He’s the only boy out of six children. There’s only eleven months between us (no, we weren’t Catholic) so we’re close to each other. He’s easy going, and likes to have fun. His small nieces and nephews call him Uncle Clifford the Teaser. He can take a sober faced kid and tease them so badly they have to laugh. When my daughter was little he would tickle her ‘til she had tears in her eyes – good tears. My granddaughter, who is four, runs and hides from him when she sees him coming. She knows he’ll tease and tickle her. It’s just the way he is with little kids.
He’s had reason in his life not to be so jovial. He’s a cancer survivor. The word cancer is enough to make someone less than happy. He went through the chemo, the hair lose bit, the stays in the hospital. Maybe that’s why he looks at life like he does. “Enjoy it. Laugh and have fun. It could be worse.”
He called me the other night, quite unexpectedly. I didn’t really have time to talk to him. He started with, “I had a colonoscopy today.” “Okay” I responded. Like I want to hear about this. “The doctor said it didn’t look good,” he said.
Here I must say that I take everything seriously. My chest heaved. I sat on the bed to listen. I thought to myself, Shit . I don’t want to hear this. I can’t lose another family member. I wasn’t sure what to say. Knowing Clifford, him being a wise guy, I slowly asked, “What do you mean?” He chuckled. I had the feeling I’d been had. Cautiously I asked, “Inside or out?” Another chuckle. I am such an easy target. “Outside,” he said. “He said he’d never seen an ass that looked as bad as mine.” He’s laughing hard now. “You bastard. You ass hole.” I’m not laughing. He still is. I’m still fuming, trying to find the humor in this. I’ll get him, I say to myself. I started to cry like I was really upset, thinking he had bad news. I made him feel like a smuck for playing that shitty joke. He quickly got serious and apologized, several times, for upsetting me.
The more I think about it, the funnier it gets, and I’m sure the next time my siblings and I are all together we’ll laugh about it. I realize that this is just how Clifford is. That’s his way. He finds the humor in things, and hopes others will too. He has a good time and wants others to too. He’s a very likable person, he has a big heart, and I love him, but sometimes he’s such a pain in the ass.