My mom called this weekend to tell me a fascinating story about my stepfather. He's a retired teacher living in upstate New York, and, judging by his recent behavior, he's more than a little bored.
He was at home browsing the newspaper last week when he came across the obituary of a man named Victor who had lived about 40 miles south. He and Victor shared the same last name, and my stepfather suspected it might be his deceased grandfather's brother. (My initial reaction: my stepfather is north of 60, so how old was this guy? 130?) Mind you, he didn't know for sure. It was a vague, unconfirmed memory of a first name, and he'd never met the man or anybody else from that side of the family.
Now, imagine yourself in that situation. Assuming you didn't just move on to the sports page like a normal person, and assuming curiosity got the better of you, would you:
A) Check out the names of the person's surviving relatives and look them up in the white pages.
B) Call the funeral home to find family contact information.
C) Call up the family members you DO know and see if you can trace it that way.
D) Dig out your best suit from the closet and head down to the funeral unannounced.
As you can probably guess, he chose D, which is absolutely incredible to me. What's your opening line at the church in that situation? "Hi there...sorry about your loss. I might be your fourth cousin. Is anybody here really into genealogy?"
If someone approached me with that pretense at a funeral, I'd automatically suspect it was a pervert who preyed on the grieving or someone trying to get free food. And I'm not sure which is more offensive.
But somehow, things went smoother for him. As insane as the idea was, it turned out he really had found a forgotten side of the family, and they welcomed him with open arms and invited him to- no joke- a "family tree party." He dragged my mother along on Saturday, and everyone loved him.
So, good for my stepfather, who I'll now be using as inspiration for a screenplay called "Funeral Crashers." It's a heartbreaking tale of lonely souls who seek companionship through other people's deaths, and will star Crispin Glover as every character (especially the cadavers).
The weekend in sports was less eventful than any family tree party I can imagine, and included far fewer pistol duels.
-In Game 3 of the NBA finals last night, the Miami Heat held on for an 88-86 win in Dallas. They're now up 2-1 and have reclaimed home court advantage in the series. Across the country, Americans expressed joy that their favorite basketball team was doing so well and would probably win a championship. And by "Americans," I mean "people from Miami." And by "expressed joy," I mean "didn't realize the season was still happening."
-At Roland-Garros, Rafael Nadal defeated Roger Federer in four sets for his 6th French Open title. His lifetime record against Federer is now 17-8, and 7-2 in grand slams. The victory disappointed French fans, who boisterously supported Federer for a litany of reasons that definitely had nothing to do with their deep historical hatred of the Spanish.
-Vancouver took a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup finals with a overtime win against Boston. The sudden death session lasted just 11 seconds before Alex Burrows scored a wraparound goal for the Canucks, who now lead the series 2-0. NBC executives expressed gratitude that their ratings were only terrible for an extra 11 seconds, but asked both teams to please end their games in regulation or, if possible, earlier.
-Shin Soo-Choo has admitted that his DUI conviction is affecting his performance on the field, and Indians manager Manny Acta has moved him down the lineup. "I have two different countries, so I worry about more fans," Choo said of his recent struggles. As of press time, he seemed not to understand that getting a DUI is Cleveland's main coming-of-age ritual for males, and that everybody is really proud of him.
-Albert Pujols hit an extra-innings walk-off home run against the Cubs for the second straight game Sunday. "It's a big game and a big win," Pujols said. "It doesn't matter what you do as long as you don't embarrass yourself out there." He then repeated the words "embarrass yourself" and gave a long, meaningful look at the Chicago Cubs.
-In NBA news, Mike D'Antoni says he feels "confident about his future with the Knicks." He was careful to clarify, however, that he doesn't feel confident about the actual future of the Knicks themselves; he just thinks James Dolan will probably hire him again, and asks that you respect his family's privacy during this difficult time.
-Last, an ESPN headline claims the U.S. women won on a late goal against Mexico. Experts believe this was either in soccer, field hockey, normal hockey, or the ancient Aztec sport "Tlachtli" where the losing captain is beheaded in public.
More on the French final this afternoon...