I hope you’re comfortable, because I’m going to tell you the whole story.
Disclaimer: The following includes locations, persons, and events that represent the recollection of the author and they may be embellished, exaggerated, or completely misrepresented. Furthermore, some or all of it may be imagined or concocted for your reading pleasure.
Back in my early undergraduate days I lived a sordid, sad, boring sort of life. That was the first two years. Just before my third year started my girlfriend and I split up and despite her later wishes to get back together, I refused. She was controlling, and wasn’t very nice to me sometimes but that can be explained by the drugs. I hope you’re thinking of all sorts of illegal narcotics because when I say drugs, I mean birth control. She went on birth control for medical reasons that I’m not going into but the docs picked the wrong level of birth control, so she could go from nice to, um, not so nice in 2 seconds flat. This is all part of the back story for “Dirty Uncle” Mark, believe it or not.
The next several months would take me too long to explain so to sum it up simply: she wanted me back, I didn’t want her back, I was a jerk by refusing to talk to her over Christmas break and then when were both in Hawaii for a class I got the impression that she was stalking me. So when we got back to SD she got back together with an ex of her’s (there’s more to this story, but I really can’t tell it here, sorry). Watching all this happen and being involved in some of it (you know, being stalked) took its toll on me.
That same year I was also a Peer Advisor (RA in some places, but essentially the guy who enforces the rules on a floor), and that was my 2nd year in that capacity. The first year was ideal, and I only “wrote up” 1 person the whole year. The 2nd year was completely different and I am fairly sure I did the most “write ups” involving more “incidents” than any other PA on campus. I was a hard ass. I laid down the law. My floor didn’t hate me, per se, they respected and maybe feared me a little. That was all about to change.
Work was also taking its toll on me – I worked part time doing internet tech support over the phone and that’s a horrible job. I’ve had to teach people how to use a mouse, teach them that “Round Ones” are CD-Roms and “Square Ones” are Diskettes, and more. I don’t have many good things to say about the company I was working for either, but that’s not very important.
There was probably more to it than that, but those are three major factors leading up to my “break down.” I call it that because it was the point where I got off my moral high horse and started having fun and stopped caring about following all the rules.
What would ensue was one of the most memorable and fun times in my life. A couple of guys on my floor – Wipes (short for Weippert) and E – started hanging out with me after I changed. They were a year behind me and the kind of guys that everyone admired and aspired to be (but were not willing to make the sacrifices). Wipes and I became good friends driving around in his full size van all night, every night. We would put toilets in our friends’ front yards, find old haggard clothes to wear, and very often get pulled over by the police to get absolutely nothing at all (no tickets in approximately 20 stops). We lived like outcasts, but were heralded among many. It was amazing and there are so many stories I forget about a lot of them until I’m reminded by others.
Something that Wipes and E would do when they could not find me was leave me hilarious answering machine messages. E would call as my “Great, great, great grandma Mavis” and leave messages about making me sloppy joes if I come over and mow her yard. Once she was chasing a butterfly through the yard and tripped because the grass was so long. They’re truly priceless.
In one of those messages he called to wish me a happy birthday. He (as Grandma Mavis) said “I baked you a cake Mark, but before I knew what was happening, your Dirty Uncle Weippert came over and ate the whole thing.”
Dirty Uncle Weippert.
I graduated, went to England to get a MA, (read: I met a girl in England while I was studying there during my 4th year and getting an MA was a good reason to go back over but we broke up and I didn’t get a MA) and by the time I got back, Wipes and E had graduated and we were all living in different places.
A couple of friends that I hung out with in Sioux Falls that knew of Wipes and E and the above mentioned exploits (because I retell them to everyone I know and play the answering machine messages too) got a dog. Then they got another dog to play with the first dog and they also had 3 cats. Somewhere along the line they started calling me “Dirty Uncle Mark” around their pets. “Who’s here? Is that your Dirty Uncle Mark? Where’s your Dirty Uncle Mark?” etc. It is funny. It has a good ring to it. I liked it.
My earliest blogs were from the UK and were essentially a laundry list of what I’d done with a pinch of sarcasm and wit thrown in to help people digest it. I kept blogging after I came back from England because I enjoyed it and it was fun. Then I got paranoid about putting so much about myself out on the internet because those early blogs were easily found by googling my name. They contained a bit too much personal information so I pulled them down and stopped blogging.
Another friend who was occasionally associated with Wipes, E and I started blogging during his last year of law school. It was hilarious – I loved it. After reading that for 6 months I decided I wanted to try my hand at it too and get back into the blogging business. I stared a free blog someplace whose name I cannot remember under the name “Mr. Fahrenheit.” I’d recently watched Shaun of the Dead and bought Queen’s greatest hits Vol 1 & 2 and yeah… It was fun and I enjoyed it until that company decided they would begin charging $9 a month (or more) to keep your blog. I would have none of that.
I moved things over to some webspace that belonged to me for a while and that worked okay. The software I used for that was a demo and when the demo ran out and required a license that cost $$ I made the jump to www.dirtyunclemark.com and I’ve been here since.
Some accuse me of practicing poor hygiene during those last years of undergrad and that is the “Dirty” part of “Dirty” Uncle Mark. That’s not true… mostly. When I’m at the lake cabin I do go without proper showers for days but I swim in the lake and that’s good enough. It’s all natural – the hippie way, thus my way. I am an uncle, so that fits very well in front of my name. My nieces refuse to call me dirty,