Who You Gonna Call?

an old Kodak camera kit with magic cube!

People can be very sensitive about their nostalgia.

My Sib refused to see the Starsky and Hutch remake with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. In her tween memories it was a serious drama, not a comedy and it was WRONG to make fun of her memories. Frankly, I might be able to watch an old episode if I thought they were trying to be funny. That’s just me. I think my Sib didn’t think that Huggy Bear should be skinny, either.

People got mad when Cap’n Crunch changed the shape of their crunch berries. Or Coke updated it’s can. More than one person declared the end of rock and roll when Walk this Way was sullied with hip hop. Having Aerosmith participate in this outrage was just shy of Bob Dylan going electric.

Robert Plant’s refusal to sing Stairway to Heaven at a Zeppelin reunion tweaked fans since that’s all they wanted to hear. All eight minutes of it. For the encore, thank you very much. Then there’s the destruction of Star Wars, the three that were the second three, because, well, Jar Jar Binks. I get the disgust. I prefer to pretend it didn’t happen, but I’m not angry.

It’s people going back to their high school and becoming hostile because they added a wing, moved the trophy case and put new bleachers in the gym. It’s the lawsuit over the beach houses that got built on the bluff that you used to play pirate on. Childhood officially ruined!

Did the Lego Movie disturb your memories of blocks? The Pirates of the Caribbean film wreck Disneyworld?

Then there’s remaking a movie with a different cast. Never mind that the first time they got Spider-Man right was last week’s Civil War. I get that it’s jarring. Maybe disappointing. But it makes you mad because your perfect Pleasantville memory is disturbed?

Did a live Mowgli disrupt your baby memories of cartoon Mowgli? Outraged by not your favorite Spock? And seriously, did you really prefer the dull original Ocean’s 11 to the delightful remix?

Which leads me to this. Really, really, really don’t pitch an internet fit, lamenting loudly and rudely, that your childhood is trashed–trashed, ruined, destroyed, extinguished, ravaged and wrecked–because of an upcoming Ghostbusters reboot. You didn’t even see it, yet. And if the awful GB cartoon didn’t ruin your life, why the hysteria?

Because women? Ugh. I didn’t need to know that about you. Some days I hate the Internet.


Do the Mashed Potato

An erupting volcano. It looks hot. And dangerous.

When my mom would get mad, she would use her words–occasionally at a deafening volume. Usually, though, just at an extremely loud volume.

I really can’t remember exactly how she would get wound up. In my memories, she could blow at any time. She didn’t go zero to sixty. She was more like a rocket launch, minus the countdown. Or maybe an exploding mountain top that exposes roiling lava in a crater. Perhaps there were some seismic gurgles or telltale belches of ash, but we were too young, and then too self-absorbed, to predict the eruptions. We weren’t scientists with well calibrated instruments. We were the simple natives that managed the fallout as it occurred.

My dad was the usual target, but when the moon was right, nobody was excepted. The moon was a character in the drama. Her blasts seemed to be tied to hormones. Dad would stand in the garage and warn us before we’d walk into the blast furnace, whispering that she had her period.

Once she was on, it could be days before it was safe. She’d be so primed that the slightest slight could train her sight your way. When she’d blow, we would be very quiet. Don’t poke the bear.

This day the Goddess of Yelling was present. I think Dad was mowing the lawn. We were goofing around in the other room. Since we were kids, and we heard it all the time, we could sometimes be oblivious to the conflict. When we were called into dinner, we brought our foolishness with us.

Mom was yelling at Dad out in the back yard. We were laughing around the table. I threatened My Older Sib with mashed potatoes on my fork. She laughed and loaded her own. She drew it back. I dared her with a raised eyebrow. Her hand slipped and the potatoes catapulted past my right shoulder and landed with a horrifying plop on the rug in the next room.

Horrifying in a way that spawns shrieks of laughter that we could barely contain–but we had to because Mom was walking toward us. But worse, she was walking in her stocking feet toward the potato landmine. Oh God, if she stepped in it, we would be dead. We started to giggle. She didn’t know why we were laughing but she was not happy. She turned her ire to us.

I am sure she asked, in her outside voice, why we were laughing. We, of course, could not tell her. We were both terrified and dangerously amused. One step to her right and she would find out for herself. She was so angry that she started to stomp from one foot to the other, like the angry troll underneath the bridge that the Billy Goats Gruff crossed.

The closer her small white-socked feet came to the potatoes, the more excited we got. Not in a good way and not in a way we could control. “What was so funny?!?”

Big Sib burst out laughing. She had a clear view of our mother and her foot almost touched the food. I turned around and desperately started a long tale of what happened at school. Something in this train of thought had to be funny.

Most fortunately, she wasn’t interested in my narration and the the mad-hopping slowed. She turned, and we held our collective breath as her foot hung in the air over the mashed potatoes piled on the carpet. Everything seemed to stop, except for the giggles that we had to choke back down to their origin. Do. Not. Laugh. It is almost over.

She moved her foot forward above and then past the floor food and stepped away. It was over.

I don’t remember where she went, but I know that we had to remain at the table until the coast was clear. A furiously whispered argument followed on who would defuse the bomb. Big Sib thought it should be me. Her argument was that it was my fault since I, in the parlance of children, started it. I, on the other hand, was sure that it was her responsibility since she was the one who lost control of her fork which was the actual cause of the almost-disaster. Bottom line, neither of us wanted to get caught while cleaning it up.

As was typical, we likely came to the solution of sending in the rookie–the Youngest Sib. The logic was that she was least likely to get in trouble. Mom, at that time, usually spared her the venom. In fairness, she caught her share years later.

So goes my story about mashed potatoes. You know how you grow up and sit around with your folks and come clean about your childhood misadventures. Didn’t happen with this one.

Wedded Abyss

FLOTUS and POTUS looking fly.

I hear that The Spouse and I look amazingly happy on Facebook. One friend asked me, “How could two people be so ‘lovey-dovey’?”

And I’m all like, “So you think I’m gonna to post pictures of us fighting?”

That would be the most vainglorious of selfies. Imagine me: eyes bulging, spit flying from angry lips, hair akimbo’d by angry electrical pulses emitting from my head? And The Spouse with a sneer, egging on my insane wrath with an infuriating indifference.

Yeah, let me just whip out the camera for that one.

Seriously, that day I yelled The Spouse out of the house? I’m running barefoot down the porch steps after the jeep, hurling profanity as it drives away leaving me standing in the middle of the street with no target for my denigration but plenty of fuel to continue the tirade.

Nope. No camera for that one either. And, let me tell you, if someone else filmed it, I sure as hell would not post it, tag us and type #LOL with a smiley emoji.

So, I can’t tell you if two people can have a sustained level of the “lovey-dovies.”
You never know what actually goes on between two people. We’ve had friends who shocked us all when they announced their divorce. Contrast that with me and The Spouse whose friends have likely been waiting on our announcement–all bets off for decades now.

Makes me think about the fetishized relationship between Michelle and Barack Obama. People project their ideals of a “good marriage” on the first couple. They’re so in love. They have a great relationship. They have such a great time together. Blah. Blah. Blah.

I expect that sometimes they disagree and may even find the other disagreeable. I bet that more than once someone has been accused by the other of being inconsiderate or even selfish. I would not be surprised if there’s an occasional few hours, or even few days, when iciness surrounds home and hearth, when two people are in the same room and are not together. Somebody may harbor uncharitable thoughts. Someone may even voice them.

Does that make the relationship a bad one? A good one? I don’t know, but it sounds like a real one.

I don’t want a marriage like the Obamas’–or anyone else’s. I have enough trouble with the one I have. The one that’s mine. That’s ours. That’ll do.