Tuesday, January 11, 2011

queen for the day

There are lots of serviceable words in our language that have been overused and misused into verbal mush. Dysfunctional is one of them. Anyone who talks about their dysfunctional family as if they're unique should be smacked hard out of their egocentric little world.

That said, most people find their own family's brand of dysfunction understandably fascinating. Recognizing that mine is neither the worst nor the most entertaining in the world does not prevent me from declaring that in my little corner of the universe, I am Queen for the Day in the my-family-is-more-fucked-up-than-yours contest.

I just finished reading In the Time of Butterflies by Maria Julia Alvarez. A compelling historical novel, set in the Dominican Republic, about four sisters who lived under the regime of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. The real life dictator. His 30 years in power, to Dominicans known as the Trujillo Era, is considered one of the bloodiest ever in the Americas...(source)

After I finished the book, I called my father, who is also named Rafael Leonidas.

Me: Dad, did your mother name you after the brutal Dominican fascist, Trujillo?
Dad: Yeah.
Me: What the hell? Seriously, what could she have been thinking?
Dad: Well, it could have been worse.
Me: Really?
Dad: Yeah, she could have named me after Hitler like your Uncle Adolf.
Oh, yeah. My abuela named one of her sons after a Dominican tyrant and the other after one of the most evil men who ever lived.

Queen for the Day in the Dysfunctional Family Relay.

4 comments:

Victoria Carlson said...

Good Lord, Enita. Please write a book already.
I'm thirty minutes (no sign of stopping) into your link to this blog I didn't know existed.
Have Mercy!
I HAVE to finish my syllabus for tomorrow morning!

I'd buy four copies immediately for my best friends.

dragonfly lady said...

Ah...another fan waiting for Enita's 1st publication...Victoria, I hope your words will ring louder than the members of the Queen's family!
I read Butterflies and never saw the name-connection. Loved the book, am having a hard time understanding the abuela's intentions with naming her sons.

Epiphenita said...

You both delight me.

My abuela was a woman of very limited flexibility. She liked absolutes...with which Catholicism dovetailed nicely (yes, I slammed the Church of Rome with an indirect holy ghost reference–I am shameless).

She was, I might add, a racist. Yes. Like many Carribeans, she fancied herself untainted by the genetic pool of an island infused with native/aboriginals and descendants of African slaves, dumped there some hundred years earlier. In that tropical melting pot she and hers maintained that they were Spaniards.

This combination of authority worship and bigotry, I posit, appealed to her narrow and hard-ass view of things...and led her to choose awful namesakes for her sons.

BH said...

I, for one, wait for your list of *UNAPPROVED* baby names, updated quarterly!!!