Being the Weird Uncle
So I went to my nephew's 4th birthday party yesterday. It was a major shindig with like 30 kids running around in my brother's yard. It was really cool seeing kids just going nuts and stuff. It's also fun to watch them talk to each other and listen in on the conversations. I get along with kids really well and dig playing so I have a good time at these things. I'm actually the type that would rather sit at the kids table at formal things just because the conversation is usually more interesting and stuff. To pass the time I tried some of this Twisted Tea drink which was gross but had a kick to it.
Of course, it's always a bit weird when you realize you're the 'weird uncle' hanging out and drinking. I can't believe I'm actually that guy now. But apparently that's who I am. When you're 32. Single. Bald. Tall. Goofy. Unemployed. And usually half-drunk. There's only one way to describe me. Weird uncle.
My brother and his wife hired a clown for the party and the dude showed up around 4:00. I don't think I've seen a clown perform in a very long time and I was actually pretty psyched. He was dressed in a patchy tux jacket with tails and he had simple makeup on. He looked like he was about 35. No wig. He put down his boombox and cranked up the Speed Racer theme song. The kids all gathered around and he starts acting like a goofball. The kids dug it. And then he did the snake pop out of the can trick. And made some bubbles and stuff. And did some clowny-clown stuff or whatever. But at one point though he started to lose control of the kids. Some wandered away. Some started going through his bag of stuff. Others got in a tug fight with his horseyhead on a stick thing. He was really trying to get the hokey pokey started but the kids just weren't into it. The hokey pokey music was playing and he was hokey pokeying but the kids were like everywhere. I looked around and saw that the only people really watching the clown at that point were the parents and I thought it was weird moment. Here's a guy. Doing the hokey pokey. Dressed up as a clown. Only adults watching. I think he realized it too -and at like the same moment some kid clicked off his boombox and ran away. It wasn't a high point of the performance.
He eventually got control of the group again and pulled off some more tricks and everything was cool. I chatted with the clown a bit during the pizza break and he seemed like a nice guy. One little girl came up to us and asked the clown why he wasn't wearing a red nose (he only painted it red). Then he asked the clown to pull down his pants and show his underwear. The little kid then turned to me and asked me who I was. I told her the brother of the birthday boy's father. I could see her adding that connection up in her head when the clown said, "He's a clown too!" She looked at me for a second then said, "You do look like a clown!" And I said, "I do?" (genuinely surprised) and then she said, "And you sound like a clown!" And I said, "I do?!" (again surprised). Then she looked at me and asked me why I don't wear a wig. She stumped me on that one.
All in all it was a good time at my nephew's 4th. Kids seem to all get along. A couple kids clonked heads and cried. My littler nephew (1 1/2 years old) walked into a chair and got a bruise. He's a trooper. Some kid got clocked with a wiffleball bat by accident. But it was all cool.
I don't know how you parents do it. It's like a non-stop thing with the kids. But I find you can always learn something from children. Learn how to remember the things that are important. Learn how to be a kid again. Learn how to appreciate the little things. But for me on this day... I learned that I'm the weird uncle who is apparently a clown in disguise.