Tuesday, January 24, 2006


My cousin Bob is, without a doubt, the black sheep of my family. He's about 43 by now, and easily the biggest social maladjust I have ever known in my life. His personality leaves very much to be desired and sometimes I feel like he really is barely functional in terms of general brainpower. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, if you know what I mean. Even his siblings (three of them) don't care for him much. He's always been regarded as kind of a freak.

My brother scared the bejeezus out of me, though, when we talked tonight and he told me some stories that will forever make me see my cousin in a different light.

"Have you seen The Sixth Sense?" my brother asked.

"Yeah," I responded.

"Well," my brother continued, "Cousin Bob is that kid."

I snortled. "What," I asked, "he sees dead people?"

My brother wasted no time: "Yep!"

Seriously, he had to be kidding, right? Apparently, not so much.

Suddenly, all kinds of stories are emerging about Bob's little special ability:

- Back in Asia before we moved here, our family was looking to move into a new house or something. Bob -- a mere tot at the time -- walked into the house and immediately said that our family should not buy the house, that there was something wrong about the place. Research later revealed that, indeed, a murder had taken place in there.

- Shortly after his father died, he apparently kept reporting to his mother and siblings that my uncle was "cold" and that he wanted steak. I'm not sure how they resolved that one. Perhaps they left him an offering of steak.

- (This one scares the crap out of me most) Another of my uncles just randomly shot a digital photo of a pool in Los Angeles, where still another of my uncles lives. That photo was eventually sent to Bob over email. Seeing the photo, Bob asked, "Why is Brandon in the picture?" No one else looking at the photo has ever seen a person in the shot, but Bob described him with some detail, including facial features and describing a hoodie he was wearing. Again upon further research, apparently a kid named Brandon did indeed die in that pool wearing a hoodie a few years before my uncle and his family bought the place.

The thought that my cousin has the ability to talk to dead people frightens the crap out of me. Apparently he's so used to it now he's just perfectly fine with their presence in his life. I suppose that's how Haley Joel Osment's character will eventually deal with his gift.

Now I also feel bad because we've been treating him like crap for decades. I've always kind of justified it just by saying that his personality was always so unpleasant that it just begged for reciprocal treatment. Now I'm thinking that perhaps one of the reasons he was so unpleasant to begin with is because this Gift -- or is it a Curse? -- might have adversely affected his personality in some way. There's a chicken and egg theory going on: which came first, his bad personality, or our treatment of him? And if his bad personality came first, is it the result of having to deal with dead people talking to him all the time?

And finally: I'm supposed to visit that LA uncle in a few weeks. I'm even supposed to stay at his house! Now that I know some kid died in the pool there, I think I'm gonna be freaked out the entire time I'm there. Lord knows I sure as hell ain't planning on swimming. I'll just conveniently forget my swim trunks.


Steve said...

Holy Crap, Dennis! That's freaky. I'm sitting here, drinking coffee, and I got goosebumps when I read this. I think I'd opt to stay somehwere else!

katie said...

That is really creepy. Poor guy. It can't be easy seeing dead people all the time, on the upside, he could go on the talk show circuit and make a career out of it.

HomeImprovementNinja said...

Everyone has a black sheep in the family. Someone who is iressponsible, gets arrested, fights in bars etc. In my family, unfortunately, it's my sister.

Anonymous Midwest Girl said...

Wow, that is freaky! Do you believe it?

Our family's black sheep is my uncle. He even LOOKS like an outsider. I haven't seen him in years.

duane said...

That gave me chills all over!!! YIKES! I am terrified of that crap. The whole brandon in the picture thing is too much. I would freak the fuck out!!!