All My Hypothetical Illegitimate Children

Orphans at horse show - N.Y., 11/13  (LOC)Whenever I get back to the U.S. it becomes informal reunion season. This summer there have been bartender reunions that have lasted until 11ish, at which time we all took some Advil, a Prilosec, and called cabs.

There have been reunions with childhood friends which ended in a rehash of bitter ancient arguments (Destro was too a bad guy, you son of a bitch!). There was a family reunion to celebrate my grandmom’s 90th birthday, a wonderful occasion after which surely 37 psychologist appointments were made and 254 Xanax were swallowed.

This coming weekend there are two.

There’s a reunion with some old college rugby buddies. We’ll sing songs, eat tubular meats, drink beer, wheeze, and tell stories about our glory days that are about 12% true, 56% glorified, and 32% ripped off from Hoosiers.

And then there’s my reunion with the Magnificent 6 (so close…).

When I was 16 I spent the summer with five other guys and two priests in Mexico City doing community service for my high school. Lots of things happened there, there were things concerning wildlife, things concerning Negro Modelo, dogs, spiders, ponds, basketball, and even more stuff I can’t remember in my old age.

When I returned home, my parents joked that one day their Mexican grandchild would come knocking at the door. Despite this being biologically impossible, it became a long running joke within our family. A knock at the door during dinner and Dad would say, “Ah, here’s little Guapo, just in time to take the last piece of meatloaf!”

Another knock on the door on Christmas morning and Mom would say, “Ah, here’s little Pedro, cashing in on seven years of Christmas presents today!”

It didn’t stop there.

As I travelled more throughout my life, my parents collected more and more illegitimate grandchildren. There were trips to the Middle East, Ireland, India, and France. And every once in a while a knock on the door would evoke the old joke.

Knock knock. “Ah, here’s little Sanjay coming to escape that damn fighting in Kashmir. Put out the sandalwood chess set.”

Knock knock. “Ah, here’s little Mustafa coming to meet the infidel grandparents and have a sandwich. Damn, hide that crucifix!”

Knock knock. “Ah, here’s little Sean O’Casey Galeone come to meet his grandparents. Do we have anything he can smith?”

Knock Knock. “Ah, here’s little Pierre to meet…damn, why did you have to have a French kid? I hate the French.”

I thought the fun would never end. But then my parents began to understand that without a major accident or a desperate lesbian couple, they were not getting grandchildren out of me. And the tone became more disappointment.

Knock knock. “Ah…well, this could have been little Zoltán if you had been just a little more careless with that waitress in Budapest.”

“Sorry Mom.”

“Sorry doesn’t get me Zoltán!”

So, this Friday, as I step out to my reunion with the Magnificent 6, I will prepare to drink tequila for the first time in a decade, I will strain to remember the exact circumstances that surrounded the snake day, and the time we ate the hotdogs after getting a guitar thrown at us.

And I might just keep an eye out for a 21-year-old Mexican busboy, because after a few tequilas I might bribe him to play one hell of a prank on the grandparents.

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