"Ow!" said Michael, "why do you keep kicking me? Stop it."
"It's tradition," said Daniel. "Every five minutes I kick you, it is the way of our people."
(more) "The way of... Don't be ridiculous, you just started kicking me twenty minutes ago. Four times now you have assaulted my dignity."
"Yes, every five minutes. Tradition."
"Look, it can't be a tradition if it started twenty minutes ago, that's not how traditions work."
"Traditions have to start somewhere, don't they. If I don't start the tradition, who will?"
"Of course they have to start somewhere, but they generally start out of some kind of societal need that gets carried over generation to generation even after the need is fulfilled or is no longer relevant. You can't just decide to start kicking somebody and call it tradition."
"Tradition can also be defined as a characteristic manner, method, or style. It is now my characteristic manner of me to kick you every five minutes."
"That definition does not cover random actions like kicking somebody."
"It's not random, I kick you every five minutes. I even set the alarm on my watch to it."
"It's random in that you randomly decided to begin it twenty minutes ago."
"Not so, it was entirely premeditated. I have been planning this for weeks."
"Nonsense, now you are just having fun with me."
"No, I have been distracting you until the next five minutes has arrived. Hiiiiyaaa!"(less)
Every year, a fortnight before Christmas, the Kemble family gets some donuts and they go outside of their house, and they throw them on the roof while yelling profanities. Oscar, the family patriarch, says that it's cathartic. He started the tradition during the same year that he knew he would never(more) actually own the house.
You see, when the Kembles bought the house, they were under the impression that with a 25 year mortgage, a rising stock market, and moving up the ladder in his job, that they would one day be the proud owners. To own land! Imagine that!
Oscar Kemble had grown up in a respectable New England family, one of those who had sent their offspring for generations to Amherst, Smith, and Williams. But now, the wealth had dried up. Oscar's father had been an unscrupulous entrepreneur who spent the Kemble's hard earned money on ill-fated business venture after ill-fated business venture. And now, Oscar and his family could barely pay off their mortgage - oh the shame! And for a New England Kemble!
Oscar had started the donut throwing tradition one year when his eldest son, Ernest, was just about to turn five. He had brought home the donuts, but his wife had told him that the house now needed to be gluten-free because everyone apparantly had Celiac disease.
And so, Oscar went out. "FUCK!" Chocolate hit the chimney. "SHIT!!" Jelly donut smacking the gutter. And so on.
It actually became so fun that they told the children that they did it for the reindeer to eat. Eventually it became Kemble tradition.
So when Ernest ended up in the boonies of Montana, when his children asked why he did every holiday season, he responded in earnest: "it's tradition!"(less)
it's funny how my perception of you changed. at first you were probably just there, three year olds are far too young to categorize people into groups, they have high school for that. and then in elementary school you were the annoying one, the boy who the other girls(more) wouldn't let me talk to because as everyone knows, "boys have cooties." and then in middle school and into high school you were my best friend, the one who i didn't need to spill my secrets to because you knew without me telling you that i was afraid of my parents impending divorce or that i thought my first boyfriend was cheating on me with his lab partner (which later turned out to be true). and then came the label of boyfriend, which no one except for me and you was really surprised about and then ex.
it's an ugly word that i hate and i know you do too. and i know that you know that i miss you but i never could judge your feelings as well as you could mine. but i hope you know that my only birthday wish is that you will show up on this warm july evening like you always do and watch the stars with me and tell me you miss me too.(less)
"Did you know that Johnny's mother-in-law owns that really good Indian food restaurant over on Solano?" My father looked up from the financial section of the Chronicle. "What's that?" His hearing aids are in but that doesn't matter much these days. My mother repeats herself. "Wait til I tell(more) Patricia, I bet-" My father interrupts her there, "Why do you think she'll care?" Right now my father is setting bait. Patricia's son is married to an Indian woman. So my mother thinks in some way this will matter and my father wants to call her out. He sets the bait but not the hook, my mother doesn't bite. My father then tells my mother which of his friends will actually give a shit.
That's my parents getting along. It happened recently after a venomous split when I was 5 lasting until my early 30's. It's awkward as fuck watching my parents do little pecks on the lips before we leave for a dinner where I endure pats on the head and baby talk. (To be fair my father did spend $300 I didn't have at Costco so I'd be fed for the month.) My brother has been written up as a loss to methadone and Ritalin. At least the quality of his meth and heroin are without question. He's in Pensacola Florida sitting in front of a big screen either sleeping or twitching.
I wonder if they wanted grandkids, or what they wanted us to be other than what we grew into: Topics of sad gossip at their friends dinner tables when my parents couldn't attend because my brother was OD-ing or I was in the hospital after trying to kill myself on my motorcycle. Or maybe they knew there's was no statue of limitations on failure.(less)
"It's tradition," she says to me, "for lovers to kiss before they erase themselves from their family's lives."
"Says who?" I ask, raising an eyebrow. But I kiss her anyways.
"It's also tradition," she says, after pulling away from me, "for lovers to say 'I love you' before they(more) leave forever."
"Where are you- Iloveyou- learning these? "
She smiles and pushes a button to open the sunroof, exposing us to the millions of stars that shine above, surrounding the full moon.
"So are we ready?"
"Let's ditch this sorry-ass town."
I press down on the gas and the car jerks forward, squealing. A light inside the house comes on, but it's too late. We tear down the open road, going faster and faster, the wind whipping through the car, sending papers flying. Our suitcases rattle, and she turns to shove them further back into the seat, her hair flying around her face. I press down harder on the gas, eager to leave the small town we've spent our entire lives in.
And then she stands up and leans out the roof. She spreads her arms wide and begins to laugh, and I glance up at her and I make a promise to remember her like that forever: her brown hair flying out behind her, her shirt flapping and a grin on her face, her eyes alive with the long-awaited rush of freedom.(less)
We drank and played Uno and laughed the night before because it's tradition to never bring up what is happening the next day.
When we heard that our youngest sibling would be bringing his wife who we hate, we doubled our alcohol intake in preparation, because it's tradition.
When(more) we decided it was time for bed dad made sure we all knew what time we had to get up and we set our alarms accordingly because it's tradition.
We all camped out in my brothers lounge room that night and pretended to sleep until we passed out from exhaustion lost in our own thoughts because it's tradition.
The next day we wore black, and told jokes about our deceased uncle and gathered around each other and held on for dear life because it's tradition.
We took his widow in our arms and showed him that we will still care for and love him even though the strings that bound him to our family have been cut, because it's tradition.
And he cried, because he felt the pain of a widow and I guess that is tradition.
I guess marriage is a tradition too and none of us like to see our traditions change, but Uncle Darren loved Uncle Charlie till they were parted by death and I think it is the deed not the word that makes a tradition.(less)
I gait into an empty room, full of empty people. No one says a word, no hello or goodbye can be heard, even in a whisper. The eyes of the empty dolls simply wander, never staying in one place as mistrust floats in the air.
This is how i(more)t stays as we wait. For what, we don’t know, all we do know is that it’s tradition. Yes, its tradition, it happens every day it might as well be called that. At some point in the sea of silence we eat, but even this has a sense of detachment to it as each person tries their hardest to inspect the others while never making eye contact. While this inspection goes on each person puts up a mask, making it seem as if there is no place that they would rather be, acting like nothing is wrong, not a thing.
Finally it is over as the clock strikes, each person leaves saying nothing yet everything in their silence. This is merely how it works, our broken family tradition.
It's tradition. Just like the lottery, the wars, the cans.
Something that can never be broken, torn, or discarded. It's something that you wear on your t-shirt, a logo emblazoned on your very skin, tattooed on your soul.
You can't get rid of it.
Lord knows I've tried. (more)(less)
We find more and more people
Take their lives
Due to bullshit they endure
Whether it be at school or at home
(more) It's like tradition
A sick and twisted one
One in which those
Who are part of the bullshit
In these wonderful lives being taken
Like most people celebrate
Easter or Halloween
And that's pretty fucked up
I'm tired of it. It's tradition has become more of an excuse to force people to do things they have no more interest in than anything. Don't want to go to your Grandma's annual dinner party? No, you can't do that! It's tradition! Same as getting married, having kids,(more) you can't avoid it! Everything will be traditional, in the end.
But here's the thing. That's not how it works. People will always be something other than your ideal, believe it or not. The perfect person doesn't exist, and your traditional life is dead. (less)