The Family Newsletter.

My Uncle has suddenly taken to writing a weekly newsletter for members of our family. It’s the sort of thing people normally send out at Christmas along with a group picture of what are apparently relatives.  They’re wearing matching hats. You don’t know these people.

My Uncle, on the other hand I know, so I’m more interested in what he’s doing than say, the second cousin of my father’s Aunt’s ex husband’s neighbour.  I’m not all that interested in the fact that they bought a new RV.  I’m more interested in how they got my mailing address.

So like I said, Uncle Jack started sending out a newsletter once a week outlining what he’s done every day of the week.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.  They’re all covered and include the most important news of the day such as the purchase of a new television remote, or the cost of having his drains snaked.

It’s well written with some humour thrown in but basically it’s just a few sentences about what’s going on in a retired man’s life.  Day to day life.  Here’s an excerpt on his hernia for instance.

“I had a very rough day with my “bump”.  Spent most of the day laying down and pushing the bump back into place.”

And then of course we all got to learn about the hernia surgery.

“The surgery was at 8:30 am sharp and my roomie and I spent  the day on our backs.  No getting up and so all amenities were provided.  Lunch, dinner  Advil, and use of a portable urinal comprised my day.  Jack: “I have to pee”.  Nurse:  “Turn on your side”.  Jack: “What! That will hurt”.  Nurse: “Yup, turn on your side”.  Anyway I struggled to turn over only to discover that my penis had completely “turtled”, making that stretch to the bottle basically look like an attempt to reach Mars.  It might just as well have been a mile as only an inch.  At this point all humility has left the building.”

This isn’t the sort of thing most nieces read about their Uncle’s penises I don’t think.  It might even be the case that most nieces go their whole lives without hearing anything at all about their Uncle’s penises.

The newsletter entries are normally more mundane.  Boring really.

And yet.  We all find these newsletters FASCINATING.  We love them.

I have no idea why.

Getting to thinking about it, I sort of wondered seriously – why??  Why is it so interesting for all of us?  I came to the conclusion there were 3 main reasons.

  1.  The newsletters are short.
  2. The newsletters are well written with humour.
  3. The newsletters aren’t fakery.  It isn’t the life we see all over social media.  Perfect photos of perfect lives in perfect houses.

He doesn’t own a single anything with chevron pattern on it. I know that for a fact.

I think we need Pinterest and Instagram and glossy magazines because those sort of pictures are inspirational.  And they’re just plain nice to look at.  But hearing about a real life is reassuring.  A life where people buy remotes and get their drains snaked as opposed to doing yoga on the beach or taking a hot air balloon to dinner on the top of a remote monkey filled mountain.

Real life may not be as pretty to look at or as wildly interesting; but that’s what life is. A series of mundane moments punctuated with the odd turtled penis.

Have a good weekend!


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  1. Melissa says:

    Best thing ever!

  2. Devorah Rosenberg says:

    You and your uncle are absolutely hilarious. Thank you period and humor is really the lubricant for most interactions of the human kind

  3. PMMK says:

    Still laughing even though coffee and cream came out my nose, speaking of bodily fluids. Uncle Jack sounds totally lovable. Kinda makes me want to be adopted so I can be on his mailing list. Sending him get well wishes and complete resolution of the turtle situation.

  4. Chrystiec says:

    Thanks for the laugh, I needed that today:)

  5. Nan says:

    Love your blog – please don’t stop. Sounds like good/humorous writing runs in the family.

  6. MartiJ says:

    Er, thanks for sharing?
    Far better than hearing about my mother’s bodily fluids. She’s not nearly as well written.

    • Karen says:

      I just heard about my own mother’s bodily fluids today! The story wavered between wildly entertaining to terrifying. ~ karen!

  7. Judy D. says:

    God Bless Uncle Jack. I hope his surgery went well. You’re lucky to have him in your life. So many of us no longer have aunts and uncles still alive.

  8. TucsonPatty says:

    I don’t care if any one else thinks I am funny, (well, actually I kind of enjoy it if they do tell me that I’m funny) because I totally crack myself up and think I am hilarious. I’m probably just a little amusing, but I love my sense of humor (humour) and love laughing at myself and laughing at totally inappropriate things and times. (see: eversion) I love your sense of humour, also, Karen, as we all do, or we wouldn’t be here! Thank you, Karen, and thanks to your uncle for making us laugh.

  9. Marcia says:

    This isn’t the sort of thing most nieces read about their Uncle’s penises I don’t think” Actually, it isn’t the sort of thing most readers of the niece’s blog need to read about either. (Insert horrified emoji or something here), but it has started me thinking about doing the same thing for my family. I think I have enough things to tell everyone at least once a week, and I tell everyone that I’m funny. So there’s that…

  10. Linda in Illinois says:

    Flippin fantastic! I love it.

  11. Kate says:

    I can’t stop smiling …….
    Do you think your uncle would put me on his newsletter email list? ^^

  12. Lynn says:

    What a treasure your uncle is, it’s so nice that he has reached out to the family in such a way. I my self have enjoyed little tib bits for family past over the years an I have treasured each an everyone I have managed to find. Little notes in books, scraps of paper an such . They all bring you closer to understanding who they are and ultimately who you are. From the notes of things they did to what they saw. They make life real .
    Loved your story

  13. Jody says:

    I hope his hernia and incision is healed and the turtle comes out to enjoy another day

  14. Mary W says:

    We found a life’s worth of daily journal entries by one of the great granmothers. It was little more than the weather, cost of whatever she just had to buy-like 6 eggs, and big news of day. We sat and read and read and read. Delightful passages of days gone by. We laughed so hard when she wrote – census man here but Mr. won’t speak to him. A few days later, she wrote again = census man back but still no speaking. And we cried when after many years there was a single entry one day – Mr. passed today. We actually had connected with her, her life, and our history through those few words she wrote each day. I love your words each post

    • Jan in Waterdown says:

      What an incredible treasure for your family! A wonderful gift from her to you through time. My eyes are blurry and my heart is envious…..

  15. jaine kunst says:

    You always make me laugh! Have a good weekend, Karen.

  16. Karin in NC says:

    “Real life may not be as pretty to look at or as wildly interesting; but that’s what life is.” You are so right. And isn’t it wonderful?

  17. Pat says:

    So hilarious as usual! Reminded me of my fav uncle. A drunk old guy that I saw once a year. But I loved him so!

  18. Bonnie G. says:

    Well said. Haha -” turtled penis”!

  19. Eileen says:

    It’s a family connection on a real level,,,like your offbeat blog. It’s great.

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