Longtime readers will know that my grandparents both died fairly recently. (Granddad first, Grandmother a few years later.) They left two children, my uncle, and my mother. The two of them always had had an adversarial relationship, and with the authority of my grandfather gone, they immediately fell to fighting over the control of my grandmother and her assets.
I think that both of them probably felt as though they were acting in my grandmother’s best interests, but neither agreed with the other as to what those interests were, and they both allowed their mistrust of the other to cloud their perceptions until they could see only menace and evil in the other sibling.
My grandmother died last year, and now the battle for her estate has begun. It is not inconsiderable, and the long knives are out. The will originally had split the estate in two evenly between brother and sister, but by the time my grandmother actually died, it had been changed several times and finally read that the estate would be split in half between my mom and my uncle’s two kids, with my mom determining who got what. (My grandmother suffered from Alzheimers’, and my mom was both her guardian and the executor of her estate.)
My uncle is ex-Secret Service and has uncovered what at least appears to a rather sizable amount of financial perfidy on the part of my mom and ex-dad (he disowned me a few years ago… it was a whole thing) that occurred while they were caring for my grandmother. For his part, my ex-dad is a judge here in town who seems to feel that he is untouchable. My uncle is well-off and has no (real) need of any more money, but mom and ex-dad were rather poor financial managers and had gotten themselves deeply in debt, and had ALLEGEDLY been counting on an inheritance from his father (that never materialized) to provide for their retirement. Their money problems are complicated by the fact that they are hoarders and mom is pretty much always shopping and bringing home stuff to throw on the pile. (Not an exaggeration. Their home looks like anything you might have seen on TV.)
I and my siblings have tried to stay out of the whole mess the best we could. Our only concern was that our grandmother be well cared for until her death, and that seems to have been the case. While we were in the original will and left out of the rewritten version, all three of us decided that if our mom cared enough about the small amount of money our grandparents had left to us to go to the trouble to take it from us, she could have it.
The trial between Brother and Sister is finally imminent. Plans are being drawn, and chambers filled. My uncle (whom I love, though I feel is acting foolishly) has told me he may want me to testify. I do not wish to, but he told me plainly that if I would not go, he would be forced to bring my younger sister into the trial. Although I honestly feel that either myself or my sister would be bad news on the stand for both sides, I told my uncle that I would do it, but only if subpoenaed.
Then came summer semester at the University of Florida.
See, my little brother is seriously dating a wonderful young woman who is currently enrolled in law school at UF. Last week the two of them, along with my sister and Lena and I, all went out for bar-b-cue at Bono’s, and my brother’s GF was telling us about her summer course load. One of the classes she was taking was something called e-Discovery, which we had to have explained to us.
Basically, the idea behind e-Discovery is to use the intrawebs to find evidence on a person or a financial transaction. It’s blowing up as a field of study since so many established lawyers are not really internet savvy and the use of e-Discovery can really give you a big leg up against your competition in the courtroom. One thing e-Discovery is very good at is using a person’s own words against them. Think of all the Tweets, Facebook updates, and blogs out there. Imagine if an attorney had the opportunity to bring everything you had ever said online into court, to twist and take out of context and use however he wished. Imagine what kind of reliable witness you’d make after he got done describing your fourteenth naked kegger of the month to the jury.
Imagine if you had a blog you had been writing for four and a half years and someone was trying to get you to testify in a trial you didn’t want to go to.
All of the following statements are absolutely true and accurately reflect my feelings, beliefs, and viewpoints. They are not for entertainment purposes.
I personally have all of the same magic powers Jesus did. He and I are equals, and though he had better PR, I have managed to live much longer. In both that and in my iPad I have surpassed him.
I do not believe in American exceptionalism, and in general I think that our nation’s principal importance is as an inefficient means of providing infrastructure. (Special note to terrorist recruiters looking for disaffected Americans online, you guys can go fuck yourselves. I have even less respect for you.) That said, I recognize that America provides that infrastructure for ME, so it does serve my interests… but it’s hardly special.
I am an ordained Reverend of the House of Liturgical Equanimity, (and will insist on being referred to as such in court) a religion I made up myself. I run an online D&D comic strip, but I like to think of it as a cult devoted to me. If I can figure out a way to legally dupe Christian zealots out of their cash, I plan on using my new religion to make myself rich and possibly get free lawn care.
People who dress up as animals and attend conventions to have anonymous sex with other costumed people wig me out way less than Catholics do.
Long ago I made up a plan to protect my home from zombies, though I still occasionally worry that one passing by in the street might hear when I check the lock on the front door at night.
I don’t have children because I didn’t want to have to share my video games.
Between us, my sister is the crazy one. If it becomes necessary, I’d be happy to provide her space here to talk about booze, sex, drugs, growing up in a dysfunctional family, and her beliefs about all parents of today’s youth. I’m sure it’d be a hoot.
Finally, this trial is going to be in the summer, in Florida. That means T-shirt, jean shorts, and sandals. Only saps wear suits in the summer.