A True Story
Published on December 31, 2006 By Angloesque In Home & Family
He's got a nose like a cherry and a beer-barrel-shaped belly; but he's no Santa; he's the anti-Santa.

He's my uncle--or, to be more precise, he's the man my husband's mother's sister married. And that jolly red nose? That's from drinking, his coping mechanism for dealing with my in-laws. (And for dealing with, well, life.)

He's also the quintessential "bad uncle," one of the men who've made names for themselves throughout the centuries, the Scrooge, the Bad Apple, the Grump, the Grinch, the man who leaves us lying awake nights dreaming up comebacks we couldn't, wouldn't, shouldn't use.

His talent for insults is to be admired; who else can put fifteen people on edge the moment he walks into the room? Being near him is like a bad case of Jeopardy: Which category will the barbs fly from? Religion, Traditions, Politics, Education, Income, Marital Status, Gift Choice?

"I'll take Gift Choice for $100, Alex."

"He said, 'Whoa, that's a present you'll never use!'"

"Who is Uncle Bill?"

"Right for $100! Guess again."

He's the man who so hated the gift he was given one year that he simply didn't take it with him when he left. He's the one who walks in the door and begins drinking the moment he lays eyes on the family. (A feeling that is no doubt mutual, I'm sure, only we have the dignity to hide our feelings and the discretion to swig straight from the vodka bottle alone in the pantry.) He's the man who called his wife and her sisters "wenches" in front of his child, and in the same breath where he told his son to say "excuse me" for burping. That's do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do parenting that's sure to leave a mark.

The good news is that there's nothing we can do. His wife just says, "Oh, that's Bill" as she sips her champagne and we reach for Kleenex to stem our internal bleeding. Anyone who confronts him risks offending him, in which case he's made it clear that he'll take his toys and his kid and go home, and he'll be damned if we ever see the kid again.

But I can only play nice for so long, so in a few years, when the kid turns out like Dear Old Dad, that's going to be a risk I'm willing to take.

So raise your empty glasses to dear Uncle Bill (he's drunk all the wine by now) and toast to the years to come when his liver fails, his kidneys wither, and his body is on life support. We'll all be lining up to pull the plug.

on Dec 31, 2006
charming! you have gotta hate bullies like that.
on Jan 01, 2007
Gotta pity his household if a man's like that, even though it seems like the wife probably plays it down just to get by.
on Jan 01, 2007
I dunno, I sort of reserve my pity for more deserving people. I think his wife gets exactly what she wanted: money and a wealthy lifestyle. If she's miserable, it's her own damn fault. The only person not at fault is their son, for whom my sympathy abounds, seeing as he'll never understand--or not for many years--why his dad is what he is.