Thank you very much for the condolences about Grandma’s passing. They meant a lot to me. The funeral was very nice. We had a couple of bulletin boards filled with pictures of her, including photos of her as a teenager. It was a wonderful celebration of her life and how much she meant to us, and I’ll consider myself lucky if I’m remembered half as fondly as Grandma.
While the last couple of weeks have been very sad, they didn’t stop the funny from popping up, and I have a few nuggets to share…including a story that will blow Blue Girl and ZRM’s minds (or what’s left of the latter’s).
The comfort of the dick joke
When I travelled to see Grandma before she died, I stayed with my brother Tickle at my cousin Youngblood’s apartment. After the difficult day of seeing Grandma, we needed a release, so we popped open the booze and drank ourselves silly.
Youngblood is a classic Type-A personality. He is a planner and an organizer and keeps a schedule. In his kitchen, he has a 30-day dry-erase calendar that helps him keep him organized and scheduled. His fiancée assured us that the calendar was Very Important to him.
That was the perfect opportunity for Tickle, Youngblood’s younger brother Zoolander, and I—the three of us well fermented—to turn the calendar from Very Important to Very Juvenile. We grabbed the black marker and covered any empty white space with whatever crotch-related humor sprang to mind. When we were done, Youngblood had some new activities added to his calendar. A typical week looked like this:
Monday: Hockey at 8:30
Tuesday: Cum Taco Night
Wednesday: [A picture of big penis]
Thursday: [Actual meeting]
Friday: Finger butt
We were laughing so hard we almost couldn’t write and draw. We continued like this for about 30 minutes, with Youngblood laughing despite being annoyed he’d have to erase the whole calendar and redo it—there was no way he could surgically remove the dick joke residue we left.
My favorite was the last two days on the calendar. The very last day had “Engagement party” written on it—the party for my cousin and his fiancée. The day before, we added another entry: “JERK OFF.”
My cousin, the model, and the Brando family dynamic
I dubbed Youngblood’s younger brother Zoolander because my cousin is a male model, doing some work while he finishes college. We only recently found this out and have used that knowledge to make fun of him as much as possible. At dinner one night, Youngblood circulated a photo on his iPhone showing Zoolander posing with his shirt off. Tickle kept asking a series of increasingly graphic questions about what kind of “modeling” Zoolander did. And, when Zoolander walked into a room full of my noisy relatives and tried to speak, I yelled above the din, “Everyone, quiet down! A male model is about to speak.”
This illustrates exactly how my family operates: we live to make fun of each other. No success is so great that it can’t be used at the expense of the successful person. We probe for a weak spot in the armor and, upon finding it, stab it repeatedly with our sarcasm knives. Someone was actually paying Zoolander money—good money—because they deemed him attractive, and all we wanted to do turn that into joke after joke. He could be in a spread in GQ or Esquire, living in a huge mansion, with women fawning all over him, and Tickle will still be asking him what really happened on that shoot.
God help me if I ever get published, have my book made into a movie, and get a little cameo in it. I’ll return to find my house wallpapered with the film stills of me.
The story that will amaze and severely disappoint Blue Girl and Zombie Rotten McDonald
My Uncle T—Youngblood and Zoolander’s dad—used to be pretty rock and roll back in his younger days, playing music and working as a sound guy for a band for a few years. He cleaned up and went corporate long ago, but still retains that rock spirit in a lot of ways. He told me a story where the two halves of his life met.
Uncle T was on a plane a few years ago, heading to Europe to cycle through the Alps for vacation. He boarded the plane and sat next to someone he thought he recognized. “Pardon me,” he said, “but you look really familiar.”
“I’m a musician,” the man replied. “I used to play in a band called Genesis.”
“Oh my God, you’re Steve Hackett!” Uncle T said.
“Oh, you’ve heard of me?” Steve Hackett asked.
“Heard of you? You’re the reason I bought a set of Moog pedals when I was younger.”
That caught Hackett’s interest, and they talked for a bit, with Hackett asking my uncle what his favorite Genesis album was (The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway). Hackett mentioned that he was en route to Phil Collin’s house to have dinner and discuss a possible Genesis reunion for a benefit concert. He invited my uncle to come with him.
It took Uncle T a moment to process what he heard. Steve Hackett, of Genesis, was inviting him to come to Phil Collin’s house for dinner, primarily because Steve Hackett found it cool that he inspired my uncle to buy a set of Moog pedals.
And my uncle had to decline.
He apologized, saying that he had people picking him up for his cycling tour and that he simply couldn’t cancel. The plane landed and they went their separate ways.
So those are three things that gave me some much-needed levity this past week. I'll be back with a Top 10 tomorrow.