February 22, 2007

Hello, Old Friend

He's alive! He's ALIVE!

At the suggestion of loyal reader Papa Shaft, I decided to track down an old friend and former Mediocre Fred contributor, Uncle Millie. Papa wanted to know Uncle Millie's opinion on the conundrum I presented in my Valentine's Day post, about why so many people in relationships seem to be unhappy. And hearing Millie's name reminded me that I hadn't heard from the old rogue in almost two years. And I had so many questions to ask him. What has he been up to all this time? How is Aunt Beatrice? Are they still together? Is he ever going to pay back the 500 bucks I lent him? My curiosity was piqued, and I had to track him down.

Unfortunately, that's much easier said than done. As loyal readers of his column may remember, Uncle Millie tends to wander wherever the spirit moves him, and he rarely if ever bothers to leave a forwarding address. (Actually, considering the number of creditors, ex-wives, and angry husbands who may be looking for him at any given moment, he's probably got the right idea.) My attempts to locate him produced a pile of confused, alcohol-soaked, and often conflicting tips from his drinking buddies, of whom there are many. A number of these tips pointed in the general direction of Mexico, though, and after a few false starts, I finally tracked down a relatively reliable eyewitness, who had seen him in Guadalajara. In jail.

As it turned out, he'd managed to talk his way out of jail, and had taken up residence (of a sort) in a cantina on the outskirts of Guadalajara. We talked over a rather dubious phone connection, so the transcript that follows is approximate, my best guess at what was said through the telephone static and Uncle Millie's drunken slurred speech, which was more pronounced than I remembered.

MF: Uncle Millie? Is this really you?

UM: Officer, I deny the charges. I was in home in bed at the time.

MF: Millie-

UM: Okay, that isn't true. I don't even have a bed anymore. But it was a crime of passion! Who can deny the power of true love? He had it coming, I swear!

MF: Millie-

UM: All right, so it was a drunken brawl. But you can't make me go back to prison! Have a heart, man! I have twelve or thirteen very special children who rely on me for-

MF: Millie, it's me. Mediocre Fred. Remember me?

UM: Wha-? Oh, yes! Of course I remember you, lad. How could I forget that night we spent drinking Manhattans in Philadelphia?

MF: Millie, that wasn't me.

UM: No? Oh, that's right. You and I spent the night on that dock in Baltimore draining that bottle of Thunderbird.

MF: No.

UM: No? Then we did - beers in Boston?

MF: No.

UM: Sherries in Chicago?

MF: No.

UM: Whiskey in Washington?

MF: No, Uncle Millie. I used to be your boss. Remember? You used to write a romantic advice column for my blog.

UM: Advi- Oh, yes, yes, I remember now. You'll have to forgive me, lad. The old mind isn't quite as sharp as it used to be. Time dims the memory a tad. But I recall now know. That must have been, what, fifteen or twenty years ago?

MF: Two years ago.

UM: Really? Aye, well, lad, you must understand that when you live as I do, every year feels like a decade.

MF: I believe it. So when did you go down to Mexico?

UM: A few months ago, I believe. I felt that a change of scenery would do me good, lad.

MF: Isn't your whole life one long scenery change?

UM: Yes, well, in this particular instance I had a particularly good reason to desire a change of scenery. Two good reasons, in fact. Two rather large gentlemen who wished to extract some money from me for-

MF: Ah, I see. So what are you doing with yourself in Mexico?

UM: Holding court, so to speak. Much as I used to do in my column. There are a great many young lads here who can benefit from my hard-won wisdom.

MF: Wait. Do you speak Spanish?

UM: Not really, no.

MF: So how do they understand what you're saying?

UM: The communications barrier was a bit of a hurdle at first, I'll admit. But the language of the heart is universal.

MF: That's a sweet thought.

UM: As is the language of the bottle, lad. Once we're sufficiently lubricated, we all begin to sound the same anyhow.

MF: And where is Aunt Beatrice?

UM: Aye, lad, 'tis a tragedy, that. I lost her.

MF: You did? Sorry to hear that. What happened? Did she catch you in bed with her sister again?

UM: No, lad, we did not break up. I lost her.

MF: You mean - she died? My God. When did this happen? Why didn't I hear about it?

UM: No, no, lad. She's not dead. I lost her. At the Wal-Mart.

MF: You lost her? In the Wal-Mart? How is that possible?

UM: Well, lad, those Wal-Marts are fairly large, you know. She left me to locate the canned peas, I became a bit disoriented, and the next thing I knew, it was closing time and she was gone. I haven't seen her since.

MF: This must be a joke. Are you joking?

UM: Alas, no. I do miss her sometimes.

MF: The bed feels a little empty without her?

UM: Are you kidding? I wouldn't get caught short that way. A gentleman such as myself never does without. But Beatrice was a fine companion, and I am sorry to be without her company. Of all my wives, she's the one I miss the most.

MF: That's sweet.

UM: Fortunately, I have my new best friend to keep me company.

MF: What's her name? Trixie? Shelly?

UM: Jose Cuervo!

MF: Ah. Well, the reason I called is to get you to weigh in on a matter of romance.

UM: Ah, well, you came to the right place, lad! I am the master of love. So what's got you down, lad? Hopelessly in love with a young lass?

MF: No, that's not the problem.

UM: Ah, I get it. Haven't been laid in a while?

MF: No, that's not-

UM: Are you having trouble rising to the occasion, lad? It's all right, you call tell Uncle Millie. There is no shame in that, no matter what your lady friend tells you.

MF: Millie, I have no "lady friend."

UM: Oh. Ohhhh, I see. So you're in love with another lad, then?

MF: What?!

UM: Now, Uncle Millie has no experience in this arena, to be sure, but there is no shame in loving other lads.

MF: Millie, I-

UM: It must be relief to finally emerge from the closet. To be frank, lad, I'd always suspected-

MF: Millie! This question is not about me.

UM: Really. Well, as you would have it, then. So, you have a "friend" who happens to love other lads, then?

MF: No! I'm not gay, Millie. Will you shut up and let me ask my question?

UM: Certainly. My apologies, lad. I'll take this moment to freshen my drink. Bartender! Uno drinko, por favor!

MF: "Drinko"?

UM: I have learned a smattering of Spanish, lad. Enough to take care of my needs.

MF: But you- never mind. Here is the question: Why does it seem that so many people in relationships are unhappy with them? Whenever I talk to my friends about relationships, they imply that I'm better off single. And yet they don't leave these relationships they claim to be unhappy with. What gives?

UM: Ah, well, lad, that's an age-old query. Much of this can be ascribed to the thrill of the chase. Men are like lions roaming the African countryside, lying in the weeds and waiting for a zebra or a gazelle to wander by. When it does, the lion pounces, devours, and moves on.

MF: You're not saying we want to eat the women we date, are you?

UM: No, no, lad, you miss my point. My point it that once a lion identifies a nice tasty zebra, it doesn't hang around the zebra, listening to her endless prattling about personal problems and whether she looks fat in those pants. No, it's a quick strike and move on. That's what men are built for. It's encoded in our genes, lad.

MF: But my female friends have the same relationship blues. What about them?

UM: Well, the lure of the upgrade can be powerful for lads and lasses alike. Let me ask you something, lad: when you're in the throes of first love with a lass, doesn't it seem as though other women are more attracted to you, more flirtatious with you?

MF: Well, yes.

UM: Of course. And why is that? Because we are reborn in love. We improve ourselves. We dress better, walk taller, laugh louder, brush our teeth occasionally. Because we wish to impress the lass we love. And in doing so, we make ourselves more attractive to all women, not just the object of our desire at the moment.

MF: Hey, that's a good point.

UM: Also, when we're in a relationship, that makes us more desirable. Forbidden fruit and all that. If you're in a relationship with a lass, it's like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. You're certified dateable. If you're without a woman, prospective dates will wonder why. They'll wonder what's wrong with you. Are you deficient in the bedroom department? Are you a serial killer? Is your hygiene questionable? Are you, ahem, batting for the other team?

MF: All right, enough of that.

UM: This is why a gentleman who wishes to be successful in romance will never allow himself to be caught short without a ladyfriend. My romantic career is a shining example of this. Having one lass on your arm is an important requirement for acquiring additional lasses. A gentleman should always keep a stable of lasses ready and waiting.

MF: I'm not sure how this answers my question.

UM: Isn't it obvious? No one is satisfied with merely one partner! When you're a young lad, just starting out in life, you may want a Cadillac, but you can't afford one. So you settle for a Chevrolet. But as you get older and move up in the world, are you going to stick with Chevrolets? Of course not! You trade up.

MF: Okay, but I don't-

UM: And we're all looking to trade up. The people driving Chevrolets want to drive Oldsmobiles, the Oldsmobile drivers want Buicks, the Buick drivers want Cadillacs. And the Cadillac drivers want two Cadillacs!

MF: They don't make Oldsmobiles any more, you know.

UM: No matter. My point is that only someone dull and unimaginative settles for what's already in front of him. Partners are like tires: they should be rotated every 5,000 miles.

MF: I have no idea what that means. But I get the sense that your sense of love is rather... commercial.

UM: Aye, lad, there are similarities between romance and business.

MF: And I thought you were Mr. Poetry.

UM: Aye, lad, poetry runs through my veins. Indeed, the poets of my homeland have inspired me much over the years.

MF: Homeland? I thought you were from Detroit.

UM: My ancestral homeland, lad, the Auld Sod. And indeed, poetry has its place in romance. In particular, it's a fine tool to convince reluctant lasses to share your bed. The college-educated ones, in particular, really respond to it.

MF: How charming.

UM: But consider this, lad: Why are poets always writing long, whiny odes to their desired lasses? Because they weren't out sleeping with them! Those who can, do. Those who can't, write about it.

MF: An interesting statement from a man who used to write romantic advice for a living.

UM: No matter. My point is that I'm a doer! Businessmen are men of action, and so am I.

MF: Well, thanks for answering my question. I think.

UM: Think nothing of it, lad. Always glad to be of service. And say, if you happen to hear from Aunt Beatrice, do you think you could pass along my contact information? I'd very much like to hear from her again.

MF: Sure, but what contact information? If history is any indication, you'll be gone again in a week.

UM: Yes, well, at the present moment in time, it seems that the local authorities are observing me rather closely, so I think I'll be remaining where I am for a while.

MF: All right. Well, it was great to talk to you again, Uncle Millie.

UM: The same in reverse, lad.

MF: By the way, about that 500 dollars you owe me-

UM: What? Um- No habla the English, senor. No comprendo "500 dollars."

MF: Millie, I know it's you.

UM: Uh oh, static on the line. Can't hear you, I'm afraid.

MF: Millie, the line's perfectly clear-

UM: I must away. Happy hunting!

So there you have it. I hope you're happy, Papa. As for me? I'm still out 500 bucks.

Posted by Mediocre Fred at February 22, 2007 12:18 PM | TrackBack

Mexico? And he hasn't, you know, been stabbed to death in a drunken bar fight yet? Millie apparently has an unusually high sense of self preservation these days...

Hilarious, as always.

Posted by: PapaShaft at February 23, 2007 08:21 AM

Can't find your email address anywhere, so I'll just leave this here.

A few weeks ago you commented on Deadspin:
""Hi! I totally found this site doing a Google search for 'Tim Hardaway power bottom.'"

Let's make Deadspin the number 1 site on Google for that phrase, shall we?"

Mission Accomplished.

Posted by: mcsey at February 23, 2007 08:29 AM


Google Tim Hardaway power bottom... Deadspin comes up first.

Posted by: mcsey at February 23, 2007 08:31 AM

we found this this in a history lesson searching 'hello millie and how are you?'
i acted 'Mediocre Fred' and my dear dear friend millie acted 'uncle millie'. Yes, thoroughly amazing.
Please contact us. We will be patiently waiting for your email. Thankyou for your time and consideratin.

Posted by: Nat&uncle Millie at May 22, 2007 01:28 AM

YES, another comment from us!
well we were just wondering how everyone is?
we are OK.
millie is just fine.
WE are full of glee!
we have been writing some script of our own recently. They all end with 'to the happy room and beyond'!

Posted by: Nat&uncle Millie at May 22, 2007 01:33 AM

i love flange!


Posted by: maya at June 5, 2007 01:28 AM
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