From the Vault – Murphy’s Law – An open letter to my newborn nephew

Joel Murphy

Joel Murphy

[Editor’s Note – This column originally ran on the site July 6, 2011. We are rerunning it today on Joel’s nephew’s fourth birthday.]

Hey little man,

I know you are only a week old and right now the world is little more than a strange, colorful place filled with random shapes and overenthusiastic, odd-looking people cooing over you. Mostly you spend your days eating, sleeping and posing for ridiculous photos while wearing cute hats. But as a new uncle, I feel the need to impart some wisdom on you and all of those after school specials seems to imply it’s never too early to talk to kids about important issues. Besides, Lionel Richie wrote a song to his daughter when she was only five minutes old, so this is nothing by comparison.

(First things first – learn who Lionel Richie is.)

If you work hard and put your mind to it, you can be anything you want to be in this world. So if you want to be a rodeo clown or an ice road trucker or any of those gross jobs Mike Rowe does each week, I’ll support you. Just don’t be a network executive. No one likes those guys.

You are quite a handsome little guy. You already have quite a bit of hair and some sweet sideburns. However, you have been cursed with the “Murphy nose.” Just embrace it – there’s nothing you can do about it.

Every movie and cartoon you will enjoy is most likely a remake of a far superior 80s cartoon. You will probably love these shows anyway. And 20 years from now, you will have fits of nostalgia when they remake your remakes.

I know you are going to love your Uncle Joe very much, but please don’t ever Google “Uncle Joe.” Otherwise you will stumble across this YouTube video and be scarred forever.

If in the third grade you decide to dress up like Lucille Ball and perform Weird Al’s “Hey Ricky” in drag, your parents will videotape it. And they will hold onto that video for many, many years. And they will show it to anyone and everyone they can. (On a completely unrelated note – if your dad offers to show you a video of your Uncle Joe performing in his third grade talent show, don’t watch it. It’s, um, boring. Really boring. So best just to avoid it completely.)

Sometimes bad things happen in this world that can’t be explained. You just need to trust that everything that happens is part of the universe’s master plan. Even Channing Tatum’s continued success.

When you are ready to watch the Star Wars movies, you must start with episode four. And it must be the original version where Han shoots first. I don’t want you growing up in a world where Darth Vader is a charisma-less, whiny tool and Greedo has terrible aim.

And while we are at it, just pretend there are only three Indiana Jones movies, four Rocky movies and zero Transformer movies.

Avoid Jusin Bieber at all costs.

And the Disney Channel. Stay far, far away from those strumpets on the Disney Channel.

If we ever watch Up together, just know that is gets dusty in Uncle Joe’s house and sometimes dust flies in his eyes, making it look like he is crying. But I’m not crying, buddy. Also, did you see that sports game the other night? Heck of a game.

It’s pretty much a given that I’ll disown you if you don’t like Batman. That being said, if you want a date to your school dances, go easy on the Batman talk around the ladies. And for the love of god, if you are at a comic book store and a beautiful woman is wearing what she claims is a Batgirl costume, don’t spend 20 minutes pointing out all of the technical flaws in her attire. If you are worried about the technical accuracies of her ensemble – like a certain uncle of yours who shall remain nameless – frankly you are missing the point.

As you get older, people may try to convince you that Late Night With Jimmy Fallon is a great show and that Jimmy Fallon isn’t as talentless and awful as people say he is. Don’t fall for it. He’s still the same self-satisfied, smirking doofus he’s always been. Every bit and segment on YouTube that is actually funny will always be because of the guest sitting next to him, not Fallon himself.

Avoid Baby Einstein DVDs at all costs. The government embeds secret subliminal messages in them to control your thoughts. At least that’s what the nice man in the tinfoil hat shouting on the street corner told me. He made some really convincing points.

I’ve given you a lot to think about and digest in this letter. Chances are you’ll forget most of it. So if you only take away one thing from this message, let it be this – don’t be a douche.


Uncle Joe


Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. Follow Joel on Twitter @FreeMisterClark or email him at

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