water running uphill

When I was little, my parents always let me put money in the collection plate at church. This was the high point for me in a Catholic mass, unless the Archbishop was wearing a particularly funny miter that day. I assumed this was in the same spirit as sending little girls to give flower bouquets, i.e. small children are cute, but they kept making me do it when I got older. Like I’m 26 years old and my mom still made me hand out the expected largesse to sundry aunts and uncles in our home village. My mom says it’s tradition (isn’t there a song about that?) to have the youngest child present distribute gifts, but I haven’t seen the inner workings of any family except my own. The problem with being the child of immigrants is that you can never tell when they are shitting you about the Old Country. “Yes, son, in my day we had to cut a deal with the giant turtle in the lake just to build our city.” (This is actually the popular myth of why Hanoi finally stayed up after collapsing repeatedly.)

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~ by Paul Pham on 21 July 2007.

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