Tuesday, September 20, 2011

America, Part Three - the 3rd in a five part series...

So the 80s were a weird time to come of age. As the 80s began, and us "Gen X'ers" were awakening sexually and socially, we were hit with many impediments. First, AIDS came on the scene. Even though, in the 80s, it was seen as a gay disease, I knew from the get-go that it was more than that. There were reports, almost immediately, that AIDS was present in prostitutes, and thus it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that ANYONE could get it. Thus, the "Free sex" generation of the 60s and 70s was over. Now, we were stuck with "sex could equal death". Harsh and polemic? Yes. But effective in making one think twice about casual sex? Tres fucking bien. I became a prude. Which was a good thing for a horn-dog. I have never taken anything lightly.
As I became a teenager, I also became, well... what I would call a bleeding heart Socialist. There is some comment attributed to Churchill or someone that a man at 18 who isn't a Socialist isn't intelligent, but a man at 40 who is still a Socialist is a fool, or something like that. Well. Remember 17? Remember how passionately you felt about things? Fuck, I would have endorsed a gay Muslim for president, if that was possible. You see, the other option was Reagan. And I was terrified of him.
Seriously, I was terrified of Reagan. I thought he hated the Russians, who in turn hated us, and as he never uttered the word AIDS in 8 years, I considered him suspect. His love of "family values" scared me. Thus, I distrusted him. Even though I wasn't sure if my own PM uttered anything about AIDS, I did know that he wouldn't be tempted to bomb the Russians. remember Sting's song "Russians"? Well, it should have said "I hope the AMERICANS love their children too". I distrusted Reagan and the Right, and knew that my fellow Canadians wouldn't burn down a house where someone like Ryan White lived. I remember, in grade 10, at a school dance, there was some dude from another town there, who had a shirt that said "AIDS kills fags dead" and being traumatized that someone would callously wear a shirt like that. I had a feeling that this shit could fly in America.
In the 80s, it was us versus them, and it wasn't clear who "them" was. I remember waiting anxiously to watch the movie "The Day After" on TV, and for whatever reasons, it somehow didn't work. All we saw was colour bars. Conspiracy theory much? Anyway, it was 1983, and I didn't trust America. I suddenly fell in love with my country, and was proud to separate myself from the "other".
Suddenly I became smug. I was proud of Canada, proud that our citizens could get medical attention without mortgaging their houses, etc. I also remember reading one of my favourite author's books, "The Cat Ate my Gym Suit" by Paula Danzinger. In the book, the cool teacher gets fired for not saying the Pledge of Allegiance. As someone who lived in a "polite" country, I couldn't fathom this patriotism. I thought the Pledge was offensive, and an impediment to free will. I also couldn't get over the draft. Oh sure, they didn't call it the draft then, but the whole "Registration to serve." or whatever they call it. As a Canadian with a penis, I was really scared of the thought of being in that situation - hanging out with Hawkeye and Clinger and living in those tents and getting the clap from Geisha girls..... that's what I knew about war. And really - could you picture ME drafted?? Can you see me firing a gun? Could you see me without a feathertop bed? It just wouldn't work. I couldn't eat powdered eggs and shit in a pail and shoot innocent people. So the thought of this registration thing could KILL you, well, I was against it. I was ready to hoard likeminded American boys my age in my closet via some underground railroad to keep them out of the Cold War I was convinced was going to happen. Solidarity now, as my Polish compatriots said!
So, I took pride in having the option to piss on the flag if I wanted to, and to abstain from the military, and was completely ignorant to the fact that i could walk into any doctor or hospital, and it wouldn't cost me a dime.
And while the music was still suspect in many situations, and I HATED the French channel and anything east of Winnipeg, we did get one cool show - Degrassi High, which was just like high school. Degrassi made me proud to be a Canadian.
Of course, that isn't to say that product placement won't fit into this post. I still loved cheap American beer, and had a thing for stinky American cigarettes (back in my smoking days). Indeed, if I ever cheated on my smoking abstention, after NINE years, it would be for a Marlboro Menthol Light 100. I also loved crossing the border and taking advantage of everything out there. When my darling rachel and I hooked in in 1990, we took a bunch of trips over the next few summers, just to North Dakota. Even though ND was far from any kind of cultural hub, I was amazed at how cheap things were, and the variety of things. In Minot, a town the same size as the one we lived in, the shopping and products were endless. As I spent my teen years and most of my 20s OBSESSED with music and music collecting, I about wet my pants to see that entire back catalogues of many artists were available at Target, and often for under 10 bucks. And, of course, there were the many products NOT available here, so I'd be stocking up on shit like crazy. In short, it was a love affair with America in a way.
And then we stopped going there. And I sort of forgot my fascination again and got smugly Canadian. You see, I got smug about our medical care, and, even though we fluctuate between Liberal and Conservative governments, I knew I would take my Conservative government any day over an American Republican government. And you know hoe you would her of those stories of Americans travelling in Europe with maple leafs on their backpacks to pretend they were Canucks? I ate that shit up. I read a lot of Rolling Stone, so I only saw the bad stuff, like Bush toughening pot laws and stuff. Smug I was, and distrustful of America and the Heartland.

Indeed, we took an American hiatus from 1992 to 2000. In Feb. 2000, (I can't remember if I ever posted this story), my in-laws found this bus trip to Deadwood, South Dakota. It was like 4 nights, 5 days, and was like $125 a person. So, my inlaws, and Rachel and I, hopped on this bus, at 4:30 AM, and proceeded to pick up many other people, all seniors, and headed to Deadwood. We got there at like 7:00 PM, after a whole day of playing Bingo and watching.... I can't spell it... Yackoff Smirnoff?... videos, and listening to Rita McNeil cds and learning all the words. The tour bus lady, Judy, called the Bingo, and pronounced "Seven" as "ssseffen" as in "cee-row ssseffen". I have a pick of my mother in law, the second youngest person on the bus after us, giving good old Judy the finger behind a bingo card. Lots of fun. But I digress.
I still remember that other fateful day in 2003 when I crossed the American border. Picture it: I was in the capital city of my province, Regina, for a whole week, for work meetings and work celebrations. Rachel was 4 hours north of Regina, 8 months pregnant., Well, the one day, my meeting ends at noon, and I have nothing to do from then until the next evening, when some fucking Prince of England and his wife come to bless the building where our head office is. So, that day, when the meeting is done, I pack up and decide to head to ND for the day. And what a day it was.
I will leave you hanging until tomorrow.
Peace out, lovebugs.

Monday, September 19, 2011

America: The land of textiles and Reaganonics, Part Two

Well that last one was long and rambling, wasn't it? So where was I? Remember when I said that my friends and I could tell you the president of the USA but had no idea who the Prime Minister of Canada was? Well, is it any wonder when I swear we didn't learn any of that in school? Seriously, we didn't. Oh sure, I finally figured out who Trudeau was, and then there was that thing where Joe Clark became PM but fucked it up or whatever and Trudeau came back, but it's not like we ever had any real lessons in political history the like Americans. Hell, we didn't really do Geography. I remember having to learn these long, boring factoids about the fur trade, and all of this bullshit about upper and lower Canada - i.e. Ontario and Quebec, but why would that interest me? Seriously, as a kid in B.C., we learned nothing else about our country than that. Had we had something relevant to learn, like about what happened in our own backyard, it would have been interesting. B.C. history is fascinating. Haida culture is amazing. But we didn't get it. But learning about stuff about Ontario and Quebec in the 1790's? Well, out west, we mistrusted those places, and we resented them. All that crappy tv and music came from Ontario, and Quebec was to blame for the French channel taking up a position on our dials - the only good thing about the French channel was that there would always be movies with nudity and sex on the weekends, but you'd have to sit through a lot of Rene Simard concerts first until the movies would come on, and since you couldn't speak French, you never knew just when they were leading up to a good scene, so it was also ultimately frustrating. But I digress....
I remember clearly having to do this hideous social studies assignment in grade 4 - I was in a 4/5 split, like I was every year, and we had to pretend we were fur traders in good old upper and/or lower Canada, and write a letter home to our families back in England. WELL. I remember trying to fake it - it was all so boring that I couldn't follow much, and I guess I talked about beavers (not the good kind) and Indians, and such, and since I was stumped, I finally said "well, my feather is running out of ink, so I better stop. Love you all!" I remember that at parent/teacher interviews, my teacher dug that out to show my dad and they had a good laugh. I thought it was ingenious, myself.
Anyway, you know how Americans seemed to know all about their own history? Hell, those fucking Brady kids were always acting out civil war shit and Peter was taunted with his Benedict Arnold characteristics, and whatnot. As for us, I didn't know jack shit.
And it's not only history - it was geography too. When I found out we were moving to SK, and I told people, my peers had NO FUCKING CLUE where that was. I am serious. Not a sniff. It was like I said I was moving to Butcher Holler, except the odd kid would have seen the movie to know what that was. NOBODY in my class knew where that was. 20 plus kids. Grade 6. Good job, Social Studies consultants.
So then I finally move to SK. These 'billies at the creepy school I went to didn't question where I came from, but it was definitely a step back on the evolutionary scale, this creepy, rough school I went to. My teacher, the alcoholic Mr. M, who had a Ukrainian accent, stunk of rye and brill cream, was missing the tip of his left hand "fuck you" finger, and just YELLED so much, we were scared shitless, well, he was obsessed with "Geography." We did a whole hour of Geography each morning, and that consisted of us reading this chapter from our textbook, from 1948, and summarizing it. Then we'd take it up to him, he'd yell and slash sentences, we'd get the runs, revise it, and on it would go. ANYWAY. I remember my first day. We start geography, and I start reading, and the whole thing is about fucking GEORGIA and the Carolinas, and went on and on about State history and what the "main textiles" were. I didn't know what the fuck a textile was, or why we'd need to know what they were in these states, but that entire year, I became fluent in textiles and southern states and flags and a whole lot of bullshit. The point is, you ask? Well, even though I didn't grasp it, it was about AMERICA. Not about Canada. So you cannot blame me for being American leaning. I knew enough about goddamn cotton to choke a horse by grade 7, but couldn't tell you with any certainty if it was wheat or rye in field 2 minutes outta town. Go figure.
So while we learned about America, they didn't learn about us. Which annoys me. I am going to jump out of the chronology of these posts to mention that back in 1991, I went to North Dakota with my wife and my sister and bro in law. My sister and bro in law met these two old ladies in Perkins restaurant in Minot. Minot is like 90 minutes from the SK border, if that. Anyway, these ladies said they always wanted to go to Canada but "were scared of the bears." They thought bears roamed wild. I am not making this up. Even though I could tell them the gross national product of fucking NEBRASKA, they were scared of bears 90 miles from them.
And let's also fast forward to 2 years ago. Picture it - a hot, sunny Sunday in St. George, Utah, a paradise that straddles the Nevada border. You'd think that people in paradise would be smart, wouldn't you? Well, fuck no. We are at this outlet mall, and I am buying some ugly-ass shirt from the Eddie Bauer outlet, and I must give this airhead girl at the register a Canadian nickel, so she wisely alerts me to my dirty play money, so I quickly give her a REAL nickel and say sorry, that I am from Canada and yada yada. So then she asks who is on the back of the coin and I say the queen and she says which queen and I tell her and then she says, get this: "does CAN-AYY-DEE-AHH have its own queen?" and I say no, it's the queen of England and she's all "WHY?" and of course I basically say "fuck if I know" and then this Einstein behind me is all "Canada is part of the empire and the monarchy" and rattles on, and she's snapping her gum and is looking at him like he said "my penis is made of ginger beef", with total dullness in her eyes, and I thank her for selling me the shirt I will only wear once, and am on my way.
But it's the shit like that that really bothers me. I can tell you where my parents were when the Kennedys' were shot (I heard the stories many times), but tell me something about Canada? Who the fuck cares? Hell, I remember sneaking my mother's copies of the Maggie Trudeau books, and thinking this bitch was right on - not because she was our "first lady", but because she hung out at Studio 54 and fucked one or more of the Rolling Stones and Warhol thought she was cool. Had she said "went to the Legion with Pierre Burton and fucked Bruno Gerusi and Old Relic in the janitor's closet", well, it wouldn't be as glamourous.
Anyway, this is enough backfill.
The mid-80s hit. I was terrified of Reagan, and "Reaganomics" etc. I have no idea WHEN or HOW I became terrified of the GOP. But it happened. Maybe because I had always had classmates who were from low income families, or who didn't know where their next meal would come from, or if they could afford the basic things that one needed to survive. Or maybe the thought of people having to pay for medical treatment was so foreign. Or maybe it was the thought of people NOT being on an even, clean slate. Whatever the reason, I became terrified of Reagan. When I say terrified, I mean TERRIFIED. I can't really remember the how or the why, but I KNEW that he wanted to bomb the Russians, kill the gays, keep the brothas' down, pay for no medicare, etc. And I was so absolutely scared that he would cause world war III and make the Russians nuke us. It was here that the Americans became "the other." We were too civilized in Canada. Even though our PM gave the fucking FINGER to farmers whilst on a train across the Prairies, he wouldn't take from them their right to see a doctor or threaten world peace because of his ego. So let's just say that I became suddenly disenfranchised with America. And Lord knows, it was big-time. Is that enough to leave you with? Because I will get into the nitty-gritty tomorrow - let me just day that everything involving citizenship is messy, and we got a long, bumpy ride in front of us.....

Friday, September 16, 2011

America, my childhood sweetheart, part one

The other night, Chunks posted an intriguing entry on 9/11 and America, a sort of diatribe about what is wrong with America (and Canada too), and I know she's been stressed ever since, because I know she doesn't want to offend her American friends. However, I am glad she spoke from her drunken heart. And, she aroused in me many things. A lot I agreed with, some I didn't, and the role of personal perspective in everything really came to the forefront. Thus, I've been anxious to respond. Of course, I have so much to say that I might make this 2 or 3 entries - we'll see how it goes. As Chunks wrote her entry under the influence of Baileys, I felt it only right to join her, but since I have no Baileys, I just poured a large glass of wine that will leave me sleepy and heachachy soon enough - the things we do for our friends!

I am not going to talk about 9/11 right now. That can come later, perhaps in post 3. Nor am I going to talk about what I see as wrong with America, yet. Rather, I want to address what it was like for me, growing up as a Canadian who always felt the influence of America.

So, let's cut to the chase. At the age of two, I moved from the cold Saskatchewan prairie to the wondrously warm and beautiful and mountain-surrounded lower mainland of British Columbia. This is the place where I have my first memories. I spent these formative years in a lush, green, heartbreakingly beautiful environment. Hot, humid summers, rainy, windy cool winters, where I never owned a pair of boots in the 10 years I was there. We lived approximately 20 minutes from the border. On Sundays, back in the days when stores and bars were closed on this Holy day, my parents would drive across the border (in a really non-chalant fashion, so non-chalant that I was always annoyed that my Dad would turn the radio off as we crossed) and we'd go to the border town of Sumas, WA, which, in those days, consisted of a small grocery store, a bar, and a gas station. We'd go buy groceries - cheese and milk were always cheap, and other odd little things that we couldn't get in Canada. I'd be uber excited because America had better candy. It was here that we could buy grape Bubble Yum (we only had original in Canada) and I still remember the excitement I felt bringing Spearmint bubble Yum home to Canada to show off to my friends. Hell, I'd kill for some right now. Anyway, a good time would be had by all, let's say. So once I had my gum and my big chocolate bars (I used to buy these long chocolate bars that were chewy and looked like lattice) and my comic book, I'd sit in the backseat of the car while my parents went into the bar and had a beer, just because they could. Lord knows, you couldn't do that in Canada in those days. Then we'd drive home.
I guess you could say my love affair with America began back then, as a little kid, when I'd buy candy or cereal (they still have 200 more types of cereal than we have, and as a kid, I'd go to the states and stock up on Boo Boo Berry and Frankenberry and that gross chocolate chip cookie cereal). But it of course goes deeper than that. There was just something MORE intricately cool about America than Canada, even though I was living in a place that I now see could arguably be the coolest area of Canada.
You see, even though I was in Canada, I was at first hard-pressed to realize how different we were in terms of country. I mean, even though we had cable tv, we could still, in a pinch, take a tv antenna and pick up a few American stations from Bellingham and, if the wind or clouds were right, Tacoma (never Seattle - that's why we had to pay for cable), and we'd listen to Bellingham radio (104.9 on the FM dial). As a small child of the 70s, I think my generation (I guess we'd be the Gen X crowd, if you want to use an old term), was really shaped by pop culture, more than other generations. You know that Goo Goo Dolls song that has the line "grew up way too fast/and now there's nothing to believe/and reruns all become our history"? Well, truer words have been spoken. And we were all entrenched in the American experience. You see, there did exist two Canadian networks, but half the shows they broadcast were American, and the other half? Complete crap. There was no way we could identify with that. As a child growing up, we could identify with The Facts of Life or Hello Larry or Different Strokes or The Brady Bunch, but what options did we have at that time in Canada? Oh - we had King of Kensington, a stupid show with Al Waxman, about this dude and his wife and his mother who ran a store in Kensington, which was in TORONTO, which is where everything was set in terms of Canadian TV. You see, the CBC, and Canadian "pop culture", if you could even call it that, was centered on Toronto and area. As someone from the west, well, we couldn't relate. It was just pathetic, cheesy Canadian nonsense. I could relate more with Willis, in the 'hood, than I could with anyone from Toronto. So yeah, Canadian tv was a joke in the 70s.
And so right there I was embarrassed by Canada. I really was. I WANTED to be American. I wanted to grow up and move to Seattle in an apartment by the ocean and the Space Needle. Canada seemed hokey. It was full of all of this shit about the queen, which I never understood, and the national anthem was embarrassing to me. Why? I don't know, really, when I think of it, but instead of bringing a sense of pride to my heart, I felt chagrin. I thought it cheesy and uncool, and stodgy. I wanted to be all about today: Brittania Jeans, discos with glass floors like Studio 54, California, good times, laid back atmospheres, progressiveness, etc. I didn't think that shit flew in Canada. So, when we'd have to stand straight and sing O' Canada in school, I'd defiantly slump down like Deenie with scoliosis, and would really half-heartedly mumble the words. I felt zero pride for my country, and I say that because I don't believe I was ever taught to. Indeed, I remember doing this play acting thing with some friends in the late 70s, and we made up these "official government documents" and we signed them "Jimmy Carter", as we had NO fucking idea who our prime minister was. Sad but true.
So, this American in Canadian clothing was rocked to the core (and not in the good way) when I moved to the central part of Saskatchewan from my lower mainland oasis, at the age of 11. I have to say that prior to this, I was having the best summer and fall of my life. Things were finally coming together. I had a solid group of friends, I had a girlfriend, and, most important, I was HAPPY. I still remember one moment from late August 1981 - I had known for a few weeks that I was going to move to Saskatchewan in November, but I chose to believe that it wouldn't happen. You see, I was caught in a double bind of influences that are still on the forefront of that area: torn between the evangelical right, and the pothead left. I had been attending a crazy, born again evangelical church with my sister for a few years, and I was consumed with getting my family "saved", and yet I still ran with a wild, crazy crowd (we started smoking at 10, and, long story short, I ended up smoking dope for the first time that summer I was 11 - horrible to admit, I know, but still seems innocent in some ways to me, which I can't explain). Anyway, that August, before school started, I had a girlfriend, and I will always remember this one Sunday afternoon. It was hot out, and not a cloud in the sky. Me and this girl, lets call her Lila, and my neighbour and best friend, let's call her Marsha, and my other best friend, let's call him Scotty, we were hanging out at this green space by the slough. Suddenly, they all went to go pack a picnic lunch for us, and I stayed there, and I will always remember this moment. I was laying on my back, hands behind my head, looking at the blue sky through the trees, and thinking "I have never been happier than at this moment. There is no way God will let this move happen, now that my life is starting to happen."
Guess what? the joke was on me.
So what does all of that summer have to do with America? Well, nothing and everything.
About 6 weeks after that day of laying in the grass with my friends, I ended up driving across 2 provinces and landed in central/northern Saskatchewan. In a city supposedly the same size as the one I left, but with no American tv, no FM radio, and no overriding American influence.
So, as an 11 1/2 year old, I ended up living in a city littered with 100 year old houses (the one we moved into was built in 1929), and the "cable" tv consisted of TWO CBC stations, one CTV station, and the French channel. As one who grew up, to this point, raised completely on American TV and reruns, it was shocking. Instead of the comfort of waking up and puking your guts out when one had the stomach flu and being able to catch something on TV at any hour, these stations left the air right after midnight - and after airing a video of the flag coming down, and "Oh Canada" and "God Save the Queen" being aired. I still remember that first week here. I was so elated that there was "cable" hook up in all the bedrooms, and that the previous tenants had left this big old tv there, IN MY ROOM! However, after sitting through the CBC news, I'd get to see either Tony Randall/Swoosie Kurtz in reruns of a horrid sitcom called "Love Sidney", or this other stupid show starring the dearly departed Dana Hill called something like "The Two of Us". Anyway, it was here I REALLY became immersed in Canadian bullshit.
Half the stuff I watched was Canadian. America seemed so removed from me. And I couldn't relate at all. I didn't know how to relate to these kids I went to school with, who were happy to watch the horrid Canadian shows like "The Littlest Hobo", about this German Shepard who wandered around and solved crimes, o the Canadian current events show for kids "W5" or "Live It Up". It was all so hokey. I dreamed of buying a satellite dish so I could catch up with Arnold and Willis.
And the music - I don't know the origins, but I am assuming that around this time, CanCon became law. CanCon is Canadian Content. I think that radio stations then were legally obliged to play something like 33 or 44% or something like that, of Canadian content. So, this meant, that while "Union of the Snake" might have been the #1 song, DJs were required by law to make sure that 33% (0r 44 - I don't know the stats) of the songs they played had to have Canadian content. And what a shit show that was. Oh sure, there are some genuinely awesome, borderless tracks that exist - you Americans need to youtube ANYTHING by Rough Trade, or "Echo Beach" by Martha and the Muffins or anything off the first Platinum Blonde album "Standing in the Dark" to see we were obviously cool in our own way - but much of it was hideous. Bryan Adams always protested against "Can-Con": because he said that we should be free to hear what we want to hear, but let me tell you this, Scarface - on one level, I agree with you, but for fuck's sake, after the fact, when your shitty adolescent Mutt Lange teenage horndog bullshit music matters to nobody in the fickle States, CanCon assures that you still get some sort of royalty cheque, you dig?
So yeah, I resented the whole "Big Brother" aspect of CanCon. But shortly after that, I became a big supporter. Is that enough of a tagline to leave you intrigued? Because my next post will tie in my teenage years, America, and all that jazz.
Wait for part two - this is where I will deconstruct Canada, comment on America, and we'll all have a merry Xmas.
Peace out.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011


Ok, so I wanted to post about something funny that happened this weekend, but I fear that unless you were there to witness it, it just won't sound funny. It is something I could totally see happening on an episode of Arrested Development, but writing it out probably won't do it justice. Anyway, I'll try.

So, we went to the lake this weekend. Even though my in-laws have a cabin, and we have an old trailer there that we usually sleep in, we decided to take our tent trailer up there instead. I can't remember if I ever said that we bought a 1977 Bon-Air tent trailer, decked out in cool retro orange? Well, we did about a year and a half ago, and we love it. So we decided to take it up there and sleep in it one last weekend. So, we head up to the lake on Saturday and set up in the inlaw's yard, and I gotta say it's cold out. Like the nighttime low was like 3 degrees C, which is like 30 something to you Americans. ANYWAY, that night, it's cold, and we light our furnace for the first time ever.

But then Monday rolls around, and baby, it's fucking HOT outside. Like high 20s, not a cloud in the sky, etc. After sitting on the beach all day, trying to watch 8 kids (my own and my 4 nephews) on the beach (everyone else was busy doing work around the cabin, so I was elected to get the kids out of everyone's hair), I finally give up on my dreams of increasing my tan (I couldn't stay in the sun's direct glare because I was busy watching all of these kids). And then, around 5 or so, everyone is reading to go fishing for a bit before we head home.

So, Rachel and I, along with our 4 kids, and my sister in law and bro in law, and THEIR four kids, and my father in law, all head out on the boat. However, let me backfill a little here.

On Sunday, as we are getting ready to head out to the beach (for a frigid swim, because the weather sucked), my brother in law realized that he didn't pack a bathing suit. He asked if I had a spare, and I said no. However, as I feared having to take my kids AND his kids in the water, I went and asked my father in law "Jerry" if he happened to bring a bathing suit, thinking he probably didn't since he can't swim. WELL. Jerry DID bring his suit, so I asked if I could borrow it, since my brother in law, "Larry", is bigger than I am, and there is no way Larry could fit into Jerry's bathing suit. So, I change and give Larry my bathing suit, and put on Jerry's bathing suit. Jerry's suit is fucking TIGHT, but what can I say - I'm generous. So, I swim in this tight bathing suit, and warn Rachel not to look too closely, because this bitch obviously have a camel toe of epic proportions in this tight-ass suit.

So anyway, on Monday, as we are going to go fishing, Larry asks if he can borrow my bathing suit again. Of course, I say yes, because am I going to wear it after he's worn it for hours the day before? Anyway, I was in Jerry's hideous medium swimsuit all day, so whatever - I can suck it up for a few more hours. Anyway, remember all of this.

Now let me backfill something else. You know when you are young and you totally believe you are completely invincible, and you think , like Katie Perry sings, you'll be young forever? And then, something happens and you think "whoa, this shit is bananas?" Well, I have never been scared of water. Indeed, I never understood how people could drown. Until it almost happened to me.

It was the summer of either 1990, or 1991, I don't fucking remember. But it was the July long weekend, and we were at the lake, and it was windier than frigging Chicago. The lake was white-capping, which was really strange considering we were at a beach that usually was calm, being in a cove and all. ANYWAY, we were all screwing around in the water, me, Rachel, her bro and sister, and her uncle. Baywatch, being all new and hip, was the in thing, and we were all playing Baywatch in the water. Anyway, I swim against the waves and current to touch the buoys, and realize that I am exhausted, and that the water is well over my head, and I just can't do fuck all. So, I yell "HELP! I am drowning!" and everyone laughs like I am shitting out coins like an ATM. So, I think, "this is it - it's over" and dramatically flop on my back as a last resort. Well, the damn waves pick me up and throw me a billion feet forward and suddenly I can touch the bottom and I am all "oh, ha ha" to save face, but I am shaken to the core. No longer will I jump into the middle of the lake with no life jacket.

So then fast forward to the next year, May long weekend. The ice comes off the lake earlier that week, but there is still pieces of ice floating out there, as in "if you go in the water, you will die of hypothermia". Well, for some reason, I am on the old boat with the same people as mentioned above, and for some reason, my sister in law, "Michelle", and I, end up on these floaty things - sort of like air mattresses, but stronger, which are tied to the boat. Well, Rachel's uncle Peter decides, as a joke, to untie our floaties, and we start drifting. Since I now know how easy it is to drown, and knowing I will die in that water, I start to freak out like crazy, so they try to start the boat to get us - and the frigging thing STALLS. For what feels like minutes. Finally, they row to us, and get us, and life goes on. But I scream like a bitch when I am drifting away from them.

So, with all of that info, let's go back to Monday. First, we all sit there, on the newer pontoon boat, and the kids are fishing. I am sitting there listening to my ipod. I was feeling sort of seasick for some reason. I am usually fine on water, but this day I was feeling sort of pukey, so I put on some music to distract myself. So, I find Marshall Crenshaw's "Someday, Someway", because I am going through this early 80s new wavey nostalgic phase, and that song brings back good memories, but leaves me melancholy as well, so I am wrapped up in the song, when Larry nudges me and I take my ear buds out to hear what they are saying to me.
Well, it turns out that the uncomfortable tight bathing suit of Jerry's that I am wearing has ripped - split right in the fucking CROTCH.

So, they are laughing and pointing, and I look down and think FML, but, as someone says, thank God there is a lining in there, so I don't get too concerned, because really, who is going to stare at a slitty lining?

Well, the slit gets bigger, and I realize that this thing is so tight that the boys are literally straining out through the stupid lining. So then, when some of our party decides to jump into the middle of the lake, I decide maybe it will be a good idea. As I said before, I hate deep water now, and freak out in it, but my older two kids wanted to go in, wearing life jackets, and since a few of my nephews where in there, as well as Larry, I threw on a life jacket and went in.

The water was calm, and since I had a life jacket, it was fun. I even thought "gee, I could just swim and float to the other side of the lake." Yes, I got cocky.

So almost everyone got back in the boat. It was just my older two girls, me, and my nephew, left in the water. Everyone starts to get ready to get back in the boat, so when I get to the boat, I decide to be brave and take my life jacket off to see if I could touch the bottom. WELL. As soon as that life jacket leaves my shoulders, I see my nephew climbing the latter back onto the boat, and I watch as the ladder lifts out of its sockets, and somehow rises, and flips over his head into the lake. And it sinks.

So, I start freaking out like the sky is falling. I am trying frantically to get my life jacket back on, and yelling that I'll never get back into the boat, and I make this huge scene. Rachel is all "just try to get in on the front - climb the pontoons" and I am yelling I can't and she yells that I am panicking and I am yelling no fucking shit, Sherlock. So we get the kids lifted into the boat, and Larry ends up standing on a floaty ring thing, and I stand on it, while also climbing onto his shoulders, while Jerry and Rachel each take my hand. I somehow end up slowing climbing up the boat, scraping my back like I've just fucked Elvira missionary style and rocked her world, and slowing make it onto the tiny opening on the boat. It's completely humiliating and inelegant and I end up slapping onto the deck of the boat, in a fetal position, like some 200 plus lb hairy Marlin or tuna or something. They all look at me, in this tight space, in the fetal position, scraped up, with my balls straining against a ripped suit, and laugh.

And then, as I get up and try to act all solid, my nephew keeps yelling "Uncle JT has a leech in his armpit!" and finally his mother says "stop, that's not funny" and then they all go "Ummm.. yes, he does, doesn't he?" So then they all scream and nobody does anything but laugh, but then finally, my father in law flicks it off. Let me tell you, I can still feel where that son of a bitch was. I have a whole new appreciation for that dude in "Stand By Me." So yeah, Monday night? It was an FML moment....
And that's the day it was.

Peace out, peeps.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

A short anti-Rihanna rant for ya

-- Just was reading the TMZ and see that the delightful Rihanna was photographed in some restaurant wearing a necklace that said "CUNT". What a classy girl! You know how sometimes people will wear something and it's risque and such? Well, even Courtney Love doesn't wear accessories by C.U.N.T. Seriously... Rihanna is what? 20? I am sure her grandmother, sitting in her hut in the old country, is so proud of her, and is saying "yo mon, I love the cunt necklace, mon!" Like seriously, she's just so slimy now. Like "S&M". I am sorry, but when you are singing the lines "I smell sex in the air I don't care I love the smell of it", well, you've crossed a line. Maybe I am old, but that shit is just shock value bullshit. so Rihanna, take your CUNT necklace and your filthy lyrics, and go back to the fucking island because that shit don't fly here, got it?

-- What else... I am strangely addicted to the Shania Twain show on the Oprah Network. She's so damaged from her divorce and so insecure... I think we'd be best friends! Now I wanna read her book.

-- I literally have bugger all to say. I guess I should go to bed, but I am not smart enough.

-- We are going to the lake tomorrow for the long weekend. It's going down to FOUR degrees tonight. I ain't gonna be swimming, I guess.

-- I can't even think of anything to say, but it makes me feel better to post something, so I hope my small rant against Rihanna is good enough. I better get to bed - after finishing watching Shania and Lionel Ritchie sing together, of course.

Have a great weekend, y'all.