Being an aunt is not easy, my friends. Oh sure, I didn’t push any watermelon-sized people out my cootch, nor did I have the hemorrhoids or the swollen ankles. (Actually to be fair I DID have both of those things, but I had to keep them to myself because I didn’t have the “I’m making life here! Lay off me!!!” excuse to fall on.)
Still, with all the things that are the responsibility of parents I don’t know that people give the proper due to the jobs that are solely the purvue of the cool aunts and uncles of the world. I take these responsibilities very seriously! Why just the other night my sister was foolish enough to leave town, for MULTIPLE DAYS, and leave her pesky kids behind in the care of myself. Oh sure, there were grandparents there who were really supposed to be keeping an eye on things. But in the end it was all about cool aunt Femtastic and the sharing of the super-awesome knowledge.
We started with high-fives. My sister’s kids (who are very awesome in their own right let me assure you) were rocking some terribly lame high-fives. They didn’t snap, they used flibbidy fingers and NOBODY BUT NOBODY was feeling actual pain at the five’s conclusion. Disappointing. And so I stepped in, because this is just the kind of thing that cool aunts should be in charge of. I schooled them on the need for firm fingers. That a quality high-five should flow THROUGH the air. That a truly GREAT high-five should end with a profound “Yowtch!!!” of pain.
I told them of the greatest single high-five of my life, which was more than 15 years ago. I was living on the whole other side of the nation, and I was attempting to build a waterbed frame using directions printed only in Spanish. One of my favorite relatives, my cousin (we’ll call him Chico de-Coolio), was helping me with this project. When at last we assembled the frame and it actually looked frame-like we cheered and I threw up my silly, girly high-five hand in triumph. And Chico, who had been high-fiving for years with other manly men in manly endeavors, slapped my palm so flat and hard that the sound was heard in dark jungles of Africa, a layer of skin disintegrated on contact and I lost all feeling in my palm for eleven days. I have aspired to such high-fiving skills ever since…
Once the kids were high-fiving with style and grace the conversation shifted, as it would normally due, to the topic of flipping the bird. These kids, ages 11, 13 and 15, had all flipped their own birds, to be sure. But it was a clumsy, difficult-to-watch display. I feared for their very futures.
I explained to them that a quality “disgusting hand gesture” needs to come fast and freely, with confidence and aplomb. You gotta be able to shoot that guy off instantly and it’s gotta look easy. It’s gotta look casual. Your bird has got to say to it’s intended victim “Hey, I show you disrespect, and maybe even actual venom, but I don’t even break a sweat.”
We ran drills, did some spontaneous flip-offs, worked out some crucial finger muscles that don’t really get action any other time. By the time I headed home I felt that these kids were ready for important next milestones: learning how to drive (one handed, of course, to leave the other hand free for… whatever) and sex.
Of course they’re on their own for that one.