Saturday, July 11, 2009

Don’t Mullet Hate. Congratulate!

It's one thing to appreciate mullet humor ("Business in the front, party in the back!"). But it's another animal entirely to be the unintentional recipient of one.

I knew that no good would come of my new haircut as I watched "Cindy" use a razor to hack through the thick terrain of my hair for longer than what seemed necessary. I simply sat still and watched the swaths of darkness fall, fall, fall, onto the cold linoleum.

My inner optimism whispered incessantly: "Maybe after she adds product, and dries it, and straightens it everything is going to be just fine!"

But it wasn't, because when all was said and done and paid for, I emerged into the daylight with a fucking mullet, looking like a soccer Mom heading to my Honda Odyssey to pick up the kids from the babysitter.

[There's nothing disparaging about being a soccer Mom, obviously. But, I'm not one, not now, and I disagree with looking the part before I am the part.]

The mullet is not a new phenomenon, although the southern portion of this country is entirely responsible for its current death grip on certain American subcultures, as well as its exportation overseas.

According to Plague of the Mullet, a website dedicated to utter annihilation of the mullet, the Great Sphinx of Giza, over 4,500 years old, is the first monument depicting a figure (technically a human/lion hybrid) with the royal Egyptian hairdo of choice -- unbelievably, the mullet. Other noteworthy civilizations, such as the Assyrians, Persians, and Greeks all favored the mullet (automatic sunblock for the back of the neck?). I have no idea whether any broads within these cultures sported the popular cut as well, or if they had a greater degree of sense and style.

It wasn't until the 60's and 70's that the mullet began to show its fugliness more prominently in the U.S., although it mostly hibernated in the south until it exploded nationwide in the 1980's (I haven't yet uncovered who or what is to blame).

The site also mentions notable writers, philosophers, and celebrities who have at some point favored business in the front and a party in the back. Plague of the Mullet blames Samuel Taylor Coleridge's unfortunate hairstyle on opium abuse and a bad marriage. In his defense, his hair obviously did not stop him from founding the Romantic Movement along with that slacker William Wordsworth, and writing The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and freaking Kubla Khan.

Other notable mulleters have included Christopher Guest (did mullet magic have something to do with the greatness that is This Is Spinal Tap?), The Incredible Hulk, Joan Jett (still, actually), David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust days, and we can't forget MacGyver.

As for my mullet, it will grow. There's no mental or physical state, in this dimension or any other, in which I can be convinced to intentionally wear a mullet. Not even on Halloween.

[I will concede that it is much better than the horrendous perm (chastity belt) I sported back in high school.]

In the meantime, I'm going to throw on some mullet-influenced glam rock and enjoy the party in the back.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"I Can't Hear Above All The Awesome"*

A benefic time is like having the best hair day ever, but for a string of days. It's not a momentary streak of luck at the card table, or that one time the soufflé didn't cave in like a dilapidated coal mine. Rather, it's a harvest time: a confluence of perfectly aligned stars and planets all dressed up in sparkly layers of celestial dust, hanging out for awhile, just for you.

We've probably all had times when awesome came in and sat down for awhile. Maybe as a consequence we found ourselves doing involuntary jigs and smiling at perfect strangers. Maybe we were so grateful how our cup overfloweth that we, say, wept at the beauty of flowers.

Recently, like yesterday, it occurred to me that awesome and I need to spend some quality time together; it has been awhile. In the middle of contentedly eating sushi I realized that my services as a substitute teacher ("shark bait" is more accurate) will be called upon soon. School starts up again in a few mere weeks. This is definitive proof that I am not on awesome's priority list because awesome would have provided a less heinous income stream by now. Instantly I tasted bile and went color blind for about five seconds. This may also have been due to the electrifying wasabi sting that had just scored a touchdown in my mouth. It occurred to me that maybe I oughta formally invite awesome to swing by for a spell.

I've never tried to directly contact awesome before. I don't think my business school contacts can get me an email, and it definitely does not have a profile on Facebook. But, I imagine awesome is pretty smart and is totally plugged-in like all the superheroes at the Justice League HQ with their HDTV and giant plasma screens (cause that's all real, right?). I'm fairly confident that whether I recite an ode to awesome on a mountaintop, or splash an open letter on a blog, awesome will receive my message.

[Not sure where awesome lives. My first guess is another dimension. Other top guesses include Cape Sounio in Greece, God's Window in Mpumalanga, South Africa, or Zion National Park in Utah.]

I'd like to qualify the following by saying that as far as I can tell I'm not in the early stages of a mental breakdown, nor have I swum over to the deep end of delusion. If my open letter works, and awesome rings my doorbell, I am proof that a cocktail of sheer willpower, fantasy, and a dash of barmy, can summon a shimmery rainbow of change.

Dear awesome,

Hello. I hope this letter finds you well. As I am fairly confident you are omniscient, I will eschew formal introductions. I would like to kindly remind you that I haven't heard from you in awhile, and I humbly ask that you sojourn at my house in the near future (like say before public schools start up again?). Or, if you usually work through some sort of possession, by all means I'm ready. Come on through me. I'm ready. I accept. I'll willingly be your vessel; I will squeeze you in among my organs and clear out cerebral cobwebs to make room.

I think it will amuse you that I have an idea of what housing you would look like. I imagine that when I stretch out my hands my fingers will shoot thin beams of light, leaving behind wisps of that celestial ephemera you wear like perfume. I bet my cheeks will glow as if I had spent all day at the sauna, and the zits on my chin will slide off into oblivion (everyone knows whiteheads recoil in the presence of awesome). My gait will go from clumsy to graceful, and I won't even be tempted to eat a bag of potato chips or drink a venti mocha because I'll only want to eat food and drink that embolden and sustain you.

You will grant me the ability to finally see all the open doors and windows -- the ones referenced in those adages everyone mentions when there's no sign of you and we are huddled under clouds of dejection or individual rainstorms of despair.

Upon inspection I will see that all those doors of opportunity and adventure and success are immaculately crafted (by you, of course) with knobs that beckon brightly, and open with no whisper of creaking. And those windows! The variety and artistry of their frames and glass would make even the most pathological of defenestrators cream their pants (excuse my French).

The best part, though, will be the din that you bring, because it will be music; it will sound like a sweet rabble of angels, club hopping and laughing and rolling their own cigarettes. We'll sit outside, in the sun or under the stars, with our antioxidant shakes or cups of chamomille tea and talk and laugh, and when we are moved, cut a rug with the volume all the way up.

I hope that you do not find my letter too forward, and I do understand that you must be very busy these days. I am grateful and thankful for all that you have accomplished, and continue to make happen. Please do not hesitate to contact me. I am best reached on my mobile (I'm sure you've got the number).

Very truly yours,
House of G

*A variation on a quote by Joe Franklin vis-à-vis his Facebook satus on 6/4/09.

Monday, July 6, 2009

For This I P....

I pray. Maybe not your way. But I confess that prayer in one form or another still ekes out of me, and very likely will for as long as I walk the Earth in my Chuck D's. My way is more IRReverent than Reverent, but my gut tells me it still counts.

The first time that prayer and laughter co-mingled for me was at my cousin Ed's high school graduation on a sultry afternoon in 1991, and definitely not a Cat On A Hot Tin Roof sultry. I still faced a two-year stretch at an all-girl Catholic high school. I thought it was hell. We were instructed that prayer was a rigid thing: it was rote, it was dessicated, and I didn't question it.

[Digression: my all-girl high school experience is often perceived by the opposite sex as a juicy morsel from the past. It seems to suggest - to them - a teenagehood fraught with unspeakable eagerness and hormone-filled curiosity bred in steamy post P.E. locker rooms, of an outlook not yet jaded by feminism and the dull edge of monochromatic adult life. As if. Behind my globular glasses, and under my abominable poodle perm, I snarkily thought the pretty girls would end up pregnant by their early 20s (which they did), and I thought boys were stupid because I silently had crushes on them.]

At the graduation, the valedictorian gave a pretentious speech that included the term "laissez-faire" multiple times. Most people barely made it through the salutatorian's speech without reaching Stage 1 of sleep. It was the student body president's speech I remember vividly because it referenced a controversial topic at the time, prayer in schools, and because she was (kindly) bent on making her long-suffering, heat-stroked audience laugh: "As long as there are final exams in high school, there will always be prayer in classrooms." Everyone laughed, the graduates threw their caps in the air, and we all went home and ate cake.

The line about prayer in schools stuck with me as I grew out my perm and learned how to drive. My concept of prayer began to extend beyond a circuit of beads and a prescribed set of Vatican II-approved supplications. I saw that prayer comes from all kinds of people, and through so many forms because we are all conduits to things beyond (then perhaps greater than?) ourselves. We can hear this through music, see this through dance, miraculous sunsets drawing on a dizzying array of pinks and oranges, through acts of kindness, in works of art on the sides of buildings, or housed securely in sterilized museums, in the whispered entreaties addressed to a divine spirit, and through ardent pleas that may not involve a recognized form of providence.

As for me and God, I don't know. We are still working it out. We may go our separate ways, or we may meet in the middle. No one's call it yet, not even the most confident of soothsayers. But, I still pray, and always will, just like a modern-day Lazarus with a fun dial on high and ready to pour another round for everyone at the table.

Addendum: Luis Saguar, my prayers - not made from concentrate - include you and your family. Que tienes paz, en tu corazon, en tu alma, y que no sufres. Te queremos muchísimo, y tengo fe que el viaje al otro lado estará lleno con el amor del mundo -- por esto estoy rezando.