Stu Bykofsky: In Fla., Byko kin get down to business

Your favorite columnist in front of nine-bedroom hacienda occupied last weekend by the Bykofsky family to celebrate birthdays and pick a president.
Your favorite columnist in front of nine-bedroom hacienda occupied last weekend by the Bykofsky family to celebrate birthdays and pick a president. (SHAW BYKOFSKY / FOR THE DAILY NEWS)
Posted: September 28, 2012

LAST WEEKEND'S pre-election edition of the annual Bykofsky Family Fun Fest was held in Florida's I-4 "swing" corridor, rather than the usual location in deep-blue south Florida. We gathered in Orlando to decide the presidency and to celebrate my father's birthday (96 1/2) and mine (21++).

Twelve adults and six juveniles were present, camped in a rented nine-bedroom hacienda (complete with in-ground pool, game room, 10-seat theater) - kind of a Mitt Romney-style vacation home. The $5,000 for four days was paid by patriarch Syd, the lifelong socialist who cannot make peace with the idea that he is comfortably middle class. In his soul, he is always one with the oppressed.

Over the long, lost weekend, the biggest thing we did was pack on weight, because that's what we do in tribal gatherings. Christians drink, Jews eat. We believe that the hand holding a pastrami club can't be holding a gun.

Apart from food, the family was subjected to the quiz I mentioned in a recent column at politicalcompass.org. It plots your beliefs on a political "map."

Under threat of death (or being denied a second helping), each adult took the test. I compiled the results and announced them for discussion, Gangnam Style, after dinner at a steak restaurant very much like Ruth's Chris. (OK, it was Outback. We went cheap-o because my father's cache of municipal bonds will stretch just so far, and he has to plan for an expanding cast of great-grandchildren, one cuter than the next.)

The family represents four states - only one (Florida) up for grabs - and one foreign country (Bermuda) that remains attached to Britain. You know that, unless you entered elementary school after the '70s, when schools began offering diversity and free lunch instead of social science. That's why our kids are obese and oblivious.

In the quiz, it was Obama by a landslide. Not a single family member fell under the "Authoritarian" heading, not even me, which will surprise the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

My daughter Sonny was farther "Left" than her grandfather, who was the heavy favorite to capture the Marxist "honor." Dad also finished to the right of my sister Andrea, the best human being I know. (I believe Dad lost "Left" points because he's anti-porn.)

Only two family members fell on the "Right" side of the line. Troy, a civil engineer whom we use to fix electronics, is a Republican. (The family is planning an intervention.) He was wise enough to marry my niece Diana, who is sweet and smart but complains, "I'm the only Asian who's not good at math!" (She is adopted, a blessing arranged by a passing angel.)

The other "Right" was nephew Greg, who lives in Bermuda and is a financial underwriter. He is married to Kinga, a Hungarian endodontist. Troy is of French descent, so with South Korean Diana, we are a little United Nations. (Most everyone is united in the belief that I shouldn't write about them, but . . . tough.)

While we were sitting around having our stomachs pumped, my brother-in-law David was talking to my daughter about her mortgage. He had a brilliant idea, which I'll simplify: She pays 6 percent on her mortgage. David gets less than 2 percent on his savings. He proposed paying off her mortgage and having her pay him back at 4 percent. She would save 2 percent and he would gain 2 percent. Everybody wins! Capitalism works! (Sorry, Dad.)

This is so good, I figure there must be something wrong with it, but I don't know what. It can work among family members who trust and love each other. That's true for my family, and I hope it's true for yours.


Contact Stu Bykofsky at stubyko@phillynews.com or 215-854-5977. Join Stu on Facebook. For recent columns, go to philly.com/Byko.

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