So apparently my father-in-law was ticked off that I didn’t call him before, during, and after last Sunday’s Jets game. Did I mention they won?! Anyway, the old man is a Jets fan, but has no one to watch the game with or talk to because he has no friends. This is not an exaggeration. Both my father-in-law and mother-in-law have alienated every friend they have ever had. Spend five minutes with them and you’ll know why. Now, they’re not bad people. Really. Especially when they’re apart. But when they’re together it gets Ali/Frazier ugly. There’s a lot of backstory that I won’t go into, but trust me, they’re nasty to one another. I once witnessed my future mother-in-law (I was only dating my wife at the time and still cant believe I married into this family) try to stab my future father-in-law with a fork. One of the highlights of my life.
Anyway, I didn’t call him on Sunday. Here’s why. When I do call their house, my mother-in-law answers the phone. Always. I don’t think my father-in-law is allowed to answer the phone. So I have to go through her barrage of questions (how are the kids, my wife, how’s my job, what channel is ABC out there, etc., etc.), which are the same even if I already spoke to her earlier that day. And then when I ask to speak to Pop (that’s what we call him), first she’ll say “Let me see if he’s home.” Now believe me when I tell you that this woman always knows where her husband is. I think she put a low-jack on him years ago. Then, and without warning, she screams his name so loud right into the phone that I am immediately deaf for the next ten minutes. He’ll pick up the phone, gruffly say “What?” then say “You can hang up, Alice,” and then we both listen as she breathes heavily pretending not to be there. He then screams, “Alice!” and she’ll quietly say, “Oh, I didn’t know you picked up.” Then we blissfully hear the click. It happens this way exactly the same every time.
Pop and I will finally start talking sports. He has an opinion or two. But about 35 seconds into our conversation, Alice will pick up the phone and yell, “We’ve got to get going, Joe!” The poor guy lets out a sigh, says it was nice chatting with me, hangs up the phone. But my mother-in-law is now on the line and asks to speak to my kids. See, they don’t really have anywhere to go, she just doesn’t want to let my father-in-law talk. To anyone. It is during these few insane moments that I appreciate my family most. Maybe I should call my in-laws more often.
Oh, and…Go Jets!!