Big weekend being the cool uncle.
My 15-year-old niece was in town for the weekend and I think we did okay. That’s a judgment on me. Let me rephrase that, we had a good time. I’m an insecure guy when it comes to spending time with kids. I don’t do it that often. I find that I am innately protective and make sure they are safe but I’m not always sure I’m connecting, which is a little uncomfortable for me. I didn’t say anything about it because I knew it was just me. What I did do was buy her whatever she wanted. That seemed to work. Is that the wrong way to connect with a 15-year-old or is that exactly what a good uncle who lives out of town is supposed to do?
I had shows at LA Podfest both nights so she was able to come with me and enter that world. I thought the world of loyal podcast fans would be a fine environment for her to be in. I was right. Good people. I’m not entirely sure that some of them aren’t emotionally her age. I’m not sure I’m not. I did feel like it would fun and safe for her to hang out and see a very specific world of performance and comedy and grown-ups doing cool shit. It was safe for about 10 minutes. We walked in and I was walking around with her declaring she was my niece to anyone who came up to me. I didn’t want people to get the wrong idea. I mean, she definitely looks 15 but I know some people think that I’m that guy. Not a pedophile but a guy that might date a women who looks fifteen. As we were walking through the lobby a large bearded man hurried up to us. He had a laminated pass on so I knew he was with the fest. It turns out he was part of the crew of Eddie Ifft’s ‘Talkin Shit’ podcast. I didn’t know him. He rushes up to me and my niece and says, ‘You want to come on the podcast. There’s a tranny.’ I said, ‘What? When?’ He says, ‘Right now. There’s tranny on and he’s got his dick out. You want to see it.’ I said, ‘This is my niece. She’s 15.’ He said, ‘Oh, shit, sorry. So, no, right?’ 'No, man.’ I said.
Now, I am in awkward situation with my niece for a couple reasons. Outside of the opportunity to look at an adult penis was the language problem. I said, ‘Tranny is not a nice word. The proper word is transsexual or transgender. I’m not sure what applies here.’ She said, ‘Okay.’ I said, ‘Sorry you had to go through that.’ She said, ‘It’s okay.’ I said, ‘I think we’re making the right decision not going to look at the penis don’t you?’ She said, ‘Definitely.' I thought that was some good uncle-ing. I would never have taken her in there but it had to be discussed. I’m not even sure it was legal in that moment for that guy to be soliciting that in front of a minor.
After the penis incident she watched me as a guest on Aisha Tyler’s show and it was fun. She probably learned more about me than she needed to know but I was okay with it. As we were walking out of the hotel Sam Tripoli was running around the lobby yelling, ‘Did anyone see where the girl holding the black dildo went?’ The fact that we had weathered the transsexual penis incident rendered this one harmless and funny. We had not seen the girl holding black dildo.
Obviously these were isolated incidents and we did other stuff. The following night she watched me talk to a panel of women on my live WTF and I had them all talk a little about where they were at when they were 15 and what they are doing now. I hope it made an impression. We did a lot of shopping. We went to the Griffith Observatory. We ate burritos and I gave her a couple of pedals for her guitar playing boyfriend. Cool uncle. Me.
This week I talk to Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo on Monday. He is notoriously challenging but I think we did good. The new Weezer album 'Everything Will Be Alright In The End' comes out next week. On Thursday we have a Portland double-header of separate interviews with Ian Karmel and Ron Funches.