Every weekday morning as I make my way towards the looooooong escalators which lead to red lines, I smile at the man who is employed by the Washington Post to hand out their freebie paper The Express (a.k.a. WaPo Lite). Itâ€™s stapled and tabloid-sized which makes it convenient to manage but more importantly, itâ€™s interesting enough to make the trip to work fly by; I especially like the back pages, where they choose pithy quotes from blogs, mention things like FREE Haagen-Dazs and update us metro-riding DCists on celebrity-related crap.
I donâ€™t read Trent or Perez because Iâ€™m not THAT interested in whether Britney is wearing knickers (Shamita Shame Shame on the other handâ€¦) but I donâ€™t mind learning enough to keep me clued in to what might be considered conversational fair-game. Thatâ€™s why I skimmed the following blurb about Junior Combover and his spouse, while waiting for the next train:
Donald Trump became a grandfather over the weekend, 14 months after he became a dad all over again. The baby girl, Kai Madison, was born to Donald Trump Jr. and his wife, Vanessa, both 29, on Saturday in New York, according to published reports. She weighed 6 pounds, 14 ounces. Trump Jr. said the girlâ€™s name comes from her maternal grandfather, a Danish musician. Kai will grow up alongside her uncle Barron, born to Trump and his third wife, Melania, in 2006.
Fine, fine…but what caught my attention was the title:
Family Tree Irrevocably Mangled by Trump Scion
I was so perplexed by this, I didnâ€™t hustle like a normal person and I almost missed my opportunity to evade Sliding Doors. Seriously? Wasnâ€™t â€œmangledâ€ a bit much? I know, the writers at Express are delightfully snarky, but this immediately and consummately reminded me of all the times when I was younger and my classmates were weirded out by my byzantine family tree:
5th grade Teacher: Anna, your turn. What did you do this summer?
Me: I visited my cousin in New York.
5th grade Teacher: How nice! And how old is your cousin?
5th grade Teacher: Ohâ€¦okayâ€¦I was about to ask if you did anything fun with themâ€¦butâ€¦
Me: I did fun stuff with my nieces.
5th grade Teacher: Your cousinsâ€¦kids, you mean? Wouldnâ€™t they also be your cousins?
Me: No. Theyâ€™re my nieces.
5th grade Teacher: And are they your age?
Me: Of course not. Theyâ€™re 16 and 12.
Jackass who sat across from me: Is there anything normal about you, cow eyes?
My father was the tenth out of eleven kids, ten of whom were boys. He didnâ€™t bother getting married until he was 37 (and you wonder why Iâ€™m in no hurry at 32) and he didnâ€™t have us until he was 38 and 41, respectively. This meant that my family tree was irrevocably mangled, too.
It never seemed odd to me though, because all of my Fatherâ€™s nieces and nephews were his age, since many of his elder brothers were having kids when he was an infant, much like Trump the sequel having daughter Kai Madison a year after his half-brother Barron was born.
So, I grew up knowing that my Fatherâ€™s favorite relatives were all â€œjuniorâ€ to him, even though they were not. Donâ€™t ask me what the specific title for Fatherâ€™s Younger Brotherâ€™s Wife and all that other confusion is, though. Iâ€™m as perplexed as non-desis when it comes to that. And theyâ€™re pretty baffledâ€”none of my unhyphenated friends understand why I consider my first and second cousins my brothers and sisters, which logically forces me to regard their offspring as my nieces and nephews.
To my unBrown friends, every person in that teeming group is merely a â€œcousinâ€, no matter what age or whom they popped out of…though to be fair, I’m not so enlightened either; I canâ€™t for the life of me figure out what this â€œonce removedâ€-phrasing refers to, i.e. “He’s my Mom’s cousin twice removed.”
The one time I asked my Mother what that meant, she muttered, â€œTypical! In this country, they try and remove family, we, we try and preserve it.â€ Then she launched in to why Thanksgiving is a stupid holiday and how Halloween was barely-legitimized begging, but I wonâ€™t traumatize you with those tales.