Dysfunction Junction

Posted by: on Jan 10, 2014 | No Comments

Anyone seen August: Osage County? Talk about your dysfunctional families. I would love to meet the folks who were the inspiration for Tracy Letts who wrote the screenplay as well as the original Broadway show. These people are totally fucked up!

I have stated loudly and frequently that I believe that every family operates at some level of dysfunction, which brings me to one of my most favorite IraSez moments (before I even called them that), which I am happy to share with you. About 10 or 11 years ago, Zach was playing little league and I was one of those idiots who was a little league coach. I could write a whole bunch of blog posts about those years but let’s stick with this one moment.

One afternoon, I was chatting with some of the ladies at the snack bar in Gero Park, where we play our little league games here in Millburn/Short Hills. Someone mentioned that they had just seen Home For The Holidays, another movie that delves deeply into dysfunctional families. When one of the snack bar ladies asked what the movie was about I responded “It’s about dysfunctional families in America and I believe that all families operate at some level of dysfunction.”

Listening in on this conversation was Lily von Mayflower (not her real name in case you can’t figure that one out). Lily is so named for her oh so pink and green Lily Pulitzer outfits and the fact that she can probably trace her roots back to the Mayflower (and her other roots to some expensive salon in NYC). In her mind, she’s a Native American. Lily’s family life consists of her money mongering…I mean managing hubby, 4 perfect little cherubs, 2 dogs, 2 Volvos and ye big ass house in Old Short Hills – where there are no blacks, no Jews and no gays…at least on her block. She lives in her perfect little WASPY world, just like her ancestors hoped life would be.

Upon hearing my thoughts on family life in America, her reaction was “Ira, I don’t know why you say that. My family is perfectly functional.”
And I, without missing a beat, calmly responded “And that’s what makes you so dysfunctional.”

At which point, Lily turned a perfect shade of Pulitzer pink (more like a bright red), pirouetted and pranced away, leaving the snack bar ladies and I to quietly chuckle. When one of the ladies asked me why I would say such a thing to Madam Mayflower, my response was typical me, “Because it’s my job to say what other people are thinking but don’t have the nerve to say out loud.”

Despite the fact that I coached her son the rest of that season and the one after that, Lily never spoke to me again. I don’t even think she could look at me without turning all pink. Not that I missed her.  After all, I’ve always gotten bad reactions to insect stings and wasps are no exception.