My mother was raised as an Orthodox Jew in a poor immigrant neighborhood of Brooklyn in the 30s known as “East New York” and she fell for my father who was a dangerous character and a card shark, the son of a prominent Mafioso and lawyer for the thoroughly mobbed-up teamsters union, who, eye-catching suffered from alopecia areata and entirely lacked hair, eyebrows, eyelashes the works. I honestly made the common male mistake of thinking that my mother was the uptight one and my father was the wild one, but a little math will show you how this is always wrong. Who is wilder, the minotaur or the girl who loves the minotaur? The girl. Because she chose to make a baby with a minotaur! Her troping is towards the weird. The plain old minotaur just chose a girl, and why wouldn’t he. That’s the way of minotaurs.
A lot of things had been going tangled for me for years and i thought maybe if I knew how I came to be the way I was I could unspool them, get back to where they got tangled up, straighten it out, and get out of the trap I semeed to find myself deeper and deeper in every day. So I thought — why not ask my Grandma Gussie? Why did a good Jewish girl who never got less than an A on a test on her life choose to leave it all behind and marry a louche character like dear old Dad?
The bold ones always break the rules.
So the old ones have to make the rules
Knowing they will be broken, by their boldest daughters
Of whom they are proudest. Had I forbidden only murder
She would have found herself a murderer and you would stand before me
Now you with your questions, as a half-murderer
If even you chose to frame your own rebellion
As a murder, and not a question. No, as a wise Grandma
I made the rules strict, I made the standard an unreachable conscientiousness
So when my favorite daughter rebelled, she took the steps towards light
And birthed a falling star, now go and wander but rechristen your wandering
As a plumbline descent towards the heart
Of what I desire, of what I have always desired of what
My grandmas before me have desired.”
Wow Grandma I said, most Grandmas wouldn’t give me such an honest answer.
-Them? she said, handing me a second piece of noodle kugel. They are bad Grandmas.