My sister Krisanda called me last week and left a voicemail to invite me to a school function for my niece, Kate. It was an assembly, with music. Kate is in the fourth grade. I assume this was the Utah celebratory history assembly—the same one I participated in when I was in fourth grade in nineteen hundred and mumble mumble.
Side note, my new thing is to say twentieth century years as “nineteen hundred” such and such because it always makes people look just a little puzzled, but then they never ask me about it.
Anyway, since I’m uncle of the year, I totally forgot to respond to my sister or to put the assembly in my calendar so I just didn’t go.
Look. I have somewhere between 8 and 20 nieces and nephews. I love them all, but I just can’t keep track of the stuff and things anymore. How did that lady who lived in a shoe do it. It must be different when they’re your own kids. And when you live in a shoe. You probably don’t even have to have a job to afford to live in a shoe. You can just spend all of your time learning your kids names and going to their state propaganda assemblies.
The point is, I’m a suckface who forgot his family.
I'm not sure how it has already been 25 years since I participated in the Utah assembly. We practiced the hell out of our recorders in preparation. The class was ecstatic the day recorder rehearsal arrived because it was something different and because what ten-year-old wouldn't love the chance to own something that makes a very loud and obnoxious noise when you blow into it?

Me, I guess. I was different than my classmates, dreading the day, because my recorder was different. I wanted a black sexy one like the rest of my friends had. But Bob and Cathie wouldn't have it. We already had a recorder in the home. One which my mother had purchased in college for reasons. Why would we waste money buying a new one?
Our recorder was from the 70s. It was the color of puke. I was mortified every time I had to pull it out.
Basically I'm saying I had a really hard childhood and you should all feel bad for me.
Maybe it was the memory of my recorder past that caused me to subconsciously block the information that Kate's assembly was coming up. Maybe my brain was trying to protect me from reliving it.
On Friday afternoon I got a text from my sister, Krishelle. It just said "Help me. S.O.S." Then it was followed up by an 8-second video, which she had just recorded on her phone.

Damn I want a kid.
~It Just Gets Stranger