It is time I stop railing at politicians and start making fun of my family again. The focus groups who read my column seem to want to hear more about my Uncle Mac. Everyone but my family wants me to talk about him. But all families are just a generation or two away from an aunt who smoked on the toilet.
At the risk of sharing too much, here are more reflections on the blackest of the herd of black sheep in my family - that great American, Uncle Mac.
I call him "Drunkle." He drinks a lot which, along with cigarettes, explains his whiskey voice. In fact, drinking is an integral part of his persona. He said he drank so much vodka Saturday night that he woke up Sunday speaking Russian.
Yet he's philosophical about his drinking. He said excessive drinking was like watching soccer or opera: It is its own punishment. To this day, he is the only person I have ever seen drinking bourbon from a bell pepper.
Uncle Mac is astounded that my son drinks these craft beers that he considers syrupy, warm, stupid and expensive. He drinks only Budweiser. He says he likes his beer the same way he likes his violence: domestic. He was thrown in jail overnight for public drunkenness. He looks back on it philosophically. He says he hasn't been able to sleep without someone in the next room playing the harmonica since.
He applied for Obamacare, and on the form under "main source of income," he put down "robbing liquor stores." He was accepted but didn't send in any money. He just wanted to mess with them. When he sees one of those baby-changing stations in a men's restroom, he calls over the manager of the place and points out the design flaw. Just to make his relatives mad, he is an Auburn University fan amid our family of all University of Alabama grads. Once, while watching the 'Bama-Florida game, I asked him whom he was rooting for. He said, "I hope it ends up tied 0-0, with a lot of injuries."
He always says, "I have two favorite songs. One is Elvis' rendition of 'Dixie'; the other is not." To further illustrate his enlightened philosophy, he is also against gay marriage. Uncle Mac is old-fashioned; he believes divorce should only be between a man and a woman. When I asked him how his current marriage was going, he said, "We took out large insurance policies on each other. Now it's just a waiting game."
I'm not saying Uncle Mac is immature, but he once cussed out a 14-year-old. He is equal parts child and intellectual - the latter being more in a W.C. Fields genre. He is the one family member all the kids crowd around during family reunions to be told about life's unvarnished realities. Listening to my Drunkle is sort of like experiencing an oral presentation of writings on a bathroom wall. I remember every one of them.
I spent the years from age 12 to 16 wondering what he meant when he came back from the Army saying he was so "pent-up." I finally understood what he meant about the time I got a Farrah Fawcett poster for my room. For years, my uncle dated ugly women - ones who couldn't get any action even if they were the only cocktail waitress on an oil rig. He said of one date that she looked like she ran a 100-yard dash in a 90-yard gym. That was the kind of romantic prose that made him a babe repellent. Yet he felt compelled to have "the talk" with my son. I had to remind him twice that a sex talk with a young boy need not involve price and the proper amount to tip.
My Drunkle is one of the great characters of all time, a true slice of Americana. He worked in construction, as a sheet-metal worker and at a plant. He's kind of the Ryan Seacrest of Locust Fork, Ala. He is one of the blue-collar guys who will support Donald Trump because illegal immigrants have undercut his wages for years.
I jokingly asked him if he had gotten up to watch the royal wedding. He scoffed, "Son, I lost interest in the royals when they knighted Sir MixAlot."
And he always says, "Son, I was around for the Reagan administration, so I know how things are supposed to be done."
Contact Ron Hart at Ron@RonaldHart.com or @RonaldHart on Twitter.