My grandpa was an asshole. Ask anybody who knew him. He was quick to anger, found any reason to take someone to court, and was wildly inappropriate—making me believe that my middle name was ‘retard’ for the first ten years of my life and that ‘greaseball’ was a term of endearment for Italians.
Bronx born and bred—attitude and all. He’d never let you forget it. Sometimes I think the city was his one true love. He had a string of incredibly tumultuous relationships throughout his life. He was a hard one to tie down, he was so insanely content with being on his own. He loved his solitude.
I didn’t get the grandpa that gave hugs, or barbecued, or told stories about the war. When I was little, I really wished he was that kind of man. Instead, I got the grandpa that would bring me to batting cages only to push me in front of the machine so I could get hit with as many flying balls as possible so I wouldn’t be scared during games. Baseball was kind of our thing. I got the grandpa that apologized for not showing up to a softball game that he was at. He was a drunk. He thought I was 12 for five years. I got the grandpa that told me “Michelle, monogamy isn’t realistic” as I was leaving to go on my first date ever. I got the grandpa that hit on every single one of my friends’ mothers. The worst part is that it always worked.
He was painfully cruel at times, especially when the Mets lost—which, let’s be real, is all the time. I know this isn’t the kind of stuff you’re supposed to bring up at a funeral, but I think failing to do so would be a dishonor to his memory. I loved the bad parts of him just as much as I loved the good parts. Family’s funny like that.
There are so many things I wish I could see him do again. I wish I could see him walking around the neighborhood like the mob boss he aspired to be, making friends—and enemies alike through his scathingly sharp wit that never left him. I still remember begging him to tell me the story of how he met my grandma and he just replied, “Who?” I still don’t know how they met.
The hardest part about losing someone like my grandfather is knowing that I will never meet anyone like him again. He was insane, but my family taught me to cherish those that should probably be institutionalized. He’s irreplaceable. He had an undeniably hard life, but he rolled with the punches and you couldn’t help but adore him, his exceptionally distinctive mind, and his flair for the dramatic. No one was as full of life as he was.
Most importantly, he always made us feel loved, in his own twisted way of course. There wasn’t anyone he would not mercilessly curse out to defend us, no toy that was too expensive, and never enough time. He’s the reason we are who we are in a lot of ways. He embraced who he was no matter how many people he personally offended. And I know for a fact he offended every single person here. Regardless, he was still our favorite person. He was my favorite person.
I’m gonna miss him with everything in me. There won’t be a day that goes by where I don’t think about him, or a Paul Anka song that I don’t attribute to him. He will always be my favorite part of myself. He’s so much more than I could sum up into words.
I love you Walmart Clint Eastwood, you were one hell of a grandpa.