My Cousins Are Geniuses and I Love Them

“We won the right to vote and wear pants, but we lost hysteria,” Jacob says sardonically. It is Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, but we’ve just celebrated today to accommodate flights. Also because, as it turns out, Thanksgiving on Friday is genius and we’re doing it from now until someone produces sound objections. Also, it turns out that my cousins are geniuses as well.  Thus far we’ve discussed:

Emotions as drugs – chaos, panic and devastation. Giving oneself over to an emotion for the liberation that abandonment (or acceptance) can bring.

Drugs as drugs – space cakes on New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam will yield emotional outpourings, fear of being set on fire by an eight year old girl’s firecracker, and retreating to one’s rooftop before irrevocable fear and geographic lost-ness takes hold.

Loss of control as emasculation ­why is hysteria and panic emasculating? Is hysteria inherently female? Why did women stop fainting? Was it really just corsets?

Education advocacy – what is an inalienable right and who ordains it? Jesus or basic humanism?

Decoding language – understanding one’s allies by understanding and speaking their language. If a shared agenda doesn’t mean a shared belief system and you’ve agreed to an unexplored shorthand, how do you know when your ally is your enemy?

Society’s repression of extreme emotions – or more specifically that we’ve been trained not to give into them. When did this happen? Which emotions are deemed less acceptable? How often does professional success result from emotional vice?

The elimination of hysteria – Did masturbation really release our demons?

These are just a few notable topics from our evening’s conversation. The other topics are too personal to get into and the hop-scotch too complex to recreate.

We all agreed that having an SO* who can “hang” with the family, and handle themselves, is a winner. The four of us all seem disinterested in having children. Luckily one of us is a gay man, so that risk profile just dropped drastically. I recount that my last SO treated family as a choice and that it was a point of tension and stress for me. The lesson for me was that I will never choose an SO over my family. Daniel has an epiphany, or a lifting of the fog, as he puts it, that this is one more thing he can blame on the family. Absolution! Renewed sense of shared beliefs, identity, and familial bond!

Later we are pulled over by the Rockville City cops. They’re bored and clearly didn’t bust enough people the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Sasha’s headlight is out. Jacob isn’t wearing his seatbelt. Daniel’s hands are in his sweater sleeves, “put your hands where I can see them.” It’s fucking cold. The cops never talk to me. 30 minutes later, after not being able to find the vehicle registration and successfully passing a road sobriety test and a Breathalyzer, we end up with a collective $120 in tickets and a notice for car repairs. I hate these cops. But it makes for a funny story at the Hanukkah party the next day.

*significant other