Mike: Boy, the Packers really bit the big Aaron Rogers-apple, didn’t they, Millie?
Millie: Yeah, it was a real Red Zone zombie-zone-out.
Mike: A god-awful goal-line goof-up.
Millie: A big Brady bad boy benefit bonanza boondoggle. But look, Mike, now It’s almost game time!
“Yeah. Ok. So, quick, Mom, did you ever suspect you had a half-brother, I mean before now?”
“Can we just not talk about it? Can we just sit quietly and watch the TV?”
“Aren’t you happy about it?”
“Happy? Are you meshuggeneh? The whole thing is ridiculous.”
“Cousin Shirley said this guy emailed her and he wants to meet you.”
“I should meet him, yet? No way. I’m not interested. I’m 68. I lived my whole life without a brother. And that’s the way I want to keep it,” Millie said.
“But you knew this Skip guy, didn’t you?”
“I don’t know. Vaguely. Maybe. A name like Skip, though, I should remember. A Shlomo?, maybe not, but a Skippy, yes. And who names a kid Skippy, anyway?
“So, you maybe knew him?”
“No. I didn’t say that. The 1960s were still the 1950s. No kid knew who was who then. Nobody told us anything.”
“He told Shirley he went places with you…”
“He said that?!”
“Michael. If this is who she’s talking about, there were friends of my parents with a kid. I saw them once in my whole life. Once. We went to Washington. To the Library of Congress. Us and this other family. To see the book my grandfather wrote. It was there in the library. My mother always talked about how he was a lawyer and he wrote law books. Like on the lawyer shows. With the kind of beige and red spines. And we sat at a table in this huge room with tables and lamps and someone brought us the book with my grandfather’s name on it. I never saw my mother so proud and happy. That’s all I remember. But these people had nothing to do with us. We never saw them again.”
“But this Skip guy, told Shirley your father came to their house with presents for his mother and all. Not just on holidays but once a month.”
“What? Once a month? That’s nuts.”
“Yes, and your father would give his mother money for groceries and the rent.”
“That’s crazy. He’s making this up. Or Shirley is. She never liked my father. Why, I don’t know. He was a good man. He loved my mother and me. More than anything in the whole world. He would never do anything like that. We lived in New York for god sake. He had a job. It has to be some other guy.”
“But Ancestry said there were DNA matches, she said.”
“Ancestry, Shmancestry. They just say that so you’ll click on it pay them more money. Look, I know about DNA from Finding Your Roots. You know there are matches from ten generations ago. But this Skip person saying it comes from my father is farkakteh (BS).
“He could be family.”
“Family he’s not. Family is caring, suffering, joy. Day after day. Missing them when they’re away, leaving a hole in your heart when they’re gone. Family is not DNA. We’re all DNA. That doesn’t make us all family. Somebody shows up willy-nilly and she wants right away to make them family?
“Listen to me, Michael. People like making something out of nothing. For fun. There was this TV show called This Is Your Life.” Some famous person would be tricked to come on and the host would say, ‘This is your life, Chaim Pupik’, or whatever his name was and then the person’s third grade teacher would tell some cute little story about how the guy once pulled a girl’s ponytail in class, and they’d hug and then the host, Ralph Edwards, would say, ‘and now here’s Mary Lou Lefkowitz’, or whatever, and a fifty-something with a pony tail comes out and everyone would clap and go ‘aaaahhh.’ Enough to make you sick. Who’s to say Lefkowitz was who she said she was? Look, people want schmaltz. Real or not real. TV gives them schmaltz. Life is not schmaltz.
“The past is past, Michael. Some things need to be left alone. What if this Skip guy was someone like my uncle, who lived with us for two years? He was a sleaze. When I was twelve, when he thought no one was looking, he’d touch me, brush his fingers across my chest, and say, ‘Millie, what a nice dress you’re wearing.’ Imagine how I’d feel if that low-life pervert ever tried to come back into my life saying ‘hey, let’s get in touch’ like nothing ever happened. How horrible that would be. For all I know this Skip person might be my sleaze-ball uncle calling himself Skip? Put yourself in my shoes.”
“I don’t think it’s anything like that. Mom, it’s only the genome. People are finding one another all over the place.”
“So, which is it, Michael? Family or the no-big-deal genome? Either way, I’m done. Would you please put the god-damned Superbowl game on and pass me a toothpick and the Swedish meatballs?”
“Okay.” He shrugs, reaching for the remote. “Let’s forget it.”
Then, Millie says, quietly, “I think it’s a scam.”
“Look,” she says, “There are three possibilities: Number one, if it’s a real match, regardless of how many generations ago, I want nothing to do with it. Number two, it’s a total trivial non-story, so forget about it. And, Number three, it’s some kind of a scam. And, I’m going with number three. I watch The Impostors on Netflix. I know from this stuff. The guy’s pulling a fast one, and I’ll bet you fifteen bucks on it, and another twenty-five, two-to-one, on KC and my man Mahomes by ten points. You in?
Millie: And, now, welcome everyone to the 2021 LV Superbowl!
Mike: In the beautiful new Louis Vuitton Stadium
Millie: In the heart of downtown of Las Vegas
Mike: Brought to you by the makers of the limited edition, high performance, Lamborghini Veneno
Millie: And now for the National Anthem sung by the great Luther Vandross
Mike: With Lindsey Vonn doing the play-by-play
Millie: Me? I got nothing. I’m done.
Mike: Okay, I’ve got one, and our color commentator Lawrence Vickers, fullback for the 2012 Dallas Cowboys.
Millie: Wait, wait, I have one more. And stay tuned for the Mrs. Meyer’s Lemon Verbena hand cream half-time show.