Avuncular Five

Everyone likes an avuncular fella.

So says Merriam Webster.

They mean it in the most congenial way, but the further definition sounds kinda creepy. "A man who is patient kind, and indulgent with someone younger."

They use the Dalai Lama as an example, but it sounds more John Wayne Gacy than Uncle Buck. 

Though the Urban Dictionary considers avuncular to be a negative term. A time at which men cease to be seen as a sexual entity. And yet there I go getting all creepy again.

But that's where the word uncle comes from. Avunculus, the latin for "Little Grandfather."

My newest nephew was born at 2:06am this morning. I got the text around 3:45am and responded at around 8:00am just about the same time I was convincing my own little monster to put on a clean pair of pants.

For anyone keeping track the new tally is now three nephews and three neices.

Six in all.

Ranging in age from 23 years to 7 hours old.

Two of them I haven't even met yet. My neice Izzy on the east coast and of course the brand new addition, who I will most likely be bouncing sometime this afternoon when the exhausted parents need someone to smuggle in a pizza, some single malt scotch, and a few cuban cigars, now that those are legal again.

Patient, kind and indulgent, with just a little illegal thrown in for street cred.

But what if any, are the actual resposibilities of an Uncle?

I mean, the responsibilities of parents are obvious. Food, shelter, clothing, and the occasional field trip to recycling centers. Grandparents are easy: Babysitting, Disneyland, All the candy. And Aunties are either the boring one, or the crazy one, or both.

But what of the Uncle?

See the Father Son relationship is sacred. (I'm not being mysogynistic, it's just all I know). And my brother already has a ton of super righteous father abilities, I mean he already knows how to cook, ride a motorcycle, discharge a firearm, grow tomatos, brew beer, and throw a variety of different balls. 

But there are likely to be gaps. Those places where a non-responsible adult gets to act like educational spackel to the end goal of well roundedness.

That's where the avuncular Uncle comes in.

Yet, since everyone is going to have their own specialties, here are mine, if and when you choose to need them:

If you are a Reader . . . 
I gots books. Lots of books. You will be flooded with Dr. Suess already but I've got the market cornered on Silverstein (not just the sappy ones, but the scary, not for impressionable, ones too). I've got Stephen King for scary, Douglas Addams for laughter, Vonnegut for introspection, and the entire collection of Jane Austen when the day comes that you want to know what women are thinking. Stick with me kid and I can take you through Dick and Jane to the Impossible Lightness of Being in just six easy steps . . . 

If you are a Listener . . . 
Someone is eventually going to introduce you to The Beatles. That someone is me. Fifteen years from now almost all music is going to be electronic or acoustic. All the electronic music you will hear comes directly from Nine Inch Nails (Downward Spiral) which is Trent Reznor recreating The White Album, and all the acoustic music you're bound to hear is going to evolve from Ryan Adams, who in turn evolved from Elliott Smith, who listened to nothing but Abby Road. Everything else is stamp collecting.

If you are a Player . . . 
I've got just one word for you . . . F Chord. Master this and you have mastered everything music. I will teach you how to cheat this. Also, I gaurantee you that I can teach you the songs to play that make girls swoon, and as a special bonus, I will teach you how to hold a Les Paul super super low, like Slash low, without doing permanent damage to your carpel tunnel.

If you are a Dancer . . . 
A man can look like a bad-ass doing just about anything. He can also look like a jack-ass doing just about anything. Either one will get you girls. You just have to commit. Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Interpretive, let Uncle Josh be your stage mom and there ain't no one who will mess with you.

If you want to solve a Rubix Cube . . . 
You can conceivably get all the rest of this stuff from all the other amazing people in your life. But there will be one Christmas where someone's gonna get you a Rubix Cube. And it will sit for years on whatever shelf your mom has created in your room for all the unplayed with toys. One day you're going to pick that thing up and start to fiddle with it. You will be tentative at first, not wanting to go so far as to mix it up beyond repair, but then you will, and you will cry.

Stop crying.

Call Uncle Josh.

Uncle Josh's got skills.

Not really important skills. Not the kind of skills that will win you awards or even look good on a college application, in fact, solving a Rubix Cube will become probably one of the most useless things that ever took you hours upon hours to master.

But hey . . . someday you too will be an Uncle and you're gonna need to know what your avuncular responsibilities are.

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