Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The Middle Name Mystery Tour

For the third time in my life  I have been named an executor of someone's last will and trust. And by someone I mean family. BTW, Executor was the name of a ship in Star Trek or Star Wars, I was never a fan of either, but that's the image Google delivers for the Executor search.

The first time was for my father. This was not without its complications as he never composed a last will and testament. Or if he did, we were never able to locate it. And like idiots, throughout his two year journey with prostate cancer, we never approached the subject. Impending death makes those kind of conversations quite uncomfortable..

As a result, his not unsubstantial savings went into probate. And as the oldest (I was 31 at the time) I was put in charge. Having never supervised anything more complicated than the purchase of a motorcycle from a guy in the Pennysaver, I was completely ill-prepared for that experience. 

And like a schmuck, my bother and sister and myself, decided to give everything to my mother, who was also ill-prepared to manage a substantial portfolio of money.

When she passed 20 years later, that sum of money had gone into red ink. And again, I learned on the job, and managed the distributions of the assets, such as they weren't.

Now I am embarking on the third Executor endeavor, for my uncle. Which included 4 full days out of my life to clean out his tiny room at the shithole Terrazza Assisted Living facility. I couldn't bear to throw away all his extension chords, measuring cups and reams of printing paper, which will ironically outlast me,  they have all taken up residence in my already jelly-tight garage.

But here is where I discovered something very interesting about my family. Something that will remain a mystery, given there are no more descendants to explain the phenomena.

My uncle had no middle name.

My other crazy uncle also had no middle name.

And my father had no middle name.

Even my sister has no middle name.

My brother received a middle name, but it's Irvin, so maybe he'd be better off without one.

I've tried to research the mystery of the missing middle names but have found nothing. My initial thinking was middle names cost money and my pennywise dirt-poor grandparents just said, "we can't afford middle names. Besides we need that money for Kent cigarettes."

Then I thought this was a holdover from the old country. The old country being an enigma unto itself. I was always under the impression that my grandparents were from Poland. But a 2nd cousin I found on 23andme tells me to never say that again. She points out that the Siegels were not from Poland and indeed were from Belarus. 

And that they were Litvaks. 

Orthodox in nature, which I find hard to believe given my family's long history of atheism, and virulently opposed to to the irrational Hasidem at the time. I can buy into that. I have always found their misogyny and opposition to modernism and science a complete (((embarrassment.)))

But again, I have come up completely empty-handed on the middle name mystery. Just as I have come up empty handed while rummaging through my uncle's belongings. My wife was convinced he was stashing hundred dollar bills in his mattress or the stuffed Teddy Bear he got at Mardi Gras in New Orleans. There wasn't. Although there was $23 in his wallet. And a coupon for a free video rental at Blockbuster. 

Maybe I'll split the twenty three bucks with my brother and my sister. I'll take the 7 dollar cut so as not to stir up any legal entanglements -- which took place during my second executorship.

My hope is to never have to perform the duties of an Executor again. Having done so, I've learned the importance of getting things in order to make that final transition as easy as possible. And to that end I will be renting a big brown dumpster for another thorough garage cleaning.

And I will clear my browser history on a daily basis.

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