I'm going to end up nuts. I don't say that lightly, but with every expectation that it will happen. Weirdness runs in both sides of my family. It's not insanity exactly; nothing that gets treated with therapy or ends up in the medical journals. We just tend to get a little light in the attic. Grandma Holcomb, for example, sought revenge on her philandering husband by giving all their sons girls' names. Felicia and Clair changed their names, but Uncle Vivienne never bothered. Another odd quirk? The wealthiest branch of the family lives in a house with a dirt floor. With linoleum nailed to it. When Grandpa's mind went, we had to put him in the home. He didn't remember his own slow decline, and he refused to accept that he was in a hospital. As far as he was concerned, he simply woke up one day in a strange room, surrounded by overly cheerful people who tried to slip pills into his applesauce. Overnight, his life had become an episode of The Prisoner. Unfortunately for the home, their security system was designed to keep track of doddering old men who drooled into their bathrobes all day. Grandpa usually managed to escape at least once a week. Sometimes he convinced visitors to let him out; other times he stole the door codes from the nurses' station. Once he dragged the picnic table to the edge of the cement "exercise yard" and scaled an eight-foot fence. Passing motorists were often startled by a bald pajama-clad man who attempted to commandeer their vehicles. They still tell the stories at our family reunions. And therein lies my dilemma. How on earth will I live up to such strikingly odd people? So far the rest of my generation is doing much better than I. My elder brother has worn a tie every day since he was 16, even to play rugby, and my sister plays dress-up with dead bugs. Cousin Mike translates fairy tales into Klingon and back. Even my little brother has decided to make a living as an artist. (His madness is obviously more profound than the others.) All I have to offer is a tendency toward absent-mindedness and a fondness for handicrafts. Any fool can crochet a lopsided doily, but only a really impressive fool will be held up as an example for future generations. I have no choice. I can only continue as I have been, searching for that special eccentricity that will set me apart from society and cement my place within family folklore. I won't give up. Others have come into their heritage late, so there is still hope for me. I dream that someday, wide-eyed urchins will hear of my exploits alongside the tales of Grandpa Phineas and the sawmill, Aunt Dody and the firecrackers, and cousin Tater and the reason why you never clean a firearm naked.

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