Dear American BFFs,
As you know, we go way back. My mum, my grandma, her mum and dad, and their parents knew and loved your family.
Sure, sometimes you lot were a bit brash for us, but you know we admire your confidence and positivity. We’ve learned a lot from you and come to realize over the generations that we share many of the same views, even if we mumble about them while you’re shouting from the rooftops.
Anyway, this is awkward, but I know my dearly departed mum really cared for you and would want me to raise something that has come to my attention. (I know you’re busy, so maybe it’s not as obvious to you as it is to me and a few other mates).
I’ve been here for quite a while as your grateful guest. It’s been great, I’ve had the privilege to get to know your extended family who have been unbelievably generous by including me in celebrations of their accomplishments while never ignoring my annoying questions about some of the less appealing aspects of the family history. Trust me, that openness has helped me appreciate you even more.
But lately, there’s been a few things …
Look, it’s your Uncle Sam. I’m worried about him. Have you noticed how he’s refusing to talk to others in the family? I know he’s always been a tough old bird and likes to call the shots wherever he goes, but recently he’s been particularly belligerent, especially at home.
Of course, eventually many of these things work themselves out in families, but I can’t help but think his inability to compromise, or even talk to others at the family table, is having a negative impact on many things we all hold dear.
I don’t want to labor the point but I’ve seen changes recently that have not been for the better—from the way the family shares wealth and good fortune to how you look after the less fortunate relatives. It’s sad to see resistance to reaching out to the wider community too. And I don’t mean to be rude, but some of those rich uncles and aunties seem to wield an unseemly amount of influence at family gatherings.
One issue that I have been worried about since I arrived has kind of exploded recently. With Uncle Sam looking a bit shaky and non-communicative, it’s got me acutely concerned, especially for the young ‘uns.
I know you guys have always had guns around the house. You love your hunting, and being armed has been a family tradition going way back to the days of those clan battles. It’s hard for a lot of outsiders to understand just how hard-wired that desire to exercise your right to be armed to the teeth is, but I kind of get it now.
However, in light of Uncle Sam’s dysfunctional behavior of late, don’t you think it might be time for a few family members to step in and take more precautions with the firearms? I mean they’re kind of all over the house–even a kid can pick one up without supervision.
I’m not suggesting you suddenly abandon the tradition completely, but maybe restrict their use to family members who aren’t unhinged, and if someone wants to use one, make them sign for it—take responsibility for their actions. It just seems logical to keep them under lock and key so accidents don’t happen and the family can maintain oversight.
Hey, I know you don’t need a lecture from anyone, but sometimes when you’re very close to an issue it’s hard to take a step back and get a different perspective. Our history is different to yours, of course, but I know we agree common sense is universal.
We had a similar Australian family crisis in the ‘90s. We had an extremely conservative family patriarch at the time, but when an incident took away the liberties and lives of many of our own, sanity, thankfully prevailed. I think we’ve been a much happier mob ever since.
OK, enough. Thanks for reading my note. You know how much my family admires yours, nothing will ever likely change in that regard. Please look after yourselves.
Oh, and say hi to cousin Beyonce for me will you? (Is she still happily married?)
Greg Truman, your faithful Australian friend in New York.