My father's birthday is last Friday. Every year I call him to wish him a happy birthday and the conversation goes something like this:
E-K: Dad, I wanted to call to wish you a happy birthday...
DAD: Yes, thank you. And I want to wish you lots of happiness and nachas from your children and may you live a long time to enjoy them and you should be healthy and good things should happen to you [etc, etc...]
So then I hang up and try to figure out how it happened yet again that he used my own weapon against me. My dad should have been a judo instructor. But really it underscores a basic trait that both he and my mother possess, and her mother possessed, which is the inability to just accept a kindness from someone without immediately needing to reciprocate, as some kind of weird quid pro quo system that seems more strict than the Cosa Nostra. And I think that it is really dysfunctional, but can't quite put my finger on why I do.