Most of you probably know I'm a huge fan of Kurt Vonnegut. Even though he went to heaven seven years ago (bonus points if you get that), his estate is still finding ways to churn out books, most recently in a volume of graduation and award acceptance speeches. (Highly recommend this, by the way.)
Among other things, he recalls that his uncle Alex taught him to stop and enjoy nice moments in life. No easy feat for a guy who battled bad depression his entire adult life, but he made it a point to share that story. They'd have, say, lemonade on a nice day, and his uncle would stop and say, "If this isn't nice, what is?"
He has always had a way, in effect, of saying what Kurt Vonnegut's uncle said.
Here are some snippets:
- Shortly after their 20th anniversary, my aunt said in a dreamy voice, "Wow, it doesn't feel like 20 years." My uncle: "No, it feels more like...19!" (They got divorced a couple of years later.)
- On the fact that their first house wasn't selling after they had moved out of state (after having rented it to college students): "I went to check it out and found out what the deal was. I called the realtor and said, 'Hello! The house isn't selling because there are 1,234 holes in the wall, and a PASTEL PICTURE OF GARFIELD has been drawn on the wall!'"
- They were notorious for letting their four kids, my cousins, have free reign growing up. At the ripe old age of six, my cousin Eve got mad at my uncle and spouted off, "Dad, you're an asshole!" We were silent and shocked. Later on that afternoon, she got mad at him for taking "her" chair. He quipped, "What do you expect from an asshole?"
- He told us that my dad asked him his GPA in graduate school. It was a 4.0. Then my dad apparently said, "Hey, my sister is coming into town this weekend, would you like to meet her?" My uncle: "Well apparently it was a good thing I didn't have a 3.5!"
Now if that isn't nice, what is?