Creative Writing

I Want to Be Your Uncle

Let me be your uncle

Hey, buddy. How ya doin’? There’s something I’ve been wanting to talk to you about. As you know, I’m in my 40s now. My life moves at a slower pace; I’m more sentimental, more contemplative. And you are a vibrant young person bursting into the world with swagger and potential. As I’ve gotten older I’ve started to realize how important it is to have that youthful energy in my life, to keep me on my toes and expose me to new perspectives.

So I’m gonna just come out and say it: I want to be your uncle.

Hear me out. I realize it’s not a traditional arrangement since I’m not related to either of your parents, by blood or marriage; I don’t even know your parents. But these are progressive times. We’re much more supportive of alternative forms of kinship these days. So I figure, why couldn’t I be your uncle?

First, let me explain what I mean by “uncle.” I’ll just be an older guy you hang out with once in a while in a totally familial, platonic way. I’ll be there to offer you advice, encouragement and use of my power tools. You’ll listen to my stories from back in the day, like the time I played laser tag with Trent Reznor. I’ll live vicariously through tales of your current exploits. We’ll barbecue when the weather is nice.

Bottom line: An uncle is basically a godparent but with no direct responsibility for your moral development or immediate needs. But I’ll still slip you a 20 or pick up the tab when you’re broke.

Here are my qualifications: I’m already the uncle of 18 different “actual” nieces and nephews across the country, so I know how to be avuncular. I’ve got a backlog of corny jokes, lighthearted pranks and homespun sayings handed down from generation to generation of my lineage. All my life I’ve been training to be the laconic, slightly outdated old-timer who makes warm cameos in a young person’s life.

Of course, people might think it’s weird having an unrelated uncle. But that’s the beauty of it: No one has to know. If your peers ask, “Who’s the old guy?” you just say, “He’s my uncle.” End of story.

If you choose to accept my offer, we’ll make it official over hot dogs in the Lowe’s parking lot. Then I’ll drive you to your place and help you fix your broken futon and show you how to use a circular saw. After that we’ll celebrate with a watery domestic beer and I’ll impress your five roommates by teaching them how to pop off bottle caps with a lighter.

Whaddya say, buddy?