It was the summer of 7th grade when my uncle asked me and my brother if we’d help him paint a house. It was a little bungalow type home that my grandmother owned and rented out at the time. When my uncle asked us if we wanted to do that, we both said yes to avoid sounding like pussies. I don’t think either of us wanted to spend any part of the summer painting, but our uncle was really manly, and we didn’t want to let him down.
So we painted the house, but first we had to scrape it for about two days without a power washer. Mp3 players weren’t around then, and portable CD players still sucked, so I was forced to listen to the radio. The whole time the attitude in my head was “this sucks this sucks this sucks.” I can’t remember a lot of that time, but I probably did a really half-assed job because I was young and lazy. We did eventually get everything done though, and our uncle gave us some money.
In retrospect, I think he was trying to teach my brother and I at least one skill, and the value of honest work etc. I think he knew that our father wasn’t really teaching us anything as we grew up, and he wanted us to do something manly or we’d both become soft shitbags. I bet he could have hired a couple guys to help him, but he chose us because he wanted us to learn something from the experience. Looking back on it, I think I learned that money definitely doesn’t come easily.
For the past 12+ years, my mother and my uncle haven’t really talked to each other, and my mother doesn’t talk to my other aunt. My uncle doesn’t talk to anyone in the family AT ALL. All of this is over some stupid b.s. that happened in the early 00’s (which I don’t feel like getting into).
But it kind of sucked because as we grew up, if we still associated with my uncle, he could have taught us more manly skills. Perhaps some higher level technical skills.
My uncle is a plumber and so is my cousin (his son). They both work together and seem to make a decent wage. I think that if I’d been able to see him on holidays and whatnot for the past 12 years, I would have probably been able to pick up some plumbing or building skills for free from him. And I wouldn’t have the crappy job I have now, instead.
Meanwhile, I’ve known my dad my whole life and he’s never imparted any wisdom on me, whether it be technical skills or any kind of advice that would help anyone out in the real world. My dad is kind of a dick. I see him about once a year, and he’s just a miserable a-hole the whole time I see him. I don’t know what his problem is. But anyway, I’m digressing.