UNCLE WHO?

Calling Uncle Bob – Have you ever faced a difficult situation when you had to choose between sorting it out yourself, or asking someone else for an easy fix? What did you choose — and would you make the same choice today?


I do not have an uncle named Bob. I had Uncles called Jack, Abe, Herman, Louis, Mickey, and Sam. I still have an Uncle Sam, come to think of it, but I’m pretty sure he’s not related by blood.

I cannot imagine under what circumstances I would have called any of these uncles to help me with anything at any point in my life, not even when they were still alive. Their current lack of aliveness makes them even less likely to be helpful in a crisis than formerly. It’s hard for me to picture big, bluff Uncle Abe, the guy who used to toss me in the air to make me giggle and scream, giving me advice on Men, Marriage, Career … or how to fix a computer.

uncle-sam

Or even asking him to read something I wrote to see if he liked it.

He wouldn’t have liked it. None of them would have liked it. Or understood it. Their brows would have furrowed and I am sure they would have found my interest in Such Matters perturbing and disturbing. At the very least.

So here’s the scenario.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

“Hello?”

“Uncle Herman, hi. It’s Marilyn.”

“Who?”

“Marilyn. Dorothy’s daughter.”

“Oh, Dorothy. How is she? Is she coming to visit? I haven’t seem my little sister since … ” Long pause.

“Last month,” I offer helpfully. I’m nothing if not helpful.

“Yes,” he agrees.

“Uncle Herman, I have a problem. My laptop screen seems to have an intermittent connection to the keyboard and I can’t figure out how to fix it. Can I bring it over and have you take a look?”

“Sure Bubbala. Your Aunt just made a big batch of the jello you like so much.”

I really did love the jello Aunt Ethel made. It was never too hard or too soft — always perfect. And she used bunny rabbit-shaped molds so the jello wriggled and jiggled, as jello should. The taste of family.

Jello notwithstanding, I cannot imagine a positive outcome to this encounter. Although in his day, Uncle Herman was good with machines, especially sewing machines (he was a cutter and tailor, as were most of the men in my mother’s family in that generation), computers were … well … not his thing.

He could give it a good whack, which might cure the problem or finish off the computer forever. A simple, fast, and permanent fix. Not exactly what I had in mind, but a fix, nonetheless.

Or they could have served me jello and we would talk about this and that, forgetting the reason for the visit because seriously, when you have a problem, do you call your family to help you out? Really?

And as a final note of caution, quick fixes are rarely good fixes. Just an observation.

43 thoughts on “UNCLE WHO?

  1. Pingback: Calling Uncle Who? |

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  3. Uncle Herman’s advice does work well on our timeclock at work. When the screen starts fuzzing out and it won’t take anyone’s badge, a good swift knock on the top of it will put it right back in perfect working order…. or at least it has the times I’ve done it!

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  5. I have two sons who are computer gurus. I don’t hesitate to call them. It does pay to have kids, at least after they grow up — lucky me, huh? 😉

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            • I don’t mind as much now that I’ve retired. At least I don’t get frantic calls at work with my boss staring as I try to extract myself from the call. I’m not really a super techie, but I’ve spent a lot of time using computers and writing about them. And explaining them to people who need to understand them. I’m kind of like a professional computer USER. If there is such a thing.

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  6. Rabbits and jello. Hmmm, an interesting mix. I did a bad thing to a rabbit once, it was in my garden and shouldn’t have been. I think my Uncle Bob would do the same thing if he saw a rabbit in his garden.

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  7. I did have an actual Uncle Bob. He was married to my Aunt Claire. But I would never have asked Uncle Bob for a favor or a quick fix. I was not his favorite nephew, you see.

    On a totally unrelated note, I tagged you to participate in a sort of blog-hop like thing if you’re interested. You can read about it at my latest post, but if you don’t want to run with it, let me know and I’ll tap someone else.

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  9. Marilyn one thing is certain.I just finished my contribution and now am reading yours. Great minds think alike and we have immortalised our uncles in the spheres of the blogging realm. I must add, unfortunately, that my uncles are no longer amongst us, but their memories remain.Long live Jello (and guano)

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    • Don’t forget bats. Bats and guano are a major industry!

      My enthusiasm for the Daily Prompt is dropping into negative numbers. I’m going to have to find another way to get prompted which doesn’t require dealing with WordPress. They have got to have the most hostile “customer service” in the known world. Boy, are they going to see a rapid exodus if a new blogging platform comes available. They think they own the blogging world … All these big companies think they own the world and then, competition comes along. The world changes and they disappear. Ah what fools these mortals be.

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      • I had to search for a new blogging platform when Multiply closed. Multiply was good, you really got to know people, nice people, but Multiply moved from the States to Indonesia. they did marketing on the side and eventually did blogging on the side and then got rid of blogging for pure marketing. It did not work, the Indonesian guy hopped out and Multiply collapsed completely, although we bloggers were laughing behind our hands, thinking he deserved it. What did we do? Oh we went everywhere. I already had a backup in Blogger and some went to Blogger, but it is not the same thing. I was already in WordPress now and again so I expanded WordPress and that was my site eventually. Many went to Facebook where they formed their photography and writing groups. I joined in, but left. It got too big, and was taking up too much time. However, I still have online contact to a lot of ex Multiply people, mainly through Facebook. It seems all good things come to an end, and after making a tour of all blogging sites when Multiply collapsed I am sorry to say that WordPress does offer the best possibility at the moment.

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      • All the Uncles, Aunts, “Cousins” and others have moved on and up to greener pastures. Now, I’m the old person who gets the family calls. When did this happen?

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          • Mine doesn’t. I love them, too. It does not make me feel good that I have to call my niece and I never hear from my cousins about my aunts (who are very old). Well Christmas is coming and I will send out cards and I will get cards that say, “I wish we heard something from you from time to time” and I’ll have to hold myself back from putting da head of a dead horse in their beds…

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            • In the past 25 years, I have gotten not one single visit from any member of my (living) family, except for my brother who passed 5 years ago. That was the end of family. It makes me sad, but it’s a reality I have to accept. They really don’t remember I exist most of the time. Unless they bump into me on Facebook.

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                • It’s mostly painful because at least one of them was once a very close friend as well as a cousin and it’s hard to accept how that friendship has completely vanished. But regardless, it has. I do get a call from her whenever I get out of the hospital following some especially scary surgery. Last time, it was after the mitral valve replacement and all the other stuff. I think I might have to actually die next time.

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                  • I understand — I feel that a lot with my niece. It’s clear that during her growing up years (in which I was involved) she was having one experience and I was having another. I guess a good part of the sadness is disappointment. And I miss the ones who are gone. There were many among them that I liked very much and their passing left a definite hole in my life, but I guess that’s true for all of us who have been lucky enough to love someone.

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