My Biker has an Infamous Family Member named Dana. She's a cousin. She's a kindergarten teacher. Yes, she has Kindergarten Teacher personality, too, and that's fine, once you get used to being spoken to s l o w l y a n d c l e a r l y with a great deal of inFLECTion EVery time you TALK to her! She's married to a nice man, has a couple of kids, good life.
And the woman is an absolute noodge.
Yeah, she's a Human Bollard. She's been one all her life, because my FIL had pictures of her as a child. Just a cylinder rounded off on top. She proved conclusively that she had no frontal lobes, just a hindbrain, and was an empty vessel filled with Satan when she was in her late teens, long before I came into the picture. According to my FIL, the Playboy Of The Western World (my Bikers bio-dad, who was a bon vivant until his last breath) a beloved family member had just passed away. Who should show up bright and early the next morning at Beloved Family Members residence but Dana?
Well...OK. The grieving husband and adult kids let her in, and Dana pulls a post-it notebook out of her purse and proceeds to go around the house sticking post-its with 'DANA' written on them on all the objects she wanted. And left.
Blink. Blink. Whaaa...?
She never stopped being AB so LUTE ly a MAZED! that she did not receive all the objects that she had peed on. She brought it up in every family conversation. She just DID not UN der STAND it! And on she'd go, and on and on, and the Biker family members would give each other longs looks that meant "Here we go again, man." And you could do it right in front of her; she didn't appear to care. Even when that rare family member who would engage straight up on the subject would say "You know, that wasn't really your place to do something like that, Dana" she'd just continue to insist that, despite there being a will, and her being way down the list of people to whom the deceased was going to leave anything to, she should have been able to choose what she wanted and take it on out the door.
She did this at other family events. Did your big Corningware casserole go missing from the potluck dinner? Dana had it. Who mopped all the table centerpieces from the wedding reception? Dana. Was a wrapped gift missing at the baby shower? Call Dana.
She'd give the stuff back without a scene, but was always AB so LUTE ly a MAZED that she was asked for these objects back. She was a member of the family too! WHAT was the PROB lem? Well, if O ther people WAN ted those things MORE, they could HAVE them.
A few years later.
A Biker family member had died suddenly. Yes, the man was 98, but he was a bull, this guy. We'd just celebrated his birthday a few months before, and everyone was astounded at the shape this guy was in. Sharp, informed, strong, healthy, all that. One morning, he simply didn't wake up.
We were seated in the side chapel of the funeral home, the Close Family Mourners area, behind a beautiful gauze curtain, when The Playboy Of The Western World gives me a nudge and goes "There she is. I wonder which one of the displays she's going to leave with."
Dana came walking in with her husband and children, and they sit up close to the casket, which was fine, it was appropriate. Nobody is wearing a pickle costume.
Myself, the Biker and The Playboy are seated at the far end of the same pew, and that's fine, it's appropriate, we're all clothed. I even have a hankie. That's the only part that mystifies me. Where did I get the hankie? I don't own hankies.
Everyone arrives, the music and lights go up a bit, and the pastor begins the eulogy.
Dana begins to cry.
Dana is really putting her whole natural self into this, too.
"AHUAAAAAAAAAA HA HA HA HUH HUH *snerrrrrk k k, snuffle, HOOOONK* WAAAAAAAAAAAAA HA HA HAAAAAAA, *gasp* A HA HA HUH HUH HUH HUH HUH *snerrrrk, snuffle snuffle sniff sniffffffff, pause, HONK, HONK* WHA OOOOOOH, HO HO HO HO HOOOO" and people, I lose it.
I lose my shit. I have been fighting it back and it just comes out and I am laughing. It is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in real life. Once the 'HO HO HO's started I was gone.
Thank God for that hankie. I was able to lean way over and cover my face with it, holding it in my hands, and hitch and rock with silent laughter. I'd think I had it under control, and then she'd go "UWAAAAAAAA" like Lucille Ball and I'd lose it again!
I felt my husband put his hand on my back and I lost it again!
I was trying so hard not to make a sound I was getting stomach cramps. This is a funeral! This is serious! I'm in the front row of the Close Family Mourners chapel! But all I could do is hold that hankie over my face and go nuts while Dana, clearly the star of her own personal movie, is sobbing like a bad, bad actress, way over the top, utterly fake, at 'hog hollering' volume.
When I laugh that hard tears run down my face. I soaked the hankie. I was creditably red nosed and smeared when I finally came up for air. Of course, Dana cuts loose again.
Down I go again, bam.
I am grateful as hell that Dana is making such a commotion this time, because nobody can hear me going *snerrrrrrrrkkkkkkkk*, you know that noise you make back in your glottal region when you're suppressing laughter, the one that hurts? Yeah.
Somehow I make it through. Danas' histrionics begin to pall. I gather myself together and compose myself to play 'dewy sad Mrs. Biker' sitting in the Near Family Chapel, awww, she's so tenderhearted. And I do this, because the deceased deserves respect and I need to get my shit together and act right. And I do this. The funeral goes on, and finally we're all moving outside.
My FIL finds me and gives me another nudge. "Look," he says, big grin, and points.
Dana is carrying a huge, huge floor arrangement of baby's breath, potted geraniums and fern sprays, the one that was in front of the altar, the size of a small foothill. She is trying to stuff it into the back seat of her tiny family car.
I leaned on that mans shoulder and just howled.
"Shush now. Oh shush," he said, and then he started laughing. Me and the Playboy have to run hide behind a nearby Irish Yew and laugh, and we're leaning on each other going "Shhhh! Come on!" and it's just not happening, people.
Then the Biker comes around the shrubbery and we get caught like naughty children. Laughter ceases.
We three go home in the same car. But all the way home, whenever the Playboy and I would happen to catch each other's eyes, we'd start giggling all over again.
Nearly home, The Biker says "Oh, didja notice Dana sneak out with the big arrangement?"
Lit me off? Off! I am wheezing with laughter! Slapping the back of the seat and stomping my feet! The Playboy is laughing and gasping for breath. My husband just shakes his head and refuses to ask at that point. And this is a thing he does. He will not ask at you. And he didn't ask at me whenever the subject came up for about a week afterward, and finally he forgot all about it.
One day long afterward, the subject comes up finally, and he goes "Did my dad tell you a dirty joke? The way the two of you were hiding back there laughing, I figured he'd told you the story about the lemon cake or something." (Different post.)
"Biker! Your dad didn't tell me a dirty joke at a funeral," I said. "No no no. We were laughing at Dana." And then the whole story comes out. Me cracking up all through the pastors' eulogy. Dana making a horses ass of herself with her theatrics. Her poor stolid husband just staring straight ahead the whole time. The Playboy nudging me and egging me on.
"I thought you were really crying," the Biker said. "I even tried to comfort you. Geeze."
"I'm sorry. I'm glad I came off so genuine though. But I swear to you I could not help it. I feel like I need to go to confession or something. I busted up all through your uncles' funeral. I'm really sorry."
"I thought Dad told you the story about the lemon cake," he says. "When we went to my grandma's funeral, he told it to me."
It's genetic. That fucked-up sense of humor? When you find your people, you know them. It's magic.