Tag Archives: music

Stalking in Stereo Sound

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Budge loves Adele. If I try to talk to her when “Set Fire to the Rain” is playing, I get a look that’ll curdle milk and a shush that would make Nancy Pearl blush with pride. Since I don’t like getting snapped at by my beloved, I usually sit quietly and listen to the song. It was during one such session that I decided Adele is the latest artist to add music to the long and storied list of stalker songs.

Now, everybody knows what a stalker song is, right? You know, one of the songs your ex dedicates to you on the late night radio romance show that sends you scurrying in a mad dash down to the police station at the butt crack of dawn the next morning to file the restraining order? Stalker songs!

Some of the more popular stalker songs masquerade as being romantic ballads. Take U2’s “I Will Follow” as an example. On the surface, the jerk finally realizes he should have paid attention to the chick when she was sending him the “come get me” signals. Now though, she’s moved on. What does he do? He lets her know right up front, “If you walkaway, walkaway
I walkaway, walkaway…I will follow …” Not a healthy response to rejection.

Still, U2’s little ditty is mild compared to some of the masters of shade watching. I remember Def Leppard coming out with “Two Steps Behind” when I was in high school and thinking, “Wow! What a cool love song!” Once I realized though that the “shadow” he sings about — “you can run, but you can never hide / From the shadow that’s creepin’ up beside you,” — is actually HIM, the song took on a newer, more sinister slant.

Now,  I realize guy stalkers are the ones who garner the most press, but they aren’t the only ones who put out stalker songs. The fairer sex has its share of scorned lovers who want to get even. I mean, look at how the girl in Carly Simon’s hit song takes catching the object of her affection with someone else: “You belong to me / Can it be, honey, that you’re not sure / You belong to me?” Guys, if a girlfriend says that song tells exactly how she feels about you, it MIGHT be time to pull the trigger on that move to Europe you’ve been contemplating. Of course, if your ex takes her cues from Blondie, moving overseas won’t matter because “One way or another [she’s] gonna find ya / [she’s] gonna getcha getcha getcha getcha!”

Dude, if she dedicated “Someone Like You” to you last night on Delilah’s show, you MIGHT want to leave the lid on that pot!

What trips me out the most though is seeing how long and flourishing the history of stereo stalkers has been. For example, if you get past the funky organ and funny name, “96 Tears”, which I always thought was an upbeat little tune, turns really dark. How would YOU interpret the stanza:

Since you left me you’re always laughin’ way down at me
But watch out now I’m gonna get there
We’ll be together for just a little while
And then I’m gonna put you way down here
And you’ll start cryin’ Ninety-six tears

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a lead in for a Criminal Minds episode if ever one existed! I can see the voice over and pull-away shot of the girl struggling, chained to the wall of a dark basement right now.  Of course, one might expect stalkerish or otherwise odd behavior from a guy who legally changed his name to a piece of punctuation.

What concerns me most, however, are the people who don’t realize a stalker song when they hear it. NO SONG illustrates this more clearly than that wedding standard, that classic “ode to eternal love”, that promise of constancy. Yep, I’m talking about the one, the only “Every Breath You Take” by the Police. I have attended two weddings (against my wishes, mind you) where this was the song played at the altar for the lovely couple.

Did no one in the wedding planning stages ever think to LISTEN TO THE LYRICS? This isn’t a song about a happy relationship blossoming into ripe old age with grandchildren around the rocking chairs on the front porch! This is a ballad to insanity and obsession! I can’t believe it wasn’t the theme song to “Fatal Attraction.” Just look what the guy says in the first stanza:

Every breath you take
And every move you make
Every bond you break, every step you take
I’ll be watching you

He ends EVERY stanza with “I’ll be watching you!” Who is this guy? Santa Claus? If I go to a wedding and see “EBYT” on the program, I’m praying they include that part about speak now or forever hold your peace, because I’m standing up on the pew and screaming “Dude, you are marrying a Glenn Close clone! Fly you fool! Fly!” Notice I said, “Dude” because even though the song is about a guy watching a girl, no guy gets to pick out the music at his wedding so the bride has to be the mental case.

Gentlemen, we have found him, now we just have to bring him in.

So, after all that explanation, I’m back to Adele. I don’t know WHO screwed this girl over, but I can tell you she isn’t happy about it. I can’t say for certain because I haven’t listened to all of her music, but all the songs I have heard have, “stalker chick revenge” written all over them. I mean, if a girl was singing to me, “For me, it isn’t over . . . ” in a smooth calm voice after she has “turned up out of the blue uninvited” because she “couldn’t stay away [she] couldn’t fight it” I am on the first thing smoking to Tristan de Cunha and I’m not looking back.

First though, I’m gonna swing by the house and pick up my bunny rabbit. Know what i mean?

Love y’all and keep those feet clean!

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Let’s Get the Facts Straight, Shall We?

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I sooooo miss the '80s. I was there and it was awesome.

It’s taken awhile for me to weigh in on this matter, but with the Super Bowl and then the Grammys right after, I’ve kept my silence long enough. It’s time to set the record straight and if no one else is going to do it, then I am. Lady Gaga is NOT as cool as Madonna. Lady Gaga is not the new generation’s Madonna. Lady Gaga is NOT Madonna’s heir.

I like Lady Gaga, but to paraphrase the infamous debate exchange between Lloyd Benson and Dan Quayle, “I watched Madonna come on the scene. I saw her take MTV by storm. Madonna was my teenage lust-crush and, Lady Gaga, you are NO Madonna.”

Let’s look at the facts. Lady Gaga wears outrageous costumes and has certain risque’ choreography in her videos and acts. Madonna made cone bras and lingerie-as-outerwear fashionable. How many young girls do you see walking down the street wearing a dress made of steak? Right. Now if you had been alive in the ’80s (aka the most awesome decade EVER) you would see girls from 8 to 80 rocking bustiers and fishnets without even standing on the corner. Fashion icon point? Madonna.

Maximum weirdness.

Lady Gaga is the stage name for Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. Madonna’s stage name is . . . well, Madonna. You don’t get cool points for giving yourself a nickname. Nicknames are bestowed; they are earned through hard work and memorableness. Put out an awesome song that cements your place in music history and you get a nickname. Lady Gaga’s well-earned nickname is? Right, she doesn’t have one. Madonna? “The Material Girl,” a name she earned after channeling Marilyn’s turn in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”  in the video for the eponymous song. Nickname coolness? Madonna.

That’s 2-0 if you’re keeping score.

Next up is — for lack of a better word — groundbreakingness. Lady Gaga? What’s she done that’s never been done before? Matter of fact, what has she done that Madonna didn’t do before her? The word you are searching for is nada. What taboo walls did Madonna knock down, or more accurately, explode in a blinding flash of flame, fame, and diamonds? Let’s see. First, she writhed around in a pure white wedding dress for “Like a Virgin.” Then there was the “Borderline” blasphemous video for “Like a Prayer” where the erstwhile Catholic schoolgirl danced in next to nothing before a background of burning crosses.

Can you say "Went over like a fart in church?"

If Skinhead O’Connor hadn’t torn up that picture of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live, Madonna still would be persona non gratia at the Vatican. Oh, and how did she follow that up? She only put out the first video to get an X-rating in its initial release when “Justify My Love” was banned from being shown before midnight on MTV. I still remember being in a cramped and crowded dorm room on E-Hall in the Johnstone Dorms of Clemson University to watch that first showing. Then Madonna went on to release a book and a movie called Sex.

Then, just to show she still had the power to rock an audience with the unexpected, THE Material Girl frenched Christina AND Brittney (back when they were at peak hotness) while wearing a Marlene Deitrich suit just to pass the torch on to the next generation of hot women singers. Taboo destruction points? Madonna.

Still crazy after all these years.

So that’s 3-0 and game, set, and shutout to Madonna. Now with 7 Grammys and 13 MTV awards, Lady Gaga is off to a good start for sure, but she’s still got a ways to go to get 10 Grammys out of 28 nominations and turn 68 MTV nominations into 20 awards INCLUDING “Lifetime Achievement Award.” Lady Gaga is doing well for herself after five years, but can she sustain the flow and keep rocking into a third DECADE like Madonna? Only time will tell.

Of course, as much as I still love Madonna, I respect the fact that she too isn’t completely original.

That honor, of course, would have to go to . . . who else?

Left 2011, right 1992. Not exactly identical, but not bad for a 62-year-old.

CHER!

The Ex-Mrs. Bono is past Social Security age, still rocking, and still pretty hot — thanks to the miracle of modern plastic surgery and despite the stress of having Chas as a daughter/son. Keep it up, girl!

And the rest of you rock on and keep those feet clean.

Love y’all!

Another One Who Left Us Too Soon, Happy Birthday Bob-mon!

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"One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain."

Had he not died waaaayyyy too young in 1981, Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley would be 67 years old today. Now, I can’t say anything about Bob Marley and the Wailer’s music that hasn’t already been said by much better wordsmiths than I. Anyone who knows music knows that dreadlocks, reggae, and Rastafarianism would be pretty much unknown outside of Ethiopia and Jamaica if Bob Marley hadn’t started recording.

I don’t know about other college campuses, but when I was at Clemson University in the early 90’s, you couldn’t open a frat boy’s dorm room and not find a well-worn copy of Legend, the 1984 compilation of Marley’s greatest hits, lying around amidst a lighter or two, some Job 1.5 papers, and an empty plastic baggie or twelve.

In the decades since its release, Legend has been Certified Platinum TEN times. In America, that has earned it Diamond certification.  Just to put that into perspective, only 106 albums in the history of the RIAA have been Diamond Certified.

It’s easy to try to pass Marley off as “just a good reggae” singer, but that is damning him with very faint praise. Bob Marley was a good man and the fact that he probably consumed his weight several times over in some of Jamaica’s finest export does not tarnish that fact. He was bright, articulate, and most of all, one of the most peaceful men to ever walk the earth.

I firmly believe that if we really want to achieve lasting peace in the Middle East between the numerous warring factions, we need to stop investing in diplomacy and high tech weaponry. All that’s doing is getting people killed in droves. What we need to invest in are some HUGE SPEAKERS. We need some gigawatts of power to some major league woofers and tweeters and once we’ve got everything in place, put on “Three Little Birds” and — to quote the boys from Spinal Tap — crank it up to eleven. Peace would break out spontaneously as the gentle strains of that ultimately peaceful anthem started to roll across the battlefields and deserts.

If, and this might be taking it too far, the little birds didn’t sufficiently pacify the masses, then we would have to break out the nuclear peace bomb and drop nothing less than “One Love, One Life” on everyone. It is an undisputed fact people CANNOT act violently when Bob Marley music is playing. Even his version of the oft covered standard “I Shot the Sheriff”  isn’t at its core a glorification of violence. Sure, Sheriff John Brown ended up getting shot down, but not that blasted deputy!

I think one of the most telling aspects of Bob Marley’s character is the fact that he was father to 13 children. Notice I didn’t say he “fathered” 13 children. The difference is extremely important. At least two of the children he acknowledged as his own and whom he supported and his estate still supports today were the products of adulterous relationships by his wife. Now regardless of the fact that several other of his progeny were born to other ladies outside the bounds of wedlock, a man who would claim another man’s child as his own instead of killing said man AND cheating wife is a man of peace.

Bob Marley left us too soon. Stolen by melanoma that spread throughout his body. Even as the cancer consumed his life, it could not touch his gentle soul. Though he was a mulitmillionaire at his death, he never forgot his humble beginnings in a ramshackle record shop on a dirt street in the ghetto village of St Anne Parish in Jamaica. His final words were to his son, Ziggy: “Rememba’ Son, money can’t buy life.” Bob Marley made money. Money didn’t make him.

I think a glimpse of his gentleness is best seen from his own perspective. In an interview during the racially charged times of the Sixties and Seventies, Marley was asked about racial superiority and who he supported and what he thought of the prejudices so common then. With the wisdom of a Rastfarian sage he replied:

I don’t have prejudice against meself. My father was a white and my mother was black. Them call me half-caste or whatever. Me don’t dip on nobody’s side. Me don’t dip on the black man’s side nor the white man’s side. Me dip on God’s side, the one who create me and cause me to come from black and white.

Irie, Irie, Mr. Marley. Irie, Irie Rastaman!

 

Sherlock Holmes 2 is Exceedingly Well Done

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If you haven’t been to see Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows, by all means go see it before it leaves the theaters. Budge and I went to see it yesterday with one of the many movie gift cards we acquired at Christmas and I was completely pleased with the movie as a whole. I realize some people — particularly movie snobs — will think I’m daft, but this film was crafted well enough and cast well enough to be considered for an Oscar. Now I have no delusions of it even being nominated, but if it does get on the slate, it will be the biggest Hollywood coup since Shakespeare in Love topped Saving Private Ryan for Best Picture.

As far as the cast, no one in Hollywood plays a manic dissolute independently wealthy hero as well as Robert Downey, Jr. I am somewhat biased in favor of Mr. Downey, I must confess, because I love to root for the underdog and not very long ago, RDJ was considered, rightly, by many in Hollywood as a washed up has been whose taste for alcohol and drugs had derailed a promising career. I think he has channeled some of that real world skid row gutter experience into characters like the alcoholic Tony Stark and the cocaine addicted Sherlock Holmes to bring a dimension to the screen other actors would be hard pressed to duplicate.

Jude Law as Watson comes across as anything but a sidekick second banana. Far from just a sober baseline foil for Holmes’ mania, Law plays the retired army surgeon as a concerned friend and worthy successor to Holmes’ masterful detective work. He also shows an audience how to help an addict but avoid the pitfalls of co-dependence. Jared Harris also gives a masterful performance as the brilliant but depraved Professor Moriarty — the one man whose intellect and powers of planning are a match, if not quite superior to Holmes’ own skills. When Harris and Downey share the screen, the air fairly crackles with the tension of two brilliant narcissistic geniuses crossing razor sharp intellects.

One particularly good part of this movie that I noticed and I hope others do as well is the marvelous music played throughout the film. From the somber strains of Don Giovanni to the lively wailing of an Irish fiddle, the music is ever-present and ever-changing but always maintaining a goal of helping move the action forward. I don’t know if the studio will release a soundtrack, but I for one would welcome it.

To sum up, this sequel is every bit as good as the first film and for my part attains the rare pedestal held by other second runs like Terminator 2 as even a measure superior to the original. It is more than just an action flick. It is a thinking person’s movie and it is loaded with great lines, great performances, and great music.

Wikipedia: Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a 1991 science fiction action film directed by James Cameron and written by Cameron and William Wisher Jr.

The End Draweth Nigh

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Okay, forget the craziness surrounding 2012 and the Mayan calendar. Don’t pay any attention to all the folks blathering on about Nostradamus’ final predictions and such. Ignore the prophetic signs abundant in the Middle East. Don’t even worry about the guy on the corner with the sandwich board proclaiming “The End of the World is Near.” These petty predictors pale in comparison to the omen I received yesterday morning that our days on this planet are truly drawing to a close.

Before you ask, I didn’t receive a divine visitation or some ESP related premonition. My source is much more reliable than either of those . . . well, depending on WHO the divine visitation is. I mean, I would consider Angelina Jolie or Scarlett Johansson dropping by unannounced as a divine visitation, but I wouldn’t give much credence to any prophetical statements either might make (even though Angie does have that whole “weirdness” thing going on sometimes.)

No, my wake up call, literally, came from the radio beside my bed. I know that the end of the world is coming because NPR — that’s National Public Radio for the Dittoheads out there, you know who you are — aired a full segment interview with (cue ominous music) . . . THE BEASTIE BOYS!

No worries, mates. The show won't last that long!"

Yep, Ad-Rock and Mike-D chatted up a new project they have coming out with one of the erudite and hyper-literate NPR hosts. MCA was sadly absent because of his ongoing fight with cancer. Let me run that one by you again in case you missed it the first time The Beastie Boys — yes, THOSE Beastie Boys — were being interviewed on N.P.R. As Bugs Bunny once remarked in his Bronx accent, “Now I’ve seen everyting!”

I could understand when Pearl Jam started appearing on my local Classic Rock station. It was hard at first because I was like, “Pearl Jam?! What gives? Vedder rocks forever! They just had a HUGE tour in 2000! Oh, yeah, um, 2000 . . . that was like  eleven ye-. . . *heavy sigh*.” So yeah, that was harsh, but I could deal. I deluded myself into thinking some things are just “instant classics”, you know?

I was even able to handle the crushing blow of seeing one of my other favorite bands — Foreigner — have their Greatest Hits cd on sale — not at somewhere like Record Bar (if you don’t know what Record Bar is, PLEASE, don’t ask. I feel bad enough already) or even Target or Walmart. Foreigner, the whole “Hot Blooded” bunch of them was on sale at HALLMARK. Right between the stationery with puppies and kittens and the new Vera Bradley releases sat one of the iconic rock bands. HALLMARK. I could just barely hold my composure until I got to the Element where I could give full vent to my sorrow. Budge was extremely worried and asked me what was the matter. I sobbed out, “Foreigner is on sale at Hallmark!” and erupted into another bout of misery.

She just looked at me with that look of “Someone tell me again why I hitched my wagon to this horse?” I have a picture of that look. I really want to put it up in a post on here but I’ve been promised grievous bodily harm should that ever happen.

"I'm givin' 'er all she's got cap'n! She cannae ta' much more!"

I managed to survive the revelation that Steve Tyler — the rock god frontman of Aerosmith (and father of Arwen Evenstar) — was going to be a judge on American freaking Idol. When I read that news on MSN, I couldn’t help but start quoting from Shelley’s “Ozymandias”. I didn’t realize I was speaking aloud until Budge asked my why I was quoting

Romantics and I told her that Steven Tyler was to judge American Idol.

I got The Look again for my trouble.

The Beastie Boys on NPR though? That’s it. I am officially PAST old and well on my way to ancient. When one of the first groups you ever headbanged to trade in “Brass Monkey” for Perrier, the Apocalypse cannot be too far away. All that is left is for The Rolling Stones to finally disintegrate and fall into dust right in the middle of a live performance of “Satisfaction” for me to know that it’s all over but the crying. After all, once The Beastie Boys do NPR, what’s left? I guess I could hear Def Leppard playing as elevator Muzak. Of course, once that happens, I’m just taking that elevator on up to the ceiling and jumping off. I don’t want to be around for the earth-rending events that are sure to follow!

Love y’all! Keep those feet clean and if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go read my Easton Press copy of W.B. Yeats’ poems. I think I’ll start with “The Second Coming.”

Woolly Bully, Woolly . . . Boom!

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Not mine, but a very accurate representation! Color's perfect, but the wheels are wrong.

When I was 15 years old, Daddy sold his boat and bought me a 1979 Mustang Ghia. Aunt Cathy called and told me to get up to Granny and Papa’s as soon as I could. I was afraid something was wrong because I really wasn’t expecting Aunt Cathy to be at Granny and Papa’s. I told Mama she hustled me out to the car and up the road we went in a pouring down rain. I should have suspected something because Mama was acting entirely too calm for anything to be gravely amiss.

We turned onto Weathers Circle, and I saw Daddy’s black Chevy truck, Papa’s slate blue Comet station wagon, Granny’s blue Ford LTD, Cathy’s gold Oldsmobile, and a white Mustang.  We pulled in and I tore into the house expecting to find everything in a state of panic with Granny or Papa on the floor and Daddy or Cathy huddled over them. Instead, everyone was sitting down smiling. I was so confused. Then Daddy said, “So, boy, how do you like your car?”

Okay, I may have been second in my class of 399, but I could be a mite slow on the uptake.

I asked him, “What car?”

He said, “The Mustang you passed on your way in here.”

Epiphany! I turned to see Mama smiling too. She HAD known. She and Daddy talked and she’d agreed to pay my insurance if Daddy bought the car. I couldn’t stop shaking as I walked to the driveway oblivious to the fact that I was getting wet. It could have been raining flaming camel dung and I wouldn’t have noticed. This white, four wheeled goddess was my car. I had just vaulted to the tiptop of the pecking order among my friends. All the other first cars I’d seen were rattletrap jalopies one good pothole away from the junkyard while I had a barely used Mustang with the carpet still damp from the car lot detailing job.

I got behind the wheel as Aunt Cathy climbed in the passenger seat. Daddy passed me the keys with two words and a smile, “Be careful.” That moment was the happiest I’ve ever seen Daddy. He looked childishly happy and since I wasn’t used to him or Mama looking happy it shocked me a little. I never saw Daddy happier until the day Nick tossed a bib embroidered with “Grandpa” in Daddy’s lap thereby announcing Mason’s imminent arrival.

I recovered and took Cathy around the block for the first ride in MY new car. Then Mama. Then Granny. I offered to take Daddy and Papa but they politely declined. I hugged Daddy and thanked him, but not nearly enough.

That first evening, I showed her off to my buddies then took her over to see my 15 year old girlfriend. She ooohhed and aaahhhed satisfactorily as her father, who didn’t much like me anyway, stared with murderous intent at me AND the car. All he said (growled actually) was, “Not til she’s sixteen” before going back into the house.

I don’t know if I’ve ever been happier before or since. I got a boss new stereo and tuned the engine just right. If I wasn’t driving her, I was waxing her. I probably changed the oil six times in the time she was mine. We had a way to go without begging a ride. Five months later, my girl turned sixteen, and we went on our first date. She was supposed to be home by ten; we pulled in the driveway at 9:45. I was terrified of her father.

Put it in fast forward for about ten months to early Tuesday afternoon, late July.

I was headed home via Fountain Inn, windows down, Sam Sham and the Pharaohs belting out “Woolly Bully” on the stereo when it occurred to me I should go see Granny and Papa.

FI is a three red light town. I was coming up on the first and saw it was red. Right then, things went all to hell.

My buddy Robby once told me I was the most intelligent person he’d ever known, but I didn’t have sense enough to get out of a rainstorm. Approaching the light, I thought, with perfect clarity, “Oh dear, I must turn left to go back to Granny and Papa’s. I cannot turn left on a red light. What shall I do? Ah ha, I see the next light is green. I can turn left on a green light and go back to Granny and Papa’s. That is what I shall do! I am so smart!”

Anybody spot the flaw in that little plan?

As the Pharaohs reached the final climactic “Woolly Bulllllyyyy” chorus, I once again proved Robby right by sailing through the red light into the path of an old decrepit jeep. I remember it happening in slow motion, looking out the window at the approaching jeep and thinking, “This is gonna hurt!”

It did.

The jeep took me in the driver’s door and knocked me across the console (cool guys don’t wear seat belts) into the passenger’s seat amidst a maelstrom of glass and metal. It seemed eerily quiet for a few seconds, then the world became one huge conglomerate of noise. I leaned up and opened the passenger door of my shattered goddess and walked towards a nearby street lamp. It had a nice wide, inviting base and seemed like a fine place to sit and reflect on what I should do next. The driver of the jeep, which was unscratched save a broken wooden bumper (that’s foreshadowing folks), walked over and said, “Man, are you okay?” I nodded.

Just then, Mr. Wofford Woods appeared in my field of vision. He and Granny Wham worked in the store connected to the street light I was now leaning against. Thankfully she was off on Tuesdays. My reflective period abruptly ended; I moved to action.

Reaching up, I took  Wofford by the jacket lapels and, with what little authority I could put into my sixteen year old crackling voice, said, “Wofford, DO NOT call Mama. I repeat DO. NOT. CALL. MY. MOTHER., and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DO NOT call Granny.” Then, for the first and, to now, last time in my life, I uttered, “You call Laurens Glass Plant and GET. MY. DADDY!!”

Wofford nodded, strode off, and promptly ignored every word. I realized this when, about seven minutes after I lost sight of him, a light blue ’78 Ford LTD jumped the curb and skidded to a stop in a nova of dust, grass clumps, and broken sprinkler heads. Granny Wham leaped from the car and I knew instantly she’d be taken unawares whilst getting ready to go out because she had on her best slacks but was wrapped in her rattiest housecoat, (If you’re not from the South, you might not know what a housecoat is, but it’s ok), her curlers still in her head, AND a generous amount of pink Oil of Olay she missed with the washrag in the excitement on her face.

I made a mental note to kill Wofford.

Granny was still in her prime in those days — nary a bit bowed with age, infirmity, or indecision. She would have happily fought (and probably killed) a raging tyrannosaurus bare-handed had she felt one of her own was in danger. She hugged me to her in all out mother hen mode and started asking questions. Many, many questions I lacked the ability to answer.  I managed to reach up and gently put my finger to her lips to quiet her and ask, “Where is Papa?” She replied, indignantly, “Frank was shaving and had half his face done and refused to wash his face off and come with me before he finished! He just said, ‘Mama, he can’t be hurt very badly since he had sense enough to tell Wofford not to call you’ and went back to shaving.” Inside, I wept for Papa because Granny calling him “Frank” instead of “Daddy” was the equivalent of her or Mama using my full, three word name.

Soon after, Mama made a similar curb jumping entrance. Luckily, she had been about to go to work on second shift at the textile plant so she was fully dressed. Then the ambulance arrived and Mama talked Granny into going home to get Papa . . . and finish dressing, while Mama rode with me in the ambulance.

We got to the hospital despite nearly wrecking the ambulance and they took me into ER. Remember the wooden jeep bumper? It’s important now. The charge nurse took a pair of scissors and began to cut my jeans off. I was wearing the only pair of Guess jeans I have ever owned. They cost $50 in 1986 money. I was proud of those jeans, so I screamed out, “Don’t do that! My Ima (my other grandmother) can get any stain out of anything!”

So, the nurse said, in the tone of someone who knows something YOU do not know, “Okay, sir, go ahead and take your pants off.” Turns out, what she knew that I didn’t was I had a six inch long, four inch wide sliver of  jeep bumper sticking out of my left leg. As I pushed my pants down, I found the rest of the piece of wood — jammed against my left femur. My hand pushed the wood, the wood scraped down the bone, and I snatched the scissors away from the nurse and cut my jeans of.

I’d gotten X-rayed and scheduled to have a doctor look at me when Daddy opened the curtain, walked in and said, “Looks like I sold my boat for nothing.”

At the time, I was livid that he could speak to me like that with the day I was having. I was pissed. Ten years later, I found out Daddy had driven from Laurens at bat-out-of-hell speeds unaware if I was alive or dead. Then, when he walked into the ER, Granny Wham grabbed him and said, without fanfare or word of how I was doing, “The car is totaled and he HAS to have a car!!.” So Daddy was as mad at her as I was mad at him basically for the same reason. Wish I’d know that then.

Mama took me home about an hour later.  Two days later, Papa Wham took me to the junk yard where my goddess had been laid to rest to recover a few things. I was going to get my stereo, but when I saw the console, I gave up that idea. I started school on crutches the next week. I was out of work for three weeks and my girlfriend cheated on me with one of my co-workers. To this day, I have a massive scar on my left thigh that is all grody and sunken in. Still hurts like crap sometimes too. In my mind, I deserve it for killing my snow white goddess.

Looking back, I’m pretty sure I’ve never been as happy as I was for those ten months. I’ve had other cars. Some of them were awesome, but you never forget your first.

I guess Robert Frost said it best, “Nothing gold can stay.”

Of course, Dallas would say, “Stay gold, Pony Boy!”

All of you, stay golden too.

Love y’all and make sure to wash your feet!