Monday, March 24, 2008


Family is a funny thing... these are folks you are born with, spend most of your early life with, fight with, get drunk and cry with... and through it all, are there for each other with a fair amount of love and support.

So when a trusted and even beloved member of the family starts ripping on you and pretty much demeaning you, you tend to get pretty bitter about the bloody thing, even years later. I'm finding that to be the case today.

My uncle and I had only met a handful of times. I reconnected with him while I was a student at UWGB over 12 years ago and we had had a pretty good relationship. He has his quirks, which I could accept and we had our disagreements, but never to the point of disrespect.

It all came to a head about 4 years ago... My uncle, who is a big fan of sending stuff via e-mail regarding real or supposed injustices sent me an e-mail about boycotting all gas stations for one day to protest high oil prices. I wrote him and said this was not very feasible, as most people would still buy gas, either the day before or the day after. I suggested things like alternative fuels, increased technology, etc. as a means of promoting some intelligent debate.

Well... his response was a bit... harsh.

He basically mocked me for not "Being around the block," because I lived in a sparsely-populated state. Fine, I can take that criticism. Then he tore into my family. He called me, my brothers, and my mom "ungrateful" and "selfish" for what my dad did for us and said he understood why my dad left my mom.

It was like I got hit right between the eyes with a 2x4... and not in the "I have an epiphany" sense, either!

It floored me!!! My own flesh and blood basically ripping on me and my brothers and my mom, simply because I didn't agree with his opinions. And I respected the man! Hell, I was even thinking about flying to Phoenix and spending time with him and his wife.

It's one of the few times I actually bawled that didn't have to do with a friend or loved one passing away.

A few days later, with my temper still unassuaged, I blasted him in an e-mail... most of it is laced with some pretty salty language, but here's what I wrote at the end.

Names changed to protect the guilty.

If this is what I can expect from you in the terms of personal correspondence, do me a huge favor... don't write. In fact, I will not expect nor accept any correspondence, nor respond to you unless I get an apology. And a sincere one at that.

Frankly, I'm disappointed in you, ****. I expected much better from you.

Don't bother to respond unless you do it to apologize.

Your nephew (believe it or not), Matt

P.S. Just because I live in a State with a significantly smaller population than your's, doesn't mean I'm any less intelllegent or "world wise." You have your opinions, I have mine... The only thing is, is I at least have the maturity not to launch into personal attacks against you when your ideals don't mesh with mine.

I guess I should follow my own advice... right, Nicci?

After that, I blocked his address from my e-mail. And with the exception of a dinner 2 years ago in Sioux Falls and e-mailing him Zoey's picture after she was born, I haven't heard from him since.

Tonight, he is back in the area. Dad is taking us out to Outback for supper. I'm going to go, if only to make Dad happy. I hope I can remain civil.

By the way, he still hasn't apologized... and I still haven't forgiven him.

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