Thursday, July 11, 2013

Creepy by association: big families

Many and many years ago, my family lived around the corner from another family who lived in a huge run-down house. The family consisted mostly (perhaps all, my memory is fuzzy on this) boys and there were a bunch of them. If I recall correctly, there might have been seven or eight kids in the family and--to my own shame as someone who was bullied in his youth--all of them were "weird."

Very casually, my mom one day said, "Have you ever noticed that kids in big families are weird," about this particular family. My mom had four children, so I knew she wasn't talking about us. The funny thing is that at that moment we had to remind her that she was one of twelve children.

But she's right; big families are weird, creepy and somewhat disturbed. And guess who is having a family reunion next week?

Part of the creep factor has to do with religious misconceptions. Conception, heh, that's funny.

Anyway, think about the big families you know. I'm talking seven or more children. How many of those families are Catholic or Mormon? Not every family who follows these denominations have a high membership, but there are enough of them with high numbers that this is a thing.

Before we start bashing any groups based on religious affiliation, let's talk about what is really creepy about big families: any time five or more people who look exactly the same get together, it's f'n freaky!

Now, I realize that the family pictured above aren't all related. They're actors. But they prove my point (and let's not go ginger-bashing; I'm a redhead and I don't take kindly to such shenanigans). At least these folks are all smiles. How many times have you seen a brood of disappointment slogging their way through the Wal-Mart, dead-eyed pre-teens whose only hope for survival is knowing that eventually the older siblings will have to move out?

Magical families aside, now think of big families from movies...

The family in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre comes to mind. Eventually named the Sawyers, through sequels and remakes, they are a muiltigenerational band of nutjobs. If you saw the most recent 3D offering in the franchise, you saw that the crazy bug hit the extended family, too. The Hills Have Eyes and Jack Ketchum's books Off Season and Offspring follow similar families who will eat your heart out.

And when you start to think about it, even if most of the family is "normal" when you get that many people living under one roof for a lengthy amount of time, at least one of them is going to go crazy. In the long run, it's a recipe for disaster.

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