Thursday, April 8, 2021

When your niece or nephew may as well be your sibling

There are two people in the world to whom I could text the words "goony goo goo" and get a laughing/crying emoji in return.

One is my high school classmate and track teammate Ken Beavers.

The other is my nephew Mark, who as I've documented before is only five years younger than me and thus has always served much more as my surrogate little brother than as a nephew.

Mark turns 46 years old today. He would immediately recognize "goony goo goo" as a line from Eddie Murphy's "Delirious" comedy special, which came out 38 years ago when Mark was a grade-schooler, but which he and I quote back and forth endlessly.

It doesn't have to be an Eddie Murphy quote in these random texts we send each other, by the way. It can be almost anything that strikes us both as funny: a comedy bit (often from Eddie or Norm MacDonald, but we draw from a wide range of comics), a line from a movie, or just something funny one of us has said or done at some point.

We have similar comedy and musical tastes along with our shared last name and ancestry. Mark and his wife Tiffany are expecting their second child this year, which means that increasingly, we also share parenting stories.

I don't know if you have a niece or nephew who is very close in age to youI've known a few to be older than their uncles and auntsbut it really is fun. Mark has been a blessing in our lives from the moment he was born way back in the Dark Ages (1975).

So to my little nephew, I have only two things to say today. One is Happy Birthday!

The other, of course, is goony goo goo.

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