Blame

February 10, 2014

"Listen,” my uncle said to me, “your dad was just unlucky getting murdered like that.” Look at Bugsy Siegel and Legs Diamond. Al Capone. Dutch Schultz. They’re still writing books and making movies about those guys. And what about O’Hare for God’s sake, getting a major airport named after him? A bootlegger’s son! And how do you think Joe Kennedy got started? And the Bronfmans up in Canada with Seagrams? Bootlegging!” Uncle Marvin shook his head. “Your dad was just unlucky,” he said again.

 

In long-festering rationalization and guilt, my father’s sisters, Sally and Milly, and brothers, Marvin and Manny, had put out a kind of revisionist story. Blame was everywhere and nowhere; everyone pointed a finger at everyone else. His wife should have made him stop bootlegging... His brother should have kept him working in the bakery... His mother should have been more affectionate... His bootlegging partner should have... His sisters should have... His friends should have....I imagined the finger pointed at me, too.

 

Two years old, wetting my bed and spitting up my bottle, I was already responsible for murder...

 

 

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