I don't think any fiction writer can come up with the shit my uncle says. There are many tv characters that are the stupid/funny stereotype I hate, or the characters that have some type of ADD, ADHD, Asperger, Dyslexia problem and we are stuck hearing the laugh track follow their every sentence. That is not at all my type of humor; I've never thought stupid=funny. Granted, the Andy Dwyer character in Parks and Recreation is at times endearing and cute and other times just plain stupid. But in real life, people who speak in this manner are not cute or stupid they're incredibly confused and lost and their every sentence can be followed by frustration and annoyance rather than laughter.
Or at least this is the case with my uncle. My grandma does not know how to use her cell phone so each time I call I have to talk to both her and my uncle on speaker for 1-2 hours. The experience has made me consider gouging out my eyeballs with a fork. I just thank goodness that they don't know how to use Skype or Facetime yet because I wouldn't know how to control my facial expressions.
Our latest conversation was on St. Patrick's Day. I asked them if they knew what day it was and they didn't know. I told them it was the 25th anniversary since I had my appendix taken out. Since my grandma is a bit morbid, she went into the retelling of every surgery she's ever had and every traumatic experience that went along with it. I made an attempt to keep it light and brought the conversation back to my story.
AVIVA: Grandma, do you remember that day? You made me swallow baking soda!
GRANDMA: Oh yes. I pray to God that everytink go vell in hospital. I scare very.
AVIVA: I can't believe it was 25 years ago. I remember that day pretty well.
UNCLE: What day?
GRANDMA: How you vemember it vas today? You write down or somethink?
AVIVA: It was on St. Patrick's Day!
GRANDMA: Oh! St. Patrick's today dat's right. I no vemember it vas St. Patrick's Day.
AVIVA: I was upset because I wanted to wear my green sweatpants to school and mom bought awesome cupcakes with green sprinkles.
GRANDMA: You vas eight vhen it's happen. Really tventy years goin?
UNCLE: You went to hospital? For what?
AVIVA: They took my appendix out Uncle. Twenty five years ago. Remember? I was there for a week. I was nine Grandma.
GRANDMA: Oh nine.
UNCLE: You no have no appendix?
AVIVA: Of course I don't have an appendix. You were there, remember? You bought me Donkey Kong.
UNCLE: But how you no have appendix?
AVIVA: They take it out. So you know they do it more easily now. You only get a tiny scar. Mine is huge.
GRANDMA: Tventy five years.
He might have been joking about not having a clue but nothing was funny so I don't know what to believe. He might have thought that I had some sort of mystery surgery but they didn't take anything out. My patience was wearing thin within the first few minutes of the conversation. I tried to turn things to St. Patrick's Day.
AVIVA: So did you watch the parade or anything on tv?
UNCLE: What parade?
GRANDMA: Patrick, Patrick. People vearing green lotsa.
UNCLE: Aviva, is Patrick the same name as Peter?
GRANDMA: You eat corned beef today?
AVIVA: I didn't Grandma, but that would be nice.
GRANDMA: I like it. Good corned beef.
UNCLE: No no. Peter is same as Patrick.
AVIVA: It's two different names, Uncle.
UNCLE: But in Ireland, if you're name is Peter they call you Patrick right?
GRANDMA: Vat you talking? Not same Peter.
UNCLE: I never see corned beef in stores. They don't sell it.
AVIVA: Of course they have it, they probably have two tons of it in stores right now.
My uncle frequents an electronic store in the far suburbs called ABT. The store is an authorized retailer of various products like Mac computers and Bose speakers. Years ago I got my uncle Bose earbuds because he is a runner and needed them. About a year ago, he lost the covers to the earbuds. This is no big deal, he can easily replace them at the Bose store for a few dollars. I must have told him this five million times.
AVIVA: So Uncle, did you get the earbud covers?
UNCLE: What's earbud?
AVIVA: You know for the headphones for your ipod.
UNCLE: Oh ya ya. I order dem.
AVIVA: You didn't go to the store?
UNCLE: I don't know where a store is.
AVIVA: But there is one in ABT.
UNCLE: What store in ABT?
AVIVA: Uncle, they have a Bose store in ABT. You must have passed it a million times.
UNCLE: I never saw no Bose store.
AVIVA: But you bought your computer in ABT. The Bose store is right next to it.
UNCLE: I never seen it.
What can you do in these circumstances? Passover is coming up and they want me home for it. Just considering a holiday with the family puts me on edge.
GRANDMA: You buying matzoh Avivitcha? Pesach soon.
AVIVA: I didn't buy any Grandma. Not yet.
GRANDMA: Expensive very very in da stores now. I hearing da company not make so much because not sell.
AVIVA: Really? That's too bad. They should market them more like crackers. Then everyone would buy them.
UNCLE: I love matzoh. I love it for breakfast with cream cheese and jelly.
GRANDMA: Use be eight dollars for big box and now sixteen! I cannot belief.
UNCLE: I love matzoh for breakfast.
AVIVA: That's really expensive Grandma. At my grocery store it's almost six dollars for one box.
GRANDMA: (loud gasp) SIX DOLLARS for one? They thiebes. Debils.
UNCLE: You eat it for breakfast Aviva? It's good.
It's good to have patience in this world. I have some friends that are special ed teachers and they are clearly the best people on earth. I could never handle it. One challenging family member is more than enough.