Now, just to get the clock of my conscience cleaned before I bother getting into the finite details of what’s sure to be an exercise in spastic verbosity: it would be a total dose of horse-pie pate’ to claim that I ever wanted a sister, when I was growing up. I’ve always had the classics earmarks of an only child, perpetually festering in the third or fourth step of acceptance that this is simply notthe case:
3) Recognize that the world does not, in fact, owe you anything. Come to grips with the fact that there one needs not buckle in accepting that a nuclear family is not a natural prelude to a total fallout, and that there’s something intrinsic and beautiful about sharing the things that you call your own.
… to which I would simply thumb my fucking nose and scream something vaguely negative. This was standard operating procedure for the better part of the last twelve years, high-pointed by an episode in which I took a scalpel to my younger sibling’s guts in the middle of a crowded pizzeria, drove her to tears, and then sneered something about her “needing to know where I was coming from.”
And, yeah. For those of you wondering, there are no shortages of these slide-show moments in my life, and I have a shit’s-whit hesitation in laying them out flat, like a go-nowhere hand of cards. Vanity’s overrated, and I would argue that attempting to spackle over the inherent cracks in one’s own ass only works if you’re keeping the right kind of company. For the misanthropic, the surest currency is to damn the torpedoes, unzip your jeans, and let your shame hang right the hell on out.
But, uh… right. Back to the tilling of childhood dramas and traumas.
My sister has alternately been my best friend, my only friend, my biggest source of embarrassment, my biggest source of pride, and—somewhere in the midst of all of that—one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. Not to imply that I take credit for the woman that she’s become in any shape or fashion, but that she did so despite having someone like me hanging over her shoulders like a lead apron; in a family that’s run hot with happiness and frigid with self-loathing, that’s a serious fucking bulls-eye. In times of perceived plenty, we’d be attached at the hip and ready to go guns-for-guns with the state of the world around us… in the opposite years, I’d drop her without hesitation or mercy, and selfishly get caught up in some form of addiction or star-humping delusion. And in as much, I can sum up the single point of division that splits our personalities: if the tables were turned, I still wouldn’t be taking her calls. The grudges I hold are like scars, and once-fucked, I’m satisfied to never be shy again, in terms of my feelings.
But Exene’s done one better, in that sense. She doesn’t see the world through some rose-tinted fog, or employ naiveté’ in dealing with the day-to-day assholes whose sole purpose is to hammer-punch us in the back of the head until we begin wondering why the fuck we took that job or made that friend in the first place… she’s as callous a bastard as I’ve ever been, except she understands that you simply can’t endure in the long-term without making some kind of inroads at accepting it. She sees the worst in those around her—something we’ve inherited in a lifetime of accepting the checks and sins of being reared by a bloodline of artistic elitists—but she doesn’t blanch, even when faced with the worst of that. In as much, I admire her more than she’ll probably ever know, and have spent the better part of my current existence trying to make sense of how we split apart, and enjoying the quiet moments before she goes off, gets married, has kids, and succeeds wildly at… whatever the fuck it is that she’ll eventually set her mind to. The Hauser-brand internal clock makes no provisions for what “should” be done, and eventually tick-tick-ticks us to where we need to be… a day late, and a half-dozen bucks short.
In digression and summary, this explains why Exene is a constant in the sporadic misadventures and misfired memories that will constitute the rest of this verbal sloggery. I can’t do what I do without her, and if it strikes you as weird that a thirty-X, semi-reformed loser would make it a point to fly his sister halfway around the world just to hang out in weird and stupid locales… then I’ll nod and tell you that I understand.
But a bit under the dried-out surface of my smile, I’ll probably fight a twitch of pity. Honest as it is.