A Handbook About Hands & Books

…it’s a very handy book

The Doclopedia #1,697

My Family: Uncle Red

Uncle Red was, in most ways, about as ordinary a person as you could imagine. Dairy farmer, churchgoer, lifelong Democrat, Giants & 49ers fan, married 54 years, 4 kids, etc, etc. You might even call him boring.

Except for the fact that he was a lightning rod for weird events. Uncle Red goes to the county fair and all the circus rides short out and run full tilt for 20 minutes. He goes to Yosemite National Park and a dirigible crashes into Half Dome. He goes to San Francisco and a tornado off shore becomes a waterspout and ends up dumping 12 tons of kelp in the financial district. Family trip to Washington, D.C.? Nixon gets elected!

We all liked Uncle Red, but we didn’t invite him to too many family gatherings.




The Doclopedia #1,698

My Family: Cousin Bingo

Cousin Bingo was about 15 years older than me and was a clown in the big circus. He was pretty popular and made good money and loved his job. He was a nice guy with only one problem: He never took off his clown makeup. Never.

I asked my mother and my aunt about it once and they just said “He can’t take it off and you don’t ever montion it again, especially to him.”

After that, Cousin Bingo kind of creeped me out.



The Doclopedia #1,699

My Family: Whitey

Way, way, WAY before talking dogs & cats & mutant gorilla/raccoon grandchildren were a part of my life, there was Whitey. I classify him as a family member because he lived with my Uncle Amos and Aunt Peri from the time I was 3 years old until I was 22. They never had children and Whitey was like a kid to them.

Whitey was, when he was full grown, a big, white medium length coated mutt. I’m pretty sure he had Saint Bernard in his background, because he weighed in at about 150 pounds and was a slobber factory. Despite that, he was a great dog and everyone loved him.

He was also very smart. At the time, we all just thought “that there is the smartest dog I’ve ever seen”. I know now that he was sapient. I think back on certain things and it’s pretty apparent, now. He could round up farm animals better than a herding dog. Many times, he barked warnings to his humans about dangers, from rattlesnakes to a stove burner left on.

He also watched the evening news more intently that other dogs might and loved nature programs. Once, I’m pretty sure I caught him reading the news paper.

Whitey lived to be almost 19 years old, an astounding age for so large a dog. He died peacefully in his sleep and the whole family mourned his passing. Uncle Amos & Aunt Peri were pretty broken up by it for a couple of years.

Then, one day in the spring, a beautiful 6 month old Irish Setter walked up their driveway. They tried for a couple of months to find his owner, but they never did. They named him Sean and they had him for 16 years. He was also a very smart dog.

I remember telling Sasha, Daisy & Silky about Whitey once. I’m wondering now if they might have had something to do with Sean.

A Little Knight Music

…he’s only 5′ 4″, but has a wonderful singing voice

The Doclopedia #1,694

My Family: Cousin Emma
Poor Emma. She’s about the nicest person you could ever meet, but her luck with husbands is just terrible. She’s married to a nice guy now, but her first three were cads.

Charlie, her first husband, was a real asshole and they divorced after 5 years. Even then, when he asked Emma if he could stay in the guest house for a month while he looked for a new place, she said yes. See, he had signed over the house, the car, etc in the divorce. Not sure why, but we all figured he just wanted out of the marriage.

Then, just at the end of that month, Charlie embezzled $250,000.00 from the company that he worked for and split town that night. Emma told the police that she heard a car stop out on the road (the house was about 3 miles outside town) around 1:00 in the morning, and when she peeked out the window, she saw Charlie get in a car with some blonde lady.

They never found Charlie. The police figure he made it to Mexico or somewhere. Emma was kind of upset for a while, but then started working on her new flowerbed and a couple of months later won $100,000.00 at some Indian casino somewhere.

Her second husband, Frank, was rich and seemed like a nice enough guy, but a couple of years into their marriage, he started drinking and cheating. They were on the road to divorce when he wrecked his car one night and got killed. He was seen leaving the bar in a definitely impaired state and just drove right off the road into the canyon near their house. The police said it looked like he swerved hard for some reason, but then, he was drunk. When the cops went to the house to tell Emma, they found the EMTs their, taking care of a bad cut she got when she stumbled into a full length mirror in her bedroom. Busted the mirror and she needed 8 stitched to her hand. Later, she got a million dollar insurance payout.

Her third husband was Clarence. He was older than her and was kind of strange, but he was as rich as she was. Anyway, as the years went by, he seemed to get more possessive of her and jealous, you know? For about a year they seldom went anywhere and didn’t come to family gatherings. Then, one day, old Clarence tripped and fell down a flight of stairs and that was that. Emma was really broken up and after the insurance and will and stuff were taken care of, she took off on a 6 month vacation, to get away and grieve.

Her present husband, Bob, is a great guy. Average looks, 50 years old, works as a mechanic and doesn’t care how rich Emma is. She says he’s a keeper. We are all glad to hear that.



The Doclopedia #1,695

My Family: Great Uncle Rafael

Great Uncle Rafael was about 60 when I was born, but he lived to be 97. We never saw him much, but he always seemed nice and he always brought really great candy to family functions.

After he died, Interpol contacted the family and asked us all sorts of questions. So did the FBI, CIA, and about 10 other police and intelligence agencies.

Turns out the old son of a bitch was a criminal mastermind wanted in 110 countries. I wish we had found out when I was a kid, because that would have been hella cool to tell my friends at school.




The Doclopedia #1,696

My Family: Aunt Queenie
Okay, technically, Aunt Queenie was nor really anyone’s aunt, being as how she was a ghost and all, but we welcomed her into the family anyway.

She was a hoot at parties, singing and dancing and making the lights dim and a breeze to blow. When she would tell us stories before bed, she’d alter her shape to look like the characters. She was everyone’s favorite.

Sadly, when the house burned down in 1978 due to Cousin Cole having one of his “attacks”, Aunt Queenie passed on into the next life. I still miss her.

A Raccoon Named Boone Went To The Moon Last June To Sing A Looney Tune

…who knew he could croon?

The Scottish Pixie Event

(Note: This is not actually that strange an occurrence at our house. Additionally, for those not in the know, Daisy, Sasha, Silky, Luke & Misty are dogs. Max is a mutant rabbit and Daisy’s boyfriend.)

So I’m at the laundromat when I get this text…

Daisy: 30 Scottish pixies have infested Mom’s closet! No time for details. Please come home to help us.

Me: Your text did not go through. Please try again next week.

Daisy: Stop messing around, Daddy! Mom will be home from Winco in 20 minutes!

Me: We are sorry, but Mr. Cross cannot answer you, consumed by laughter as he is.


Me: We are sorry, but Mr. Cross has just expired due to laughing so hard.

Daisy: You are such a dick!

(Note: At this point, I was laughing so hard that a lady at the laundromat asked me if I was okay.)


A somewhat later text from Sasha…

Holy crap, don’t come home, Daddy! Silky and I stepped in the front door and there was shit all over the house and Daisy & Max & the whole nerd posse were all bit up and crying and a bunch of Scottish pixies in a cage called me a fucking cunt and Mom was right in the middle of things about to hit critical mass.

Suggest you come have a cold one with Silky and I at the pool hall until this blows over.

(Note: Cue another fit of laughter. People start moving to the far end of the laundromat.)


A slightly later text from Luke…

Misty and I were about to come home for the weekend when we got a text from Silky. We will spend tonight in Denver instead. We’ll come home once Mom has cooled off.

(Note: Luke and Misty have a highly developed sense of danger.)


The final text, from Grace, my wife…

When you get home, you’ll find Daisy and her crew frozen in carbonite in the front yard. DO NOT RELEASE THEM BEFORE DINNER TONIGHT! The Bots are cleaning the house and I am going to dispose of Stupified pixies, then take a nap. I do not want to discuss this day ever!

(Note: Not discussing it lasted only until she woke up from her nap and said to me: “Do you know what your youngest dog did today?”)



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The Tern Worms

…he’s eaten about 12 of them so far


The Doclopedia #1,023

My Family: Cousin Hank

One of the more tragic members of my family is my cousin Hank. Hank is a handsome, intelligent man of good moral fiber. He has never borrowed a dime from anyone and has successfully run his own business for 25 years, starting out with just a small corner store and building it up to 7 modern supermarkets. His beautiful wife, Ellen, is a tireless charity organizer in addition to being a first rate mother to their 4 children, all of whom are top students in school and have never had trouble with the law.

Nobody in Hank & Ellen’s house drinks, smokes, does any form of drugs or curses. They are the perfect family.

It is therefore heartbreaking that they are pretty much shunned by the rest of both our family and Ellen’s/

Nobody likes perfection.




The Doclopedia #1,024

My Family: Grandpa Boris

My Grandpa Boris was pretty damned strange. First off, he was only 30 when I was 15. I’ve never figured out how that works out. Next, he came to this country in 1910 to escape the oppression of Jews in Russia, even though he was an Irish Catholic born in Dublin. He was also “no handed”, meaning he did not favor either hand and was equally clumsy with both. He had one green eye and one private eye. Finally, he was known to yodel (quite well, truth be told) in his sleep.

Grandpa Boris was married at least 9 times, twice to his third wife and once to a potted banana plant. That was when he was 98 years old. We’re pretty sure Grandpa Boris died at age 108 in 2011, but he was such a cranky old bastard when you wake him up, we just moved him out into the barn and covered him with a tarp. If he doesn’t wake up by 2014, we’ll go ahead and bury him next to the banana plant.

Never Tickle A Shark

… Not even with a really long stick


The Doclopedia #1,022

My Family: Aunt Wren


My Aunt Wren was my favorite aunt. She was always joking around and would take us kids places and she’d read comic books and sing songs. She was a hell of a baker, too, and her coconut chocolate chip cookies were to die for. She and Uncle Oliver traveled often, usually on business. As a kid, I never thought to ask what their business was, but later I asked Mom and she told me they were insurance salespeople.

When I was 22, the truth came out that Aunt Wren and Uncle Oliver were actually professional hitters who specialized in killing important businessmen and politicians, usually in far off countries. Oddly, the family found this easier to believe than if they were in the insurance biz.

Aunt Wren and Uncle Oliver supposedly died in a bloody shootout and big explosion in Russia in 1981, but no bodies were ever found. Most folks say they died, but I and several of my cousins still get two dozen coconut chocolate chip cookies in the mail every Christmas.

Junior Muskrat Shops For A Chainsaw

…and now he is banned for life from MuskMart


The Doclopedia #1,020

My Family: Uncle Porky

Everybody in the family loves Uncle Porky, even though he was transformed into a half human/half pig after a toxic chemical spill. Once he got used to his new looks, he was back to being his funny old self, always telling jokes and stories and goofing around.

Uncle Porky has been married to Aunt Xena for going on 60 years now. They have 5 children, 17 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. Porky is a member of the Elks Lodge, the Masons, the VFW and the Yuba County Democratic Party. In his spare time, which he has a lot of since he retired, he likes camping, fishing and rooting for acorns.




The Doclopedia #1,021

My Family: Cousin Gert

Except for her third eye, Cousin Gert is just your average middle aged suburban housewife and grandmother. She and her husband Dave are both avid gardeners and their yard has won many awards.

Most of the time, her third eye is kept closed and is covered by her bangs, but every once in a while she’ll brush her hair aside and open that baby blue up. She’ll look around and find the person who pissed her off (Beware, Jehovah’s Witnesses who knock on her door early on a weekend!) and then tell them the exact time & date of their death, along with details about how it will happen. These folks never bother her again.

The last time I talked to her, Gert told me she and Dave were planning a vacation to Washington, DC. It will be interesting to see what happens if they attend a session of the House or Senate.

Horrid Finger Monsters

…made from horrid fingers, naturally


The Doclopedia #1,019

My Family: Sister Zoe

My older sister, Zoe, was pretty much your average girl as a child. She played with dolls, liked to read, played games and had a pet cat named Roger. She did well in school and helped around the house. For an older sister, she was ok.

Unfortunately, when Zoe entered puberty she started breathing fire. As one might imagine, this got her banned from most public and private buildings, including our home. Dad built her a nice fireproof little house out back, but being a teenaged girl with social problems, she was not happy with it.

As time went by things only got worse, until, during her junior year of high school, the lid blew off. It seems that Zoe was fighting with her boyfriend, feeling sorry for herself, getting teased by snobby rich girls and having issues with algebra. I didn’t see the explosion, but I’m told it sent a fireball up 3,000 feet into the air. I know that it pretty much vaporized 600 acres of prime undeveloped real estate that Zoe cut across on her way home from school. Now, 45 years later, the crater is a popular tourist attraction.

A couple of years later, Zoe was out of puberty and her teenage years and stopped breathing fire. She went to college and got a degree in Fire Prevention & Management, then married a firefighter named Gus. Thankfully, her three kids are normal.