My uncle Zak taught me how to fish and tie knots when I was a boy. He always had a gleam in his eye and never failed to bring toys or candy for me and my sisters whenever he visited. I suppose his "small town" background had much to do with my uncle's warm heart and generous spirit. You might say that I had the good fortune of growing up in a "Mayberry" type of environment. Just good folk living in rural simplicity. I remember seeing photos of my dad and his siblings as teenagers at the local malt shop and longing for those more innocent times. Unfortunately, Uncle Zak died accidentally a few months ago during an elaborate attempt at autoerotic asphyxiation gone wrong. They found him in women's panties dangling from the ceiling by an intricate series of leather straps, like a denuded marionette discarded in a closet. I don't know all the details, and I don't care to know them. Yet I was surprised that good ole Uncle Zak had the strength and wherewithal to rig himself up in this way given his severely scarred arm, the result of an injury he incurred when the meth lab in his garage accidentally blew up. We never know when our time's gonna come.