Whenever I run into a writer's block, all I need to do is expose myself to my family for a while, and suddenly the material seems to write itself. I gotta learn to carry a notepad with me every time I go to a family gathering. In the short time we were there, I witnessed a half-dozen funny little scenes that I recorded as soon as I got home.
This is a picture of me and my cousin Matt. We look like the muscle for a small-time bookie, right? People say we look alike. In fact, Matt's dad (my uncle), who was celebrating his 75th birthday this day, yelled at me. Well, it wasn't really me he was yelling at...it was Matt. Or someone whom he thought resembled the wayward lad (me).
Joyce and I are at the party, a nice outdoor affair on a perfect late-Summer day. I'm casually standing there talking to my cousin Dave, and my uncle walks up and says to me, "Matt, bring that cooler over here please." Of course, it doesn't register in my mind. I ignore him.
Okay, I have to let you in on something here. You do not ignore anyone in my family. It's simply not done; at least, not without major consequences. He pauses for a moment in shock, and then yells, "Matthew Richard!" (Oh Christ, when a parent uses your first AND middle name, it's serious!) I looked around for Matt, anticipating what I guessed would be a serious ass-whuppin' from his dad.
All I saw was my uncle staring daggers at me. Suddenly it hit me! "Uh, I'm not Matt, Uncle Rich...I'm Robert!" I say. (My family INSISTS on calling me "Robert" rather than "Bob", which gives me acid reflux, but I've accepted the fact that I have to indulge them)
He performs a perfect double-take, then starts laughing like Joe Pesci in "Goodfellas" just before he's about to whack someone.
Yup, that's my favorite uncle.