The Love Boat Promises Something for Every Neurosis

I looooove television.  Not just any kind of television.  60s, 70s, and 80s television.  You can take your reality shows and stick ‘em where Sonny from Bosom Buddies don’t shine.  I would rather stare at a blank screen all day than watch a reality show.

Okay, fine.  Unless it was the first or second season of Bret Michaels “Rock of Love” on VH-1 because that shit was genuinely entertaining.  #TeamHeather

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Every Heather has its thorn. My god, I adore this woman.

I totally want to party with her, get arrested together, break out of jail, and live life together on the run.  Or at least break out of Catholic school with her.

Then we’ll get free stuff from gas stations and happen upon a strip club that has an amateur night, and I’ll dress up in a men’s business suit and hat, except I’ll be wearing carefully applied lipstick.  She’ll wear a white bellbottom outfit with a sparkly bra and enter the stripper competition.  I’ll pull off my hat at some point during her routine, revealing that I’m actually Alicia Silverstone.  Biker guys will swoon.  We will win the competition and use our prize money to get a motel room for the night.  The next day we will taunt a handsome man on a tractor.

I realize this is actually just an Aerosmith video that I’m describing, which doesn’t make it any less important as a personal goal.  Don’t shit on my dream.

When I went through my Howard Hughes OCD psychotic break in 1994 and stopped leaving the house for a few months, the one thing I looked forward to more than anything was when The Love Boat would come on at 3am.  I love that show so freaking much.  The problem was that between midnight and 3am, there was jack squat on TV.  I could buy some time if there was a good guest on one of the late night talk shows, but for the most part, it was a lot of sitting around and waiting.

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The first thing I bought for my new apartment seven years ago. Not even remotely kidding.

I suppose I could have done, I don’t know, something besides sit around and wait for a television show to come on, maybe read a book or “think about the future” or whatever, but I had fallen so far down the well I couldn’t even be bothered to shower more than once every two weeks at that point.  Reading a book or doing anything constructive might as well have been climbing a mountain.  Everything was too daunting.

I would get so anxious in those hours waiting for The Love Boat to come on, wishing and praying more than anything that time would just move faster.  This was before I got any kind of treatment for my OCD, so when I got anxious like that, I got extra compelled.

Obsessively compelled, that is.  Black gold.  Texas tea.

Shut up.  You don’t have to quote The Beverly Hillbillies theme song.  We get it.  You like TV.

Hang on, though.  This one’s my favorite.  Perfect Strangers theme song:

🎵 Standing taaaall on the wings of my dreams.  Rise and faaaaall, on the wings of my dreams.  Rain, thunder, wind and haze, I’m bound for better days.  It’s my life.  Myyyy dream.  Nothin’s gonna stop me now.  (Harmonica part.) 🎵

You are the literal worst.

Every four minutes between midnight and 3am, my OCD would make me do a security check in the house where I would go room to room to make sure all the windows were closed, all the doors were locked, and all cabinets, closets, bathtubs, and under-bed areas were free of psycho killers.  Light switches, door knobs, anything along the way had to be touched between four and sixty-four times until it felt “right”.

At every four minutes, this translated to fifteen security checks per hour.  But the number fifteen was deemed “bad” by my brain, so I had to do another quick check right before the hour was up to make it an even sixteen times.

Sixteen was a really good number that gave me momentary mental relief.  Nothing felt as great as the number sixteen.  Bad numbers included all prime numbers, particularly the number three, and anything that wasn’t divisible by four.

Bad numbers?  Oh man.  Bad numbers just simply could not be tolerated.  If someone on TV said the number thirty-one out loud, I would have to whisper, “Thirty-two,” or else I’d become extremely uncomfortable with that thirty-one just hanging in the air.

If someone else happened to be in the room, they would say, “What?  Did you just say something?” and then I would say no and tell them that they must just be hearing things.

Most people with OCD will tell you something similar to the above.  There are totally innocuous things that are arbitrarily classified as “good” or “bad”.  Numbers in my case, obviously, but I had certain electrical cords that I deemed bad for no reason.  Round foods were deemed good.  Square foods, bad.  Knocking on doors, good.  Doorbells, bad.

This is because the very technical scientific term for OCD is “broken-assed brain”.  Thankfully in my case, I was able to get it fixed later down the road (mostly).  My therapist said there was probably a reason buried deep somewhere that I had assigned good/bad to certain things, but that it ultimately didn’t matter.  OCD is illogical, and trying to apply logic to it is a waste of energy.

It was a shame I never had the cleaning compulsions that some people have or else my house would have been museum-spotless every night before The Love Boat came on.

Don’t get me wrong.  People who have the cleaning compulsions will often scrub floors until their fingertips split with gangrene and their nails crumble and rot down to the cuticle, so it’s no picnic, either, but at the very least you get a clean floor out of it.  The most my compulsions were doing for me was making sure that there wasn’t a miniature psycho killer crouched in my bathroom cabinet.  I mean, it’s a good thing to know there wasn’t one in there, but at the same time, the odds were generally pretty slim of one actually being in there to begin with.  My time could have been better spent, especially given the filth I was living in.

So I would do my routines for all those hours in anticipation of The Love Boat every night, night after night.  Walking around the house in my filthy Nirvana tour shirt with the glow-in-the-dark seahorses on it, checking and touching and checking and touching, and then I’d eventually put some nice, round Crispy Crowns in the oven around 1:32am (around means precisely or else you have to wait until 1:48am).  I would eat the Crispy Crowns in even numbers, making sure to chew each one sixteen times on each side of my mouth, and get ready for my show to finally start.

2:59am.

The show was about to start!

It was finally about to start!

I was so happy as the ending credits rolled for the show that was on before The Love Boat.  Yes!  My show was about to start!

Then the clock would strike 3am and the theme song for The Love Boat would come on.

🎵 Love…exciting and new…come aboard…we’re expecting yoooooooooou…. 🎵

I would be so elated, so relieved, and so relaxed it was finally on, that I would fall asleep halfway through the opening credits and sleep through the entire show and then be furious I had missed it.

Every night.

 

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Imma let you finish, but in 1994 I was more Angela Chase from My So-Called Life than Angela Chase was Angela Chase.

 

 

 

A Day in The Life of Filthy Mouth and Smart Mouth

Jenny and I were on the swings down at the park one afternoon, doing what most kids did on the swings, which was swing as fast and as hard as possible to see if we could go higher than the bar at the top.  The only thing that set us apart from most kids you’d typically find on the swings was that we were shouting obscene song lyrics the entire time.

Warning:  This post contains explicit lyrics.  Dun dun DUUUUUUUNN!!!!

We couldn’t help ourselves.  Jenny and I were 12 and 11, respectively, and the most exciting musical group of our young lives had broken big in South Florida, and was about to break on the national stage.  A musical group so exciting, in a couple more years the government would actually briefly ban the sale of their album in the United States.  That group was Miami’s very own 2 Live Crew.

(I could spend three or four paragraphs describing the events surrounding the rise of 2 Live Crew, but you’d do much better to look it up on Wikipedia.  That shit was crazy!)

Jenny and I, and all the other delinquents we knew, were obsessed with 2 Live Crew.  It wasn’t because we were superfans of the group; if anything, we were solid hair metal fans and we merely dabbled in what was called “rap music” at the time.  We liked LL Cool J and RUN DMC just fine, but we weren’t completely nutso over them or anything.

We were obsessed with 2 Live Crew for the same reason any kids our age were obsessed with them:  Because their songs were filled with dirty words.  Super dirty words.  Jenny and I sang those songs constantly and relentlessly.

That particular afternoon, Jenny and I had been loudly singing call-and-response rounds of, “Heeeey we want some puuuu-ssay!” from the swings for a few minutes or so before Jenny said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa.  Wait.  Stop.  Stop swinging.  Stop.”

I dragged my bare feet across the sandy gray dirt back and forth a few times to slow myself down and came to a stop.  I looked at Jenny, concerned, and asked, “What’s wrong?”

Jenny looked puzzled and leaned the side of her face against her hand on the swing-chain.  “Do you think we should change the words since we’re into dudes?” she asked.

I pursed my lips to one side, chewing on the inside of my cheek in contemplation over the very important question Jenny had just posed.  Changing song lyrics was serious business.  All song lyrics had to be sung with exact precision or else someone might accuse you of not knowing the words, which was an unforgivable offense.  Not knowing the words meant you were a poseur, and nobody would ever let you live it down.

I replied, “Well, it’s not like we’re not taping it or anything.  Everybody already knows we know all the words.  I’m cool with changing them if you are.”

Then we started swinging again, pumping our legs as hard as we could to get back to our previously lofty heights, now singing rounds of, “Heeeey we want some DICK!”

We were charming little girls.

The flow was all wrong on the song now, though.  I looked over at Jenny and yelled, “Stop!  Hang on.  Stop swinging.”

We both slowed to a stop again.

I said, “The words don’t sound right with the melody now.  It cuts off too soon.  I think we need to add a word or syllable or something.  I mean, ‘pussy’ is two syllables.”

Jenny agreed.  We tried out a few filler words over the next couple minutes and finally came to a decision on one.  Then we started swinging again, hard and fast as we soared skyward, this time singing, “Heeeey, we want some biiiig diiiiiick!”

We had only gotten a few rounds of our new, improved song lyrics shouted out when a woman marched up next to the swings, planted her hands on her hips and yelled, “Hey!  I need to talk to you!  Both of you, get off those swings NOW!”

Jenny and I gave each other the “Uh oh” look and slowed our swinging to a stop.  We sat on the swings with our feet in the dirt, scrunching it between our toes while we sized this woman up.  She was probably around 35 years old, had a full-on lady mullet haircut, and was wearing peach stretch pants and an oversized Tweety Bird t-shirt.  She looked like every 35 year old woman in our neighborhood, except that we had never seen this particular 35 year old woman before.

Let me just interrupt for a moment here to tell you what it meant that we had never seen this woman before.  In our neighborhood everybody knew everybody, which meant that if we didn’t know you, you must be new in town or just visiting someone, and probably didn’t understand the kind of neighborhood you had just walked into.  Dirty words were going to be the least of this woman’s troubles.  Hell, the first time I was held at knife-point by a group of teenage boys I was 6 years old.  Had she ridden a bike to come and confront us that day, it would have been stolen before she even got off the damn thing.

Jenny, the braver of the two of us, spoke first.

“Can I help you?” Jenny said, as snottily as any tween girl could because, oh my god, nobody does “snotty” like tween girls.

The woman’s eyes narrowed.  “Oh, you can just hold your smart mouth right there, honey,” she replied.  “I can hear you two spouting off that filth from four blocks over!  What on God’s green Earth is wrong with the two of you?!”

I piped up, “We were just singing a song.  We didn’t write it.  Well, not most of it, anyway.”

(Look at me, age 11, already trying to finagle a writing credit for changing ‘puuuu-ssay’ to ‘biiiig diiiiiick’.  Typical.)

The woman took one hand off her hip and pointed her finger at us.

“I don’t care who wrote what – it’s FILTH!  IT’S ALL FILTH AND YOU BOTH NEED TO SHUT YOUR FILTHY MOUTHS RIGHT THIS MINUTE!!”

Assuming incorrectly that we must have been sisters (another clue that she wasn’t from our neighborhood, my sisters were notorious), she continued, “How would you like it if I go tell your mother about what you’re doing right now?  That her little girls are yelling such filthy things and have a couple of real smart mouths, too?  You know what?  That’s exactly what I’m going to do!  Where do you live?  Tell me your address!  I’m walking over there RIGHT NOW!  I bet your mother will be VERY interested to know what her little girls are doing down here, spreading filth with those filthy little mouths.”

I pointed towards the north and sheepishly said, “We live on Cheshire.  Two blocks that way.”

She said, “Oh, that does me a lot of good.  So I guess I should just go walking up and down the street to try and figure out which house?  What’s the house number, smart mouth?”

Jenny’s tone softened as she said, “It’s 4275.  We’re sorry.  Please don’t tell our mom.  Can you please, please not tell our mom?”

Jenny worked up some light, convincing tears.

“Please.  We don’t want to get in trouble.  We were just messing around.  We won’t do it again, we promise.”

The woman smirked at us and haughtily said, “You should have thought of THAT before you ran your filthy little smart mouths,” and then marched off in a huff towards Cheshire Street to rat us out.

As we watched her walk away and fade into the distance, Jenny smiled.  She lit a cigarette and said, “Pffft.  Let’s get out of here.  I’m bored.”

We shared the cigarette as walked south, in the opposite direction of Cheshire Street, to our separate homes that weren’t on Cheshire Street, neither of which were numbered 4275 (there were no houses numbered 4275 in our neighborhood).

The irony, of course, was that even if we had given that woman our real addresses, neither of our mothers would have given a rat’s ass about our shouting obscenities from the swings.  Anything less than being brought home in a police car was considered “kids just being kids” and was no cause for concern.

Before parting ways down my street I took a drag off the cigarette and passed it to Jenny.

I exhaled the smoke.  “Adults are so dumb.  What was that lady’s problem?  It’s just a song.”

Jenny took the last drag, flicked the cigarette into a canal and said, “No shit, huh.  Tomorrow we’ll sing “Throw The Dick”.  Later, filthy mouth!” and took off towards her street.

I gave her a small salute and replied, “Later, smart mouth!”

And I turned out JUST FINE.

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Prologue:

It took everything I had to not title this story “Pussy Is Two Syllables”.

You’re welcome.

I’m Your Charity Case, So Buy Me Something to Eat…

…I’ll pay you at another tiiiiiiiiiiime.

Who are we kidding?  That dude’s not paying you back.  If he were into things like paying people back, he’d have a job, not a band.

There are good musicians to date (accordion players) and there are bad musicians to date (all the rest of them) but, just like any other study in stereotypes, the bad ones generally stick out the most.

The one thing guy musicians have in common is that you will always, always, always come second in their lives.  Get used to it.  Your smile’s got nothing on bright lights and a roar of applause from strangers.  Nothing.

If he were given the opportunity to play a show in front of 10,000 people, but it would require him to amputate one of your toes and then eat it in front of you, guess who’s about to have only nine toes?  He will yell, “Thanks for the snack, babe!” as he runs down the hall from his dressing room to the stage.  You will hobble on a tiny bloody stump.  The next day he will be annoyed that you now walk so slowly, and will loudly sigh when you ask him to slow down.

A musician will refuse to call you his “girlfriend” unless you let him move in with you.  If he hasn’t moved in yet (which would be surprising seeing as he’s homeless), you will instead be referred to as “I don’t like labels.  Can’t we just hang out and have sex at my leisure?”

Him calling you his “girlfriend”, by the way, does not imply exclusivity.  “Girlfriend” is more equivalent to “Benefactor”.  He will absolutely still have sex with other women.  He’ll have sex with you, too, but you’ll also have the good fortune of being the one he chooses to put gas in his car, food in his belly, and clothes on his back.  Lucky you.

So he gets it on in the bathroom at the bar with some random skank?  Big deal!  Don’t you get it?  His passionate soul can’t be tied down, baby!  The heart (dong/ego) wants what it wants.

He will say, “Mmm-non-mon-pom-wall” and you will say, “What?”  Then he will spit out another woman’s underwear from his mouth and say, “It’s nothing personal!” Then he will ask you to wash the underwear along with the rest of his laundry.

As the girlfriend, the only way to prevent such things from happening is to make sure you attend every single show his band plays.  Because if you ain’t there when he walks off the stage, trust me, there will be plenty of girls who will be.  Even if it’s on a Tuesday night at 1:00am, it’s a three hour drive away, and you have to be at work the next day at 7:00am.  Even if your best friend is marrying a British royal and you’ve been invited to be in the wedding party.  Doesn’t matter.  Your ass better be there at whatever shitty bar he’s playing in Lakeland, Florida on a Tuesday night.  Your devotion and paranoia will be rewarded by maybe not getting an STD.

If you have a problem with any of the above, you are “uptight” and you “don’t understand” him.  If you actually break up with him over it, he will tell everyone that you “went psycho” on him.

Here’s a handy tip sheet to help you make an informed decision the next time you’re thinking, “Oh my god – he was totally staring at me through that whole last song!  Damn he’s hot!  Should I give him my phone number?”

Narcissistic Personality Disorder I mean, Singer: The worst, worst, worst.  Master of the Gaslight, Keeper of The Ego.  No one can convince you they’re madly in love you, then have sex with your sister, then make YOU apologize for it, then convince you to give them $300 for their car payment better than those guys can.  I’ve known many smart, level-headed people who have been reduced to insecure, suicidal wrecks at the hands of the singer.  Stay away!  These guys propose to you within a week, and fall desperately in love with you – for about two months.  Then it’s onto the next one.  Do a Google search for “love bombing”.  Expect to find a large cache of John Mayer photos.  Then he’ll be like, “I really consider myself a guitar player…”  Shut up.  We all know that you can actually play.  We get it.

And, yes, I was a singer.  And an asshole.  I get the irony.

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Extra Spanx were required just to keep the ego from jiggling.

Lead Guitar Player:  Requires an incredible amount of patience.  Your relationship will consist of listening to him play scales, pretending not to notice that he’s stealing all your skinny jeans, and riding on his bike handlebars to buy him McDonald’s.  He uses the words “LITERALLY!” to describe anything that is not literal, to the point that you will eventually start to involuntarily cringe when he says it.  Also, he is approximately as smart as a potato chip, but he will tell you that he’s “street smart”.  Also, he is not street smart.

Rhythm Guitar Player:  Generally easy-going, but is pretty sure he’d rather be the lead guitar player, and needs constant reassurance that he’s as good/needed as the lead guitar player.  You will come to recognize the sound of skateboard wheels on your driveway as him arriving for dinner, and gentle sobbing as the sound of him falling asleep on your futon, clutching a photo of Stone Gossard from Pearl Jam.  He owns either a ferret or a snake, but never both.  He gets haircuts regularly, which is good, but only because his mother still pays for it.  He is 35.

Bass Player:  Do you do drugs?  Would you like to?  Date a bass player.  He’ll only charge you for your half, oh, and his half.  The sound of a car door slamming and “Later, Grandma!” is your cue that he’s already eaten dinner before he arrived at your house, so now it’s time to smoke a bowl and watch some Adult Swim in his “crazy” boxer shorts.  Do not let this man bring pewter figurines into your house or you will never get rid of him.  He will pull out his Wizard Pocket Constitution and tell you that, legally speaking, a pewter wizard can’t be evicted until thirty days’ notice has been properly served.  He will ruin your clothes dryer with the 24-sided dice that he forgot to take out of his wide-legged jeans.

Drummer:  You have to question anyone’s motives for wanting to lug all that crap around and beat on it for hours at a time.  Perhaps he’s angry?  But he also wants to sit?  Sitting and being angry?  What a coincidence!  That’s exactly what you’ll be doing the whole time you’re dating him.  His ass smells terrible.  Like really, gut-punchingly terrible.  So bad that you store a dead buzzard in the laundry hamper to kill the smell.  He has a car, but he also lives in it, so at least you can kill rent money and gas money with one never-paid-back-loan-stone if you’re hesitant to let him (and his piles of crap) move in.

This is what happens when you let that happen:

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You could not envy my 21-year old decorating skills more, and I honestly can’t remember whose drums these were in my house

Keyboard Player:  Only if you can handle hours of stories about how he totally pwn3d all the noobz at computer camp when he was a teenager with his savant-like knowledge with regard to the more obscure works of Philip Glass.  If you’re into that scene, then please go forth and propagate with this man, and spare the rest of the world from his wiener.  You’d be taking one for the team, really, and someday your eventual spawn will probably be smart enough to crack enemy computer codes or something, or at least come up with wireless ear buds that don’t look like Ben Stiller’s ear in that scene from “There’s Something About Mary”.  You know which scene.  Don’t make me spell it out.

Any Musician Who Takes Off His Shirt Onstage:  Gross.  Just gross.  Nobody wants to see your weird spoon-chest, Topher.

Guys Named Christopher Who Call Themselves “Topher”:  Musician or not – just say no.