My Mom can kick your mom’s sorry ass

First, let’s get comfy with the facts. Maybe you think you’ve got a pretty good mom, but mine is better. (Sorry, mom, don’t mean to embarrass you, but facts are facts. You can’t argue with Science.) I grew up in one of those bizarre stable households where the children are loved and supported by both parents. Maybe you’ve read about something like that. I lived it. I still live it, but from a safe distance.

Because Mom is so great, there are three important lessons I did not learn.

Mom takes good care of us. Almost every meal I ate as a child was a home-cooked masterpiece. As the Pickiest Eater On Earth, I did not fully appreciate how much toil went into each dish I pushed away. Years later, at a dinner with mom’s side of the family, I watched Dupes push a plate back that still had squash casserole on it (he feels the same way about that stuff I do), and say, “Thank you, Munzy, that was a wonderful meal.” I realized he never, ever got up from the table without thanking the cook. I, on the other hand, had never given the wonderful meals I had been served my whole life a second thought. I try now to always thank the cook, but I’m sure I miss sometimes.

There are a lot of things I’ve probably forgotten to say thank you for. Big things like plane tickets, little things like, well, all those thousands of tolerances and smiles that made me who I am now. It’s impossible to say thank you for each and every one, there’d be no time for anything else. For all those little things my only way to say thank you is to crash ahead with this big dumb experiment called life and do the best I can. For the big things, though, the numerable things, specific thanks are in order. Thanks, Mom.

Now, forty years later, I’m pretty good at please and thank you. Better than some, not as good as others, but ahead of the curve. I’m a nice guy, polite out the wazoo. (Mom may beg to differ.) But that leads me to the third thing I didn’t learn so well. The thing that’s going to decide whether I’m hanging out with the sheep or the goats when the final horn blows. Please and Thank You are phrases to show appreciation for something someone else has done. More powerful than either of those, and the lesson I have yet to master, is the phrase “Let me do that.”

There are lots of permutations of that phrase, but it comes down to pulling your ass out of the comfy chair after the Thanksgiving dinner and helping with the dishes. It’s about running to the store when you’re tired, or folding someone else’s laundry. There could be a lot more ‘Let me to that’ in my family, but after all these years it is a lesson I’m still working on. Living alone is good practice for that.

I guess. like the rest of humanity, I am a work in progress. Overall, however, things are going well for me. I’m on a good road, and it was Mom who pointed the way.

A quiet week in blogville

fuego is getting married this week, and I have been swept up in the activity, the non-stop go-go-go of preparation and hanging out with a bunch of people who are on vacation in a foreign country. I’m not even sure when I’ll be able to post this notification that I won’t be posting much.

Episodes should return to their irregular schedule around May 7th.

Random stuff

My parents have been married forty-five years. That boggles my mind. It’s longer than I’ve been alive. (Wait for it… wait for it… bingo. You get it.) They’re planning to whoop it up for their 50th, and why the heck not? Turns out there’s an eclipse just then, so the party will be off the shore of China. Count me in! My parents are very good at being married. They’re so good at it that they are constantly working to get better at it. They are the Tony Gwinn of marriage; they take batting practice every day.

Does a one-eyed dog dream in 3-D? Does a blind man dream in color?

My cousin John opined (if you knew John, you would know that ‘declared’ is a more appropriate verb) that the electric guitar is one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. It sure made protest music louder. When the man has a microphone, turn up the amps. When the man has a media empire, no amp will be loud enough. The Internet is the next electric guitar. Carry on, Dr. Faustroll! Carry on, Dr. Pants! Médecins Sans Sanités! The fate of the republic rests on your shoulders! Oh, yeah, and I’m a candidate for president. (Note: that was mock French. The actual phrase for sanity is not as graceful.)

I just heard Transvision Vamp on the TV radio. I think that’s the second time I’ve heard them when I wasn’t playing the music myself. It was Baby I Don’t Care (not to be confuesed with the You’re so Square song by some other band), which is an OK tune, but further over on the pop side of the spectrum than the tunes I like the most. If I figure it out, I’ll give you a little slice of the love with a music posting á la Pants. If only learning weren’t such hard work.

I’m thinking that perhaps blasting East to hang with Jesse in his pre-fatherhood, pre-travel days, then working my way back west might make sense.

I am stunned, flummoxed, and amazed that anyone still wants George W. Bush to be president. Are you not poor enough yet? Do you not realize that being in debt is the same as being poor, and that government debt is your debt? Aren’t you tired of the billions and billions he’s spending on his war ending up in the pockets of his buddies? Have you not noticed who benefits from high oil prices?

The Czech Republic has now played hockey for exactly 1/3 of the time they’ve been on the ice. Now they’re going to have to play all 60 minutes to get past Sweden or Finland. At least the ice won’t be the slush pile it was in Prague. Those guys were wading, not skating. With so many NHL players the Czechs should be comfortable on the smaller ice, but they’ve built a team almost exclusively of skaters, and a fast rink can only help them. I really missed the mikes down on the ice while watching the Czechs demolish Germany. None of the voices of the skaters, none of the smack when stick strikes puck, and none of the crashing of skulls into boards after a good check. And, the best sound in hockey, the sound of the puck bouncing off the pipes.

According to Sam-I-Am Lujan, Rio Arriba County is where rookie state troopers are sent. “They’re all rookies. They don’t know crap.”

I still haven’t deleted the epilogue from The Monster Within. It has nothing to do with the rest of the story anymore; there are characters that don’t show up anywhere else, and obviously some history of events that never happened, but I like the way it feels. It’s a nice way to exhale at the end of the run. I guess I’ll discuss it in more detail over at the hut forum so I can put spoilers in.

En Fuego!

I discovered quite by accident while looking at where my visitors come from that my brother has started a blog called Fuego’s Place. I put its link over there in the “fun things” section. I’m not sure he wants anyone to know about it yet, because he hasn’t actually told anyone about it, but too bad. Go take a look. If you like it, send him some bourbon.

Tiki Reunion

That’s not the official name of the night. It’s something like $2 pint night. But I’ve always called it Cheap Bastard Night. Others have tried to rename it Two-for Tuesday or Tightwad Tuesday. Nah. It’s Cheap Bastard Night, because I’m a cheap bastard. I named it after myself.

It was like a reunion at Tiki tonight. Old faces I hadn’t seen in a long time. Some I never expected to see again. The biggest surprise was Connecticut Bill, an incredibly sharp guy whose life is vanishing up his nose. Was vanishing, perhaps, if his time in jail gave him a chance to straighten out. Observers are not optimistic on that score.

I didn’t notice Connecticut Bill right off the bat, so I don’t think he was there when I came in. He’s hard to miss with his energy and his opinions on everything under the sun. He’s also the one who will play Velvet Underground on the jukebox. When I walked in the front door I saw Bevins sitting there and I climbed aboard the stool next to his. After a brief moment of non-recognition (he hadn’t seen me clean-shaven yet) I recieved a warm welcome and unbidden Tiki Dave was pouring me an Anchor Steam. The game was coming on soon and I was in my happy place.

Suddenly on my left appears another old buddy from my days hanging out at Joe’s Place. Tom had selected alcohol as the drug for destroying his life, but for the last few months he has managed to get it back together. Naturally, that means a lot less time in bars for Tom. They’re just not as fun when you’re drinking non-alcoholic brew. Tom is one of the only people in the world to have read The Test, an incomplete work that I set aside when it started to spiral out of control. The story has gotten so big that it will probably end up being a series. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in an author-driven genre, but I feel strongly that even in a series each book should stand on its own. Which means The Test needs an ending, even if it is just volume one. Tom’s commentary on the story was, well, embarrassingly gushing. And protracted. He had read the incomplete work in 16 uninterrupted hours. I promised him I would put an ending on it and get it published. He gave me a dollar to help offset my expenses in the meantime.

Somewhere during that time, Connecticut Bill showed up and there we all were, lined up with our elbows on the bar, watching the home team blow a lead, Billy feeding the jukebox and telling about his time in jail. We talked about this and that, nothing important, favorite comic strips, rehashing some of the old stories that had been dormant too long.

Finally it was time to leave that place. I moved on without ceremony, as if it was just another day at the bar. Things to do, etc. I left, knowing that we might or might never all be there again.