My niece, having rounded her first birthday, incites in me so many foreign, thrilling emotions, the greatest of which is the fear that I just won't ever be a cool enough uncle. I worry I'll be inept, that my advice won’t be good enough, that I'll never achieve that perfect mix of hipness and empathy that makes an uncle the perfect role model.
Stamos, however, gives me reassurance. He’s more relevant than ever in 2013, not only because he's converting so many of us to Greek yogurt, and maintaining his good looks at 50 (eat your heart out, Brad Pitt), but also because he taught my generation how to be proper uncles, and we have now all come of age. We grew up watching Uncle Jesse, and thus understand the major pillars of achieving such high levels of cool. To name just a few of these pillars:
Selflessness: Jesse puts his mid-20s life on the back burner and moves in with his three nieces and their father, Danny, in order to help raise the girls after their mother (his sister) passes away. Family friend Joey moves in, too, and together they take a crash course in Uncle 101.
Restraint: Jesse has to keep his cool after his oldest niece D.J. scrapes up his vintage Mustang. "It's just a car. It's just a car. It's just a c- c- car."
Emotional Intensity/Availability: After he's married, Jesse moves out of the house. Even though his new apartment is a short walk away, his goodbye with youngest daughter Michelle really makes it seem like he's leaving for war.
Full Force Snacking: When Uncle Jesse babysits, snack time is on.
Of course, Stamos was merely portraying an uncle on television. But he gets the nod—even all these years later— because honestly, we’re all faking it until we make it in the ‘cool uncle’ role. So, given this past year of seeing my niece walk and talk and explore the world around her, it only makes sense to acknowledge the guy who set the standard in excellence, and who pushes me to be a fully engaged and encouraging role model to my niece. Oh, and she has a baby sister on the way. The only words to express the joy in my heart come straight from John-Stamos-as-Uncle-Jesse-as-Elvis himself: "Have mercy."
Photo: ABC Photo Archives - © 2010 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.