I have short, maybe even stubby, eyelashes. I wasn't aware of this defect until the other day when my oldest daughter helpfully noted that 'your eyelashes aren't as long as mine.'
As if it were a contest.
After I explained to her that her comment made me feel rejected and worthless, less than human, and played havoc with my inferiority complex, I got to thinking. And that is the beginning of many an ill-fated adventure and pseudo-scientific Lecture From Mom.
Katie, I explained, the length of my eyelashes relative to yours is the end product of a billion years of evolution. Once upon a time, the survival of the human species depended on the ability of the female to attract the male with the best DNA and survival skills. In prehistoric times, these things went together; today, sadly, they do not. Stay away from the modern survivalist! Long lashes to bat, succulent lips to pout, the flirtatious body language of youth - these are the tools you are given to complete your genetic purpose. I am married with children and no longer burdened by Darwinian necessity. My eyelashes can be stubby, as can my legs. In fact, the stubby eyelashes probably enable better vision, thus better maternal protection. The offspring are more likely to survive to bat their own lashes and add their DNA to the gene pool. Once they're in a stable, married relationship, of course.
I was so proud of this convoluted analogy, I detailed it out for the husband. His response? Everybody our age is getting divorced and jumping back into the gene pool.
It's no good being angry with an anonymous person. There's no satisfaction in it. You might as well fight with a lawn mower. And since I can't be pissy with an anonymous asshole, then I'll be pissy with Those Less Fortunate Than I. Transference. I learned that on Law and Order: Criminal Intent last night.
How to Build Your Resume, Part One*
1. Ask to bum a cigarette during your interview.
2. Bring your child (or better yet, children!) with you to the interview and answer definitively "yes!" when asked if you have reliable child care.
3. Answer your cellphone during the interview.
4. Apply for the job while a policeman writes you a citation for speeding (shows multi-tasking capabilities, after all).
5. Do not show up for your first day of work. Call a few days later with a morbid explanation (death in family, grandmother's foot had to be amputated, car wreck or cancer diagnosis) and get rehired. Do not show up again. Expect to be paid anyway.
6. List "took customer's money" as a Position of Trust.
Bored enough to clean out my desk drawers. It's like an archeological dig. All the detritus - ok, not all - from 18 years of slaving the fuck away in corporate hell. Some interesting (well, I said I was bored didn't I?) findings:
1. I am a closet pyromaniac. I have three packs of matches and I haven't smoked in at least 9 years. Shows a repressed desire to surround myself with candles or perhaps I was a Girl Scout in another life.
2. I have an inordinate affection for Sharpies. I found 7. Red, blue, black. Fat tips, fine points, double-ended ones. And an equal number of highlighters! Please don't ask about the Flairs. I am seeking help.
3. Ketchup is good, but tartar sauce is better.
4. I am incapable of throwing away the plasticware packets from fast food places. You never know when you might need a spork.
5. I've got so much shit to do that I need not just one, but two, count 'em two, 20-year calendars? That is depressing.
6. If you really, really love your lip gloss, it will come back to you.
San Jose had a beloved soccer team(formerly known as The Clash - best name ever) whose owners decided to move the team.
A new location, a new name. The 'Quakes became Houston 1836 - a cool name, and the year that Houston was founded. Coincidentally, or not, this was the exact same year Texas decided not to be a part of Mexico. Which some people found offensive.
So the Clash/Quakes/Houston 1836 became the Houston Dynamo, which is an autogol in the Lamest Name Ever Playoffs. And the Metros, who used to be the NYNJ Metro Stars but evolved (sensibly) to the MetroStars, find themselves likewise rebranded as New York Red Bull.
Just kidding. Be nice to him. He's got to power Team USA out of our group come June. (Can I get you something, Landon? A sandwich? Your slippers? A comely wench?) The Houston name change is, well, I can't think of a better word than stupid. They gain nothing from it. The Metrostars name change I'm ok with - they gain a recognizable brand, money and that elusive soccer specific stadium. And money. Did I mention money? And money trumps political correctness every time.
Ok, Ok, so it's an old photo. From the 2005 Asheville show, to be precise. But the ones I took with my telephone, uh, um....well, they suck. And I think this one is so bad, it's cool. He is some kind of demon fire god. In the most polite way possible.
I got our tickets through an online presale via the John Prine Shrine, thanks to my Good But Anonymous Buddy who pays attention to these things. The deal with their presale is you are guaranteed seats in the first 6 rows, but you can't pick up your tickets until one hour before the show. Because I am never early (and really, isn't being early just as rude as being late?), the opening act was already onstage when we arrived. I showed the girl at Will Call my Sam's Club card because I could not find my license and read PT104. Oh, fuck. We're on row P, which is not in the prescribed first six rows. I regained my composure and looked again. It says Orchestra. Oh, fuck! We're in the Orchestra Pit!! I wait very impatiently for a beer and run to the nearest usher with my ticket, heart beating wildly, I'm beginning to sweat. She looks at the ticket and doesn't have a clue where. Oh, fuck. Maybe we're upstairs. Another usher grabs the ticket, peers at it intently and positively puffs up. He marches us with pomp and circumstance to the stage and points to the very front row. We are center. Dead center. John Prine will be standing 10 feet directly in front of me.
I wait to be escorted back to the plebian horde. There are four empty seats beside me and one by one they fill up (with brothers! hey to you all if you see this!). Each time a brother comes to take a seat, I expect to get thrown out. I have never been front row anywhere for anything and this is possibly the most amazing musical moment of my life. There is no massively huge or tall person in front of me. I will not have to play Bob & Duck all night. I will have an unobstructed view of John Prine. 10 feet away. Twelve o'clock.
I hope he's not a spitter.
The opening act was a lady named Minton Sparks, and I want to apologize to her for walking in on her second to last song. Only they're not songs exactly, being spoken but accompanied by guitar. It was kind of hillbilly poetry slam meets performance art. Interesting but peculiar. A long, long, eternal damnation kind of wait ensues as she exits stage right. The lights come up, the roadies come out and start placing bottles of water everywhere, bringing more and more guitars and mandolins and a stand up bass (which is also orchestrally known as a double bass according to #1 son, who was also present but sitting with the riff raff in row F). Should've done a drink/bathroom run, but I was afraid to leave. Really!
Finally, the lights go down and there it is. The moment I've been waiting for - face to face with JP, and he's throwing down a raucous version of Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore. If you thought maybe he'd become sedate and conservative in his golden(ish) years, you thought wrong. In April, it was a 'cowboy from Texas' who started his own war with I-raq. In a post-Katrina America, it was 'that asshole from Texas,' and that, I am happy to note, brought a wave of cheers across the beautiful Tennessee Theatre. Mr. Prine played all the 'hits' - not that he has any, but the Ones People Expect: Sam Stone, Grandpa Was A Carpenter, Paradise, Hello In There, Dear Abby. It was often a mammoth singalong. He played The Most Perfect Song EVER, dedicating it to his Ma. The beginning of it makes me think of rain drops running down a windowpane, all cold and lonely and warm and tender, all at once, the absolute sound of bittersweet, and I hear it and I swear I have tears in my eyes. John Prine is singing Souvenirs 10 feet in front of me. It. Was. Amazing. He has fat stubby hands like Elvis, so it gives me hope: one day, maybe, I can get my stupid fingers to make that sound. He played Crazy As A Loon, and dedicated it to One Bullet Barney, a/k/a Don Knotts. He did some Jed Clampett dancing during Bear Creek Blues. I didn't think he could spit after the cancer/radiation thing but he did drop a few wads here and there. Ain't Hurtin' Nobody hit a big fat groove and just went on and on and people should've got up and danced, but nobody did. I heard some concertgoers were taken aback by folks shouting out requests - I don't think it was a problem for Mr. Prine. And I don't think you go to a John Prine concert to sit in respectful silence. He's not that kind of demon fire god.
The band was incredible. Mostly playing mandolin but sometimes on guitar was Pat McLaughlin, who brought a Conehead sensibility (and by that I don't mean that he's strange looking, but that he seems like he's from another planet, a very FUN planet) and some Johnny Rotten punkish/impish fun to the proceedings. Mostly on electric guitar, but sometimes on mandolin and harmonica was Jason Wilbur, who should smile more - and I hate saying that because I was always told that as a child. On that stand up bass was Dave Jacques, who has no web presence, but lots and lots of soul. I know Jason and Pat added some vocals, as well, but I'm not sure about Dave. John Prine was blocking my view.
I bought the Ron White tickets as kind of a consolation prize, after waiting months and months (or was it weeks and weeks?) for good shows. Kings of Leon was my last show, way way back in October and I kept patiently waiting - well, as patiently as I know how - for something wonderful to pop up.
Months and months (or weeks and weeks for you literalists) of nothing.
So, when I saw the advertisement for Ron White, I jumped on it. So did the rest of East Tennessee. It sold out before I could even figure out how to buy tickets. Fortunately, a 9:30 show was added. After checking my calendar - who wants to go to a 9:30 show and face work the next day? - I grabbed two primo tickets (only to discover at the show that they were dead center in Yuppieville). I figured it would be a late Valentine present. We could be Adults Without Children. So, that's $100 for tickets, $100 for a hotel, $100 for a couple of meals. Doesn't break the budget because there's nothing the fuck else to do the rest of the winter.
And there it was. One week to the day after I committed to Ron White. John Prine. In Knoxville. At the Tennessee Theatre. Six days after Ron.
Of course I had to have them. I'd sell blood and plasma if necessary. My children don't need to eat every day. Those aren't high-waders, honey, they're capris. And next year they'll be shorts! We're not homeless, we're moving. Everything's a matter of perspective, isn't it? And, in T minus 6 hours, John Prine's going to be in mine.
Where’s the Clairol #117 and pass me my nerve pills!
At first, it went well. She listened. She did what she was told, braking here, putting her signal on now, staying on her side of the road. And as she learned and the praises were heaped upon her, her confidence grew. And grew. And grew. Until she was the self-styled Princess of Power (steering).
My first experience in Driver’s Ed, post-high school, was teaching my oldest son, who figured ‘hey, I’ve played enough NASCAR 2000 – I don’t NEED lessons.’ And I had to force him to drive. Our state requires a minimum number of hours behind the wheel, certified by a parent or legal guardian, in order to move from permit to license. It’s ridiculously low, like 50 or something, but I still felt perjurious when I signed the statement. Nevertheless, he passed his driving test. And I’ll give him points for that, because he had to drive in rush hour school traffic and they were gone at least 20 minutes. For my test, back before seat belt laws, I had to drive around the block. Literally. One square residential block. Four right turns. Had they been left, I’d be qualified for Bristol.
Lately, the Princess has lost some of her Will to Drive. It’s too cold in the mornings. She wants to watch a movie en route. She doesn’t feel like it. She did deign to drive home yesterday. With one hand on the steering wheel and the other hand alternately flipping her hair around and pointing at “bad” drivers, we careened through the evening traffic. Wherever she turned her head, there went the steering wheel. We did not maintain our lane. We ran up on other cars and came to a screeching halt. We rousted pedestrians. At last we got home and I dug my fingers out of the armrest. I followed the youngest two into the house and was dumbfounded to realize: I have to do this Two. More. Times.