Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Generic blog title about misspelling.

Yeah, I'm a lazy, uncreative bum. And I let others do the work for me. Put a sock in it. I shoveled a foot of the wettest, gloppiest snow of the season off our driveway for over an hour today and had a craptacularly useless day otherwise.


Now that we all are clear on my emotional state, let's move on to indulge more of my supposed moral superiority where language is concerned, shall we? Check out this beauty. Anything that references hemorrhoids in the battle against spelling "lose" wrong is golden. And here is the whipped cream on top: "If you put an "A" in "definitely," you're definitely an A-hole." Bonus points for offering up this advice as a poster you can purchase.

Ahh...sweet balm to the soul...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ramblings on not having kids

What is it about my parents that inspire such ugly, angry sentiments? Pull up a chair and set a spell. I'll tell ya.

Tonight was a classic example of a typical family dinner...except this time it was blown up much more than usual. Dinner pretty much comes down to this: the rest of the family, and then me. The rest of 'em talk about politics, rant about Obama as if he's the downfall of this country of ours, and otherwise engage in conversation the likes about which I could really give a shit. Even the subtle nonverbal behaviors often imply that I'm not really one of "them."

But tonight was really beyond. I really was pretty much ignored during the whole meal. There was company over, which may explain a bit, but really? Rude not to include everyone in conversation from time to time, right?

My big news: I tried out for four solos during a choir retreat this weekend, and landed one of 'em. Thrilled about it - it's a fun one, in a wacky Marx Brothers-inspired ditty called "Lydia the Tattooed Lady." So I told my parents about it. Mild congratulations, at best. Then when I mentioned the name of the song, not only did they immediately say the name of the song wrong (and one thing I've learned is that you don't correct your elders), but they went on to talking about "John the Tattooed Skier," who was spotted schussing down the slopes sans shirt, exposing his ink for all to see. And it went on from there, leaving my good news in the dust. (I somehow suspect that my stint in the local gay men's choir also contributed to my news' lukewarm reception.)

It's behavior like this from my parents that really reinforce the idea that having kids is really just not for me. My old college roommate mentioned a few years ago that he was gonna be a dad, and I was thrilled for him and his wife. Their daughter, of course, is adorable and perfect - and I say that with as little saccharine inflection as I can. They've really done right by her. But I admitted to him that the responsibility of being a parent would be overwhelming to me. I'd be obsessing over every little tiny minute detail, wanting to make sure everything was just so, and freaked out about how said details, if neglected or mishandled, could irreversibly send the kid on a path toward a terrible fate of some sort. He heard me, but he also said that, well, these little buggers are pretty damned resilient, and you just do the best you can. I've heard the former, and I do kinda believe it. But that second part? Not good enough for me.

My parents did the best they could. I have to assume that. On nights like this, it's awfully hard for me to believe that, though. After 35 years, I still feel like a pariah in my own family. What the fuck? If they did the best they could, and this is the result, I sure as hell don't want to do my best and still end up alienating any kids I might have.

I was never breastfed, and as such, lost out on an essential part of my growth. I deal with more colds and such than I should, I have had more illnesses than many - heck, my health just ain't where it should be in general. Also, if my mom actually stopped to consider the bond between her and her baby simply by breastfeeding, she might have done it. Especially knowing how things have been ever since then. (Why wasn't I breastfed? I was adopted, and, well, if a woman hasn't been producing milk, why bother, right? I can't tell you how much that statement is WRONG.)

I sometimes think I was awfully rebellious as a teenager. As a kid, apparently I was "the perfect child." Never cried, never wanted for anything, easy-going, relaxed. And then hormones kicked in, and I transformed into, well, into a regular teenager. Were I in another family (perhaps even one consisting of my actual birthparents, were they up to the task), I might have been handled better. My parents thought that my rebellious streak was me reacting to them. Well, perhaps some, but they give themselves too much credit. It was not about them necessarily. It was about me trying to carve out my identity. Unfortunately, my identity and their values were at odds. A lot. So it was a very unfortunate coincidence. (In contrast, my brother and sister, who were blood-related within the family, became typical "rebellious" teenagers, but because their values were so similar, it usually was a non-issue.)

So yeah, adopting ain't for me. I'd hate to adopt a kid and unwittingly screw that kid up for life.

I'm also fucked in the brain enough that I don't think I'd make a good, effective, and solid father. Loving? Yes. And God knows I'd tell that kid as often as I could that he or she could do anything - ANYTHING - they wanted to. (A message I never heard. Oh, wait, scratch that. I was told "If you're gonna be a ditch digger, be the best damned ditch digger you can be." Yeah. Thanks for the lesson in ambition and being a success.) But giving a kid what he or she would need to actually go out in the world and be functional, successful, and as completely evolved as possible? Not terribly likely.

Also...I would not want to raise a kid with my current (and possibly lifetime) partner. I tolerate many of his habits that I feel are self-destructive, because I know their influence extends only to me, and I've learned to mitigate his influence over the years. (Health is also a huge issue, in general, and Mr. Man is just not healthy at all. And OH MY GOD is that a subject for another post or seven.) But were we to welcome a new bundle of joy into our lives, thence would begin much fighting and anguish. Our sometimes-opposing values would be sorely tested. And it might mean the end of us. (See above about trying my best and still fucking up a kid's life.)

Incidentally, about the whole choir retreat this weekend: tons of fun. Our cabin was small, but the six of us had a blast talking about everything under the sun, from ghosts to Family Guy. LAUGHED our asses off. And became much more tight-knit friends. It was glorious. So to come from that to a dinner where I was a mere afterthought at the table, all but ignored, was a huge slap in the face.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Henry Rollins - Airport Hell

Henry Rollins rules. Over everyone. At least when he's opening his mouth and spewing some of the most razor-sharp commentary on popular culture you'll ever hear. I ain't much a fan of his music; he's way too heavy-handed, and there isn't much fun to be had with his tunes. Even Weight, his band's most critically-lauded album from 1994, was a bit harsh. But put him in front of an audience without a band, and just tell him to GO!, and he will deliver. He'll make you think, but beyond that, damn, will he make you laugh.

I'm at the airport right now, and although I don't travel as much as the peripatetic Rollins, I totally get his skewering of the whole airport scene. When people go to the airport, their IQ does plummet 40 points. Any sane, rational human being gets this, and some prepare accordingly. But others are just too stupid to understand the simplest of concepts.

For example, the metal detector. "What does a metal detector detect? Me-tal," he imbecilically points out, along with the rest of his amused audience. But who doesn't get it? The old man with a janitor's keychain and a month's supply of laundry quarters in his pockets who has to run through the metal detector three times. Apparently, the rules don't apply to him. Or how about showing your ID and boarding pass? How simple is this? Have it in hand. Answer the security questions quickly. Drop off your bags. And move along to the gate. Total time elapsed should take no more than one minute. Two, tops. But some dig in their pockets, trying to find these most essential of objects. And of course, this happens after standing impatiently in line, doing nothing. But the worst part? "Where are these people standing?" Rollins seethes. "In front of ME!" Naturellement.

Rollins continues with the sarcasm, longing for the day when there is a "sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up" light in the plane, and fantasizing about slamming through people who sag on the side of the moving walkway, hurtling them into the air and sending carry-on bags flying, scattering papers and undergarments everywhere. But until then, he still has to deal with the idiots who fail to grasp the simplest of concepts.

Sure, there's simple yelling and spleen-venting that goes nowhere. But Hank has a very worthy point. These people who stand in front of him, acting stupid and wasting time, are slowly killing him. What little life we have on this planet, he reasons, is far too valuable to spend in line, an unwitting victim of the inanities of others. This from a guy who had to dodge bullets in gang shootings back in his heyday with Black Flag. But he also saw one of these shootings result in the death of one of his best friends, right in front of him. Rollins knows whereof he speaks.

Really, any of Hank's spoken-word stuff is brilliant. The older he gets, the more incisive he gets, the more expressive his dead-on impressions of old fragile women or teenage skater punks. One of his most daring of monologues, from the album Big Ugly Mouth, is a cryptically-titled "Touch and Go," wherein he extols the virtues of beating off. As a twenty-something dude. To fellow twenty-something dudes and their girlfriends. Yipes. It takes major balls to talk about that onstage for nearly ten minutes at a time in your life when merely admitting that you beat off is just asking to be ridiculed. The Boxed Life is even more brilliant; though I haven't heard it for years, it was a staple during my stint as a college radio DJ. But the most hilarious stuff I've yet heard accompanies "Airport Hell" on Think Tank. He debunks homophobia (while convincingly explaining why he's not gay despite continual rumors), relives the stupidest thing he ever did onstage ("I just kicked my own ass!"), explains how he'd persuade nations like Iraq not to fuck with us (starting with executions during televised sports events like the Super Bowl), wants to rename El Nino "the First Four Black Sabbath Albums," and wrings tears in a parable about a teenager with terminal cancer who, as his last wish, wanted to just spend some time with Rollins himself. Honestly, the whole double-album should be required listening for...well, at the very least, for anyone reading this blog. If nothing else, a few more people would pull their heads out of their asses and act a bit smarter at the airport.