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Me & The Monkees

I was just reading one of my favorite blogs, Little Fears, written & cleverly illustrated by Peter Edwards http://littlefears.co.uk/ (buy his teeshirts! buy his books!). Anyhow, here is his post, which took me back in time, and inspired me to write what follows.

Obsessions

Spider looked miserable.

“What’s up?” asked Fuen.

“My new girlfriend is leaving me,” sighed Spider. “She says it’s because I’m too obsessed with The Monkees.”

“Oh dear,” replied Fuen.

“At first I thought she was kidding,” cried Spider. “Then I saw her face….”

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ME & THE MONKEES

Back in elementary school, my girl friends and I had a little contest going: who could be the first to purchase the latest album from (siggghhhh!) The Monkees. We would then spend entire Saturdays listening to their albums, over and over again. You could practically see the red hearts  ♥♥♥ beaming from our eyes, as when Davy would fall in love with yet another-girl-who-wasn’t-us on their kitschy TV show.  Oh, Davy: how could you?

The thrill of my lifetime, at least up to that point, was when my dad took me to SEE THE MONKEES IN CONCERT!!! Now, you must realize that loud music and strobe lights were the stuff of his nightmares. This was a huge sacrifice and show of love from him to accompany me. When we arrived at the Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, Missouri, on the Day of Infamy, August 5, 1967, we were seated in a box overlooking the main floor. Our neighbors were other dads and their overly-excited, dressed-up daughters (I mean, what if I met Davy, and he fell in love and wanted to marry me? I had to look good, for a flat chested 11 year old.)

As soon as Davy, Mickey, Mike and Peter took the stage, the crowd commenced to a fit of screaming that was shrill and high pitched enough to attract every dog within miles. These stupid girls were so loud, that our little box of relatively well-behaved young ladies began to complain. You couldn’t hear the singing!! I was so angry and yelling at the crowd to “SHUT UP!!” No one could hear me, of course. I discovered that if you put a finger deep into each ear, fingers almost touching each other mid-brain, you could block out the screamers and still (barely) hear the music. We all sat with our fingers in our ears for the remainder of the concert. As we left the auditorium, I thanked my dad with true sincerity, but he was looking almost green from the noise and psychedlic light show. I had my Monkees Tour Program clutched to my rapidly-beating heart, thinking back to the Michael Nesmith song that had me worrying for their safety. I would hate to be responsible for the outcome that these lines promised …

This one thing I will vow ya
I’d rather die than to live without ya…

Wait for me! I was growing up as fast as possible.

 

 

introducing: Cali, the wonder dog

Cali came with my marriage. She was non-negotiable, unlike my ugly couch and his box of Walgreen’s receipts dating back to 1972. She is the dog (see left) in the new picture above my smiling face. She had just gotten back from the groomers that day and if you look closely, you will see the two little red bows that make her look so cuuuuute!!! They lasted about 25 minutes before being pulled out. She likes to snooze on my futon while I am “working” , which sometimes consists of reading The Onion, Funny or Die or catching up on Facebook. When I take a break and lay out my yoga mat, she thinks it is an invitation to cuddle. She is very jealous and if she catches me & the hubs smooching, she is sure to insinuate herself right into the thick of things. Such a child.

The Tattoo

Tats are cool. I don’t always understand why someone would pay so much to decorate their body, but hey, I spend a small fortune on make up. So, I can sort of empathize. I just worry about those tattoos’ longevity. I mean, oh, sure: they look great, sexy, beautiful now … but what about when the person is a doddering old fart? And their skin is no longer tight and supple, but baggy and saggy. That evil grinning skull on your arm? It will stretch into some kind of sad, melted mess and the grin will become a frowny face. You don’t really want that,  do you?

Nevertheless, I once entered a tattoo parlor and — get this!! — I wasn’t even DRUNK! Or chemically impaired. Nope, I was stone cold sober and ready to githerdone. I wanted a sweet little butterfly on my … somewhere, it’s not important. But I wasn’t 100% certain that I wanted a butterfly, so I opened up the book of examples and began to peruse the photos. Dragons! Ninjas! The entire Patriots’ 2008 starting lineup! George Washington Crossing the Delaware. The choices were overwhelming. I kept pointing and changing my mind, “No, how much would this cost?” This went on and on for over an hour, until a customer came in and pulled off their shirt to have an actual target tattooed on their back. I saw the needle machine, heard it whirring like a dentist’s drill from Hell, watched in horror as the needle came closer and closer to actual skin, and then I lost my lunch in the closest garbage can. That did it. The owner threw me out on my un-tattoed butt. So, now you know where I almost got a really super cool, ultra-impressive, totally beautiful tattoo. Almost.

Miss Frizzle

Goldstein1
This is what you want to hear from your hairdresser:

“Stunning!”

“Gorgeous!”

“Perfection!”

This is what you do NOT want to hear:

—silence—

—heavy silence—

Then​: “Why didn’t you​ tell​ me you colored your hair???!!!”

I was at Erich, “Hairdresser to the Stars,” for my first perm. He styled all the senior managers’ wives at my office in Indianapolis. I was treating myself and couldn’t wait. Erich hissed as he unrolled curlers that had promised beautiful, bouncy waves. Why was he upset? I was frozen with apprehension. The answer became clear after he finished. My hair was fried. I looked like I had been hit by lightning. ​Twice​. Incredibly, ​he​ was angry at ​me​. “If you had told me, I would have used different chemicals!”

“Well, you didn’t ​ask​ me,” I was thisclose to tears. He was the hair professional. Not me. I stared in horror at my Bride of Frankenstein reflection, but my polite Midwestern personality was warring with the need to be assertive. I actually felt badly for ​him​, and heard myself reassuring this hair butcher that all was fine. I even tipped him, but refused to return so that he could “work” on it. I was never stepping into his salon again. I went home and made brownies, eating the whole damned pan.

My hair and I flew home to visit my parents the next weekend. Dad was waiting at the airport gate, and didn’t recognize this wild­-maned girl flinging herself at him. He looked stunned and was speechless the entire ride home.

Mom knew what to expect, having impotently listened to my hysterical phone calls. She pulled me into a big hug, whispering: “I made an appointment with my hairdresser for tomorrow.”

I held on tightly, so relieved to be home. Moms can fix anything.

My Stupid Necklace

If you have never submitted to The Silver Birch Press, I strongly advise you to check them out. Each month they issue a writing prompt for 300 words or less of your special talents, prose or poetry. They don’t accept everything you submit, but are very encouraging so keep at it until you find that magical combination of words and phrases that the Editor agrees will fit the theme.

This month’s theme is “Lost and Found” and it took me several attempts to get it right. I now have the satisfaction of giving you the link to my story, cheerfully titled, “My Stupid Necklace”. I would love to see you published in The Silver Birch Press, too.

https://silverbirchpress.wordpress.com/2017/04/28/my-stupid-lost-necklace-story-by-susan-w-goldstein-lost-and-found-poetry-and-prose-series/

A Disorganized Mess!

I’m throwing papers in heaps on the floor; shifting part of one heap over to a fresh heap. Then starting a new messy pile that will escalate into an actual heap. Wildly I throw old papers into the trash bag, before clawing through the mess to retrieve the same articles as though I am some deranged crazy old lady. [No comments, please.]

I’m ripping files from out the bottom desk drawer, can’t find the right one. Damn, is the missing file in one of the storage boxes out in the garage? So angry at myself for being wantonly disorganized. Opening files, closing files, opening the same file again by accident, searching and searching for the — shit, damn! What am I searching for? I forget! I am really losing it. Why is it so difficult for me to put things back where I found them? Instead, my life is a constant treasure hunt; no, more likely a Wild Goose Chase. Oh, right, right, right: my assignment is to find our tax documents from last year. Where are they? My brain hurts. And now, I am feeling sorry for myself, so I go downstairs to pop a Klonopin. Wash it down with the wine left over in the kiss-stained glass from last night. I would really prefer a much stronger remedy to my anxiety, but sometimes you just have to make do.

Since I’m in the kitchen, maybe I should empty the dishwasher so I can fill it with this sink of dirty dishes. No, stay on track. This stupid document is crucial. My brain truly feels like it could explode. I always get this way when I can’t locate my keys or my cellphone or my very important tax documents. And then, this vision flashes: the photo of the skulls that I once saw, long ago, in a National Geographic magazine. These ancient skulls had quarter-sized holes drilled in them, perhaps to release the bad spirits that were causing severe headaches or behavioral problems, in much the same way that some modern irrational people, such as myself, would behave 2,000 years into the future. This drilling of holes was called “trepanning”. The point that most impressed me in this article was that several skulls had more than one hole drilled. The logical conclusion was that these primitive doctors must not have killed off all of their patients, and so some of these desperate, agonized clients came back for more.

There are times that I wish someone would drill a hole in my head to let loose the kraken.

But I snap back to attention and run upstairs to grab another file folder. I open this file and oh, my heart! I feel a smile advance across my pinched face as I drift down to the floor, sitting cross-legged and getting too comfortable, because this one file, incorrectly labeled “Banking Shit”, suddenly blooms with years of my kids’ school photos. Look at those beautiful faces, they were such gorgeous babies. Maybe I should finally put these into a photo album. The little boys are now grown men. It’s a mess that begs me to do something about it. I plead with myself: Not now! Focus. Jeez, that’s what gets me into these predicaments. Ping-ponging from one task to another is so exhausting. I just want to find the stupid forms and be done with it. No. I am certain that I can’t do this anymore. I quit. I’ll look for them again tomorrow, when I’m feeling more in control.

A Day in the Life.

In which my brother almost gets our dad arrested.

It was the early 1970’s and the family had tagged along with my father on his European speaking tour. We were three siblings, 14, 12 and 10 going through the throes of adolescence, which is never a pretty sight. I think I may have contributed to my mom’s constant eye twitch, because at that age everything elicited a seriously melodramatic reaction from me. [And as I was to later learn the hard way, Moms make the best target. Karma, you bitch!]

My father was well-respected in his field, and if the Rolls Royce waiting at the train station was expecting an American version of the Royal Family, well, the chauffeur and host were about to be sadly disappointed. We tumbled out of the train, looking mighty worse for the wear. I wore my angst on my face as a scowl, my brother had a gap in his smile from a lost permanent front tooth (how it came to be lodged in the head of a shorter classmate is another story). My sister was still pouting the absence of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes in all of these obviously sub-par restaurants that should have been stripped of their Michelin stars for this abomination.

We had been staying in various Ritz-Carleton’s, not our usual Howard Johnson’s with a roll-out cot. We were soon deposited in a beautiful historic hotel in some old German city. My parents had a gorgeous suite and the children were relegated to the smaller room next door. We were ecstatic! Our own room? My sister began jumping on the bed while my brother went on a search and rescue mission, opening every drawer, every cabinet. On cue, I stared moodily out the windows, wondering who else had sat in that exact place over time and if their ghost was still hovering nearby.

Suddenly, a “WHAT????” was heard from my brother. Baby Sis and I went to join him, but he slammed the bathroom door in our face. “What did you find?” we squealed, but he was silent. Finally he opened the door and we could see that his face was frozen in shock. He slowly pointed to the opened cabinet drawers under the sink. There sat a pile of magazines. We gathered around them and our faces froze in similar shock: these were Naked Lady magazines!! Oh, my, goodness … or not. We laughed and giggled our way through the pages until we heard our parents knocking at the door.

“It’s dinner time, kids,” mom advised us.

“NO!” we responded in unison.

You could just see her and dad exchanging looks. Dad rattled the door knob, “Open this door now,” he demanded. He was tired and hungry and in no mood for sassy kids. So, my brother slowly unlocked and opened the door.

“What is going on in here?”

“Nothing.”

But mom had already looked over our shoulders and saw the pile of magazines. She started to walk over, obviously puzzled as to their origins. We screeched and ran to cover them up, but it was too late! “Where did you get these?!” and my brother explained that they had been in plain sight … if you crawled into the cabinet and scrunched behind the plumbing.

The General Manager was simultaneously notified, horrified and mortified. He came to apologize and to confiscate the pornography, but my brother refused to give it up. The rest of us were welcomed to take the soaps and shampoos for our souvenirs: but the magazines were his alone. My parents said they would deliver the magazines later, but let’s go eat dinner now.

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We were packing to leave, and Dad happened to glance through my brother’s suitcase. He thundered at him, “Are you crazy? Were you really going to try to sneak these magazines back home?” My dad was furious, confiscating the porn for good. He and mom were beside themselves: “Do you kids realize what would have happened to your father if he were caught TRANSPORTING PORNOGRAPHY INTO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA??” My dad was clearly traumatized at the vision of the newspaper photos showing him being led away in handcuffs for a crime he clearly hadn’t committed. And how close it had been to reality, had he not happened to sneak a peek into his son’s luggage. I think that was the last European vacation that we took as a family. In fact, I am positive.

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