It couldn’t have been more different for Marlee Owens. There had always been someone to turn to. There had always been Phillip. He was the kind of man who could hold her hand and go for a quiet walk on a busy street. Now she had to rely on herself.
Now Phillip was dead.
I HAVE NOTICED SOMETHING in the last few months that, while not disturbing or earthshaking, I do find curious.
I am about to tread on dangerous ground here.
Styles come and styles go. I understand that, but I see one current hairstyle popular among young women that I just don’t understand. It seems that a huge number of young gals I see at St. Arbucks, in the supermarket, or wherever, are walking around with their hair piled up on top of their heads in what looks like a mini-nuclear mushroom cloud.
My first thought was that it was in “homage” to Marge Simpson of cartoon fame, but that wasn’t it – and none of them had blue hair like Marge. Then it finally dawned on me – these gals all had their hair piled up ala a combination of Olive Oyl from “Popeye” and Mammy Yokum from the “Lil Abner” comic strip. But these women are much too young to know who Mammy Yokum was/is. Al Capp, the creator of Lil Abner, has been dead for decades and I really doubt that any of these hairfull young people have seen the movie musical made in 1959. And I don’t think Popeye gets much play on TV these days. More is the pity.
Could it be coincidence? Is there some new cult around that has them all wearing their hair like that? There has to be a reason. It sure isn’t because they all, independently think, that it is an attractive hairstyle. It ain’t.
As I sit here at St. Arbucks and I look at the corps of baristas behind the counter I see that four out of five have their hair that way. The fifth one is Sean and he hasn’t yet succumbed to the style. I pray that he does not. It would be very off-putting on a man his age. He looks more like Santa Claus anyway.
I don’t purport to be a fashion maven. Far from it. When I entered the time of my life known as “Geezerhood” I had to admit that my favorite music is “Oldies,” my favorite movies are “Classics,” and my sense of style died along with Disco.
I’m not saying that these young folks shouldn’t be allowed to wear their hair in whatever style they choose. I’m just curious that they all seem to be choosing this particular style – one that puts them in danger from low-slung ceiling fans. I’d hate to see anyone injured or maimed in the name of fashion. Platform shoes were risky enough, but they never had potentially fatal consequences. (Alex Trebek may wear them on Jeopardy! but he keeps his hair short.)
I know what you’re thinking – “Doesn’t this Geezer have anything better to do than sit around muttering about our hairstyles?”
I RECENTLY DUG UP the file of a novel that I had begun writing about 15 years ago. I had started it when I was still living in San Francisco. That may explain why it was called “Haight Street.”
As I was reading through it two things struck me – that it was still pretty good, and that it needed some severe rewriting.
I SAW THE MOST INTERESTING STORY this morning on our TV.
It seems that the State of Illinois has a coyote problem. I’m not talking about those people who smuggle other people across the border although I’m sure that might be a concern as well. No, I’m talking about those bushy-tailed furry critters that we usually associate with cowboy movies. The State reports that there are approximately 30,000 coyotes residing in the Land of Lincoln. That’s quite a bunch of predators roaming around Illinois (who aren’t holding elective office).
Below is a cutting from an unfinished novel set in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. It is the story of a young widow who has moved west to rebuild a shattered life. This scene is her first day exploring her new hometown.
Her wardrobe was distinctly Midwest Rust Belt plain. It was excessively Earth-toned for a young attractive blonde in California, but she perked up her look with a vibrant scarf and some jewelry. It would do, she thought, as she opened the front gate, set to meet her new neighborhood.
Taking her time, not wanting to miss anything, Marlee window-shopped and ambled into the eclectic commerce of Haight Street.
She considered the latest Rave fashions on the rack at “Housewares”, all to the driving techno-beat from the in-house disc jockey. The iguanas in the window didn’t seem to mind.
She laughed out loud as she looked through the Anarchist Collective Bookstore. Their display of pamphlets and political screeds loudly denouncing the capitalism at which they were so dismally failing. Signs trumpeting a “Half-Price Sale” and “Clearance” were everywhere, alerting the three lost-looking teenage browsers that they too could join the Revolution at a discount.
WE WENT TO SEE A SHOW last night at a local college – The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. We saw a touring company production of “Mummenschanz” – a show that was a huge hit in the 1980s, running for three years on Broadway.
I have to admit that I have not seen that much toilet paper being put to good use since the day I spent helping out at a Day Care Center.
THE OTHER DAY I READ A POSTING on another blog that I follow:
He was asking about why people spend time doing their writing at St. Arbucks (The Patron Saint of Jittery People) instead of at home or in restraints or custody, or wherever. His approach was, in my opinion, rather scholarly. He spoke of brain function, past writers having secluded cottages, etc. I was impressed. I thought that I did a lot of my writing there simply because they made better coffee than me.
SOME DAYS I JUST WONDER what in the heck is going on. If you had read an earlier posting, from about a month ago, you would have seen my rant about the mysterious apple that appeared in our driveway. One minute it was not there and a minute later it was. Spooky, no?
Well, the apple is long gone, spirited away by the neighbor’s snow blower, but something else has popped into its place.
MY WIFE AND I have been doing some binge-watching. We started with Doctor Who, then moved on to other series – some better than others. Currently we are wrapped up in House Of Cards on Netflix. Without actually looking it up I would guess that this series has about six million episodes. We have just entered Season Three.
HAVING MORE THAN ONE SKILL is a good thing. Having more than one skill that can earn you some money is even better – and much rarer.
This morning I made a short pilgrimage to the Chapel at St. Arbucks to say a prayer or two of thanks for the warmer weather and to get a bagel. Feed the soul and feed the body I always say. Nobody ever listens when I say it, but I do it anyway.
WHAT’S IN A NAME? Quite a bit actually. The names we have can go a long way to deciding our direction in life. If a name wasn’t all that important you wouldn’t see actors and actresses changing their names as they enter the business. Example: Famous actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg came into this world as Caryn Johnson.
A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO another blogger I follow had a posting about getting up on stage at a stand-up comedy Open Mic. He wrote about using it as a laboratory to try out new material on an audience that, on most nights, isn’t too critical.
I’ve been onstage at more Open Mics than I care to recall. I am proud to say that I survived them all, although there were a few close calls. That can happen whether you are there merely as a performer or as the MC – and can’t run away until the end of the evening.
Going onstage at an Open Mic, for comedians who have some experience, is a place to try out new material without having a club owner mad at you. If they have to pay you and you “Bite it” they get really angry. If you do it on an Open Mic night they don’t even listen. A Perfect Scenario.
While it serves as a lab for some comedians it is a matter of life and death for others. Some people come to Open Mic Night because they have dreams of being the next (fill in the blank). Some come there because they lost a bet, and some others show up strictly because they have stopped taking their medication. How they will do has nothing to do with in which category they fall. This helps to explain why backstage at a comedy club is a cross between a novena to St. Jude and a scene from “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.” I’ve been backstage where some people are vomiting out of fear while others are in the corner muttering to themselves and punching the wall.
I knew one comedian, who shall remain nameless because they are still performing, who had such stage fright that, before going on, would drink several large Coca-Colas spiked with six or seven packets of sugar. Talk about your sugar buzz!
There were a number of nights when I would be the MC and have to decide who went onstage and when, and to maintain discipline among the troops. It was often like trying to herd cats. Newcomers went on early or very late and comedians who were there working out would get the Primetime spots before the crowd was too drunk to notice the difference.
Another part of the MC’s job was to establish the ground rules for the audience as well as the performers. I would explain to the assembled revelers that they would, “…see careers beginning, careers flourishing, and careers ending – sometimes all within the span of five minutes.” For the comedians I had to explain that they would get a certain amount of time and no more. Break that rule and I would turn off the microphone and banish them to Hades.
Most clubs had a no-heckling rule for two reasons.
First – nobody is there to listen to some drunken idiot act a fool, and
Second – you heckle the wrong person and they will either verbally destroy you in front of your friends or, in a few cases, follow you out of the club and ‘go postal’ on you in the parking lot. That warning was usually enough, although some clubs had hired bouncers who could and would physically remove idiots when the MC gave them a nod. Hiring Samoan guys as bouncers usually kept things in order. For some reason they grow ‘em big in Samoa. Big, as in, “Sweet Jesus, where does a person that big buy clothes?”
Perhaps on another day I will blog about “heckler stoppers” – what can be said from the stage to verbally shred the drunken fools in the house who don’t want to obey the rules. Hint: female drunks are the worst.
Despite all of this I urge you to go out to an Open Mic Night at a club near you. It can be a fun and memorable evening, and you might get the chance to tell your friends, “I remember seeing him/her when they were just starting out. I knew they would be big someday.”
Open Mic Night is like a box of chocolates.
You might end up fat and with zits.