Saturday, December 19, 2009

December 19, 2009

Growing up in an Italian family, whenever there was a family function, it was a pretty big affair. For instance, I had 10 aunts and uncles, and 33 first cousins, not including spouses…and that was on my dad’s side alone! So when we were kids, and playing at my grandmother’s house, or somewhere else, we would invariably be surrounded by a host of Italian aunts and uncles and cousins. One of the things that always used to happen, is that if one of the kids needed a Kleenex for something…POOF…there was an aunt with a Kleenex right away. And after the nose was blown, or wiped, the kid would hand the Kleenex back and go back to happily playing.

The odd thing is that there generally wasn’t a Kleenex box in the room, and afterwards, the Kleenex would just disappear. I never thought much about it, but as I got older, I started to look for it. One time, one of my younger cousins was playing, and when he sneezed, I watched one of my aunts whip a Kleenex out of her pocket in a flash. She held the Kleenex up to my young cousin’s nose, and then helped him blow his nose. A quick wipe, and he was back to playing again, but now I had to watch to see where this Kleenex went. I assumed it would just be back into the pocket, but I was wrong.

In a lightning-smooth transition that would have made David Copperfield proud, I watched her jam the snotty Kleenex in her sleeve. In her sleeve! She just tucked it right up beneath the underside of her sleeve on her arm…I was shocked. But this explained so much! Now I knew why they always disappeared without us knowing…because our aunts were apparently walking around with our snotty used tissues in their sleeves! After I saw it once, I spotted it every time it happened. But I never said anything, because what would be the point? It was just an attempt to help out the kids, and if they were ok to have tissues smearing snot on their upper arms, who was I to say anything?

But last night, something weird happened. I was watching TV with my girlfriend, and since we’re both getting over being sick this week, she had a Kleenex in her hand. And while we were sitting there, her Kleenex fell down between us. I reached over to pick it up and just put it on the side table, but in a flash…POOF…she scooped it up and tucked it into sleeve!

And then it hit me…

Oh my god, we’ve become our aunts and uncles.

I’m not sure if it’s an Italian thing (she’s Italian too, and has 4 nieces and nephews), but now I’m watching her do the same lightning-quick move I saw my aunts do, and I found myself struggling between being grossed out, like I was as a child, and impressed with the functionality of the process. I mean, why get up and walk to the garbage every time? Why not just stock ‘em up in your sleeve, and ditch them next time you’re in the kitchen or bathroom? And you can’t really put them back in your pocket, can you? It’s like having an Inbox and Outbox system…right on your person!

It’s the Circle of Life…
(cue Elton John music)

1 comment:

Any2crds said...

First, my family and I are of Ukrainian and Polish descent. All of my Aunts and Grandmothers had the same Doc Hollywood quick draw Kleenex sleeve. So, it begs the question, if there is only one Kleenex in the holster, is it a single shot or a six shooter? Things that make you go hmmmmm.... ewwwwwww...