Anthony Wiener is in the news again. This time the Wiener problem is a leak. Uh, boy …
My last name has certainly had it’s share of abuse over the years. I remain a proud Hamm because of the great people who bore (or boar …wink, wink) the name before me. Many of them were salty to be sure. But in the end they left me slices of life I can be proud of and they taught me not to be pig-headed (see what I did there?)
Clearly, the Weiners feel the same. They have KEPT this name …regardless of the snickering. With that kind of family pride, I can only imagine the truths passed from mother to daughter; father to son. There have no doubt been many wise words handed down that have kept this family strong in their belief that this is a name to be proud of.
Though the following letter to Anthony Wiener from his father was certainly never written and doesn’t actually exist, in the spirit of that pride, I wish with every fiber of my being that it did …
You’re a Weiner. What exactly does it mean to be a Weiner? Well, let me tell you something about the Weiner blood that runs through your veins. You come from a long line of proud, solid, strong Weiners.
The Weiners first came to this country over a hundred-and-fifty years ago and settled in New York City. They had been beaten and jerked around in other parts of the world and they longed to be released from their bondage and breathe free. Suddenly, they found themselves plunged into the ins-and-outs and ups-and-downs of American life. Their resilience and sheer ability to keep coming in the face of opposition, showed beyond all doubt …you can’t keep a Weiner down forever.
Your great-grandpa Jack Weiner personified the Weiner spirit. His skin was cracked and weathered by the time I knew him and he looked like old shoe leather. I can tell you he was the hardest Weiner I ever knew. He worked in a mine shaft upstate. Legend has it that he worked that shaft so hard he actually passed out a few times. That was one tough Weiner. But he paved the way for all the rest of us Weiners to go out into the world and stand with our heads erect.
Because of great-grandpa Jack’s humble beginnings, Weiners have always known to treat everyone with respect. It’s a little known fact, Anthony, but there are actually black Weiners in our family. Your great-uncle Peter migrated south to Johnson City, TN, way back after WWI. He married a black girl and they had several children. Because of his being married to a black woman in the south, he was hung …true story.
Nevertheless, all those little Wieners grew up and made more Weiners. They all live in the country and are sausage makers to this day. They are big, hefty guys. A couple of them have actually gone on to be pro football players and I can tell you they are the absolute biggest Weiners you’ll ever see …and I’ve seen a lot of Weiners! When your mother came to the first family reunion with me and saw all those huge, black Weiners, she was visibly frightened and almost gasped in disbelief. But by the end of the day she couldn’t get enough of them! The biggest one of them all, Tug, ended up being her favorite. She said he was the sweetest Weiner she’d ever come in contact with. Through the years, she has told me numerous times how she secretly loves the black Weiners in our family, better than the white ones. I am not surprised.
We embrace diversity in this family, Anthony. You have some distant cousins in Florida, Pat and Sandy Weiner, who have a gorgeous home on the beach. Their life seemed perfect until their son Skip was born. He was different from the start and said he never really felt completely like a man. A few years ago he decided to have a sex change operation. The wildest thing happened; his member was actually re-grafted on to another person! He changed his name to Linda a few years ago and lives in Key West now.
So you see Anthony, we Wieners come in all shapes, sizes and colors and although most of us lean to the left, there are some Weiners in West Virginia that actually lean to the right. I met some of them a few years ago and to be honest, they weren’t the most well kept or best smelling Weiners. One even had a couple of unsightly warts. Still, your mother and I grabbed them and hugged and kissed on them just the same. Despite their appearance or how they lean, we love ALL Weiners …and you should too.
Just loving Weiners is not enough, though. You have to remember everyone on your journey. Not a lot of people know this, but we used to live right up the street from Lucile Ball and her family, when she lived here in New York, as a child. All us kids would spend summers together. We loved the Balls and we played with them often. Lucille didn’t start out famous, you know. The Balls didn’t have a lot of money and they often felt inferior to us. They watched our family on the rise, and would occasionally tell us how important we were. But I always made it a point to tell them that the Weiners were no more important than the Balls. We might’ve been more prominent, but we all needed love and attention and all deserved it equally!
Lucille went on to become the biggest of all the Balls, of course, but honestly, the rest of them just weren’t comfortable with being on parade like her. By the end of his life, the one I used to play with the most, Harry, became a shriveled up shadow of his younger self in his later years. He was kind of blue all the time and wouldn’t come out into the sunlight. He eventually stopped shaving and became a hermit. I often wish I’d done more to help him. That’s the moment I realized we’re all truly connected; all inextricably linked to one another …Weiners and Balls alike. Metaphorically, Anthony, no matter how far a Weiner tries to stretch and grow …he’ll always feel the Balls close to him. Remember that in your political journey; if Balls are hurting …Weiners are hurting.
Anthony, there is one thing I truly believe and you should always remain aware of it. You have a choice as to what kind of person; what kind of Weiner …you’re going to be. Your cousin, Lance Weiner was the first doctor in our family. He was a urologist and made the family proud. But make no mistake, we’ve had some twisted and bent Weiners in this family and their actions and reputations always extend to the rest of us. Your uncle Richard ran an underground cock-fighting ring many years ago. He was treacherous and would often cheat people out of their winnings. That reputation followed him all the days of his life and he never escaped his nickname …”Crooked Dick.” Trust me, he left all the other Weiners around him deflated and shrinking in shame.
I suppose the main thrust of what I’m trying to say, Anthony, is that every person has a choice. Every Weiner has a choice. I hope you choose to bring pride to the Wiener name. Be straight as an arrow. Be tough, but don’t be so rigid no one wants to hold you. You can be flexible without being soft. You can bend without breaking.
There are some Weiners in our family who just need to be stroked all the time. Don’t be one of those. I was that way when your mother and I first got married and trust me, that gets old to a woman fast. She ends up just doing it to shut you up and to get you out of her hair. It may feel good to you for a moment but eventually you’ll know it’s insincere and it will just feel weird.
Still, if you find yourself going the wrong direction, don’t beat yourself up too much. All Weiners know, you can shift; many times without people even realizing you’ve done it. Sooner or later, you’ll land in a comfortable place. Once you do …you’ll feel free and unrestrained.
Some days in this life, you will feel like you’re carrying a heavy load. Often, you just have to stiffen up and carry it as long as you can. Other times, you have to relax and let it go. You’ll know what to do when the time comes. A good Weiner always does.
Finally Anthony, please don’t ever get caught up in some weird sex scandal where you’re showing pictures of your penis to people. Some prick will have a field day with this last name …”