A Quick Update! (And Santa’s Li’l Groupie)

Hey friends! Just wanted to let you know I’m taking a break from writing for a while to tend to some personal stuff. Hope you all had a great New Year, and thanks, as always, for being so awesome. 🙂

 

It was Christmas morning. The living room was shimmering with the glow of the Christmas tree as it illuminated the harvest gold medley shag carpeting, the kind you spiffed up for company with the shag rake from Sears. I was 4 years old, just old enough to be trusted to “rake the shag”. God, I wish that were a euphemism for something.

While everyone was busy shredding open their gifts, I stood in front of the plate of half-eaten cookies that had been left out for Santa, wide-eyed in disbelief, gasping, “Him ate his cookies! Him ate his cookies!”

My mother said, “Santa sure did! It looks like he really liked them, too! Why don’t you sit down and open some presents?”

I stood there, frozen, eyes still glued on the plate.

“Him ate his cookies!”

As I continued to process the gravity of the situation that had transpired overnight, tears welled up in my eyes and my chin started to quiver. I was completely overcome with emotion.

Presents wrapped in snowman and jingle bell paper with ribbons and bows, stockings filled with candy, I couldn’t be bothered to notice them. I wasn’t leaving that plate. Santa, an actual celebrity, the rock star of Christmas, had been in my house, and now I had proof via his teeth marks in a chocolate-dipped Rudolph cookie with a cinnamon red-hot nose.

My mother eventually had to take me by the arm and drag me away from the plate and force me to sit and open presents. As I ripped open my gifts from Santa, my gaze never left the plate across the room. He was here while I was sleeping the night before. Santa had been here. In my house.

I hid the plate under my bed for safe-keeping. It was the closest thing I had to an actual piece of Santa, and I hoarded it like a sweat towel from Elvis. I was star-struck. Absolutely star-struck.

They should have known then…

Twelve years later, the first of many, many, many rock stars I had to be physically pried off of was a man named Whitfield Crane.

Whitfield Crane is the singer for the utterly fun and early 90s-tastic band Ugly Kid Joe. You know, the “I Hate Everything About You” song? I loved them when I was 16.

My best friend Amy and I went to see them play in Fort Lauderdale at a venue called The Edge. We were 16 years old and it was the early 90s, which meant that we got dropped off in downtown Fort Lauderdale, and then had full, unsupervised run of a dozen bars until we got picked up well after midnight. Thankfully, we had only gotten into the car of approximately one or two murderers prior to that night, so our judgment could nearly totally be trusted.

After the show, the Ugly Kid Joe tour bus was parked next to The Edge and, like all good groupies-in-training, Amy and I hung around the outside of their bus after the show and waited for the band to come out. From a distance I could see that Whitfield Crane had made his way through the crowd and was sitting on the steps of the bus. A line of girls formed to say hi to him and to get his autograph.

“Get his autograph” is code for “Let him have a look at me and see if he wants to defile me.”

I don’t know if you know that, but that’s what that means. Universally.

Nobody actually gives a shit about having a piece of paper with some guy in a band’s autograph on it. The autograph request is a ruse – a red herring – a mere advertisement for a flashier product called “Do you want to do it in the bathroom of this tour bus?”

It’s not pretty, but it’s the truth. SORRY, MOMS.

As we approached the front of the line, I said to Amy, “How are we playing this?”

Amy said, “Cool. Like it’s not even anything.”

I knew Amy would play it cool, because she is the most skilled person I have ever known at playing it cool. Ask someone who has known her for thirty years what she’s thinking or feeling at any moment and they’ll say, “I have no idea. I don’t know if she likes me or hates me or even knows who I am.”

The woman could stare at you with a completely blank face while she gave birth, or won the lottery, or took hostages. She’s unreadable.

As we made it towards the front of the line, the girl in front of me stepped to the side and the full Whitfield Crane-ness of one Whitfield Crane was suddenly right there in front of me, in person, just two feet away from me, being Whitfield Crane, the guy on MTV, Whitfield Crane, and he was looking at me. With his eyes.

Whitfield Crane’s eyeballs were looking at me.

Cool schmool.  I lost it.  I sprung like a fat dog on a loose Snausage and pounced on him.

I can only hope the lizard part of my brain made me mumble, “Him ate his cookies” right before my lips met his face as I threw my arms around him, but you’d have to check with the police video on that to be sure.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa, and may the force be with you, folks!  I’m off next week, so see you in two weeks!

(Sorry, I accidentally hit the “Publish” button on another piece I was working on that wasn’t finished yet, so I had to delete it!  It’ll be coming soon!)

Shuuuuut Uuuuuuup

I came home to a neighbor blasting a Kid Rock song (on repeat!) through the wall of our apartment the other day.  Now, normally I’m very meek when it comes to confronting neighbors, having toiled with some particularly nasty and violent neighbors in the past, but I made it less than ten minutes before I marched over and started banging on his door.

You’re gonna play Kid Rock into my HOME?  Where I eat and sleep and expect houseplants to flourish?!

It got me to thinking that I’ve never heard someone blasting music that I would consider decent. Not once.  Not once in my life.  Not through an apartment wall, not out of a car, not from a radio on a towel at the beach.

(For the record, it was that “Sweet Home Alabama” monstrosity that Kid Rock horked up and furballed onto the radio a few years back.  The one where he rhymes the word “things” with “things” for god’s sake.  Also, he is not from Alabama, and neither is Lynyrd Skynyrd.)

I’ve never sat next to a car at a stoplight that was blasting music and thought, “Oh wow!  This person next to me has got great taste in music!”  It’s always something just absolutely terrible.  It’s like there’s a law that if a musical note is heard loudly in public, it has to belong to a musician who is no more than six degrees of separation away from Limp Bizkit.

Same goes for someone prominently holding up a book that they’re reading.  They’re never holding up something fantastic like a David Sedaris book or a Jughead comic.  It’s always something like “How To Win Bitches” or “Chicken Soup for The Precious Moments Figurine Collector’s Soul” or some shit by Ted Nugent where he’s wearing the Constitution as a loincloth. I think if I ever heard a good song blasting out of a car or saw someone holding up a decent book, I would be so shocked that I would just drive right into an embankment.

Witnesses say the last words the victim uttered as they pulled her charred, limp body from the fiery wreckage were, “Finally! Someone blasting The Ramones! Please – someone save my Betty and Veronica Double Digest on the passenger seat. Save it for the future generations.”

I’ve come to realize that the same is true for loud conversations.  As a soft-spoken type, I’m appalled at how loudly people converse in public, and it’s always the conversation that you don’t want to hear.

We were sitting in a bar the other night (big surprise there), and someone nearby was having a two hour long, one-sided conversation with the person next to them, broadcasting it out of their mouth at approximately 5,000 decibels, blasting in my ear like in the opening scene of Back to The Future when Marty McFly plugs his guitar into that giant speaker and it blows him back like ten feet.

marty-mcfly-amp-gif-3 (1)
Actual footage from the bar

The subjects varied between a riveting tale about that time she ordered a bottle of wine at a Red Lobster in Daytona Beach in 1982, several mentions of how the Jello-shot the bartender had just given her looked like a urine specimen, her strong belief in guardian angels, and how Trump was going to earn her vote again if he levels Iran.

Basically the conversational equivalent of a Kid Rock song.

Never once in my life have I been sitting at a bar and heard someone shouting a conversation about the Abstract Expressionist movement in art, or about the best red lipstick for your skin tone, or about how every single kid on Mr. Belvedere was so ugly that sometimes it actually hurt to look at the television.  You know, stuff that I’d actually be interested in hearing about!  Never!

It’s always the person who wants to shout racial slurs and talk about the “handy” he got for half-price when he was stationed in Okinawa because she was missing two fingers.  Or the women at brunch who try to top each other’s birthing stories at full volume, making sure to really enunciate the words “…THE SIZE OF THE BLOOD CLOT THAT FLOPPED OUT OF ME…IT WAS LIKE TWO CALVES’ LIVERS, CAROL.”

Nobody’s ever like, “Let me yell my well-thought out opinion about Wendy’s versus Arby’s!”  That’s a conversation I could get into!

I mean, where are my people?  You’re probably off in the corner, like me, quietly debating the best Talking Heads song, not talking about Jello urine specimens or vag-shrapnel, and making plans to get nachos and watch Rocky IV for the fiftieth time later.

And Wendy’s is the superior option because they have baked potatoes that are actually baked in an oven, which are something that would take you like an hour to cook at home and would heat up your whole house.

And because Arby’s killed my entire family when I was a child.

Okay, maybe not.  But Arby’s doesn’t have baked potatoes.

I just looked it up and they actually do have baked potatoes.

See you in Hell.