18 February, 2014

A Movie and a Coke

by Christopher Caruso

Let me say first that I am sad, I will be for a long time, and I'm going to miss my uncle lots. He was a great guy and I loved him. But I'll be damned if you're going to cry reading something that I wrote, so knock it off. There have been enough tears lately and while some of it has to do with the IRS, the rest was for him.

I spent the better part of my free time between classes in my uncle's office at college. I'd pop in to see what he was up to and we'd talk about how my semester was going (usually not great, I'll explain later) or Apple stuff or Hobbit movies or any movie, really. I think movies were our "thing." Everyone has a "thing" with certain people and I think ours was movies. We saw many together and we always had our favorite lines. So we'd talk for five or ten minutes depending on our schedules and then we'd go our separate ways.

For the longest time at college I didn't have a major. And then I had three. The first was criminal justice, then communications, and finally sociology. I may have set some kind of collegiate record but I never bothered to check. I never really had an advisor, either. I used to make my own schedule and Uncle Thom would sign off on it. Oh...if you're ever wondering how it took six years to complete a four year degree in sociology...that's how. Anyway, he would sign off and I'd take god knows what. Finally, after semesters of this nonsense he said while signing another ridiculous homemade schedule, "you need to get an advisor and a major because this is the last one I'm signing." He was serious-ish. But I did. Well, I basically figured out what I had the most credits towards and turns out it was sociology. He knew I needed to graduate before Utica College awarded me with the "Most Classes Taken by An Undergrad" trophy. And so did I. When I finally did graduate, I found myself working at UC briefly. And when I couldn't stand to open anymore mail or file anymore transcripts, I'd pop in his office and we'd talk movies. Business as usual.

Every Christmas, when our two families would come together, we’d watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It’s ridiculous, heartwarming, and just plain fun to watch. We’ve watched it every year for as far back as I can remember and in a few months I’ll be 30, so we’re talking a long time here. This year, when we gather for the holidays, we’ll watch it as usual, I’m sure. And I know that when I look around to see everyone’s reaction to Clark Griswold getting a face full of wooden plank, I’ll laugh knowing that Uncle Thom would be, too. Let’s face it, there are classic movie lines like “here’s looking at you, kid” and “love means never having to say you’re sorry,” and then there’s “shitter was full!” Simple yet powerful, I think.

There are a million more things I could write about but I think Uncle Thom would have liked this version. It's the truth, it's kind of funny (I hope), but it's just a small part of what I'll miss about him. I don't remember the first movie we ever saw together but I'll always remember the last; The Desolation of Smaug. Yeah, nerd-a-rific. It will always irk me that he won't get to see the last of the trilogy, though. I hate unfinished business. But we'll definitely go, we being whoever I'm with (brother, cousins), and we'll think of him when we do. He was always game for a movie and a Coke.