So I come home today, tired but not dismayed from the usual daily ration of fecal matter and shinola that is the lot of the sturdy middle class. Life is good; or at least it's manageable with the possible glorious assistance of Mr. J. Daniel and philosophy (Boethius or Pascal -- I save Descartes for the serious existential crises).
My wife declares that I have received a letter from my chubby nephew, whom I only see at funerals or other occasions that require me to assemble with my kith and kin. Alas, his mother in heavily into religion, and gotten him to be likewise most committed way. (My family tended to regard religion as an optional thing, kind of like getting a Ford or Chevrolet at one time, but more lately a Honda or Toyota.) Anyway, I open his missive, thinking it's some benign family-oriented message.
Dad burn it (and stronger language even)! The beknighted little tad is asking me, that's moi, to kick in some money so that he can go to Honduras with some suitably chaperoned other adolescent whelps to do the spiritual works of mercy on behalf of his parochial school. I swore in three different languages and swore that there would be some remarkable thermal happenings in Hell before he got a red cent!
A fiendish thought came to mind: I could send a request for a donation to a birthday party for his Uncle Jim, toiling in vain to teach the unnumbered Mississipians mathematics in a distant county and eating the feral food of the province! What I had in mind was to do it right: a birthday party for Jim at Hooters', since he did confess that he was Jonesing for some hot wings. This would cause my sister-in-law to pronounce anathemas on me with her hyperreligious brothers. But, this could produce fallout of the worst sort. My poor younger brother, a decent but henpecked sort, would never hear the end of it from his megashrew wife, and I would have performed the status of Awful Deed of the Decade, and ever be mentioned whenever family members come together.
No, my wife suggested an alternative: the little sneak might be sending out lots of letters in hopes of making a profit on his 'religious mission.' Maybe there's hope in nephews yet! Who knows, maybe he could move someday to Nigeria and be royalty!
The possibility that he might be emerging into a con man gives me comfort. It goes in the family.