It was recently pointed out to me that there's another child in my life who, although not related to me in any way, is nonetheless a special kid to me and thus deserves mention here.
My pals Smitty and DB have a child, a boy of now 10 named Evan. I hope I don't overstate the case here: To Ev's point of view, I'm the single coolest adult he knows. Sure, there are adults whom he holds more dear than me: his parents, his Auntie Carm (Marcella, for those long-time readers of this little yukfest) for example - but I'm the coolest.
Why does he think this? Because he is SMART. Also because I can make sponge balls disappear out of my hands, do card tricks, play guitar, swear like a sailor in front of him, all the cool things that kids appreciate.
But one of the most important things I do that makes him think I'm cool is this: I treat him like an equal. Since the day I met him I've treated him like a thinking being, never talked down to him, never treated him in any of the conventional ways adults treat children. If he has a question I explain things to him as one adult would explain things to another, and if it's a challenge to understand that, that's cool too. He walks away with a concrete understanding of whatever it was we discussed.
In the last few years, as his sense of humor has grown, he has shown an uncanny ability towards imitation, accents, and the same sort of goofy, stupid humor that anyone who knows me, knows how much I love. HE makes ME laugh now. He's told me jokes that have made my heavy rotation.
So, although not a nephew, he's a damn fine kid, who I'm glad to know. And kid: if you're reading this, get off the goddamn computer and do your homework.