Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dethroning Uncle Dale (Becoming The Fuck-Up Aunt).

Last week, my second step-nephew was born.... Truthfully, being an aunt is probably the closest I'll ever get to having children. It's not that I don't want kids, I guess I might start to get the urge around my forty-eighth birthday, but even so.... All of my attempts to trick men into any sorts of long-standing relationship have been wildly unsuccessful, and the thought of going to a sperm bank totally makes me want to throw up (can you imagine what you might end up with? Like, some sort of troll-baby or a kid with webbed feet or something?).
There are benefits to having children in the family without having any children of your own... You can enjoy the nice parts about having kids around, without having to give up the lifestyle that you've become accustomed to (and by 'lifestyle', I mean 'going out too much and being everyone's creepy, way-too-old friend').

I've really been thinking hard about being an aunt. I have some great-aunts, but both of my parents didn't have any sisters, so I've had to model myself around my uncles instead. My father's brothers are both family men, they work hard and take care of their wives and children... This doesn't really seem like something I could ever dream of accomplishing, so I've had to look to the other side of the family, to my mom's brother, Uncle Dale, for some inspiration.

Uncle Dale could best be described as the 'fuck-up uncle'. Now, anyone that has a fuck-up uncle will tell you that this is not a demeaning term, but rather a term of endearment. The fuck-up uncle is just as integral to the family as the straight-laced sister or the adorable niece. Honestly, I always kinda thought that my little sister would assume the role, but over the past couple of years, she has become downright domesticated. Both of my step-sisters have kids, so by process of elimination, the role is mine.

Anyone that has ever met my Uncle Dale will tell you that he's actually a really good guy.... He's been a commercial painter his whole life, has no kids, and has never been married. He drinks like a fish and constantly smells of weed, but even fuck-up uncles can do some really amazing and loving things. For example, I had made my parents confess that Santa Claus was flat-out bullshit slightly after my fifth birthday, and yet Uncle Dale would walk on the back deck year after year with big boots, then tell us Santa had left tracks in the snow. He would take care of the pets while we were gone on the road in the summers, let me store all of my shit in his house when I was pimping all over the world, came over and spent time with us often when we were little, and helps us paint whenever we ask. With that said, fuck-up uncles wouldn't be fuck-up uncles without a few key ingredients:

1. A fuck-up uncle must show up drunk and/or stoned to every major family function.... I think I can handle this part nicely.

2. After getting even more intoxicated, a fuck-up uncle will proceed to make racist, sexist, or other non-politically correct statements. Since I am both ultra-liberal and female, I'll have to tweak my bold statements a bit. Instead of a rant on how all Asians are bad drivers or how female aren't technically equal to males, I will rant about facial piercings past the age of twenty-five (anyone younger can at least pretend that they're being experimental), art-school students (Hi guys. I went to art school too, and it didn't make me cooler than anyone else, so why would it work for you? ), and girls that wear inappropriate clothing for their body type (it really doesn't matter that it's trendy right now... Girls under 5'6 cannot wear high-waisted or wide-leg jeans, or they look like they're drowning in a sea of stone-washed denim).

3. A fuck-up uncle has to be embarrassing to the point where you warn people before introducing him, but not embarrassing to the point where you refuse to introduce him all-together.

Fuck-up uncles have the best (and worst) stories, give you decent amounts of cold-hard cash during the holidays (mainly because the only thing they actually have to spend their money on is booze and weed), and make you proud that you didn't end up like them.... It's going to take a strong stomach and a willingness to try to borrow money or go to jail once in a while, but I really think I can handle this gig.
'Fuck-up Aunt Sarah' has a nice ring to it.

~sarah p.

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