Posts filed under ‘Humor’
I am the Queen of Coincidence-incidence-incidence. Or, as I like to imagine it, to the tune of Cult of Personality:
Look in my eyes
What do you see?
The Queen of Co-coincidence
The Queen of Co-coincidence
The Queen of Co-coincidence
I’m probably, like, a cousin of Kate Middleton’s or something, fourteenth cousin, five times removed, whatever the crap that means. I can’t even keep track of that in my own family. I just say, she’s my cousin, but she’s not my first cousin.
Oh! As a side note, to get fully off track, have I ever mentioned that I have a double cousin? No joke. And the best part is that there’s absolutely no incest involved. My dad’s sister’s daughter married the son of a first cousin of my mother’s father. Seriously. So, I have this really snotty cousin who acts like she thinks she’s better than me but isn’t too good to ask to be my friend on Facebook that I probably share more genes with than, well, anyone outside of my immediate family. And actually, if you think about it, I mean, that is somewhat related to this post. What are the odds?
Now to get a real feel for this blog post, we have to go way back into the annals of Gooseberry Bush, to a little blog post that I like to call, The Accidental Stalker: An Ironic Tale of My Date with Destiny. Go ahead and read over that post and acquaint yourself with the awesomeness of my unrequited love for one Mark Foster. Mark Foster was an acquaintance of mine that I had the hots for who probably knew that I had the hots for him and didn’t see the point in chasing after a girl who fell into his lap.
Or, perhaps, despite my magnetic personality, he just plain old wasn’t interested. And this is actually a good thing because if he had been interested I’d probably now be married to a Republican, Presbyterian MBA who would force me to name our first-born son after a certain Scientologist alternative rock god. I’d also be married to a man who once described a former fiancée as a talented pianist who just didn’t have what it takes to be a professional musician.
With my healthy self-esteem, by now we’d have three children all named after professional writers, and I’d be a stay-at-home mom, hitting the bottle by 3:00 in the afternoon and bitching about how I coulda been a contender, like Jonathan Franzen. We would go to dinner parties with other business executives where my husband would describe me as a talented scribe who wasn’t talented enough to be published.
Can’t you just see the slurry scene of afternoon domestic melancholy?
Thank God he didn’t find me the teensiest bit attractive. Instead, he married a horse faced, bug eyed woman. There’s no accounting for taste. But just maybe he prefers horse faced and bug eyed to fat, loud mouthed, opinionated and neurotic. I don’t get it. Really, I don’t. Clearly, he coulda had all this. And the bag of chips. I mean, look at me. I’m not going to begrudge him the bag of chips. What could I say about it that wouldn’t sound like hypocrisy?
So, to get on with it, I’m at the Central Market on North Lamar this evening, going to get something to eat at the café before I meet with my Writers Group. Yes, I meet with a Writers Group. Okay. It’s one other writer, but she’s awesome, and she’s written a rape satire that I’m going to publish as a guest post in another week or two, so keep your eyes peeled.
I go to Central Market early because I get off work at 5, and the Writers Group meets at 7, and I figure that I can eat dinner and goof off on the internet while I’m waiting for my new friend to show up. Also, I have no life. But that’s really not important right now.
I get in line and pick up a menu, and then I move my head just slightly to the right. And I’ll be damned. There he is. I have not seen this guy in…how old am I? I’m thinking I haven’t seen this guy in about 13 years. And I lock eyes on his for about 2 seconds, long enough to see the adorable baby girl in his arms wearing a pink floral sundress. And I figure Horseface must be right behind me.
So, I turn my head very quickly and then turn my back and then, after spending some time pretending to be interested in a magazine rack full of periodicals for breeders, I head for the second floor where I get out my laptop and hide until my friend shows up. By then I figure it might be safe to go downstairs and get something to eat, even though my stomach has been growling for the whole hour and twenty minutes that I wait for the Mark Foster family to finish their dinners. At the same time, I’m on the iChat with one of the Mr. Brewsters.
oh. my. god.
you really are the accidental stalker. who got there first?
i don’t know. i was checking out the prepackaged sushi when i decided I wanted something from the café instead, and there he was.
i think you should aim your sights higher and try for the soup peddler next time. can’t you run into jesse james?
i didn’t aim for anything. i just turned my head, and he was there.
I have a feeling that he’s moved back to Austin with his family and is now really active in the same Presbyterian church that Mr. & Mrs. Landlord faithfully attend.
I swear, this guy is like a boomerang. Thirty years from now when I hit the nursing home, there he’ll be, in the dining room, dentures in a glass by his plate, eating cherry Jell-O. And I will still instantly recognize his ass…and then run and hide.
You knew I had to get around to this tale sooner or later. Later is better than never. We were living in Nowhereville when I had my first kiss. However, my first kiss was not in Nowhereville. It would have been impossible for me to find a boy who was willing to kiss me.
I was cute enough, but I was something like a cross between an outcast and a pariah. Maybe that’s redundant. If you ever want to experience my early adolescence, rent Welcome to the Dollhouse from Netflix. That’s as close as you’re going to get to experiencing my junior high years. Thank God – now! Or knock on wood or something.
The summer between 7th and 8th grades my dad went job hunting in Texas. My parents always wanted to live in Texas. My mom wanted to attend the nursing school at Texas Women’s University in Denton, and they always liked Texas for some inexplicable reason. For the record, I always voted for Southern California, but no one cared what I wanted. Now I live in Texas, and my parents still live in Oklahoma. We don’t even have family there. Go figure.
So, we were driving all over hell. Who knew that Texas was so big? We literally drove all over hell, because it was the middle of the summer, and the car had no air conditioning. We spent time in Dallas and time in Houston, and it was hot as hell in either place. I honestly do not remember whether it was in Dallas or in Houston. What I do remember is that it happened in the motel swimming pool of a La Quinta Inn.
Why do I remember that it was a La Quinta? Well, for one thing, there was a Denny’s next door where we ate breakfast the next morning. And for a second thing, my father did not believe in (and we couldn’t afford) indulging in luxury when it came to accommodations. If we stayed somewhere other than a Motel 6 or a Super 8, then you can bet that I remembered it.
This may have been because on this trip I remember we stayed at a Motel 6 where there were hookers in the hallway, and our toy poodle barking was the only thing that stopped God knows what from breaking into our room in the middle of the night from a connecting door. It’s just possible that might have been the cause of our unexpected upgrade…to LaQuinta.
After driving around all day long in a hot car and then sitting in a hot car while my dad had his job interviews, my brother and I were in a rush to get to the swimming pool. I may never have changed clothes in such a hurry in my entire life. I put on my one-piece black and gold ruffled swimsuit that my best friend’s mother had made me. [I did have one friend. I admit it.] My best friend was the high school football coach’s daughter, and black and gold were the Nowhereville school colors. Also, I can explain the ruffles. It was the ‘80s. It’s not my fault.
We ran to the pool. I quickly befriended this young Latina girl. She was really spectacularly pretty, maybe a year or two older. I never knew a stranger. She invited us in on this game of keep away. It was a pretty spirited game, and even though I’m not generally a competitive person, keep away is one of those things like Scrabble, trivia games, and card games that I am very driven to win. I’m kind of a bitch about it, actually. I’ve had several people comment on my mean game of Spades, for instance. I’m serious! I will hurt you. A paper cut…or something.
Towards the end of the first game some boy came in and started playing on the opposite team. When it came time to pick sides for a second game the new boy became a team captain. He picked me for his team. I was his first pick. I was actually a little resentful about this, ‘cause I was probably smarting over having been beaten the game before. I asked him why he picked me, and he said, “’Cause you’re cute.”
Okay. I didn’t expect that. From about the time I turned 12 until I was 14 this guy may have been the only boy I knew who didn’t treat me like a leper.
Now this is what I remember about my Prince Charming. Since this happened in 1984, and I never knew his last name I think it’s safe to call him by his actual given name. His name was Randy. He was 14. He played football back home. He was from Oregon. And he had blond hair and green eyes and was really spectacularly handsome. Like he would have been just as handsome as the most popular boy in Nowhereville. The most popular boy in Nowhereville looked at least 3 years older than all his peers, and this guy was built like that.
We played keep away for awhile until Randy’s father came down to fetch him. I remember he had to be called more than once. And when he was about to get out of the pool he called me to him. He said, “C’mere.”
And I said, “Why should I?”
Charming, huh? This might be an example of the “intimidating” that men seemed to constantly use to describe me.
He said, “Because.”
So, I went. I’m actually easy like that. I just like to test men. Do you want me? Do you really want me? I’m like the Verizon phone commercial of romance.
He kissed me on the cheek. And I thought that would be it. And then I looked him in the eye, and he swooped in for the kiss. Just a peck. No tongue. Then he got out of the pool and walked off.
My new Latina friend said, “Wow! You work fast.”
I didn’t know if my brother witnessed it or not. I wasn’t about to ask him.
My brother and I had to leave soon afterward. Our mother called us. Something about dinner or something. You know those really freaky movies where they distort the cameras or sound to illustrate for people that the characters are dizzy or deaf or high or part of an alternative universe? Things like that? Jacob’s Ladder or What Dreams May Come or Requiem for a Dream. I was walking around in a Picasso painting.
I just could not believe it. A boy had kissed me. A cute boy. I stared at the ceiling for half the night with my fingers on my lips.
That is a happy memory. I think I just got misty eyed.
This weekend I spent a lot of time reading, but on Sunday I rode the bus downtown and got off on Congress Avenue to take in a double feature at The Paramount where the Summer Movie Series is happening. I caught Sabrina the first weekend, and I’ve bought a package of discount tickets, so I’ll be going back frequently. I hadn’t been to the movies at The Paramount in a long time, so I forgot that it’s more fun to watch from the balcony. This time I remembered, and I watched from the balcony.
What’s fun about a double feature is that people you don’t know will talk with you in between the movies. The guy who picks out the movies introduces them and gives you a bit of trivia. Pretty cool. You can get that at Austin Film Society screenings and at the Alamo Drafthouse. It makes going to the movies feel like a more collective, social experience.
The double feature was two John Hughes comedies. I should say that I love John Hughes. He’s the single biggest cultural influence of my adolescence. And what’s not to love? His comedies are sweet, although seeing them now I recognize how often I see things in them that I wouldn’t want to show a child. The day two years ago when John Hughes died was a sad one, and I think I remember it and the day that Jim Henson died the way that a baby boomer might remember the assassination of Jack and Bobby Kennedy or Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.
The first movie was Sixteen Candles. I remember liking it a lot when I was a kid. It’s dated and doesn’t age very well. It’s entirely wish-fulfillment fantasy (like all romantic comedies – let’s face it), with not a hint of realism thrown in for good measure. The freshman geek with a face full of metal bags the Prom Queen? The Prom King drops the girlfriend that he can “violate in ten different ways” for a sweet, sophomore redhead who’s admitted that she has a crush on him. The redhead’s dad gives her a thumbs up as she ditches her sister’s wedding reception to run off with some strange boy. Ye-ah. That’s gonna happen.
Jake Ryan is the guy who doesn’t exist in American high schools. I’m not saying that the nice guy doesn’t exist. There are lots of them. I’m just saying that he doesn’t look like he belongs on the cover of Tiger Beat, drive a glossy red sports car, live in a suburban mansion, play football and date the head cheerleader. Later, this guy might become a decent guy, but it’ll be sometime in college before it takes hold. It was true then, and it’s true now.
So, Sixteen Candles was every teenager’s dream come true. But did you know that if Hughes had had his way that Molly Ringwald would have ended up with Anthony Michael Hall? I read on the internet that he wanted the Ringwald character in Pretty in Pink to end up with Duckie. The studios intervened in each case. However, they didn’t win in the end with Some Kind of Wonderful. This was like Hughes’ middle finger to the system. He thought, “I’ll show you. The geeks will fall in love, and I will make you like it.” And sure enough, he does.
Some Kind of Wonderful is another Hughes film with a song title. It’s one of his lesser known films. I’ve seen it before, but the first time I saw it was on television some time in the 1990s. Hughes wrote it and was highly involved in the filming, but someone else directed. Howard Deutch was given the script as a peace offering after he made Pretty in Pink with the alternative ending that audiences preferred, where Molly Ringwald gets her Blaine.
I’m a little surprised they didn’t film a third version where she ends up with James Spader, the Iago of John Hughes villains. Seriously, everything’s better with James Spader in it. I would put him in my morning coffee if I could.
If the internet is a reliable source of information (in other words, be somewhat skeptical), when Some Kind of Wonderful was filming, the leads Eric Stoltz and Lea Thompson were dating in real life. A scene where Eric Stoltz and Mary Stuart Masterson are practicing kissing and then blush so charmingly? It’s said to be real since Thompson was on set. After filming wrapped, Howard Deutch married Lea Thompson. Eric Stoltz went on to make Mask, and Mary Stuart Masterson went on to the Chick Flick Hall of Fame in Bed of Roses, Benny & Joon and Fried Green Tomatoes.
Some Kind of Wonderful is a better movie than Sixteen Candles. Lea Thompson plays Amanda Jones, the popular girl from the wrong side of the tracks who landed the wealthy and popular boyfriend, Hardy, (Craig Sheffer) who just so happens to be the world’s biggest douchebag. Chynna Phillips has a small part as Mia, Hardy’s mistress, if you will. Stoltz plays Keith, the sensitive artist who moonlights as a car mechanic. Masterson plays Watts, his tomboy best friend from the third grade, a tomboy who wears boxer shorts and t-shirts as lingerie and plays the drums. She and Keith are inseparable. He pines for Amanda Jones, and she doesn’t seem to realize she’s got a thing for Keith until Amanda is actually within his grasp.
When Amanda catches Hardy whispering sweet nothings with Mia one time too many, she dumps him very publicly, and Keith quickly steps up to the plate. She accepts his offer to go on a date in order to solidify her decision to dump Hardy. She doesn’t really want to go out with Keith. She just wants to hurt Hardy. Hardy is too much of a narcissist to be “hurt,” but he decides that Keith must be punished for having the audacity to “steal” a girl out from under him, even though Keith is so obviously socially inferior.
It’s pretty basic, predictable fun from there. I won’t spoil it for you, but Watts steals the show. The ending is plausible and sweet. In the end everybody gets what they deserve, including Amanda Jones. The best lines in the movie come at the end.
Keith: Why didn’t you tell me [you were in love with me]?
Watts: You didn’t ask.
Keith (to Watts): My future looks good on you.
The kind of comedy I love best is the kind that sort of points out the flaws in human beings, the kind where we can recognize and laugh at ourselves or at the foibles of our society in general. Keeping Up Appearances does this well. It’s a British television show, and it could probably never be remade in the United States because, for one thing, the humor is gentler than American humor. I like the kind of stories where you can tell on yourself and laugh. Or tell on someone else and laugh. That’s good, too.
Damian Carson, the subject of two blog posts back, is one of the few men I’ve ever known who was good at this kind of humor. He didn’t mind being the butt of his own joke. He had a self-deprecating sense of humor, which I would say is generally a trait that women share. Men, not so much.
I don’t hear a lot of men willing to make fun of themselves. I think it’s probably something about our culture that doesn’t encourage this, like little boys have to be strong and perfect. Maybe it explains some of the examples of misandry that are found in popular culture today. Men won’t make fun of themselves, so we do it for them.
Damian told me a true story once that was hilariously comic. Perhaps it was so funny because it was tragic. Frequently, there’s an element of pain of some kind in the things we laugh about.
Damian had a Plymouth Neon, back when they were called Plymouth Neons and not Dodge Neons. It was a hatchback. He had a girlfriend he was dating at the time. They went to New Mexico so that he could go on a job interview for this opportunity that would have been a big raise for him. He made it a date, too, and brought the girlfriend along.
The trip was to Albuquerque, a beautiful and scenic destination. Damian and his date decided to take a drive up the Rocky Mountains to do some sightseeing. They were a ways up the mountain when the check engine light on his car came on. Naturally, this was the summer. They were nowhere near a filling station or anything of the kind. He decided to drive on and risk it.
When his engine actually started smoking he decided to stop driving and pull over. He left the girlfriend in the car. He could see that his engine needed some fluid, some kind of coolant. But they didn’t have any water in the car. They hadn’t even brought a bottled water with them to drink.
So, what does he do? Maybe you can see this coming. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, he whips it out and pees under the hood of his car right in front of his shocked date. He lets that sit for awhile. You can just imagine how pleasant that smell must have been in the middle of the summer in the middle of the Rocky Mountains in the cab of a car with no air conditioning. I don’t think this chick’s date with Damian worked out as well as mine had.
After what he felt was a sufficient amount of time, Damian tries to turn on the engine again and finds that it will not start. Actually, it will never start again. Maybe if he had stopped at the moment when the check engine light first came on it might have. But because he waited so long when the car finally got to a mechanic the mechanic told him that he might as well buy a new car because the engine had to be completely replaced.
You might wonder how Damian and his date got down from the mountain. Well, here’s where the date might have actually improved. Fortunately, he did have a cell phone and was able to call for some kind of mountain rescue. So, in the end they got a helicopter ride over the Rocky Mountains, which was probably very cool.
And the moral of this story is.
- Don’t ignore the Check Engine Light.
- Take water with you before heading for the mountains.
- Don’t pee in your car.
- Just pay for the helicopter ride over the Rocky Mountains. In the end, it’s less expensive.