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A couple of weeks ago, I watched the movie “Kingdom Come” on TV. Although  the movie came out in 2001, I had not seen it. 

The cast includes LL Cool J, Anthony Anderson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Loretta Devine and Whoopi Goldberg. 

The movie focuses on behavior and interactions of family members who are already struggling with unresolved issues when they are forced to deal with the sudden death of their patriarch. 

The patriarch’s death provides another stage for family drama and discord. The movie is a comedy, but it’s based on a tragedy, if the patriarch’s death is considered a tragedy.

While a family is gathered together to plan a funeral, the patriarch’s two adult sons get into a verbal confrontation that escalates into a physical fight. Their mother yells at them, “Stop it, stop it, stop it.” She’s had enough of all that bickering. The fight is the last straw. The sons stop.

I laughed and laughed at the fight scene, but my laughter was not only due to the ludicrousness of the brothers fighting.  The fight reminded me of a story a college mate (whom I shall call Roger) told me while we sat in the school cafeteria.

Roger said he gave his little niece some money to get him a small bag of chips from the corner store. But when his niece returned, his brother took the bag of chips and refused to give it to Roger.

When verbal questions did not work, Roger tried to grab his bag of chips.  I don’t remember who supposedly threw the first punch, but Roger said he and his brother (both in their 20s) started fighting.

Roger said  that they punched each other, knocked over lamps and rolled around on the floor. 

I laughed so hard my side ached.  I begged Roger to stop so I could catch my breath. 

The image of two grown men fighting over a bag of chips was absurd. Roger was not amused by my laughter.  He was evidently still angry about the bag of chips. He got up and started to leave.

“Stop, stop! Don’t go,” I said, as I gasped for air while still laughing.  Roger gave me a dirty look and walked away. 

I kept laughing and remained seated. I didn’t have the strength to get up and go after him and ask him to stop.

Peggy Tarr

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...