Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah, “Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood”
The beginning starts with family. Family and a visit to DC. My mother and my sister both fall under the same wedge on the Zodiac calendar. If I put enough stock in Astrology, I would come to know that I should stay far, far away from people like these, since the Internet experts agree we are incompatible in nearly every variable. (I should note the only reason I know of this is because my girlfriend loves this kind of stuff and to this day still enjoys reading her daily “love horoscope email.” And this is how I am so knowledgeable about the subject.) So if this is the case, that my mother and my own signs are not allowed anywhere near each other, I do not know why the great Heavens and Spirits above, between, or within would allow a family to contain such a combination of potential destruction. But thinking on it, yes, in the past, our household has been as volatile as the core of a nuclear reactor.
However, this is family we’re talking about. We’ve lived through a lot. All families have. There’s been just as much love as there has been war, and a lot more. And thankfully, I don’t believe in Astrology. In our family, we know what makes each other tick much more than some palm-reading Whoopie Goldberg-from-Ghost could ever tell us about our inner selves. (Apologies to any palm readers or crystal ball gazers out there, I mean you no offense. We all gotta eke out a living and I support any method of bending the ethics of society if it helps earn a buck!)
In getting out to meet my mother and sister, my first mistake, perhaps one among many to come, was saying, “Hi mom! Hi sis! You guys want to read my new blog?” After three decades on this Earth, I am no closer to understanding my mother than I was when she had me. On one hand, she is extremely cautious about the decisions I may make in life. She used to openly tell me in front of my group of friends, “I don’t know if you’re friends are the right choice for you.” She also got so nervous I would lose my clothes at summer camp, she wrote my name in every single article of clothing. Imagine wearing your name in lady’s cursive written in black sharpie on both of your socks as you walk around the mess hall. My friends and family joke that I grew up like Buster Bluth from Arrested Development, (which, if you have not seen, buy a Netflix membership solely to rent this TV show. It’s one of history’s best and most underrated TV shows of all time.)
- Mama’s Boy
But the Buster in me is only skin deep. My mother’s controlling demeanor caused me to start acting out at an early age. Well, it was either that or the ADD. I was the kid in the Supermarket who would have his grimy little hand in the bulk candy bin. I was the kid who hid inside the circular clothes racks at department stores. At least until a man’s voice would come over the PA: “[Little Boy,] your mother is waiting for you at the front of the store.” Yes, this would happen. Now, it wasn’t that I was necessarily bad or a devil child, although those close to me would probably say different, but I had always felt that same push that I think positive magnets feel when they come close to another positive magnet. I just always wanted “away.” When I finally earned enough to get out of my parents’ nice affluent house in their nice affluent neighborhood, I didn’t think twice about moving into the toxic waste part of town. I’m not talking about the crime-ridden slums here. I’m talking about the place crime is even scared to go.
On the other hand, she has always had my best interest at the forefront. And, as you get to know my mother, you will understand that is a ginormous understatement. I wouldn’t go so far to say that she was one of those new age parents who would teach me that smooshing a roach was like killing a finger of the earth, but she did try to develop every talent she thought she saw in me at the earliest age. When I started doodling my teacher’s head being torn off his stick figure’s torso by a big black furry creature from Mars, she set me up with my own art classes. When she caught me rocking with my air guitar to Slash’s solo on “Night Train,” my Christmas present that year was a Peavey Predator EXP Guitar with a Floyd Rose double-locking tremelo. As you might be able to detect, she got a little carried away with these things. It’s a pity virtually none of these ‘talents’ were actually realized. Whenever I travel back home and open up one of my closets, old musical instruments, easels, and maps of countries I still can’t correctly pronounce look at me with the same stare of neglect as would a set of World Books.
So, it puzzled me that when I told her about my blog, she gave me this look of ‘shame on you.’ I had in mind she would be psyched that I was using my creative skills for something (even though I am in a career that’s akin to a creative black hole.) I hadn’t even given her the run-down of what it was about, or any of the possibly taken-the-wrong-way aspects of the posts. So, I asked her, “do you even know what a blog is?”
Knowing that I had spent the last five years teaching my mom how to properly turn on and send an email from her computer (yes, it is 2011, y’all,) I assumed she had probably never even heard of a blog before I brought this up. I assumed wrong.
“Don’t you know that people get fired from their jobs all the time for what they write in these logs? (Yes, she did say logs.) It’s all over Fox News these days. You know, that pregnant teacher got herself fired for logging a while back. Don’t you watch the news anymore? What are you trying to do to your life?”
I love how an almost septuagenarian asked me if I watch TV instead of read the newspaper.
“But, Mom, this is different…”
Fuck. I really don’t know where to go with this one. I couldn’t think of how to answer my mom appropriately. I mean, I knew the hazards and risks of putting my words on the web before I typed my first word. But, how am I supposed to get my mom, who is insanely stubborn, to understand what the end purpose of my blog could be? Especially if (gasp,) I even don’t?
It made me ask myself, what exactly am I trying to do with my life? Good question. I’ll have to answer that one soon. Of course, first, I’d have to get my mom off my back.
“Please,” My mom pleaded, “promise me you won’t do any more of this logging.”
“Okay, Mom, I won’t. For you.”
Maybe it was the moment I knew change was going to come. The next morning, I woke up and got ready to meet Mother and Sister for their tour of the Smithsonian. I ate my bowl of Cap’n Crunch Crunch Berries perhaps a little too fast. Suddenly, it felt like a nail had just been hammered into one of my molars. The Cap’n and myself just had a big disagreement. I wouldn’t know until the weekend was over and I could finally get to a dentist just to what extent the disagreement was. Now I sit here, my friends, and my smile is shy one tooth.
To be continued…