Christmas with a kook

Emily Kruse, staff writer

Nothing ignites my holiday spirit and warmly animates my darkest, most icy winter days than my Uncle Pilsy’s subtly sarcastic dry sense of “humor” and unnecessary Batman-inspired shenanigans that inevitably occur each year during the Kruse family’s most revered Christmas celebration.

My life coach and exemplary figure for all things inappropriate has so selflessly introduced me to the more important aspects of life throughout my tender childhood years, and I am very grateful for the time he has invested in the development of my spiritual maturity.

Paul W. Kruse (Pilsy), a proud representative of Benilde alumni from the paleolithic era, often instructs me in his unparallelled talents for storytelling, Yu Gi Oh card collecting, and computer fixing. Uncle Pilsy more appropriately considers his interests as “hobbies” rather than obsessions (ahem, Miley Cyrus).

I love my uncle’s sunshiney personality, of course. Pilsy’s permanent five o’clock shadow is an obvious indicator of how “super chill” he is. I often hear him ask me if I can “calm down for ONE second?” when I act like too much of a spaz.

When he isn’t otherwise occupied, Pilsy is either working or enlightening his most noteworthy fans and students: Avril Lavigne record collectors and pro Ping Pong players much like himself. Only on Saturdays, though, because “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” is on the community programming channel on Sunday afternoons.

Of course, every champion needs a killer wardrobe, and Uncle Pilsy’s never fails to disappoint. His closet is filled with worn Notre Dame football gear, a few pairs of “dad jeans” and the classic “Have a frosty one!” Christmas sweater with a picture of red-eyed Santa holding a mug of beer…need I say more?

The year of my 14th Christmas, also the 14th year I’ve seen the drunk Santa sweater worn on the sacred holiday, Uncle Pilsy successfully ruined––ahem, improved––caroling and dinner. The Kruse family’s most excitedly awaited tradition, singing “Silent Night” in Grandma’s living room (quite the thriller), was interrupted with Pilsy’s near-professional falsetto solo verse. During dinner, my cousin and I discovered raisins in the mashed potatoes––because putting raisins in a side dish is a funny thing to do.

Despite Uncle’s frequent interjections of “DEUTSCHLAND!” throughout the evening, I enjoyed his company more than ever on that particular 14th Christmas.

The moral of the story is: those middle-aged men who listen to mainstream teenage punk rock and fascinate themselves with German pop culture are typically quality role models. Uncle Pilsy is a winner.