To put it as nicely as possible, Uncle Charlie was full of crap and everyone knew it. He told me wild tales about pulling the plug in the bathtub, Daddy swirling down the drain, and someone having to rescue him from the river. He had fish stories, and deer stories, and the big, unbelievable stories about most every topic. He was fun, because we knew not to believe him.
He also played games. With me, it started out he would give me a quarter if I would scratch his back. I scratched his back – over here, a little higher, harder in the middle – until my fingernails threatened to fall off. When I finally cried uncle, he said he would pay me that quarter next time he saw me. I knew I would never see that quarter but about five years into this game I did remind him that next time never got there. He upped it to a dollar then, and said he was saving those quarters and dollars in the attic for me.
When I started bringing boyfriends around, Uncle Charlie told them what I would be able to buy with that money – houses, cars, big things, since I had faithfully scratched his back for so many years. I scratched, smiled, and rolled my eyes at the boyfriends, knowing I would never see a cent. Uncle Charlie wanted his back scratched, I didn’t mind doing it, and that was all there was to the story.
If I had believed – past the age of six – that Uncle Charlie was going to pay me those quarters, I would have been naïve. I would also have been terribly disappointed and he would have been a jerk if I had depended on that money to buy a house, or car, or anything big or small.
For some reason, this game isn’t nearly as much fun when President Obama plays me and Senator McConnell is Uncle Charlie.