For my Uncle Vinny

You never let us get away with not laughing for more than a few minutes at a time. Even if it was at the expense of you making an ass out of yourself. “Somebody has to,” you would say. You are why we are funny-the reason we learned how to make each other laugh is because of the strange language you taught our family. I just realized I know how each of our faces change and contort when we are cackling with wild abandon because of something you said, or did, or walked into the room wearing. I can see our nostrils flaring uncontrollably, our eyebrows reaching our hairlines, and our cheeks bunching up like swollen tomatoes.

When I think of you, you’re making that same face you make when you know you’re going to laugh before you can make it to the punchline. I see you squeezing your eyes and lips shut, holding up your index finger to tell us, “just give me a minute, it’ll be worth it.”





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