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Thursday
Jun052008

Calamari

Because my son’s rational defense mechanism will not allow for the possibility of his being at fault in relation to any number of things that might go wrong, he developed the “shallow pockets” theory. He did not lose his $3. His $3 fell out of his shallow pockets. In this way it was his mother’s fault that the $3 was lost, you see, because she is the fool who bought the shallow pocketed pants. “Let’s just follow this to its logical conclusion,” I interjected, “and blame the Big Bang itself for banging into a universe with the possibility therein of 9-year-old boys losing $3. Stinking Being!” I banged the dining room table with my fist, “Why is there something instead of nothing when that something leads to losing $3?” I was shaking my fist in the air, now, in contempt of Being. Sometimes, Jackson looks at me in a way that denotes hatred. He asked if I was finished. “So then,” he continues, “Anthony The Goon finds MY $3 and he knows that I have shallow pockets and that I just lost it, but he picks it up and says ‘Hmmmm. Today must be my lucky day.’” Jackson’s sense of moral decency was seriously transgressed. He was hot. “Anthony The Goon is such an idiot. He even believes in the tooth fairy—“

“Jackson!” I interrupted, but the damage was done. Lucy’s eyes were shocked big. Calamari took his napkin off his lap, threw it on the table, gave Jackson an evil eye that contained devious promises, and stormed off in a huff. “Dude!" I cried, "How many times do you need to be asked to not question the ontological status of fantasy when Calamari is over for dinner?” Lucy made some goofy mourning noise that 4-year-old girls make. You had to be there. It sounded like a door creaking or a pissed off cat or something. Our house has lately been a war zone between Jackson and Calamari with poor Lucy caught in the middle.

Calamari is my daughter’s 16-year-old boyfriend. Sometimes he manifests concretely in a large Raggedy Andy doll. You might find Lucy passionately kissing Calamari if you round the wrong corner at the wrong time. Other times, when he is not needed in kissable form, he is just there. My relations with Calamari are what you might call “strained”. The cats don’t like him either. We think he’s a touch old for Lucy, but we’re not as radical as Jackson. “C’mon Dad. Calamari’s not even real.” Again, Lucy lets fly with the 4-year-old rusty gate noise. “Jackson, listen. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it forevermore: Your imagination IS real.”

You know that old theme where the pastor’s daughter goes all whore crazy with 3 guys through her bedroom window? That theme is expressed in my home via Jackson’s wilting imagination. No aspect of parenting has caused me more suffering than watching the 8-year-old become the 9-year-old. Can you believe people call this growing up? It’s absurd. But, as I turn to Lucy, I know that she will go the same way as well. She’ll follow Jackson right into that dead world of facts with a realistic arrogance that bolsters itself, leaving their Dad behind in this fuller world of talking animals and ghosts.

“C’mon Lucy Blue,” I said, grabbing his plate before his dinner got cold, “Let’s go find Calamari.”

Tuesday
Jun032008

Jacked Up

Our dear heather, devoted reader & ardent supporter of The Wind In Your Vagina in addition to serving as President of the The Wind In Your Vagina fan club, wrote in with the following comment:

“Did I tell you you'd be blowing up today or what? Now write more funny shit. No pressure.”

First, heather, thanks for the comment. Your comments are always welcome here at The Wind In Your Vagina. Second, watch your mouth you profane unrestrained harlot! This is a family blog. Poor Jackson read your comment last night & burst into loud sobs that mimicked night terrors. You might have discerned from my vast languational control and varied powerful references to religion, philosophy, and the arts that my family is steeped only in the highest of cultures, untarnished by the likes of your profanities. Walk easy through these parts, heather. And lastly, you are perfectly correct to imply that my blog blowing up like an 80s rapper’s pager might lead to a touch of anxiety. I’m feeling a bit like Charlie Brown when he tugs on his collar around the little red-haired girl. This is nothing a blue xanax couldn’t cure but, honestly, who, in the paroxysm of an anxiety attack, has 20 minutes to wait around for a blue xanax to kick in? One might crush it up & snort it but this would be construed as abuse. Pharmaceuticals are illogical. My anxiety was quashed this morning anyway when I realized that I would never want for writing material as long as I remained the dad of that wretched Jackson.

Jackson needed to bring a game to school for Game Day. Wait a second. Teachers, Game Day? School ends at the end of the week. Why is my kid phoning it in on Tuesday? Don’t you already get the whole summer off? It took me 2 years of working in the salt mines before I caught a week paid, but I’m still not allowed to bring in a deck of cards the prior Tuesday. Are you lacking for lesson plans? Here’s one. Have each student bring in 3 pairs of socks, throw them all over the floor, AND TEACH THEM HOW TO PICK THEM UP! It makes me so mad. You’re raking in 19 grand to relax all summer and play games at work. Let’s everybody cry for teachers.

I apologize for that digression. When a guy’s previous personal best for page hits in a day was a dismal 58 and he suddenly finds more than 500 on a Monday, he tends to inhabit a cheery atmosphere. This cheery atmosphere, as you have probably guessed, leads him to rapping in the car while his son sorts out SpongeBob Monopoly money on the way to “Game Day”.

“Grab your glocks when you see Black Hock / Call the cops when you see Black Hock / You shot me but you punks did’n finish now you bout to feel the wrath of a menace / nigga I HIT EM UP!” But I must’ve been too happy. Is that it? Did I taunt the Gods by being too excessively happy? For you see when Jackson tries to read in the car (or perhaps count SpongeBob Monopoly money), he tends toward car sickness, and it was in the cheery midst of my mad flows that Jackson tossed a mushy Pop-Tart & stomach bile all over the backseat of the Saturn Vue.

I pulled off the road, hopped out, and pulled a Mystic River Sean Penn right there on the shoulder. This is where I live. And I wish I was making it up. I wish I was lying. I was going to take the day off, read your blogs, and respond to all your kind words. But that plan got Jacksoned. He spit a couple goobs on the road, wiped vomit off his chin with his sleeve, and said “I’m good. Let’s go.”

My son Jackson has a weak stomach but he’s also something of a badass.

Saturday
May312008

Fat Bald Retarded Kid

Today at the master planned community pool there was a fat bald retarded kid. All the master planned community parents were wondering "What's with the fat bald retarded kid?" Nothing overt, mind you. Just a community vibe, you know? All their crazy colored floaties & inner tubes and wild family adventures tended to discreetly drift away from the fat bald retarded kid. I am a magnet for this kind of thing. The fat bald retarded kid was all up in my face showing me some sweet karate kicks. His dad was hyper-conscious of the fact that I had not solicited this parade of karate. I waved him off. “He’s fine. Fine. No problem.” I said. In some inexplicable emergence of selflessness, I wanted to do something for the fat bald retarded kid’s dad. I don’t know what. Wash his car or make him an origami crane. Buy him a beer.

Why don’t they sell beers at the master planned community pool? Who do I talk to about this?

I said “What’s your name Bruce Lee?” and he gave me an emphatic “ZACK!” It could’ve been “Zach” but it was expressed with such urgency that I’m going with “ZACK!”. I said “Hello Zack. This is my son Jackson. He does not possess your skills in any of the Asian cultural combat systems, so please spare him the varied harms you might bring.” Zack squinted. Jackson looked at me like I was making him talk to a fat bald retarded kid. I interrupted their awkward silence by introducing Lucy. “He looks crazy!” Lucy chimed and I thought: this blog is writing itself.

I don’t have any moral for this story. Just a revelation of a kind. Something like a discovery of a hitherto unknown facet of my inner geography. Remember all that pop psychology smack from the 80s about healing your Inner Child? No? Google your Inner Child (How could I NOT say it?). I don’t know about you but when I see John Bradshaw I want to punch him in the face.
I think that perhaps I have an Inner Fat Bald Retarded Kid. I can’t say that he needs to be healed or relieved of his shame or made whole. If anything, he just wants someone to watch him do some sweet karate kicks, to be in some way part of the master plan.

Friday
May302008

Breathe

Once, when my mother was driving me to any number of felony cases later reduced to misdemeanors, she smashed me in the face with this hammer: “You know I constantly brag about you. I tell everyone what a smart, funny, wonderful young man you are. And what Black Hockey? What do you do for me in return? I’ll tell you what you do. You make a liar out of me every single time.”

Let that seep in a moment.

No—let it seep in and simmer in the stew of your self-concept for some years. Mmmm. Sweet, sweet self loathing.

Knowing the impact of an unmitigated revelation of shame, I try to conceal my upper reaches of disgust when it comes to Jackson but damn dude—go brush that tooth. He opted to wait in the car this morning while I walked Lucy into daycare; when I returned, the funk in the car was palpable. The car was awash with the stench of rotting lemon garlic shrimp & garden rotini (see below). It was synesthetic insofar as the funk, the scent itself, was corporeal; the aroma was material. Yeah, I’m using big huge words. That’s because it was a big huge smell. Big huge smells call for big huge words. It was nasty.

So I was like “Dude! Did you use the bubble gum mouthwash?” He tilts his head and looks at me like I asked him to dethrone Newton with some quantum equation and I say “Dude! I didn’t ask you to dethrone Newton with some quantum equation. I just want to know if you gargled with the bubble gum mouthwash. In the bathroom I clearly said, ‘Get a little rinse on with that bubble gum mouthwash, dragon tooth,’ didn’t I?”

He’s still looking quizzical & confused so I’ll answer for him. Yes. I did tell him to use the bubble gum mouthwash. But he didn’t. Just like he didn’t turn off his fan. Or wash his hands. Or clip his nails. Or eat some fruit. Or take his finger out of his nose the whole time I was shopping for sunglasses.

So I get rolling: “Jackson! I constantly brag about you. You’re in the gifted weird kids program. You get all As & 1 B. You’re so intuitively and naturally funny. But for some reason beyond my conceptual powers you continue to tenaciously seek that grail up your nose & cling to your raunchy breath and make me a liar—”

Then I joltingly see myself like the mean Dad we all hate in the movie where the kid rises above his meager beginnings. I think: Stop. Stop it. He is 9-years-old. This is the tension wherein I parent. I roll down the window, apologize, again.

Thursday
May292008

Ratios

I just, moments ago, grilled some lemon garlic shrimp and tossed them in some garden rotini and olive oil. Sometimes Francesca has to work till like 8:00 or so and I’m forced to go all wild like Julia Child in solo mode. But I am a 21st c. man and this offers no challenge to my sense of masculinity. Heck, sometimes I think about kissing boys.

Anyway, me & Jackson & Lucy are eating and Jackson says: “Dad, I don’t wanna offend you but your shrimp to rotini ratio is way off.” and I’m like: “You are 9 boy. Where do you get off using a word like ‘ratio’? I’m still not completely positive what a ‘ratio’ even is. I mean I have a vague grasp that might permit me to stumble through a conversation, but what the hell are you even talking about?” I swig my Diet Coke angrily and he says all smug and uppity: “There’s too much rotini. Not enough shrimp. The ray-shee-oh is off.”

To this I responded defensively: “No man! Your fancy ratio was fine until you started hoarding all the shrimp. Everyone with a conscience knows you eat a shrimp like every 3 or 4 bites but you—you who I am hopelessly trying to assimilate into our collective ways—you, in the same way you relentlessly defy me by steadfastly refusing to brush your teeth or put your shoes ANYWHERE but the middle of the kitchen floor, need to eat a shrimp every… single… bite. It is YOU my friend who disrupted what was, back when I first served it, a perfected ratio: a virtual shrimp yin to rotini yang. And by recklessly throwing our whole dinner out of whack, you have also caused a rift in the structure of Being itself where any hope for harmony now is but a nostalgic yearning in the world’s collective psyche.”

Jackson lunged at me and we smashed through the sliding glass door in a song of shattering and twinkling and curses between the generations. Our ratio is off.

Wednesday
May282008

Je est un autre

To the 8 or 9 people who read this blog before now, be aware that I pulled a Total Recall on your ass. BAM! We are not us. I went back through and changed my kids’ names to Jackson & Lucy. Truth be told, I always wanted to name the boy Jackson anyway. Back when he was a fetus I was in this huge Jackson Pollock phase; I was really pushing to call him Jackson Hockey Jesus (or Linus).

But how cool is this? I’m fictionalizing my family. The distinction between what’s fiction and what’s “real” is blurred. I’m in the freaking Matrix or something. It’s only a matter of time before my worlds collide, blend, and confuse each other. “Lucy! Lulu! Lily! Whatever your name is. 2nd Kid, the grouchy one. Get over here!” I understand that this will complicate the use of visual imagery as well, so I’m thinking that I’ll denote my son Jackson with a picture of Gary Coleman.
I don’t have any rational ground for denoting Jackson with an image of Gary Coleman. It just dawned on me as I drove to work like an epiphany. This will inevitably lead me to call his little sister “Willis” starting today and forevermore. It can’t be avoided. Sorry Lucy. The blog’s main photo will remain the same, but I’ve heard that they grow up so fast. Soon they won’t even resemble my children. Or no wait—I actually found the blog’s main photo on a clip-art site and thought it was goofy. Who the heck are those kids? In the video of us playing guitar & drums (2 posts down), the stand-in for Jackson is some random neighborhood hooligan and I am masterly played by our reasonably priced gardener, Raul.

So… let’s review:
I am Black Hockey Jesus.
My son is Jackson Hockey Jesus.
And my daughter is Lucy Hockey Jesus. Or Willis, depending on my mood.

I’m going to call my wife by a different name every time I mention her. The reasoning for this is threefold. 1). Every time I see her, the world rejuvenates into a vivid sparkling newness articulated by various Asian religious traditions as satori, moksha, etc. (Sparks will FLY in the Black Hockey Bedroom tonight.) 2). A frequently changing identity for my wife will help express James Hillman’s notion of a polytheistic psychology, one of the cluster of ideas that motivates this entire blog. And 3). Giving my wife a new name all the time will seem like I sleep with all kinds of different women! (The Black Hockey Bedroom is dark, sparkless. Not a creature is stirring.)

My place of employment will shift with my whim: now the factory, then the hospital, and then again the potato fields from some lonely Van Gogh. Even my location will be a function of whatever hunk of geography autonomously hurls itself through my mind. I busily type this current blog from lovely Sequim, Washington (Population: 4334).

THERE! I’m a myth, as easy to locate as Keyser Soze. And why, my curious blog reader wonders, am I picking up all the bread crumbs that lead back to my identity? Because my step-mother-in-law thinks that my liberal use of the word “vagina” in the blog title will inevitably lead to termination of my employment (from the Herman Miller furniture plant in Zeeland, Michigan). Did you read that correctly? My STEP-mother-IN-LAW. She’s not just a stepmother and she’s not merely a mother-in-law—no no not so fast—we’re talking STEP-mother-IN-LAW. She makes me do all the chores AND I’ll never be good enough for her little girl. Anyway, no one’s gonna be all that shocked even if I do get fired (from Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio). When Beatrice (my wife) met me, the only thing I owned was a copy of Rimbaud’s Illuminations and a carton of smokes that I had just bought with a credit card. Wasn’t the writing on the wall back then?

To tell you the truth, I don’t see the big problem with using “vagina” in my blog title anyway. It’s been 12 years since that watered down feminist wrote those Monologues and Oprah and everybody and their moms & aunts were screaming vagina this and vagina that. I’ll be straight up. I’m cool with vaginas. Jo’Quisha (my wife) has a fabulous vagina. In fact, I burst onto this scene straight out of a vagina, and proudly too. And wasn’t there some Walt Whitman poem like “Out of the vagina endlessly rocking” or something?

But I’m being silly. The potential problem of course with my use of the word “vagina” in my blog title is that I’m talking about my YOUNG DAUGHTER’S vagina and the way this might connote pedophilia and incest. Well, those possible interpretive moves sadden me. They make me feel like syrup and Monday and Adam Duritz. I don’t even have the energy to defend myself against them. My value for tolerance is challenged by them. I think that if my blog title offends you or if it leads you to make suppositions about lewd relations between me & my daughter—I think you should be shot. I think you should be taken behind some tired old church, and shot.

(Important clarification in the interest of maintaining family relations: I’m not talking about my sweet step-mother-in-law in this regard. She doesn’t need to be shot; she is however worried about me being harmed by the kind of people that do indeed need to be shot.)

My daughter screaming from a swing that the wind feels nice in her vagina was a pristine use of expressive language. It was pure and funny and true. I love you so much, Willis. Let the wind blow where it may.

Tuesday
May272008

An Imagined Conversation with My Son About Wholeness

Jackson: I saw on your blog where you put that video of us making music together, me playing my drums and you playing your guitar. Did you notice how we smile in the beginning? It’s fun to rock out with my Dad. I want you to know that. And it’s fun when we play Chess or watch movies or talk about dreams. But I’m not so sure that posting videos of us having a great time is completely fair. It’s not really the whole story, is it? Do you remember when Lucy broke the coffeepot? How you yelled?

Lucy: Too loud, Daddy. Too loud.

Jackson: And even while you were sweeping up the glass and we thought you might be done yelling, you just kept right on yelling and yelling. And it was like you weren’t even yelling at Lucy anymore. It wasn’t about a coffeepot anymore. You were just yelling and yelling and yelling at… I don’t know what. It was like you were yelling… at the whole world or something. Where’s that video, Dad? Where’s the video of you coming unglued, falling apart, smashing into pieces all over the floor like a dropped coffeepot? Where’s the video of me when my whole life compresses into a single clenched wish for you to stop yelling please stop yelling?

Dad: Jack, you don’t need videos for memories like those. Some memories live inside your bones where they become the theme of every night and all dark things.

Monday
May262008

Drum Lessons

You will have noticed by now perceptive blog reader that I dwell in a kind of ambivalence about living in a master planned community. My house looks EXACTLY like the houses to the left and to the right and on and on. Robert Downey Jr., in his heyday, would've been doomed. There are pages and pages of rules about how our house and yard are allowed to appear. With all that said, this is how Jackson & I distinguish ourselves in a neighborhood that lacks distinctions.

The neighbors are pounding at the door / 8:00 on a Sunday morn / Jackson & his Dad are at it again / Gonna get kicked out of Summerlin