I looked at my filtered comments today, just to make sure I wasn’t missing any interactions–unlikely since I’ve been occupied elsewhere of late, and the Old Road Apples have turned spoiled and squishy. I did not expect to find a wonderfully supportive and sustaining environment in and amongst the Spam, and I recommend that all of your when you’re feeling worried and down, forget going downtown or crossing a bridge over troubled water. Read your spam! Here is a just a selection from the first few….
1. “Just want to say your article is as amazing. The clarity in your post is simply nice and i can assume you are an expert on this subject.” This and the others below are all in reference to a post called “Bonus Picture: Bikini Ski Girl”
2. “This post could not be written much better! Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this.” In reference to a post called “Organic Roadkill.”
3. “I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already”
4. “Whoa this blog is magnificent i really like studying your posts. Keep up the good work!”
When I was a a kid my mom told me I was handsome quite a bit, and I never doubted that. When girls I liked didn’t like me, I thought: I don’t get it, I’m so handsome. When they were mean, I thought: I can can learn to be cooler, at least I’m so damned handsome. You can see where this was going–until one day, I was about 15, and I’m staring in the mirror, and it hits me. “Mom!” I shouted. “What the fucking fuck?” Turns out I’m not the leading man, I’m the overweight partner in the Sears Roebuck sportcoat, due to retire in a week who gets gunned down in the first act. But those spammers, they think I’m goddamn F. Scott Fitzgerald. I love spammers.
I’ve saved so many memes in a file on my hard drives and finally wondered: what am I saving these for? My retirement? A rainy day? Maybe that–but isn’t it raining right now? Of course it is. My mom had a leash for me. Of course she did.
D U M B – A S S H A L L OF F A M E N O M I N A T I O N
I shouldn’t need an excuse to circle back around to my poor, mistreated, attention-starved blog–or the millions, thousands, hundreds, dozens of eager readers who breathlessly await my oracular musings. Nevertheless, when life gives you lemons…
Okay, so no lemons. Instead, we got Jamie Gilt, the outspoken Florida horse mommy who loves her guns. A profuse poster of pro-firearm propaganda and fetishist rhetoric, who had reportedly been bragging of late about her 4-year-old son’s proficiency at the shooting range, Ms. Gilt recently threw this bit of wisdom up on the internet:
Silly rabbit. A few days ago, this upright, outspoken, patriotic (these colors don’t run, dammit!) saw her worst feats come to light when she was brutally gunned down…by said 4-year-old, who capped her from the backseat of their moving vehicle while she was driving and he was playing with her .45 automatic in the back seat.
Doh! Ms. Gilt gets automatic acceptance into the Dumb Ass Hall of Fame.
My mom just had a birthday, but we’re not celebrating it until tomorrow since she was away on the actual day. We’re going to get out the grill, burn some food, have something bad for us for desert. By coincidence, one of my nephews posted this on his facebook* page:
I DON’T THINK MOST GIRLS REALIZE HOW HANDSOME MY MOM SAYS I AM.
My immediate response was laughing agreement, “I know, right?” But then I got to thinking: It’s been a long time since I paid any attention to how women respond to me, because the best part of being old (though not as old as my mom….
…is just not caring what anyone thinks about anything. The default response of most mature folks over 50 is “Screw you, assclown!”
But who among us hasn’t thought after some chick (or dude, if that’s how you roll) does that snotty tongue-click “tch” thing, that the obviously blind jerk needs a sit down with mom?
I actually believed I was handsome well into my teenage years, thanks to my mom, until that day that I really looked in the mirror and was, like, “Oh, so that’s what the problem is.” Fortunately, by that time, I’d already started to not give many damns–and if girls are attracted to anything, it’s guys who just don’t give a damn. The less damns you have to give, the more what you do have are in demand.
Notice my spotty attendance here on my own blog, and in the “like” and “comment” sections of blogs I normally read? Well, I’ve missed you too–but not that much.
I haven’t missed you because I’ve spent three of the past four days in a warm kitchen with my strange 72-year old mom baking Christmas cookies and talking and driving each other a little crazy, in no small part due to the half pound of coffee beans we’ve exploited in the name of powering this annual venture. But hey, I’m baking cookies with my mom, the way she used to bake cookies with her mom. And I’m man enough to brag about it.
The caveat: this woman is frustrating in so many ways I can’t detail here lest I destroy her reputation, and none of those things really matter because she’s also quite possibly the nicest person I know. What maddens me is the reflection of my own faults that I see amplified in her–everything I would list on a New Year’s Resolution countdown is right there in her eyes, a syndrome I suspect is not unique to my family. On the other hand, it could be that she’s pretty much all I’ve got–my family tree has been whittled down by divorce, attrition and complacency to the point where the biggest venue we’d need for a reunion is the corner booth at Denny’s. (Do they still have those?) Aside from mom, with the exception of one cousin, sentiment for me in that branch of the family ranges from smug indifferent to open hostility.
That sounds like whining, but I’m a big boy, I tried my best, and it’s no small mystery that I tend to be an acquired taste–like drinking cheap vodka: there’s some painful burning at the beginning, a few laughs in the middle, but ultimately you wake up sick. At least I have a paradigm. Some guys can only dream….
But cookies. My mom can’t cook for shit. Sounds crude, but it’s the best way to say it. As I’ve written here recently, I was well into college before I realized that roast beef isn’t supposed to be ghostly grey, or that most recipes don’t start with the phrase “First brown a pound of ground beef…” or that vegetables don’t mostly come from aluminum cans. She learned everything she knows from her mother, but the both of them could sure as hell make some tasty cookies. These weren’t fancy cookies, mind you, but nor were they the sort of self-consciously “colonial” bland molasses and raisin-filled shit you’d expect from folks who so stubbornly clung to their damp, English Methodist culinary flagellation. No family in the history of the world has fetishized bad food like ours.
Except at the holidays, those few times of the year when they gave a damn; and that’s the key point: when they gave a damn. It is the fault of my mother, and her mother before her, that I am a Christmas zealot, in turn weepy-eyed and jubilant over the “most wonderful time of the year.”
We made at least 10 dozen of multiple recipes including tollhouse, sugar cookies (both sugared and frosted), thumbprint cookies stuffed with frosting or jelly, snickerdoodles, peanut butter blossoms, peanut butter cup tarts. So yeah, hundreds of cookies. At this point, we’ve consumed almost 20 pounds of flour, 12 pounds of butter, several pounds each of brown and granulated sugar, six ounces of vanilla, about 40 eggs. Still, it’s not really about what we produced.
We spent a lot of time waiting for the stove to catch up to our cooking, but I got to hear all her best stories and–surprise–some new content while we were throwing back java and listening to the blaring Christmas Music. It’s the thing we do–I mix, she cuts, shapes, or rolls, then I sugar or decorate. We talk.
I must admit that when I first started doing this, I was thinking she was an easy mark to exploit for labor–she’ll roll out and cut sugar cookie dough all day long, like a harvester racing an approaching rain. Over the years, it’s become more about the time together, but not because she’s doing anything different. At Christmas, I am patient enough, welcoming enough, to accept her, which is a good thing because, kharma-wise, I’m going to need ten times the patience from my children some day.
I can remember playing Star Trek when I was awfully small, maybe 6 or 7, with my friend Dan, who was Spock to my Kirk. Every once in a while, this weird kid named Jimmy McKelvy visited his grandparents on the next block over and he would play Bones–he had this awesome Phaser toy that fired little plastic disks that I’m pretty sure would have blinded one of us. Jimmy was a soft little kid–soft spoken, softly built, and from some other town. He made us a little uncomfortable, but he had that Phaser.
Everyone knows Star Trek, but not everyone knows the show that was actually my gateway vice into the world of Science Fiction, the one that set the seed that wouldn’t germinate until my mid-twenties, after too much time in musty lecture halls studying Literature–with a capital “L”…you know: Lit-or-ah-chore.
That was U.F.O. Remember it? A lot of folks don’t. Brought to you by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, the folks who made marionettes into action heroes in shows like Thunderbirds, (the hilarious Team America: World Police is a Thunderbirds parody by the creator of South Park), UFO was a cross between a soap opera and some pretty edgy (for television arond 1970, anyway) and occasionally dark Sci-Fi. It revolved around a secret military outfit called SHADO that was leading the clandestine struggle against an ongoing Alien invasion. The effects were primitive, but the models were cool and remain influential after more than 40 years, the stakes were high, and…the lunchboxes were the best ever.
I wanted one. I desperately wanted the U.F.O. lunchbox, but my mom called No Deal. My mom is a sweetheart, but she tends to give people things that she wants them to have, rather than the things they want to have or more specifically, the things she’d want to get if she was you. A few years ago, for example, when the RZR scooters with the skateboard wheels were cool, my kids wanted them for their birthday. Mom had her own ideas, because scooters were very different when she was a kid, so she bought two of these:
I wanted the U.F.O. lunchbox. My mom always loved Charlie Brown–she’s a lot like Charlie Brown, actually, and she bought me Snoopy. And Woodstock. Snoopy and freaking Woodstock, and not even in metal. I got bright, yellow plastic. Several girls in my first grade class had the same lunchbox. Snoopy. Jesus, Mom–really?