Saturday, June 24, 2006

Where Do You Stuff the Fluffy Tail?

Immediately north of Vermont, when you cross the border is a highway we must have trained on in preparation for getting tanks safely into Bosnia. Not to put too fine a point on it but you get visions of road crews spraying fields with macadam colored paint in order to form driving surfaces over what otherwise is a proving ground for agricultural strength hemmorhoid medicine.

A sign on our side of the 49th parallel lets me know that "Alternative Road Markings End." That's a good thing in that I'm ready to relieve my brain and go backed to striped and solid lines on the interstate. Not that the French curves, tartan plaids and Rococco curls were necessarily bad, mind you. It's just that after travelling over Quebec roads, where the car is alternately airborne over bumps or the tires are trying to climb into the front seat with you in valleys, you need a few hours of quiet, innocuous travel time.

It lets you focus on having crossed the Tomifobia river. Named after a sixteenth century Micmac warrior with, what, an inexplicable fear of rock operas? Granted, we have our own collection of native names: Lake Ogaougaoudalala which is of course directly translated into "listen white settler, take a left by the falls and you'll wind up in a blind canyon. You'll get confused and lost just long enough for us all to sit down and figure out how we're going to deal with you. Not that we mind you moving in, taking our fields and such. Its just that we know Saturday nights, you're going to be blasting harpsichord, annoying our dogs and keeping our children up past their bedtime."

Those were the days, weren't they? In the courts of Europe where men were men who wore stockings and wigs and women sat around pissing the working folk off. At least you knew what was expected of you. Fast forward a couple of hundred years and you're in a car thinking about a night sitting on a barstool with someone you've just met. And its going horribly because you feel yourself falling and its not off the barstool and you're drinking Coke anyway. The most lucid thing that comes out of your mouth is "Darrrr." and that's only when prodded with a sharp stick.

Her name's Thumper and you're screwed because somewhere in your hard wiring, somebody's reconnected the cable that branches off of the "LUST" terminal. That's the one you thought you cut. What little brain you've got that isn't focused on your own hide is engaged. She comes with an entourage. Did I mention that? Now listen to the klaxons go off and see the red lights flashing. The stakes at the poker game just went to absurdly high, your chips are down and your pants aren't as dry as they could be.

You want to say that this is what your whole life has been leading to but remember that Harlequin rejected that manuscript too. The entourage actually takes a shine to you. This is no drill. They think its cool when you stuff pencils up your nose and you realize its one thing when you play with "Dr. Frank's Home Lobotomy Kit", your damage is done. Quite another when somebody associated with Thumper, who can tie you in intellectual knots, is playing the same game. They're impressionable and you know what an errant youth can do. You mis-spent it.

What do you do? You're called upon to step up to the plate and face a big league pitcher but you're a gawky kid with a gap-toothed smile and masking tape on the bridge of your glasses from the last time you got hit and lenses simultaneously took cross country flights to Hoboken and Olathe. Not only that, but unique circumstances require that you act like an adult of all things, one who is cautious and responsible and in control. You do your best and park it in a chair for the better part of four hours because the munchkins need to be allowed to be munchkins and not ping pong balls. The illusion works but the ice in your ass is rapidly melting and can we go get ice cream so we can watch more than one drip?

This is no drill: Thumper and the entourage have decided they like living with large rabbits. I've turned the couch over but change keeps coming out and not the instruction manual I stuffed down there when I was 32 and decided I wasn't going to play this game of Life. Or then again, where did I put the tights? The one's with the bat on them? Off into the night again to save Gotham? No. Try hanging around during the day, doing the job that you have to routinely stuff your eyeballs back in their sockets on. People now count on you and you cannot, repeat, cannot let them down. Just not an option. Spend your nights reading Magazine Man's Maximum Dad boning up for the semester final that you've been to what, one or two classes on?

Well, I found the tights and I'm all set. Look at me up on the roof, hands on hips, ready to defeat the joker. Yes, I've been waiting for this moment even though I had no idea I was. And of course you're scared. Thumper's instruction manual is written in a language only she can understand. So you have to make your own rules up as you dive and hope you can land gracefully. Just one question:

Where do I stuff the fluffy tail?

Bunny on.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Under Where?

The seventies were a decade I wouldn't care to repeat, probably because I lived through them and they seemed to last forever. Maybe it was the rapid downshift from upheaval and tumult in the sixties to medicated apathy and thrill seeking in the following decade. Maybe it was cotton blue jeans giving way to velour pull over tops. Maybe it was muscle cars pulling over for Gremlins. Whatever. The decade, as a rule, seemed to last forever and seemed to suck more and more as the years went on. When December 31st, 1979 came along, I for one was out in the garden with a shovel tamping on the grave of the seventies as hard as I could and covering that plot with as many heavy rocks as the old man hadn't formed into a half assed garden wall that we kept "bumping" the lawnmower into.

But I digress. I didn't mean to explore the socioeconomic underpinnings of decades, I really want to talk about underwear.

Tighty whiteys, or not as the case may be.

Somewhere in that awful decade, somewhere out at some Fruit of the Bloom plant in East Rubbish, Arkansas or more than likely Igottagoandbad, Ontario, some yahoo boho got the idea to dump (no pun) a load of perfectly acceptable cotton briefs into a vat of red dye number two and market the mess.

Yes, somewhere, someone came up with the idea of brand extension by offering underwear in garish colors and didn't they just have my mother's fashion sense in mind. Not for her, mind you, for her shy and late blooming little boy.

Mom thought it was wonderful to have cromatic range of shorts to stuff me in instead of the banal whites that had served me so well up till now. No idea where she got the idea but one day somewhere in late '75 she comes rushing home from the local department store with a fresh load of all the colors of the rainbow. Mom was European and her fashion sense tended to veer towards the dramatic. She was always impeccably dressed herself and eschewed frocks that other local ladies wore. Same too for the old man who played with necktie patterns that could flag jets down onto carrier decks if you sewed enough of them together. They were a stylish couple that stood out. Problem was, they had a boy who wanted to do anything but.

I was quite happy fitting in and looking like everybody else. Shirt, pants, sneakers and call me everykid. I didn't want to stand out. It attracted attention and attention meant getting beaten up, which I got a lot. I was a small kid, the kind of physique that might as well come with the word "Target" written on my forehead in indellible laundry marker. So when Mom came home with the color cornucopia of unders I damn near hid under the bed for a week.

"Just try them on, you'll look chic (pronounced sheek like some Parisian fashion plate. Thing was, Parisian fashion plates were safe from Stanley Moynan, the local bully, over in Paris eating Napoleons in a cafe. My skinny ass was over here, right in Stanley's sights).

"No way. Not going to do it!" Muffled from under the bed.

"Just put them on. Try them. Its underwear, nobody's going to see what you're wearing." She said encouragingly as she simultaneously tossed out all my plain white briefs that I had by now outgrown. Hence the new underwear infusion. Mom was stylish but she was above all practical.

"Mooooo'oooooooo'oooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!" (Pinot Noir, now, is my favorite wine. That was an earlier favorite)

"Put them on and go to school." Ah, the rule of absolutes had been invoked, supplanting reason. Ok, I was screwed and I knew it. Mom was right, up to a point. It was after all, underwear, and no one would know or see it. Certainly not girls since I was late in blooming in just about everything and when it came to relations with the opposite sex most had just about damn well given up on that flower ever showing up. But Mom had missed one key and critical element of my day: Gym class.

"What the fuck have you got on?"

"Uh. Nothing. Why?"

"What fucking color are those? Is your ass bleeding? Are you dressed as Superman?"

And on and on and on. Gym was never one of my favorites. I had the athletic abilities of a blind water buffalo and the speed and grace to go along with it. There's a whole 'nother upcoming blog on the misadventures of Gym-bunny but suffice to say, colored britches didn't get me picked to the team any sooner.

Eventually the shock and shame of colored briefs wore off as more and more boys wore them. Some of them, the ones who were blooming right on time, actually preferred them as their girlfriends liked them too. I at that point got it in my head that women had a thing for elastic. A wonder I ever got married, stupid as I was.

So the controversy died down and went away and I graduated, went to college and bought my own things after a time. Now I'm on the fashion cutting edge of nothing and happy about it. The only envelopes I push the edge of are addressed to the mortgage company and revenge being a dish served cold, Mom finally figured out what all the paint rags really were when I re-did her bathroom a few years ago.

Uh huh. Special thrill soaking those things in turpentine.

Bunny on, great white shorts warrior!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Honey, I Shrunk My World

Bunny's on the road again and I've spent the better part of four hours running up the twisted spine of Vermont wondering what they're displaying at the "Air Museum" outside of Hartford. Bottles, vials, entire dioramas of clear, colorless oxygen and trace bits of nitrogen? Say, that's something to take the kids to and don't be surprised if they're chewing your ankles in fifteen minutes or so begging to be taken downtown to the Twain display. There, couched amidst manuscripts, paddle wheel steamer relics that never came within a thousand miles of the state capital and old cigar stubs, you can, like Clemens did, stand on the oversized porch and imagine yourself on the great river while in the near distance your car gets lifted within thirty seconds or less.

That got me to the border where I was allowed into a foreign nation despite having 750 milliliters too much wine for personal consumption. Two bottle limit?? I'm starting to understand why Canada is developing an emigration problem. If they abutted Mexico, they'd be pouring across the Rio Grande and Vicente Fox would be welding fences to keep the great white northerners out of the strategic tequila reserves.

I'm visiting my sister, who's not really my sister but we share that close a relationship and anyone who dares disparage it will in short order have their nose chewed into an origami carrot shape. Fair warning. She's one of two people in this world who have read all of what's on the bunny and is still talking to me. The other one is preparing an incoming launch of blueberries.

So sis thought it would be funny, even though I purport to hold a monopoly on mirth, but she thought it amusing to drag me around my old home town. This is the setting of the fields of fire, the mad dash into traffic and a dozen other misdirected exploits that I've yet to tell you. There was the Main Street sprint that a friend of mine and I did. The point was to get to the end of main as quickly as possible without being seen. We reasoned that we could hide behind parking meters and that quick dashes of twenty five feet from shelter of meter to meter would be the ideal sight gag. What it actually got us was publicly accused of stealing change in broad daylight an a police issued admonishment to "walk quietly like normal" from an officer who's charge of the English language was akin to an East Texas greased pig catching contest. And here I am walking among these same parking meters but not hiding because there's nothing to hide and I'd rather be recognized anyway but that's not going to happen because writers don't do good pr. Sis thinks it would be a great idea to tour my old elementary school and before I can say that I was last there when I had bladder control issues and don't intend to return until the cycle is complete I've got the Principal of the place showing us around like we're real estate investors or worse, from the board of ed.

I must have grown or everything has shrunk because the vast expanses of classroom, gym and hallway now seem like miniature villages and I'm bumping into everything. I can remember how long it took to get to French class when you were late because you were "aw shucks" talking to a girl by her locker and now had to get to the land of conjugating future anterior without running in the hallway. Let me tell you bub, that was a distance that put fear in the hearts of marathoners. Not now, the entire place is like a submarine in it's compact quality and what's more there are midgets running all over the halls. We were never that short, were we? Well we were but we never wore uniforms which would have been preferable to the chemical dump wardrobe my mother used to wrap me up in. I'm not saying she had an aversion to natural fabrics, I'm just convinced that there was a law in the seventies that forbade shirts not entirely derived from petroleum based products.

Everything is smaller, not just the school or my sinus passages. The whole town seems like a miniature version of what's been lodged in my memory in the twenty six years since I last saw it. I turn the corner from my old house and, boom, I'm at my old school. Trip over a few cracks in the sidewalk and, bam you're downtown. Now I'm starting to wonder why we had cars since everything is golf cart-accessible. More than that, I'm wondering how we fit cars into this town since back then the old man used to drive Chryslers the size of Utah. You must have had to run out to the airport to execute a three point turn. Of course the old man didn't have the driving skill to do that and we regularly rode out to the American border just to get pointed back in the right direction.

And that's exactly where I'll be heading tomorrow when my hop down memory lane here is over and I've annoyed Sis to the point of her poisoning my wine and my drinking it. It's been a blast and there's a couple more blogs just for starters but I have to get back home. There's not even time for an air museum tour or testing my strength on the vandalometer. It's time for me to have one of those "what are we doing together for the rest of our lives" discussions with a bunny babe and I for one, can't wait.

Life is good. Bunny on.

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