Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I went to the suburbs yesterday to visit my parents because my dad wasn't feeling well. While my mom took him to the doctor, the dog and I jumped in the car and made a Dairy Queen run so they would have a nice treat waiting for them upon their return. It was a very suburban moment but loads of fun, and I remember that Tender by Blur* was providing the perfect accompaniment. While waiting for my blizzards and trying to tune out the obnoxious kids (one was saying the Cubs suck and the other said "so does your mom"), I was thinking about who I might run into. The sad thing is that the only people I'd likely see would be a friend's parents, since most of my friends had long since moved away. As I further waited for my bits of Oreo to properly grind up, it occurred to me that lots of the families had moved away too. I didn't know squat about this town! I'm surprised the DQ was still where I left it.

My dad did bump into one buddy's mom who still lives on the same street - our street. It's weird cause he lived on the same street as me, had the same first name, the same initials, was always tall with blond hair like me, and our poor teachers were always mixing us up. Then, as my dad is talking with his mom, she reveals that his first son has the exact same name as my nephew (which may or may not be Brendan Kenneth), who's middle name is named after me.

Kind of bazaar, but it wasn't that little coincidence that was on my mind that afternoon. I got to thinking about hanging out at his house when we were kids. His mom was a real sweet lady with one of those soft soothing voices, and she used to come into our school to sing folk songs with her guitar. The only song I can remember was "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," because I used to picture some mammoth guy clutching the earth like a Wilson basketball. I know now that the song is likely talking about God having the world at his disposal, but being raised atheist, it didn't occur to me that the song meant anything deeper than some enormous dude spinning the world on his finger like a Globetrotter.

Dad seemed like a great guy when you were a kid. I remember my buddy and I would draw these robots with upside-down triangle bodies**, and dad would eat onions raw like apples and fart. One probably enhanced the other, I suppose. I can even remember two key phrases he'd say when ripping ass:

The Dad: Did you see that lightning?
Son: No, there's no lightning.
Dad: Are you sure, cause I think I hear some thunder (that's when he'd start in with the onion farts)

He'd sing, "Lights out. Uh-huh. Blast, blast, blast**" (And he'd fart on all three blasts. That still impresses me.)

As a kid he seemed like a great guy. He likes farts, and so did I! He was also unreal at Space Invaders on Atari. I always just tried to stay alive, blasting those critters as the crept closer and closer to my canon, as they moved faster and faster, especially those guys a few rows up who did progressively more intense jumping jacks. Friend's Dad would remain calm, handling his business with the aliens, and never missing a chance to blast that mother ship that would float by at the top of the screen, racking up Boo Koo points.

Now I realize that raw onion consumption, flatulence, and alien blasting does not make for a good father. My dad was one of those guys who figured out an unbeatable pattern on Pac-Man, but he still managed to be a great dad. He still is, and he's perhaps an even better grandfather. It turns out this guy's dad drank quite a bit and left the family, probably for another woman. I think he was living in Michigan for a while. I remember my buddy saying he went to visit him, and he nearly killed he and his sister in a car because he was so lit.

I guess my point to this goofy post is that I wish I could see things through a kid's eyes, and just enjoy people without my preconceived judgment, cynicism, and skepticism. It just seems like even the couples who seem happy eventually break up. Heather Locklear and Richie Sambora calling it quits was a crushing blow to my sense of hope.

Okay, Seven Readers, somebody break me of this lack of faith. Tell me about a happy marriage you know of - one that's so happy that just being around them for five minutes is enough to make you sick to your stomach.


*The only thing that makes the song not perfect for that day was that he's singing about the night, but listening to it now, I realize that it's actually the perfect song for this post. Either way, you'll have to pause my music player on the right before playing the videos.

**Where is Mysterygirl when I need someone to draw one of these robots for me?

***The fact that this video says 1990 on it really threw me off, but then I found that it's actually from 1984. Yes, I'm old. Does anyone remember this song? Anyone else fart to it?

****There is no fourth set of asterisks, so don't look for it, especially you, Chud, but I just wanted to take this time to say that I'm going to work on sectioning off all in depth music stuff into the asterisks. That way my posts won't get too music-ish. If people want overly music-ish stuff, then they can read the asterisks part. I'll try, but I know there's no avoiding letting music seep into the meat of my blogs.


Joe White said...

Well, my parents have been married for 36 years. Actually, here's a good stat for you: I’ve had both sets of grandparents, eleven aunts and uncles (twenty-two spouses total), eighteen cousins (thirty-six spouses), two brothers and a sister get married, and of those thirty-five marriages, thirty-three are going stronger than ever. But any of them will tell you, it’s not magic, it’s commitment. It takes work.

Lauren Elizabeth said...

I have two for you. My parents, and my brother and sister-in-law.

My parents met at a party when my dad got back from Vietnam and were married 6 months later. They go out together every weekend, travel a lot, do everything together. They rely on each other a lot, they're very supportive of each other. They've been married for 35 years.

My brother and sister-in-law are the kind of couple that are so perfect together they make you want to throw up. They were friends in college and then three years later they made out at a New Year's Eve party, and got married six months later. They've been married for 3 years.

The moral of the stry is: find someone you're crazy about and amrry them right away, before they can get on your nerves! Because they WILL get on your nerves, but if you're both committed to the relationship, you'll make it work.

Radioactive Tori said...

Isn't it amazing how when you look back on things you remember from when you were a child you see things in an entirely different way. I often wonder what my kids will remember from their childhood because I seem to remember the most bizarre snippits while forgetting things that you would think would have been important to me. I was actually thinking about that today because something made me think of something totally random from when I was a kid.

What suburb did you live in? You can email me if you want about that. I am curious. I suppose you don't have to tell me either, but I swear I'm not some crazy stalker.

My neighbors are very happy in their marriage. They are adorable and sort of make you think it must be just for show. I am friends with the wife, and after knowing her for a long time I am positive they are for real.

TOPolk said...

As I get older, I sometimes wish for that innocence that comes with being a child. Everything was so perfect because for what information you were privy to, it was. Ignorance is bliss.

In less depressing news, I've got two pals that are easily my favorite couple. They hated each other in high school, but through happenstance I wound up being pretty good friends with each of them. We wound up going to the same university after graduation. My female friend was more established socially and would invite me to parties or other events on campus. Being a good friend I would ask if my buddy could come along. She would begrudgingly say yes, but over time they warmed up to each other.

Three years after that they got married and three years after that they had a kid. And the two (well three now) of them are just as silly and random as they were in high school.

Jake Titus said...

If you asked me, I'd say "mine". If you asked my wife she'd spout off some Jolee/Pitt nonsense. So there is my marriage comment.

Now, one other thing. Mrs. T and I were at the beach yesterday. I spent some time watching this little kid play at the waters edge. She danced, she sang, she had a completely exquisite time. I miss seeing the world through those eyes as well.

josh williams said...

My folks are still married, though through the years it was fraught with rough spots.
Now I remember reading Hemingway writing about the virtues of an Onion Sandwich, and I have heard of people eating onions apple style but as much as I love onions,and as solid is my reputation of having an iron stomach, I am not about to even eat an entire Vidalia without expecting a self imposed form of isolation, maybe it could be fun but well I suppose I am afraid to try.
I have in my old Album collection Brian Augers Oblivion Express version of Rockets and Moonshots, great version, great song. Cheers to everyone who can make a relationship work and work well.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Knockers: Those are some good numbers! Thanks!

Nut: I'm happy for the four of them.

Radio: I'm from the southwest suburbs (Dupage County up in this!!)

Topolk: Any good relationship is founded on hate. Look it up.

Jake: Isn't that something about the kids? Take GSR and his underoos for instance . . . (You'll have to read the comments from the last post to get that one)

Josh: I like that you launched into an onion thing. Hemingway ate onion sandwiches? Yuck!

Jenni said...

My parents have been married for going on 52 years this December 26th. But it hasn't been all butterflies and unicorns. Every couple has their good days and bad days and I honestly don't know any who make me want to barf. Which is good, because I'd probably hate them anyway.

I can honestly say I don't remember that song at all...And I am even a child of the 80's!

I hope you dad gets better, I understand that vertigo can be a real tough thing to have to go through...Here's to a speedy recovery!

M360 said...

every dad has the ability to impress their kids and their kids' friends with awesome farts. i think it's a gift the the gods bestow upon you as soon as you become a father... it's compensation for not being able to lactate or something i guess.

as for great, long lasting, role model, marriages, i probably only know a few. it's rough these days, but how long do you have to wait to say a marriage has stood the test of time? i know of a couple, married for over fifty years, who recently separated. yeah... sad!

mysterygirl! said...

Here I am, Dr. K.

You know, most of my friends' parents are still married, as are mine. I don't know how it worked out that way, but it did. I don't know too many people who are so cute that they are disgusting to be around, though-- in my experience, most of those couples end up combusting, not that that's true on any scale wider than anecdotal. Really good couples make me happy to be around because they're just content.

TSTuesday said...

Let me join in with everyone else and say my parents' relationship is amazing. Seriously. I think it is why I can't get into a serious relationship because I always compare mine to theirs. I'm messed up.

Mood Indigo said...

Oh, I just love seeing MG! out and about. It's like the marriage I once had with blogging and the amazing community I found before I started cheating on it with being a lazy writer and reader...what?

Anyway - my bro was a self-professed devout bachelor until the age of 38. I don't remember why, but it was understood that he wasn't going to get married, or have kids. And then came long his soul mate. I remember him sitting with me late one night, asking my opinion and saying, "I'm sure this is it." They've been married four years this past April, have a two year old and though life has been far from easy - you can still see the magnetic draw. You can see the compassion, the need for that shoulder, the willingness to step in and lighten the other person's load. Four years is nothing in the scheme of a lifetime, but it's everything in the life of an avowed bachelor. Oh that we could all find that match. Even if I don't - it's worth it to me to know that it's out there for some of us - especially someone I love as much as my previously avowed bachelor bro.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Jenni: They got married the day after xmas? That seems inconvenient. I hadn't thought of that song in years, but it kind of kicks ass. Peter Wolf used to be in J. Giles Band (guys who sang Centerfold). Dad's better, and should be baby sitting my nephews today, which is what he loves.

360: Thanks for your input on farting and love. : )

Mystery: True. What's wrong with content?

Chardsy: That's a good role model for the chard.

Mood: I'm happy for your bro! He sounds like someone I know.

Sassy Blondie said...

My maternal grandparents were married for 48 years. When my grandmother passed away, my grandfather didn't even last a year and followed her. The man was mostly mute until he finally just gave up and passed on because he was miserable without her.

My best friend's parents have been married for 38 years, and they are still very much (and very obviously) in love. That's why I prefer spending Thanksgiving with them nowadays...

There! I gave you two examples...what do I win?? ;)

the teeny city yogini. said...

i am incredibly skeptical of marriage and the only reason i haven't thrown in my towel all together is because of my parents. they have been married for 33 years now and are complete opposites. she's quiet and homebody and he is restless and often inconsiderate. but they believe in marriage. and make it work despite the faults they see in the other. he still makes her giggle. and she still blushes around him. he hold her hand during church and she'd still do anything necessary to make him happy. it goes to show you that the match doesn't have to be perfect, you just have to be willing to make it work :)

Steph said...

My parentals have been married 35 years and they still hold hands and make the sex. How do I know? I walked in on them....Yes I want to kill myself every time I recall that incident.

Helen Mansfield said...

Yeah, I remember that song "Lights Out" by Peter Wolf from J. Geils Band.

I always liked them, but now with all this 80's nostalgia, they're played to death, along with "Melt With You" by Modern English. They had so many other good songs, it's sad that song has become their musicial footnote.

I liked Peter Wolf's video for "Come As You Are." It was silly.

karla said...

I'm just here to make my one comment for 2008.

Falwless said...

Wow, am I your only reader with divorced parents? Well I'll be damned. I've heard of healthy marriages. I even watched a few episodes of The Cosby Show years ago. From what I can gather it takes things like "compromise" and "having a husband who's an obstetrician." Something like that.

Kritkrat said...

Wait a minute!! What's wrong with 'yo mamma' jokes?!

Drunken Chud said...

i had something to say, then i looked up at the tv and saw a guys ear and half his head hanging off his face and i kinda forgot.

btw, if you watch that peter wolf video and have looking glass' "brandy" going... dude, kinda weird.

Zen Wizard said...

Happy marriage that makes you sick--hmmm, that would usually be a kind of marriage where they are out of the honeymoon/romantic period but still pretending like they are in it.

Or a marriage that is constantly being shoved down your throat as an EXAMPLE OF A HAPPY MARRIAGE, and a MARRIAGE THAT WE ALL CAN "TAKE LESSONS FROM" on Entertainment tonight.

Yes: I am thinking of Will Smith and Jada Pinket.

There is nothing the average person can learn from this marriage, yet we are constantly being told on Entertainment Tonight that we CAN IN FACT learn from it...

Learn what?

How to drop tens of millions and open up YOUR OWN SCHOOL for your kids so you can manipulate exactly how they will be educated??

How to "give each other space" in your 10-acre mansion?

What, exactly?

When you Google Will Smith, a subcategory you are offered is, "Will Smith/Open Marriage."

So I guess I am saying that when a couple's marriage is shoved down your throat as an example of what you should be doing, it invokes a certain retch factor.

At least that is my opinion.

Betraying my age, here: My generation's version of Will Smith/Jada Pinkett was Paul Newman/Joanne Woodward.

You could not open a magazine in the Seventies without hearing how "you should be trying to make your marriage more like theirs."

paperback reader said...

I was out to dinner (drinks) with two married ladies the other night, and I said: "I just don't see how you can come home to the same person night after night and still find them interesting and attractive."

They both said, in unison and instantly: "You don't."

Then, they said, "Don't ever get married" and their voices were full of wisdom and sadness.

So, this is kind of the opposite of what you were asking for, but there you go.

Zen Wizard said...

When women get bored with you--and even if you are a rock star like Paul McCartney or Mick Jagger they WILL get bored with you--you have to do this tightwire act of, "Keeping the marriage interesting" and "Not appearing a wussbag who is catering to their every whim."

Example: You bring home ONE FLOWER and say almost offhand, "Oh, I almost forgot--I saw this and it reminded me of you." Then disappear for a while. (Harder than it sounds...)

Also, CONSTANTLY finding a new trendy restaurant and flirting with the waitress just enough to let them know you still got it; but not enough to piss them off...

Let's see Christopher Knight pull THAT off on "Celebrity Circus"!!