[Foxchapel, PA] In the most recent sign of his fiercely independent spirit, a Foxchapel couple’s 14-year-old son demanded they provide him with his own separate cellular service, even though it would be much easier and more economical to keep him on the family share plan they have through Verizon. His mother was deeply moved.
“Our little boy’s growing up.”
The young firebrand’s father is not at all surprised, and traces his son’s autarchical genes all the way back to his Great-Great-Uncle Archie, who was born in England in 1901.
“Uncle Archie was also 14 when he ran away from the family home in Lancashire and lied about his age to get into the British Navy during the Great War against the fearsome German Empire.”
He goes on to draw parallels between Archie’s heroic exploits during the Battle of Jutland in 1916, often undertaken against his direct superior’s wishes, and his son’s defiant refusal to keep his room in some semblance of order.
“When I tell my boy about his ancestor’s daring adventures he usually looks unimpressed, which sometimes makes me angry. But then I remind myself that I’m talking to a veteran player of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, so obviously the greatest naval battle in history is bound to seem dull.”
The pioneer spirit clearly runs strongly in his lineage, as it is also exhibited by his 24-year-old daughter from a previous marriage. Having graduated from university two years ago, she defied convention to embark on a career in the performing arts by moving into their home.
“Her single-minded pursuit of her goal is astounding, as she refuses to consider any other kind of work as she awaits a callback for a big Broadway production. In my day I would never have dared take such a risk. All I did was move across the country alone and take a string of menial jobs to fund my education at night school so I could become a boring, but consistently in demand, city architect.”
As he sees his grown daughter sitting on their couch all day long studying her craft by binge-watching Game of Thrones, he cannot help but be reminded of his Great-Great-Aunt Sara on his mother’s side, who grew up in a Chicago tenement slum. She survived a severe bout of tuberculosis that ravaged her lungs in 1909, before going on to raise five children and actively participate in the Suffragette Movement. Life was tough, but she was lucky to have received some medical attention from a local charity, where a harried doctor advised her to ‘keep breathing or you’ll die’.
“Unfortunately, my daughter also suffers from a multitude of diagnostically-challenging chronic ailments, such as MCS. I can’t remember all of them but they’re basically the ones listed as ‘trending’ on Facebook.”
His wife cannot believe the strength of character her stepdaughter displays by not burdening the medical profession with her maladies like her 1900s namesake did. Instead this resourceful young woman chooses to treat herself daily using medical marijuana.
“She’s far too proud to ask for assistance to pay for her medications, bless her, so she just goes through my purse when I’m in the shower instead.”
Her father sees clear echoes of Aunt Sara’s activist instincts.
“I am also reminded of a young Che Guevara by the manner in which she’ll raid our wine cellar nightly, then, with half a bottle in her, proceed to lecture us both on all the ways in which our thinking is ‘profoundly fucked up’, as she so eloquently puts it.”
Most recently she got on her dad’s case about not drinking coffee from disposable cups made with recycled materials when he’s out on the road. When he pointed out that he’s had the same reusable thermos flask and screw-top mug for twenty years, she told him where he could shove it, as it was probably made by Chinese slave labor, which she could easily look up on her iPhone 6 if he insisted on being such a dick about it instead of just believing her.
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