Not a traditional uncle, this man was the roommate of a person I first fell in love with when I was in my early teens. He insisted I call him Uncle and he would give me incredible (for better or worse) advice when he found the sweet spot between grumpy and passed out.
I had been up all morning crying while my metal head love snored upstairs. I wanted love and the guitar player wanted sex and though the years would prove that these two things are not mutually exclusive, they sure seemed to be that morning. Uncle Cranston came home smelling awful, grabbed a beer and sat on the sunken couch across from mine.
I would learn later that he had woken up early that morning to go to a job interview at the mall. He was still drunk from the night before. He felt a troubling rumble as he was getting off the bus in front of the mall and as he took the last step onto the sidewalk he shat himself.
He cleaned up as best he could in the public bathrooms and went to the interview, late and still covered in shit. When I heard him recount the story later he thought he had not gotten the job because he was overqualified.
He sipped his beer and looked at my puffy wet red face. “Oh little Neotni, tell Uncle Cranston what’s the matter.”
I poured out my sob story, how I was in love with everybody but no one was in love with me and how I never had friends in the daytime only lovers at night and how the man had me down because I was a minor and how nothing would ever be okay never ever. Really I was crying because I felt so alone. I felt like everyone was judging me for not being a good grown up but no one would bother to teach me how to do that. It was a set up and my poor heart failed a lot and broke a lotter.
He stopped me at some point, “Hold on now, hold on there. Let Uncle Cranston tell you something about problems. Do you know where problems are kept Neotni?”
I didn’t know what he meant.
“I will tell you where problems are kept! They are kept in brain cells. Do you know what alcohol kills Neotni? Brain cells. The reason I am so happy is because I am proactive! If I have a problem, I drink diligently until I kill the brain cells that contain the problem. And that is just the kind of go-getter action you are going to need to take if you want to feel better.”
He passed me a beer at ten a.m. that Monday morning and I set about applying myself.