Ever since their mother ran off with ‘N Sync, I’ve had to go it alone. Well, not all alone. My father-in-law, Bub, helped out for a while, but he got trampled in the stampede to buy tickets for Diana Ross & The Supremes. Oooh, that was messy. Had to have a closed coffin for that one.

Seems as if a day doesn’t go by that there isn’t a family crisis to deal with. Just this morning my oldest boy, Robbie, was complaining that he will not be able to go to the Mary J. Blige show unless his conviction for scalping Travis tickets is overturned. Meanwhile, Chip, my second youngest, was down-in-the-dumps because he didn’t make the cut for the first string roadie slot on the Ramsey Lewis tour. Then there’s my youngest son, Ernie. He came to me crying that the bully down the street stole all of his trading cards. I know it’s tough growing up, but it’s even tougher being a single father.

But things are looking up. My Uncle Charlie just arrived, and he said he can stay for a while. Maybe Charlie’s wisdom and maturity will rub off on the boys. Oh here he is now.

“What’s happening, Steve?”

“Oh, the usual, Uncle Charlie.”

“The boys, again?”

“You got it, Uncle Charlie. Robbie faces sentencing for indecent exposure at a Christina Aguilera concert. Chip has missed his last three anger-management meetings and Ernie’s still a manic depressive and spends the day sitting in his room listening to Fiona Apple CDs. No matter how hard I try, they keep getting into trouble.”

“Have faith, Steve. Someday this family of ours will rise up and stick it to the man. We’ll triumph over the establishment in one final, groovy epic battle called Helter Skelter. Well, gotta run. Ozzfest 2000 tickets go on sale today, and I don’t want to be late. Then I have to go talk to Axl and see if he wants to record another one of my songs. By the way, if my parole officer calls, you haven’t seen me. If Squeaky calls, tell her I’ll be back around six, okay? Peace.”

You know, I think Uncle Charlie’s going to be a great asset to this family if only I could get him to stop hanging out with those Wilson boys. I best be going, too, or I’ll be late for work. Oh, oh. The clock stopped again. It’s been doing that a lot lately. I wonder why.