Tuesday, June 28, 2011
"Disowned” for denying a “loan”? So Be it!
Some ten months ago I blogged about my second brother “Donnie” (pseudonym) and his gambling problem – actually an addiction- and the serious problem of giving money away to him, when you know damned well it’s enabling his habits. I called this a moral hazard. See, e.g.
To recap briefly,I told him to find something constructive to do, or anything - that would keep his mind occupied and away from slots. I also told him that given his already known heart problems, he needed to knock off ALL smoking. I informed him that I certainly couldn’t or wouldn’t be subsidizing his ill health problems brought on by his bad habits, nor should he expect me to. He was now a “big boy” (62 years old)and needed to take charge of his life, as opposed to endlessly copping for handouts to support his smoking, gambling, or pure laziness. As I pointed out to him, he’s getting $2200 a month for doing absolutely nothing, and others are busting their humps across the nation, often working TWO scut jobs and not earning near as much as he receives gratis from the gov't. So, there was NO excuse to graft for money, especially from siblings who have their own financial issues and budgets to deal with.
At that time, after begging for $40 over the phone for something, and my refusal, he let loose a stream of expletives and asserted he “disowned” me. However, a couple of months later the relationship was tentatively repaired (at least nominally) and I sent him a Xmas gift of $20 (which in hindsight I perhaps ought not have done, but I’d hoped he’d see the difference between receiving a gift and a “loan”). I told him I no longer give loans because I never receive them back! A point reinforced in a recent issue of MONEY magazine, wherein their finance advisor said under no circumstances give out family loans unless specific conditions are met, including: setting a repayment deadline date, interest -if any- to be paid if deadline is missed. Since I knew none of this would wash with Donnie, I declined all loans to him period, but left the room open for gifts. Obviously, the latter would only occur at most twice a year: for his birthday and Xmas!
Sure enough, in late May he returned asking for a “loan” of $25. Again, I made it clear to him I no longer give loans, period. However, I would give him a $25 gift for his 63rd birthday (on June 9th). I figured this would be the end of it until Xmas but I was fooling myself. Anyway, soon thereafter he suffered an apparent heart attack and was told by the doctors to shape up (again stop smoking) and the best thing would be to have open heart surgery right there and then – as they suspected major blockage. Donnie declined, fearing such surgery and opting instead for an expensive Plavix regimen which also required catching taxicabs to purchase it at distant private pharmacies, at high cost (according to his version). I told him a more practical solution to his problems was simply to get the operation.
Now, rejecting the latter was a choice he made. A deliberate choice. Knowing he has limited finances, or so he claims(though he does have VA benefits!), and also trots out other reasons why he "must eat out and not cook", must take cabs everywhere - not buses, can't save money etc., WHY choose the most expensive heart health path? Just where the hell do you think you are going to get the money? DO you think you can endlessly tap family, brothers, forever?
So two weeks ago he wrote and asked to borrow $50 for “cab fare” to go and have his blockage scan appointment. This is now $75 asked for in the span of about a month! For five days I deliberated over this, swinging back and forth between whether this was another load of codswallop (designed to provoke sympathy and get money to buy smokes or gamble) or whether it was for real. After two more days of thrashing it out, I opted to write him in a short letter: “You can have this $50, not as a loan, but outright – provided this is the last time you ask for any money”. I also asked him to put it in writing, then I'd send the money.
Two days after that, I received a letter from him, but not in reply to the one I sent (because that would have been too rapid). This letter automatically assumed there’d be no money coming and let loose a barrage of hate and vitriol that caught me by surprise, and had my wife shaking her head as she read it. My first reaction was, Who the bloody fuck does this little shit think he is? Does he believe he's entitled to my money? How dare the little fuck launch into a venomous tirade including 'burning forever in hell' merely because I declined to gratify his wishes (at that time, though as noted I did send a letter offering the $ but with strings). As for my wife, her immediate response was:
“THIS is your brother?”she asked. “All you did is turn him down for a loan!”
I replied that I didn’t even do that, since I offered him the money but with one major string attached, never to ask again! However, he decided to attack me and spit in my face, before even getting it! I posted two segments to show some of the hostility in the letter, which I will use to make a point (Note: most of his letter was omitted because I wouldn’t put the content on a public blog. I put these sections on because they're relevant to my arguments. Also, if anyone at anytime sends me anything, I consider it fair game for my blogging – especially if what they send has drastic negative connotations, displays an openly hateful or vitriolic attitude or whatever. Be sure you know what the hell you’re doing before sending me anything, especially material that can be scanned and published! I regard everything sent to me in my personal domain, for personal use - howsoever I see fit!)
As to his letter(any other names redacted to protect those he involves), note his first words are: ‘Hey X-Brother!’ (He doesn't even know the appropriate form is 'Ex-Brother')
But in truth and fact Donnie has never been a brother. Oh, he is by blood, but he lacks the emotional wiring to relate as anything other than a perpetual snake oil salesman, con artist, beggar and grafter. Looking back all through the years at about a dozen contacts he initiated (as opposed to me) at least ten of them were purely to graft for money, or beg. He begins letters cordially enough, but then doesn’t even waste one more paragraph before the money begging commences – and it’s always for a “loan” despite the fact he’s never paid them back. (I take that back. He did “pay one $150 loan back” from ten years or so ago, by giving me a set of laminated 19980s baseball and football cards). So obviously, loans have no meaning for him.
Note also from the letter the sense of absolute entitlement. He feels – by his words and attitude- he’s fucking entitled to MY money! Note the violent reaction is almost as if I was the one who had ROBBED HIM of $50, when all I did(in his mind) was decline to give it to him. (But again, I had written him to make arrangements to give it provided he agreed to no more asking at all in the future)
Thus, his whole reaction – including the ‘burn in Hell” bullshit at the end, is totally out of proportion to the stimulus of a perceived rejection!
Then, the accusations of being “cheap” are priceless, as is his woefully wrong perception that $50 is nothing much. In fact, some people almost kill themselves in tough manual jobs to earn that in one day! Think of Florida’s sugar cane cutters. So, what he is really assuming is that parting with $50 is nothing, no big deal for me.
“Cheap”? Only an purblind, half-monkey idiot would believe that judiciously managing one’s expenses, cash outflows is “cheap”. The sad thing is he isn’t capable of doing it himself. Money is “cheap” to him because he disrespects it (e.g. "you can't even give me a lousy fifty bucks" on p. 2), and uses it as if it has no value. He pisses it away senselessly on smokes, slots or whatever…then expects others to bail his sorry ass out when he exhausts the greenbacks. Then, when others who manage their money deny him the use of theirs to piss away, he loses his composure and unleashes a barrage of hate. Showing, of course, he was never a true brother to begin with, but a pathological hollow man or cipher: a pretender, user, manipulator and exploiter merely sharing the same surname.
His other bellyaching about his funeral and “advanced directives” is also choice. The sad fact is that Donnie’s choices are totally setting him up to die alone, by himself, and in a pauper’s grave. And with NO one there to see him off..
But in the end, that will have been his choice, as it was his uncle David’s – another guy (my dad’s younger brother) who could never handle money, never use it properly and was hostage to alcohol and gambling addictions. I can still recall when he came around our home in Milwaukee in 1954 and stayed a few days, before he started begging for money "to find a job downtown", and came in drunk late one night. Dad asked him to leave the next morning, since there was no place for a drunkard with five young kids in the house. He never returned and died some years later, of alcohol poisoning.
"Donnie" in a similar way has already left whatever family he once had, and he did it by his own choice, as David actually did. As for those who say I ought not write about “family”, sorry! When they ask for it, and act in certain ways, there are no holds barred. If they don’t wish to be blogged about, then they shouldn’t send vitriolic letters through the mail. Especially when they ensure they can never see my replies (e.g. by sending my letter back without reading). "Family" is too often a cover to do whatever, use emotional extortion and get away with every and any thing (or invoke as a pretext to let others, fellow siblings etc. get away with anything!). To me, family means a constellation of people who can relate to you, who often have your back (and don't talk behind your back!) and may or may not be blood relations. I have a rather large extended family (over 255 people), thanks to my wife's huge clan, as well as a long time friend of 40 years. I know in a pinch I can count on any of them to have my back - and not stab me in the back! In the end, that's what real family is about! Not the extent to which selfish demands can be appeased at the drop of a hat - at the beck and call of an unreconstructed, overaged sibling brat!