You’re not done yet. Humans have to give birth too early, and so you’re not quite finished. Can’t see well, and totally immobile, and your skull isn’t even through fusing together. But you can walk upright, or you can have a pelvis large enough to make giving birth easy; can’t do both, and so you only got nine months to cook. Any longer and you’d be stuck in there like a Chilean miner.
I got off-topic. Your uncle does that.
Nephew, I wanted to write something spectacular for you. Something lasting and beautiful. Nephew, I will not lie: I wanted to beat that asshole Vonnegut. But what’s the use in trying?
You were born on an island called Manhattan; your father was not born there, but your grandfather and great-grandfather were. Your great-grandfather was named William, but went by Hutch. Your grandfather’s name was Steve, and now that is your middle name. He’s not using it anymore.
A billion things had to happen for you to be here, Nephew, and none of it by design. Moses didn’t lead the Jews from Egypt just so you could be born, nor did the Illuminati invent the internet so your parents could meet. Your great-grandfather Jack was not sent to Europe in World War II. He was a gentle and deeply lazy man, and he would not have made it home. That decision was not made with you in mind, but here you are anyway. You are the child of accidents and close calls.
Your ancestors are called Jews, but the story is more complicated than that. You will see this to be a theme, Nephew: stories are always more complicated than they let on. Beware those who speak of simple fixes. The Jews moved around a lot, and no one wrote anything down back then, so you’ve probably got half of Europe and the Middle East floating around in your DNA. This makes you an American.
To put it simply.
Nephew. I will not lie: you showed up at a weird time. People are building barricades to stop others from building walls. The weather is frightful, but the world has been ending ever since it began. Time has always been weird.
You’re going to learn to read, and then you’re going to be too busy to read; you’ll learn to share, and then you’ll find someone to share with. Nephew, you will have moments when your whole body is made out of your heart. You’re going to laugh so hard that you can’t stop, that you’re scared you’ll never stop. You’ll change flat tires. You’ll bury friends.
Nephew, you will bury me.
Make mistakes, just not permanent ones. Fall in love too easy. Don’t smoke, and don’t stop at South of the Border on I-95. Trust me on both of those things.
I’m sorry my generation didn’t do enough for you. Your father and your mother and I, we’re part of what’s called Generation X, and we didn’t do right by you. We always settled. We were self-aware, and uncomfortable in the fact. We beatified apathy. Nephew, we did not rock the boat.
There is already a record of you. Photos and markers and identifiers floating through the cloud and flying through tubes: you will live a fully digital and recorded life, Nephew, and I cannot tell you whether that is good or bad. We have decided on this experiment without thinking about it, we have subsumed our lives onto the internet with no forethought and now you are there, too, even though you got no vote in the matter. Already, your parents are deciding how much of you to share online. These are problems your father did not have, and your mother did not have, and your uncle did not have. Nephew, you’re gonna have some brand-new bullshit to deal with.
May your lungs be strong, and your asshole tight, and may the Lord either favor you or not notice you at all. May your vision be perfect, and your back be straight. Kid, I hope you have a big dick; failing that, powerful friends.
Nephew, welcome to earth. I hope it is not too tough for you here.