4 Oct 2010 /
We Were the Mulvaneys cover

It just seems so amazing and wonderful and, well, a miracle, but I guess it’s just ordinary life, how we all keep going, isn’t it?

— Joyce Carol Oates, We Were the Mulvaneys

Etiquette Tip of the Day

2 Oct 2010 /

It’s considered poor form to borrow someone’s car and then bring it back with an empty gas tank, even if you’re members of the same family.

It’s like borrowing a pen and giving it back with no ink . . .


Here Come the Brides

30 Aug 2010 /

We went to a wedding over the weekend, although it won’t be recognized as such by the state of California because both people involved were women.

One of the women is Asian, the other Mexican. Both are in their late 20s, both pretty, and they seem to be very happy together.

The reception was held at The Reef restaurant, affording a beautiful view of Long Beach harbor and the downtown lights beyond.

The bride wore white. The other bride also wore white.

 

We couldn’t find a “bride and bride” wedding card at the Hallmark store.

We asked an employee about it, an older woman. “You want what?” she said.

“A bride and bride card. All the wedding cards are bride and groom, a man holding a woman’s hand. What we want is a bride and bride card.”

“We don’t have anything like that,” she said.

“You should get some.”

Silence.

 

The gentleman who performed the wedding told us that we were not just attending a wedding, we were striking a blow against ignorance and bigotry.

Actually, I wasn’t there to strike a blow for anything; I was there because I was invited.

If you’re going to position yourself as a champion of tolerance and broad-mindedness, you should go ahead and drop the name-calling.

 

The Mexican bride’s family is, I assume, Catholic and opposed to this kind of thing — women marrying women.

“I was a little taken aback when I first heard about it,” her dad said.

But she’s still their daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, etc., and the family turned out in large numbers to support her.

The Asian bride’s family was a different story. Other than a couple of cousins, they were in absentia.

Her mom didn’t attend because she opposed the wedding. Her dad didn’t attend because he didn’t even know it was happening. Mom didn’t tell him because she’s afraid it would kill him.

 

More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of: Guys who wear porkpie hats to formal affairs.

Other than to call attention to yourself at an event that’s not about you, what possible reason could you have for wearing that hat? To protect your head? From what?

Lose the hats, hipsters.


Dad Is Not Nuts

14 Dec 2009 /

As part of a family discussion, my mom names the three members of our extended family whom she considers to be nuts.

My sister adds two more people to the list, including my dad.

“No, Dad is not nuts,” my mom says, “although he gets along well with the nuts.”

My dad says to me, “That’s the best compliment I’ve ever had from this family.”

“That you’re not nuts?” I ask.

“That’s right.”


Shamans: Another Reason I Prefer to Just Stay Home

29 Nov 2009 /

My dad was telling me about a recent trip he took to the wilds of Ecuador. From the airport, it was a three-hour truck ride, followed by two hours in a motorized canoe to get to the lodge he was staying at.

Magic

“That doesn’t sound good,” I said. “What if you have a medical emergency?”

“There’s a shaman at the village,” he said. “And what the shamans do is they take peyote or whatever the local hallucinogen is, they hallucinate about a drug, then they go into the forest, come back with the drug and give it to you.”

“Are they board certified?”

“No. And the other thing they do is they blow smoke on you.”

“I hate that. What kind of smoke is it?”

“I think the guy has a pack of Marlboros. But if you have a heart attack or something, that’s all you’re gonna get.”


Dogs Are Smarter Than Cats

27 Nov 2009 /

My dad is of the opinion that cats are “smarter” than dogs. Not coincidentally, he and my mom own a couple of cats, one of which was sitting next to his chair at Thanksgiving dinner.

Dad decided to share some turkey with the cat. He stood up with a piece of turkey, showed it to the cat, than walked out to the kitchen and dropped it in the cat’s food dish. When he returned to his chair, the cat was still sitting there. Never moved.

“That is one stupid cat,” I said.

“Well, he’s three-quarters blind,” my dad said, although he didn’t say how he could possibly know that.

“If my dog was here, he would have jumped up and eaten your whole dinner the second you left the room.”


Thanksgiving Memories

27 Nov 2009 /

My dad’s holding a bottle of wine as he says, “Who wants straws?”

“Are you asking me,” I say, “if I want to drink wine through a straw?

As it turns out, what he actually said was “Who wants Shiraz?”


Give Blood Play Hockey Charity Tournament

11 Oct 2009 /
Give Blood Play Hockey tournament

My son’s team won the tournament, my wife gave blood, and I bought 3 snickerdoodle cookies for $5 at the charity booth and ate them.

All in all, a triumphant day for the whole family . . .


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