Diagnosis murder.

untitledhusband’s youngest brother is a sociopath. At least, that’s what we have surmised, based on our random observations over the past 21 or so years. Since we’re the only ones in the family to recognize the signs, it is starting to create some conflict for us. Should we bring this up at the next family gathering? Should we leave a copy of “So Your Son is a Sociopath” in untitledmother-in-law’s mailbox?

Perhaps I need to give you a little background. Break out your mail-order PhD’s and start the clock, people. The session has begun.

When untitledbrother-in-law was four, he started the family home on fire not once, but twice. Don’t even ask how a four-year old got a hold of matches, cause I don’t know. At the age of 12, he damn near beat our cat to death with his bare hands. We came home to find the poor cat panting, and his eyes were dilated – both signs of extreme physical trauma. On another occasion, he was caught beating a tied-up dog with a broom. No injuries there, thank god – just a rightfully pissed-off dog. And at age 16, while caring for the neighbor’s dog, the animal mysteriously died. OK, now if this were your kid, wouldn’t you find it odd that most animals in your child’s presence are either injured or dead? Would you not be sleeping with a crucifix and a tazer gun, you know, just in case?

After achieving his goal of not only maiming, but killing, another living being, he made the jump from animals to humans. At the age of 20, when he was babysitting his one year-old cousin, the walker she was in spontaneously broke into a zillion little pieces. He told everyone that he was playing a game with her, and that the walker bumped into the wall and shattered. The child was not visibly injured. We were like, “OH. MY. GOD.” Everyone else was like, “Oh those cheap walkers. We’ll have to get her a new one.”

This history, coupled with the fact that he has no emotion – no ups, no downs – has led us to our diagnosis. Surprisingly, no one else in the family sees what we see. I once read that one in 10 people is a sociopath.

As for right now, untitledbrother-in-law is a 21-year old college drop-out. The only bloodshed that we are currently aware of results from his habit of routinely bleeding his parents dry. Perhaps if he would’ve stayed in school, he would’ve learned that if you’re going to make a career out of extorting money from people, you should choose those whose household income is more than $45k a year.

From our vantage point, we see him blowing his money on beer and tattoos (one, ironically, is of barbed wire) and titty bars and $5 mochas and then asking his parents for groceries and gas and rent. This cycle of bouncing checks, asking for money and bouncing more checks just goes on and on.

What slays us are the never-ending excuses dished out by untitledmother-in-law. “He was adopted and who knows what he endured as a baby.” “Deep down, he is a GOOD KID.” Good kid? No no no. Good kids are building irrigation systems in Africa and volunteering at nursing homes and selling lemonade for cancer research. This kid – he is not so good.

untitledhusband and I, we try to stay out of it, cause really, it’s none of our business. And even if we wanted to make it our business, what could we do? We could broach the subject with untitled-mother-in-law and untitledstepfather-in-law, but they wouldn’t believe us. They’d end up hating us, and untitledbrother-in-law would become a martyr.

We go back and forth as to whether we are overreacting or not. Do we have a predator in our midst, or is this simply a young man who will spend the rest of his days working at Seven Eleven and kicking puppies? I wonder if this is the inner turmoil that Jeffrey Dahmer’s family felt as they weighed their suspicions against that little voice that kept saying, “Nah, he’s fine. He’s just a little…different. That’s it. DIFFERENT. He’s our son, he’s our brother. He’s FINE.”

untitledeye: Museum of Worthless Curiosities.

Feast your eyes, people. For you are about to embark upon a tour of the Museum of Worthless Curiosities. Housed in untitledmother-in-law’s guest bedroom, the MWC is a one-of-a-kind collection that has been years, if not decades, in the making. A result of crafty 4-H leaders and well-meaning relatives that just had to bring back something from their trip to the World Pork Expo, the MWC features unique artifacts that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else (unless you frequent the Goodwill store or church bazaars, of course).

Our first stop is Sleepy Eye, the droop-eyed owl. He is being punished, you see, for cutting macramé class and smoking too much weed. Now he spends his days hanging from a wall with a nail up his ass. From his perch, he will forever pine for his beloved bong, which he thinks may be stowed under the driver’s seat of his Camaro, right next to his Guns N Roses CD and the remnants of a petrified bean burrito. If he only knew that untitledmother-in-law mistook it for an antique hurricane lamp and placed it on the living room mantle.

Sleepy Eye the Owl - Wanna get hiiiigh???

Next up is Cat Mandu. This is one pussy that will never go to tuna town, for he has been hermetically preserved through the lost art of decoupage on what appears to be the knotty stump of a young tree. Now don’t get all misty-eyed on me. You and I both know that eventually, he would’ve ended up hacking up hairballs on the new sofa and pooping in the bedroom whenever his litter box was even the least bit soiled. Admit it. He had it coming.

Cat Mandu

Last on our tour is this calico sculpture-thingy, which we have lovingly dubbed “Cuntry Heart.” This piece was once a fashionable staple of home décor, back in the days when Juice Newton was on the radio and your favorite pair of jeans had a lace-up roller skate on the back pocket. When not on display as wall art, the heart also serves as a makeshift panty hose drying rack or even an auto-erotic asphyxiation device.

Cuntry Heart

That brings our tour of the MWC to an end. These are but a few of the artifacts that comprise the permanent collection. As your curator and docent, I will continue to post the occasional oddities for your review. And yes, in case you’re wondering, the MWC does take donations.