Hello, it’s Rachel. As you may recall from my last post, I had returned home for a family holiday celebration and hopefully, a reprieve from grad school stress. Before I continue, let me share a word of caution. Most families are ashamed of their crazy, eccentric relatives and do the sensible thing – they hide them. Not so in the South. We dress them up and proudly display them in our parlors. With that said, allow me to introduce my family:
· Dad: A handsome, strong and muscular man built like a Spartan warrior. A stern and formidable soldier. A mechanical genius and a human GPS. He also has an unbelievable voice.
· Mom: Executive speechwriter professionally, she also is an amazing homemaker. The quintessential mom, she is nurturing, loving, understanding and supportive.
· Josh: Handsome, intelligent, protective, funny and fun older brother. A creative and talented musician, he’s just signed a major recording contract.
Aunt Peg: Wealthy Southern dowager. Driven, tireless, self-made, millionaire businesswoman.
· Aunt Tina: Former beauty queen, her life revolves around her 2 popular and high-maintenance teenage daughters.
· Aunt Tandy: Intelligent, witty and fun. Stylish and fashionable, stays abreast of all the latest trends and celebrity news.
· Uncle Junior: A man’s man, he’s a hunter, fisherman, motorhead and WWII collector. A great storyteller with an endless supply of jokes.
Setting: Family room
Music: No music; sounds of football game
Opening Scene: 16 people sprawled in sofas and chairs, some napping, some watching football. Josh and Rachel huddled in corner.
Josh: So, how’s it going?
Rachel: Okay, I guess. I’m just really tired. And really stressed.
Josh: Well, you have a lot on your plate right now.
Rachel: Glad somebody realizes that.
Josh: What do you mean?
Rachel: No one gets it. I’m sick of everybody dismissing or downplaying how hard this is. I mean, really hard.
Josh: Who’s everybody?
Rachel: Friends, acquaintances, my own family. I mean, just look at today.
From Jay – “Oh don’t worry, I flunked my realtor exam twice. You’ll do just fine.” Really, Jay – like they’re comparable.
And from Tina – “I told you sweetie, accounting is for ugly or dull people. It’ll probably be a blessing if you don’t pass.” Seriously, a blessing?
Oh, and Tandy’s remark, “I can totally relate Rach. I attended intensive training for 2 months to learn how to spot a Louis Vuitton counterfeit.” Really, a fake purse?
But the best came from Aunt Peg – “So who dies if you don’t pass? Really Rachel, don’t be such a whiny box. I have an army of accountants and they’re all dull and boring. If they passed, so can you. You’re brilliant. Now, get me a glass of tea.”
And oh, yeah, can’t forget Uncle Junior and his stupid jokes: “When does a person become an accountant? When he realizes he doesn’t have the charisma to become an undertaker. Why did the accountant cross the road? To bore the people on the other side.” I mean, how many accountant jokes does a person know?
Josh: Okay, Rach, hold on. You’re getting all worked up over nothing.
Rachel: Really, Josh, over nothing. Thanks for trivializing my life and dreams.
Josh: Now, hold on. That’s not what I’m doing. I’m saying that okay, things are hard. Well, guess what, life is hard sometimes.
Rachel: Yeah, like things are ever hard for you.
Josh: Life is hard - at times, for everyone. Look around you. Don’t be so quick to judge people as clueless or uncaring. Look beyond the smiles. Everybody here has gone through some terrible times. Times that make your current situation almost laughable.
Rachel: Laughable? There you go again, marginalizing my problems.
Josh: No, I’m not. I’m talking about keeping things in perspective. Look around you. Take Tandy. Ernie’s been unemployed for 5 years now. She’s gone from the luxurious life of an executive’s wife to working 40 hours a week in retail. She’s gone from a mansion to a rental. Instead of buying designer purses, she’s now selling them. And take Peg.
Rachel (groaning): I’d rather not.
Josh: Well, don’t be too hard on her. In the past year, she’s lost her businesses – which have been her whole life. Bad,huh? Well, probably nothing compared to finding her husband dead in the driveway, a suicide victim. And she’s starting over at 59 with nothing and no one. Talk about hard.
Rachel (mortified): I’m sorry, you’re right. How selfish of me.
Josh: You’re not selfish. You just got caught up in your stuff. We all do that. And while you need to focus on your goals, don’t forget about perspective. Step outside your head, you world occasionally. And when you feel overwhelmed with the present and with the future, then look to your past. Don’t forget where you came from. You are the daughter of a high-school dropout who’s performed for the King of Morocco. You are the daughter of a woman born in poverty whose speeches are heard on the world stage.
Rachel (smiling): And the sister of a rock star.
Josh (grinning): Exactly. So remember, we don’t do easy. We tackle life head-on and we do our best. And if, at times, our best isn’t good enough, we don’t hang our heads in shame. We don’t give in to self-pity and we don’t break. We lift our chins, strengthen our resolve and we try again…and again…until we get what we want.
Rachel (smiling): Okay, enough. I get it. You can stop. (Rachel laughing now) You sound like a cross between Barack Obama and Braveheart.
Josh: Hey, Rach, whatever it takes. You were pretty far gone. (Josh walking out of the room) And just for the record, chasing the rock n’ roll dream ain’t no walk in the park.
Voice over, Narrarator: Rachel is feeling like this trip home was therapeutic after all. The stress of the fall semester has been replaced by the grounding and reality that only her family could provide. Check back tomorrow as Rachel completes her journey home and returns to prepare for the spring semester and the continuation of her CPA exam preparation.
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