I don’t want kids. Ever. I have no problem with people that have kids, but to me, there’s nothing in this world for them but global warming, ISIS, student loans and robots taking over the job market. Instead of kids, I prefer my dog, a 75 lb. horse of a dog. I take him to the vet once a year for a check-up, he doubles as home security, he licks up anything I spill on the floor, and his laziness is greater than or equal to my own.
Maybe I’m selfish, irresponsible and immature, but to me, being in charge of the life and wellbeing of something that will eventually outgrow its need for me is too much. And by that I mean I’ll never get to go to Europe or visit developing Central American countries that would make me the 1 percent if I visited there tomorrow if I had kids.
I have always pictured myself as the drunken uncle. Before everyone started cranking out kids, all of my friends would say, “Bernie, you’d be such a great godfather/drunken uncle.” Now that they are actually having kids – the girlfriend has two nephews which are basically mine, and my invitations to friend’s kid’s birthdays seem to come more and more every year. I feel like I’ve embraced my role as “the drunken uncle.”
One of the best parts about being the drunken uncle is having fun and then giving them back. It’s like having your cake and eating it too. After attending the ol’ ball and chain’s nephew’s 10th birthday, I got to relive the awesomeness of Nerf wars. They made teams to play against me and I still owned all of them. Every “kill” was a headshot, and they ate it up. What was next? The greatest of all cakes: the Dairy Queen double layer ice cream cake. Then I got to leave after they were all riled up. Not my problem. All the benefits of having kids but none of the responsibilities.
Be the cool uncle.
Growing up, my drunken uncle was the best. He is basically Mr. Dink and Peter Griffin combined. While not my biological uncle, to this day he will always be Uncle Mark. Uncle Mark gave me my first sip of beer, would play street hockey with me and all of my neighborhood friends, and always got me the coolest gifts for my birthday. He was always down to do some cool shit at any moment. This separates you from those pathetic, boring parents who just want to sit and talk to each other while they sip their wine coolers, and the kids will take note and act accordingly. The drunken uncle will never be picked last for a team.
Give the kids respect.
Kids are easily influenced. Sadly, a lot of people are using their influence to have terrible shit head kids. Spiderman’s (probably) drunken uncle Ben told him, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Treating them like young adults is important. There is nothing worse than the aunt with caked on lipstick kissing cheeks right and left. Put in the time now and they will remember you treating them well. This works out when they turn 16 and Uncle Bernie goes on a bender and needs a ride home. Taking even a passing interest in whatever kids these days enjoy will win you massive cool points. While they will never have awesome shows like Keenan and Kel, Guts or Rocket Power, it is your duty as the drunken uncle to make sure these kids don’t turn out shitty and lame like their parents. Use your influence to keep them well rounded.
Do fun stuff.
Before my uncle Dan exchanged his genitals for a wedding ring and some kids, I used to regularly find him hungover on our couch in the basement when I ran downstairs to watch Saturday morning cartoons. Grandpa slipped one past the goalie, and my grandma had him at 41. He is 20 years younger than my mom, so he was in high school when I was a kid. Some of my best childhood memories are watching the World Cup ’94, him taking me out of school to go skiing, and learning swear words and sports from him. The allure of being an uncle was diminished as soon as he got hitched and had kids, and now he trundles through life as a slightly overweight middle aged man with sunken eyes and higher than the average American beer consumption. The king is gone, but he’s not forgotten.
One up everyone.
One of the best parts about being the drunken uncle is using your dual income and no kid’s status to always get kids the coolest presents. Kids these days have kick ass video games, automatic Nerf guns, and much better technology. We used to crowd around a 25 inch TV playing split screen four man Golden Eye, whereas these kids can play Call of Duty on 70 inch high definition screens where you can see individual digital pores. You weren’t cool unless you had the latest uncensored CD. You know what Uncle Mark did? That guy bought me the “Marshall Mathers LP” and “The Mark, Tom and Travis Show,” uncensored, just to spite my mom and dad. I still know all the words to The Real Slim Shady and Blew Job.
Embarrass the parents.
Kids will always ask about what their parents were like before they started popping out kids. You know they used to smoke a ton of weed, drop LSD or have casual sex with other people that aren’t their mommy or daddy. I’m not saying tell them, but the time they did pledge jousting in stolen shopping carts makes for a great tale for the whole family. Little Billy loves stories about Dad’s love/hate relationship with Wild Turkey, or the first time he smoked pot and army man crawled around the apartment for an hour.
Be there when they need you.
This goes without saying. Parents don’t always see eye to eye with their kids; it’s the nature of the business. They are often overprotective helicopter parents, or just plain lame. Giving the kid a little dose of reality is a gift. As a drunken uncle, I know damn well my nephews’ and nieces’ parents got messed up at 17, so if they need a ride home, Uncle Bernie will be there to pick them up from whatever shitty field party they’ve been pounding Keystones at. A lot of times, they are too uncomfortable to ask their parents. This is where all those years of being a cool, drunken uncle come in. You get to shape them, but in the cool way. Don’t sugarcoat shit and be real, like Uncle Jesse. Mullet optional.
Everyone needs a drunken uncle. Kids are great, but they aren’t for everyone. Uncle Bernie likes his money, free time, hair and sanity. These things usually are much less prominent among those with kids. While I am still just at the beginning of my drunken uncle duties, the importance of shaping young minds cannot be taken lightly. You’re life’s relief pitcher, the guy that teaches kids to bend rules, ask the hard questions and lives a little..
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