always remember, when burying the hatchet, you aren't the only one who knows its location... watch your back.
and when turning the other cheek, you can expect that one to get slapped, too.
on a personal note, i find it amusing that it does not matter how much i wish to extend the olive branch, i always seem to end up with olive-branch lash marks for my troubles... today i spent time with one step-son, supporting him in his college career and choices in life... it's always a pleasure to see him... in doing so, i tried to be friendly and cordial with my other step-son, whom is the diametrically opposite the first... no matter how hard i try, it is never a pleasure.
i'm not going to delude you (or myself) with the illusion that his an our issues are not mutual... we have both done things which should not have been done; said things which should not have been said... some things are water under the bridge; some flood over... but today, it was to be a détente, a mutual cease-fire for the sake of the family and to enjoy some family time; to bond over the mutual good fortune of our relative... it might as well have been the Tet Offensive.
we were talking about several movies; older movies, new movies, spoilers for movies... my wife brought up the upcoming movie of "God Isn't Dead"... i could feel my heart sink, as i knew that he wouldn't have let a religious reference go unchallenged; him being the faithful atheist zealot he is... his derisive comment was, "You know that's not based on a true story," as if we were thinking Kevin Sorbo and Dean Cain just happened to be part of some documentary.
i should have let it go... i knew it at the time... my brain knew it, at least... my mouth didn't get the memo.
"That's why it's called a movie," i said, too much sarcasm in my voice... "Who thinks this is based on fact?"... to which he replied, "The same people who think The Passion of the Christ is based on fact."
okay... what do i do?... do i go on the offensive and provide some comments about his own beliefs (or lack thereof) or do i sit back and allow him to insult me and my wife (his mother) some more?... as i have allowed him to spit his derision in my face for several years, i suppose it is partly my fault... but, as i have made it clear that i won't allow that; i face a dilemma... do i go back to being spat upon, or do i do something about it?
i chose to just leave... call it a day... throw in the towel... move on... forgive-and-, well, i'm short on forgiveness these days... i can only take being kicked so much... so leaving seemed the best route... not classy, but it removes me from the situation.
speaking of classy... i'm short on that these days, too... he had his shit-eating grin, looking forward to shaking my hand on leaving... kind of his own little, "Well, that point goes to me"... i don't plan on losing well.
"F-U"... and i walk away.
well, apparently that was not what he wanted to hear... it definitely wasn't what should have been said... but i'll admit i felt much better haven gotten that off my chest.
i hope he got the same relief from the following bits he had to say in return... these are my favorite bits:
"You can't talk to me like that in front of my family"... yet he has never had that same restriction.
"You don't deserve my mom and brother"... a common refrain from his teenage years when i was dating his mother... Oedipus much?
"You've never respected me"... now that's not true, but how long can you respect someone who (figuratively, of course) defecates on you time and time again?... what am i, in an abusive relationship?... yet i keep coming back... maybe i am.
"I'm the only one who stands up to you"... obviously, he has a delusional image of married life... and his brother has, but not in that in-your-face manner, but in a more passive-aggressive mode... sometimes, he'll even sit down and discuss his issues with me... he, i respect.
i should learn from this experience... i should still walk away, but i should also let him have his hollow victory... i should shake his hand and wish him well... i know that one day, he'll treat someone else with the same mocking derision... someone who doesn't have the family ties to restrain him... one day, that someone will break his jaw... and he'll learn a very hard lesson; one i have tried to spare him for some time... but you can lead a horse to water; you can't make him think.
the greatest lesson i learned from this incident is going to remain my secret... but i have learned that he has a tell (like in poker)... and when i saw it, i couldn't suppress a grin.
i feel bad about that grin.