Where’s the fun? In dysfunction!

If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance. ~ George Bernard Shaw

Dysfunction(al) is an overused word.  Think about it.  Everything is dysfunctional.  Families.  Governments.  Churches.  Courts.  Schools.  Couples.  Even an individual can be dysfunctional if he/she has dysfunctional brain cells.  And of course there’s Bob Dole’s favorite:  Erectile dysfunction.  (I wonder how much they paid him for that Viagra commercial and how did Liddy feel about it?)

When I was growing up I thought there were two types of family: the alcoholic one like mine and the Ozzie and Harriet one we watched on TV.  The two types were probably not as far removed from each other as I thought when I was a child.  What exactly was the reality beneath the smooth facade of the Nelsons?  Maybe Harriet nipped a little when she was home alone day after day.  Maybe Ozzie had a paramour.  Maybe Ricky spent so much time on his music that his grades bit the dust.  Maybe Dave, the first child (the hero) was single-handedly holding the family unit together.  Not an unrealistic scenario if today’s psychologists are right and all families really are dysfunctional.

When I first met my in-laws I thought they were like the TV family, not crazy like mine.  Of course I was wrong.  We were  no more dysfunctional than they were, they just hid it better.  One thing sticks out even today.  My father-in-law had about as much difficulty showing affection as my dad did.  (Could be their generation, the WWII men.)  I knew he cared about me but he never said he did.  I cared a great deal for him.  He was funny.  So he put a bit of fun in dysfunctional.  He passed away after D and I were separated.  I still miss him.  I imagine D misses him something awful.  He was a good, good man.

I learned a great deal growing up in my crazy family.  I learned to survive.  I learned to laugh.  I learned to run like hell when things got too crazy–sometimes by literally running and sometimes by simply removing myself geographically or emotionally or both.  I learned to take those skeletons out of the closet and make them dance from time to time because they really can be entertaining and funny now that I no longer live in the same house with them.  More and more every day I choose to forget the dys and look for the fun.

A sense of humor is the greatest gift!  So have fun with your dysfunction.  That may be why you have it.

Credit to Mary Engelbreit for the poster pictured above.


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