Monday, November 19, 2007

I Love Him

I may not have any of his blood running through my veins, but I like to think (when I’m really on) that my Uncle M and I have a lot in common. Why? Well, mainly this is because he’s quite possibly the coolest person ever – I’m not kidding here, everyone who meets him pretty much ends up worshipping him…or at least the guys do – and I like to think that I have a little bit of his mojo going on (shut up). But most of all we’re similar because both of us are the sort who will tell you what we’re thinking. No matter what. And since I’ve known my Uncle M my entire life, I tend to believe I get a good part of my irreverence from him.

Some background info: My Uncle M is actually my father’s uncle. He and my Aunt L are quite literally family (but we don’t hold that against them). Anyway, at some point my Uncle M and Aunt L joined forces with my parents, and they all became best friends. Now my Aunt L is the “normal” one – always perfectly put together, well-behaved, and appropriate. How (or why) she decided to marry my Uncle M is a mystery – either she’s a masochist or a saint. Because my Uncle M is a handful. He’s also quite possibly the coolest cat ever to walk the earth. And after having dinner with him on Saturday night (Aunt L and my parents were there too), I decided my readers deserved a little Uncle M goodness (you’ve been that well-behaved). You’re welcome.

Some famous Uncle M stories/tidbits:

-On my parents’ wedding day, he went up to my father before the ceremony, and (right in front of my grandmother, the mother of the bride) advised him not to go through with it. His (now legendary) words were ‘Just live with her. Don’t get married unless you have to.’ Obviously my father didn’t end up taking his advice, but that didn’t stop my Uncle M from saying the same thing to my brother on his wedding day. (Didn’t work then either.)

Anyway, a few years ago I asked my Uncle M why – if he really believed what he was telling us – he ever married my Aunt L (and remained married to her for, as of this past weekend, 61 YEARS). ‘Why not just live with her?’ I asked. Without missing a beat he shot back, ‘Because in those days you had to marry a woman to sleep with her. Your father didn’t have that problem.’

Yup, I walked right into that one.

-So that dinner I referred to – the one on Saturday night to celebrate Uncle M and Aunt L’s anniversary – it went well. We all drank, told stories, ate steak…oh wait, I didn’t get to have any steak because I’m a fucking miserable vegetarian…(deep breath)…but I digress. Where was I? Oh yeah, so we all arrived at the restaurant to find that it was going to be a few minutes before the table would be ready. No problem, in my family that’s simply code for ‘Race to the bar to have a drink before we go to the table – where we will continue drinking.’

Anyway, I sidle up to the bar and give the bartender my order before turning to Uncle M for a chat. This is how the ensuing conversation went:

Uncle M: I thought you drank scotch.
Redhead: I do, but I also like martinis sometimes. It just depends on what mood I’m in.
Uncle M: What mood you’re in? What does that mean?
Redhead: I don’t know…it just means that sometimes a martini sounds good to me.
Uncle M: Better than scotch?
Redhead: Yeah.
Uncle M: There’s no such thing. You know what your problem is? You can’t commit to anything.

-Speaking of which – my Uncle M drinks scotch. He always has. Now I drink scotch (when I’m not screwing up and ordering a martini). Oh, and my brother drinks scotch. His wife has become a scotch drinker as well. What does all that mean? It means that the three of us want to be my Uncle M when we grow up.

-Ooh, final story about scotch (I think): So the first time I ever got really, truly, legitimately drunk in my life (a story that I will NEVER tell here by the way – it was too, too ugly)…well, let’s just say the point of no return was crossed with a scotch in my hand and my Uncle M standing next to me. He saw what was going on (my brother was being a BAD big bro), he knew how it was going to end up (me – shockingly, overwhelmingly embarrassed), and he did nothing to stop it. But boy does he love pulling that story out whenever I bring anyone home to meet the family.

-My Uncle M once tried to convince me that all men were bastards. He even topped off his argument by saying ‘Your father’s a bastard too you know.’ I was 11 years old at the time. And my father was standing right beside me at the time.

-At my Bat Mitzvah – after the service, during the party – I went up to Uncle M and asked him what he thought of everything (you know, being 13 and stupid and all). His response: ‘The service was boring as hell, but the open bar is making up for it.’

-Want to know how my Uncle M met my Aunt L? She was dating his brother.

-My Aunt L and Uncle M once had a fight that lasted 5 years. I’ve heard the story of what happened (it was totally Uncle M’s fault), and while he apparently showed through his actions that he was sorry, TO THIS DAY he’s never actually apologized. And he’s absurdly proud of that fact. Proving she’s a saint, Aunt L simply rolled her eyes when he chuckled while telling me this story.

-My Uncle M called my parents’ house last week (thinking he had dialed the doctor’s office), and actually said upon my mother’s answering the phone ‘Yeah, I need to schedule a prostate exam.’ I swear to God my mother called everyone in the family to tell them this story after it happened. Then she also brought it up during drinks on Saturday night (yes, we like to give him a hard time too), and dammit…he didn’t even have the grace to look a LITTLE embarrassed!

-My parents’ dog loves him, and she always tries to crawl all over him when he comes over (this is not a small lap dog). So just to mess with the poor dog – only Uncle M could get away with this – he scratches her behind the ears until he find the spot that makes her back leg spaz out (every dog has a spot like this). Then he continues to scratch it, incessantly, until I start yelling at him to leave the poor dog alone. This always prompts him to laugh and keep going. He’s evil that way.

Ah shit, this is getting long. OK, that’s it for now. Uncle M and Aunt L will be with the family for Thanksgiving – I’m sure I’ll have some outrageous story for you next week.

*Update: I have one more Uncle M story to tell (just cause) - when my first nephew was born, his 'Welcome to the World' gift from my Uncle M was a Red Sox hat, Red Sox socks, and a Red Sox onesie. Is my Uncle M a Red Sox fan, you ask? Why no, no he isn't. However I'm a Yankee fan (reason enough in M's mind - he likes to piss me off). My head almost exploded when I saw this gift. I immediately ran out and got full Yankee regalia for the little man to make up for it...and then I forbade my bro and sister-in-law from ever using the Red Sox 'devil's gear' as I called it. Ah Uncle M - he definitely knows how to push my buttons.


MCBias said...

I'm intrigued by Uncle M; I'm curious, is he a first or second-generation immigrant? He seems to have the "ethnic straight-shooter" personality that a lot of people in my family also have. (Let's put it this way; in my family tree, I'm pretty much a wuss in terms of expressing what I think. Scary, isn't it?).

There's only one thing I hate about Uncle M types. They're great at parties and for entertainment. But you try to get them to bend just one inch in your direction in real life, not even meet half way, and they won't do it. Stubborn as mules, they make you either accept everything they do or get out of their lives. They're takers, not givers. There's some strategies to deal with them, but I don't want to get into it yet. To summarize, you can't form a sustained, lengthy relationship with someone like that. But yes, they are wonderful entertainment overall, very fun as acquaintances.

rs27 said...

Scotchy scotch scotch.

Thats all I got out of this. Was there more?

Redhead said...

mcbias: You can't stereotype Uncle M - I probably did a really bad job of explaining that, but you can't. He's actually incredibly sweet and giving (as a great cosmic joke, he and Aunt L had three daughters - he's spent his life surrounded by women and is great with a teasing, kind of naughty older brother way). And can't have a sustained, lengthy relationship? What do you call 61 years of marraige? And only a little less than that of friendship and love for my father and my family? He's a big teddy bear, wrapped up in a prickly package - trust me, he's one of a kind. (Oh, and I don't think he's even a 2nd generation immigrant - maybe 3rd or 4th I'd guess.)

rs27: Nope, that's pretty much the gist of it.

GiveEmHellHarry said...

Read this whole thing (awesome stories by the way) and know what I come away with? Your're a vegetarian? When's the next worker's rally, comrade?

Jack Cobra said...

This may be why you struggle to find a guy you like/stay with...the man you admire possibly the most is so unique that there isn't anyone who can compare, no?

Redhead said...

Dude, you're newness is showing again - I became a vegetarian about 5 months ago (animal lover, couldn't take the guilt anymore, decided to become a vegetarian even though I love meat and miss it terribly, resent everyone around me who gets to eat meat). I've already been ripped every way imaginable on here for it, so bring it on.

Redhead said...

Way to sneak in there jack - look, I'm the first to admit that whoever I end up with is going to have a lot to live up to (not only would they have to put up with me - a daunting task - but they'd have to live up to the other men in my life; between my father, brother, and Uncle M, there has been no shortage of unique, strong, loving, intelligent, funny, etc, etc, guys in my life...can you tell there's some hero worship going on here?) No wonder I'm still single - I'm so fucked.

MCBias said...

Oh, look on the bright side about knowing good men! It's actually a wonderful thing to meet excellence while you are young. You know what a great man looks like, so you can more quickly skip guys not worth your time. What's bad about that? Seen from that perspective, your inability to have an ltr recently looks a lot better on you.

Uncle M is wonderful in many ways, as you mentioned: makes a smashingly good first impression, refreshingly honest, always up for a good time, generous to those he loves, passionate, sassy, etc. You have many of those qualities, from what I've read here. But I'm still feeling that compromise and playing nice when he doesn't want to is an Uncle M weak point. It just naturally follows from being outspoken and mischievous. Emulate 95% of Uncle M's personality, by all means; but careful of that 5%. It makes it much harder to keep ltr's. I'm saying this as a blog friend, not in the usual MCBias tone of condescension and pessimism. :-p

Anyway, this comment was way too long; it takes forever to make any sort of nuanced point on here. Humph. Being a blog friend is too much work. Back to real work I go; home for Thanksgiving in T-8 hours...

Jack Cobra said...

Yes, do as MCBias very careful around this man you've known for 20-something years....Come on MCB, I think she knows him well enough and for long enough to know what his deal is. No need to try to cut the guy down. Everybody has their 'things', we are all intelligent enough to know that.

You may know people who are 'like' her Uncle, but you don't know her Uncle...

MCBias said...

Cobra, I'm saying that she should be careful about copying that 5%, not that she should be careful of her uncle! Come on now, read the whole sentence.

I don't intend to start a comment war before the holidays, because I know we're all a bit edgy to get to vacation. Redhead, if you want, just delete my comments on this topic; I'm trying to have fun and learn, not hurt people.

Redhead said...

OK, everybody calm down!

McB: I get what you're saying, I'm flattered that you think I have any of those good qualities, and I have no doubt I have many bad ones too. It's all about loving the whole person - something I definitely do with my Uncle M - but I appreciate the advice. As for the fact that you're about to go home for the holiday and I have to work tomorrow (for at least half the day) before dealing with the hell on earth that is Penn Station the day before Thanksgiving...guh, I'm so jealous.

Oh, and I would never delete one of your comments...well, not unless you REALLY pissed me off.

jack: Wow, I almost have a crush on you for standing up for me. Still, be nice to McB - he's ignoring his hiatus to comment here (and I've learned not to let anything he says piss me off, whether he's trying to piss me off or not). Having said that...I love that I have so many gentlemen who visit my site.

MCBias said...

Happy Thanksgiving all around, then. :-)