The Family’s New Coat of Arms, by Jake Tuck

Thanks for coming to the unveiling of the new Pepperton family coat of arms, the updated representation of our clan’s history and values. I have personally designed it to both carry on the ancient tradition of our name and account for our place in the modern world.

Back in the old country, heraldic devices helped us promote our family’s brand. The area peasants needed to be able to easily tell who was winning the jousts or commandeering their stocks of grain. Now we can use it for things like family reunion T-shirts, or as a logo for Pepperton Appliances, once a regional retail giant, now a front for Uncle Barry’s adopted son’s sweepstakes scams.

So now I will take off this sheet and reveal the coat of arms. There it is! I know, it’s so beautiful that applause or even recognition of its existence seems pointless.

Now, since most of you are probably a bit rusty with heraldic symbols, I’ll explain the elements that make up a coat of arms. First, there is the shield, which of course was used in battle by the Peppertons of old, such as during the great Catapult Wars of the 16th century, when we fought several neighboring families over whether or not catapults should be used in wars. We were against them, so you can guess how those wars went. Hence the “no catapults” sign on the shield. Oh and I also included an anthropomorphic dishwasher for you, Uncle Barry.

Nana, you’re leaving already. You were told there would an open bar. I guess you don’t remember the scene at your granddaughter’s wedding. I wonder why that is.

On to the supporters, these things holding up the shield on either side. Usually there are lions or eagles to denote a family’s courage or integrity. For us, I chose an ostrich and Bob Newhart. The former of course refers to the hideously long necks, round bodies, and skinny legs us Peppertons are blessed with. I think we can all fondly remember having our heads actually buried in the sand by camp bullies. That only happened to me? Well, regardless, that’s why the ostrich is wearing a T-shirt that says, “Alan Reid Blows!” Alan was the camp bully. I may have to add a footnote on there somewhere about that. Bob Newhart is there because he’s a comedy legend who doesn’t get enough credit.

Moving on, above the shield we have the helm and crest, which are basically a knight’s helmet and whatever ostentatious crap is attached to the top of it. Our helm is the hockey helmet I wore in the 1993 state tournament, during which I scored a goal. Okay fine, Nana is right, it was an assist; I was on the bench and the puck just happened to hit me in the elbow and ricochet right to Bobby Feinman in front of an empty net. Anyway, attached to the helm is the crest. For us I chose a dirty scrub-brush that symbolizes how many Peppertons toiled at menial jobs when they first immigrated to this country, to create better opportunities for generations down the line. I’m not exactly sure what happened to that work ethic, but to be fair, with disability loopholes and video games and whatnot, it’s hard to hold us to the same standard.

Finally, we have the motto. Traditionally we have lived by the Latin phrase, “Aut viam inveniam aut faciam,” meaning, “Find a way or make one.” But given what happened to our cousin Gordy, I’ve added a bit, so now it’s “Aut viam inveniam aut faciam, but not if it involves felony assault against a rival clown.” Gordy is doing well in prison by the way.

I don’t want to bore you with the other minor elements of the coat of arms—Auntie Margaret is asleep. Can someone make sure she’s not dead? Okay, good, she’s awake. No, Auntie Margaret, this isn’t a gun auction. Who is bringing Auntie Margaret to gun auctions? Gordy? Why didn’t he tell me he was paroled? He wasn’t? Oh boy.

Anyway, to wrap things up, let us embrace this coat of arms as the beginning of a bright new era for the Pepperton family: one consisting not of petty crimes and laziness, but rather a march toward renewed greatness, and in Uncle Barry’s case, an audit-proof regional appliance retailer.

Jake Tuck writes screenplays and other things. He is known to be a man for all seasons.

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The Family’s New Coat of Arms, by Jake Tuck