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My Father Likes ‘Cock,’ and Other Thanksgiving Revelations

November 29th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  3 Comments

Last Wednesday evening, eight members of the Gross clan—including various wives and lovers—gathered in a very nice restaurant in Brooklyn for a bit of pre-Thanksgiving festivity. There were oysters and scallops, wine pairings and a cheese course. And, of course, much discussion of current events. It being almost-Thanksgiving, and many of the Grosses having flown into New York, the TSA was on our minds. My father, however, had one vehement opinion about the subject—or, more specifically, about John Tyner’s immortal line “Don’t touch my junk!”

Dad (in faux-screeching mode): “Why do they call it junk? It’s not junk! It’s very useful and important. Don’t call it junk!”

Me: “What term do you prefer?”

Dad (quietly, and after much thought): “Don’t touch my cock.”

Well.

And that was hardly the strangest thing I heard over the Thanksgiving holiday. For instance: Did you know there’s an entire illegitimate, love-child branch of my family? Neither did I, but it’s true!

Not Miller Nathan "Hobby" Hobson—just another bastard.

The story, recently revealed to my parents, is that during World War I, Nathan Miller, my mother’s maternal grandfather, who as Natan Chmilevsky immigrated to America from Lithuania, knocked up his mistress—a shiksa who named the child of their union … Miller Nathan Hobson. Yep.

Apparently—and I may be getting some of these details wrong; Mom, Dad, correct me in the comments—even after this, uh, incident, the mistress and her family continued to see the Millers socially. Miller Nathan even worked at Nathan Miller’s furniture business until 1947. At least Miller Nathan took on the nickname “Hobby”—perhaps to distinguish himself from his employer/father? Which, wow. Awkward!

Unless it wasn’t. Sometimes people get used to weird familial and social situations, sometimes wives forgive philandering husbands, sometimes the things that seem like such a big deal to us really weren’t to the people involved. It’s hard, if not impossible, for us to know what happened and how everyone felt such a long time ago, and it’s presumptuous to assume emotional crimes were committed. (Although, of course, maybe they were!)

The other point to make is a minor political one, which is that as much as conservatives would have us look to past generations as, say, “The Greatest!™,” they were all just as screwed up as we are today. Mistresses, lovers, swindlers, liars, crooks, divorcers, bastards, tyrants—they were also brave, loving, honest, and responsible. Except when they weren’t. All that’s left for us to do is to learn about their deeds and misdeeds with clear eyes and open minds, and to sit back—as we did during Thanksgiving—and chuckle at their all-too-human foibles.


Responses

  1. The Momma says:

    November 29th, 2010at 3:26 pm(#)

    And the best Thanksgiving conversation ever award is firmly in the hands of Dadwagon now.

  2. Carol Scott says:

    July 4th, 2011at 3:53 pm(#)

    This is of questionable taste. Please remove my father’s photo.

  3. Matt says:

    July 4th, 2011at 4:58 pm(#)

    Questionable taste? I’d call it bad taste, definitely. How’s the replacement photo?

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