Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fluff's Just So Stories: How the Pooperman Got His Name

My taste in men has sometimes been questionable. (I’m not even talking about my son's sperm donor, he never appealed to me) I’ve always found the most attractive thing to be talent, that and good looks.  I was drawn to the tragically flawed but brilliantly talented misunderstood artistic types. I wanted the Jim Morrisons of the world but the big difference between Jim Morrison and and a total loser is success. You see without success so many of these brilliant guys would be just another asshole who gets away with shit because they’re talented and good looking. Without success they are losers who are completely impractical and wind up being very expensive pets who’s parasitic tendencies become less endearing as they grow more bitter.
This was the case of Huck. He was truly gifted. He was also handsome. Huck undoubtedly had some of the Bubble effect that Tina Fey made famous on 30 Rock. Good looking people often get away with things and don’t have to be good at what they do because they are in a bubble. This was true of Huck not because he was given credit for being better at things than he was but because he got away with doing the awful things that he did. He was a hopeless alcoholic. On the rare occasions that he was actually sober, it put him in a bad mood and the entire world was more than happy to buy him the next drink to see him flash that charming smile again. People were also willing and even eager to give him things, he got furniture, money, clothes. He was a drunken male version of Blanche Dubois always relying on the kindness of strangers. He was exceptionally charismatic and exceptionally handsome. It was the bubble, he could vomit on someone’s couch and they would forgive him as quickly as he could wipe his dimpled chin.

What I loved most about him was how he lived as an artist. He viewed the world and everything in it with a quirky and entertaining point of view. I always believed that he was an artist who if given a couple of exhibits and a spot on a late night talk show would win the world over. People would flock to his openings and trip over their own feet for a chance to buy his paintings. They would make him a success and then at last I could feel proud to be his girlfriend. In the mean time, it was often embarrassing.

One night we were on our way a see his friend’s band. We were there watching the opening act and earlier in the evening had stopped at an authentic Mexican eatery. Huck was very into authentic Hispanic food and liked the places that served tacos made from the more often forgotten parts of animals. He loved tacos that were filled with what I called "Working meat" things like  tripe and tongue and other flesh that bore the distinctive flavor of having once had a function.  On this night I didn’t join him in eating and am glad that I didn’t. It would seem that he’d consumed a bad burrito and was now feeling the effects in his lower intestines. Undoubtedly it was not just the pet food grade meat but the hearty amount of Jim Beam dancing around in his gullet. He told me he wasn’t feeling so good and that we needed to find a bathroom. I pointed to the bathroom in the club. He said “No, there’s only one bathroom here and there’s a line. I’m not going to go in there and stink it up and come out to a line of people who know that I made the stink. I understood his desire to not embarrass himself and agreed when he suggested we leave to find another rest room.

We had parked in front of another friend’s mother’s house. He suggested we walk the couple of blacks back there to her home and use her bathroom. We arrived at my car and before heading to the house he grabbed his bottle of Jim Beam out of the trunk and took a couple of swigs to reinforce his buzz. We then went to the front door and knocked. There was no answer and there were no lights on, things didn’t look good. Huck knocked and even pounded to no avail. There was nobody home. After cursing a bit we decided to go back to the club but not before getting another swig or two. I suggested we find another place, maybe a gas station. Huck said he’d be lucky if he made it back to club Fuck. About half way there he announced that he definitely would NOT make it. “You’re kidding! Oh come on!”
“Not gonna make it”
“I think you can! I think you can!”
“NO! I can’t!
And with that he ran into a phone booth.
I braced myself, was he really going to use a phone booth as a toilet? I immediately turned my back to the horror and the noises I soon heard gave me my answer. I proceeded to try to be useful by looking for various things he could use to clean himself with. I was looking for napkins, kleenex, ooh here’s some leaves – a camper’s best friend. Ooh a paper cup! The noises from the phone booth continued and sounded like they came from the very bowels of Hell. I was just crumpling up a piece of paper I’d found to make it softer and more absorbent when the noise stopped. It was silent, very silent.
“Are you OK?” I asked cautiously.
“....Are you ....done?”
“Can I turn around?”
I turned around and there he was standing in the booth with his pants up. I admonished him.
“Huck! You didn't WIPE!! I’ve been gathering all these useful items you could use to clean yourself;  Why have you already pulled your pants back up?”He looked at me with an expression of disgust and pain.
“I never got them DOWN!”
“I couldn’t get my belt undone!”
I nearly soiled myself laughing. I laughed and laughed and laughed until I couldn't breathe. And Huck just stood there looking disgusted with himself. But I still wanted to see the show. “Maybe we can find a hose or run you through a car wash”
“We can’t go anywhere! LOOK AT ME!”He turned around slowly and his light colored pants were just covered in crap. It was disgusting but more than disgusting, it was FUNNY!
"Do we have to go home?”
“Of course we do!”
The good lord took care of me that day because for reasons unknown to me, I left one bag of non perishable groceries in the trunk of my car. In that bag were garbage can liners. I lined the passenger seat with them and took the T-tops off the car and we drove home.I was making jokes the whole way, “Your Khaki pants are now Caca pants! Bwahahahahaha!”I couldn’t stop laughing to the point where he was like “OK, stop already, this is embarrassing.”“Oh don’t you give me that! You are SO lucky that I find this funny. If I was like a NORMAL person, I would have left you on the sidewalk.” “True …true” he muttered and suffered through my laughter because it was a far better fate than an incontinent drunk should ever expect. We got home and before jumping in the shower, he looked in the mirror and nearly died laughing himself. “This looks like a Rorschach!” he screamed. I then pointed out that I couldn’t help but compare him to a super hero; after all he’d made this amazing transformation in a phone booth.

From that point on, he was "Pooperman".

Monday, November 12, 2012


I write this on November 25, 2010: An update will follow, when I get around to it.

I  do not believe in abusive partners. Co-dependancy is not a language I speak.  While relationships can be very complicated things to see clearly when you are inside them and you can find yourself slowly lured into a place you would never have agreed to had you seen it from the entrance, I was raised to have enough self esteem to know when I’m being compromised in a way that is not acceptable.  When it comes to any physical abuse,  game over.  That’s just not negotiable. I’ve never had much experience with that  attitude being challenged because I’ve never been attracted to the kind of men who have the need to display physical domination over women. Machismo? No thank you.
So why am I sitting here with an ice pack on my face where I got hit? I’m hoping I can keep it from swelling and turning into a black eye because I have a pitch meeting to go to tomorrow. I don’t want people to think the wrong thing.  People see a woman with a black eye and immediately assume she’s in an abusive relationship. One has to wonder what is wrong with this woman to make her put up with such things. What makes this bad is that it would not be the wrong assumption. Yes I am in an abusive relationship I have to be honest with myself about that.
So why am I? How can I be in an abusive relationship? I look at how every door in this house is cracked from being kicked in. My vacuum cleaner has a broken handle because it was thrown to the floor several times replacing me as a punching bag in a fit of rage. There are holes in the walls and plastic replaces a broken window. Remote controls don’t last long around here because they get thrown. They hit the wall or the floor but they are usually aimed at me. I have needed to wear long sleeves in the summer to cover bruises and bite marks – yes, bite marks!
We’ve gotten professional help. We’ve been in some form of counseling for years, we seem to move forward but then move back. The criticism and lack of respect eat at my self esteem and focus. The stress makes me scatter brained and compromises my short term memory. Sometimes I want to leave, I really do. I get in the car but rarely go further than around the block before I come back. I park somewhere and cry into my cell phone to a friend that is close enough that I am not embarrassed to discuss it with them. I don't want  people to know; I don't want them to think he is a bad person. He has such a wonderful side. After a while, he calls to say he's sorry and I know it's safe go back home.  
I really can’t live without him.
I can’t, I won’t. I am dedicated to him. He is my life. 
I love him unconditionally.
I refuse to  give up on him! We will work on this, it WILL get better! We will try other therapists. He can go on meds. Something will have to work because I don't want to live without him.
I can't leave him. 
He is my son.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Kelly Thomas Art Exhibit at the PAS Gallery

Friday night was the Kelly Thomas exhibit sponsored by Art With an Agenda. It was truly a great thing to be a part of. My friend (and soul sister) Cherie Currie and I arrived at the same time. There was just so much good work there and such a huge variety. Here is what Cherie did. She sculpts with a chainsaw! 
Cherie's piece
Her piece is very positive and uplifting and if you've read the previous post here, you know that mine is not. Cherie and I feel a strong bond and enjoyed the fact that we are so much alike but came at this from polar opposite places.

Of course our choice in mediums couldn't be any more different. Cherie literally takes great risk not just artistically but physically. There are only a handful of chainsaw carvers in the country and we lost one in 2009  dangerous business!

Me, Ron, Cherie
Most poignant about this experience was hearing from Kelly's family members. His sister contacted me on Facebook and soon his father did too. I had listened to his father, Ron Thomas, on KFI right when the news story broke and was always riveted by it. I loved that his Dad got involved in pursuing justice for his son and in so doing uncovered a whole lot of corruption in the Fullerton Police Department. Bear in mind, I am not painting with a broad brush here, I think cries of police brutality have become as frivolous as the use of the word "racist". For the most part our officers are not appreciated enough for the job they do; but power does have that funny way of performing brain surgery on some folks' psyches. So does living with too much adrenaline and let's face it, some folks get into the work (despite the psychological screening) because they have been bullies all their lives and just want to get paid for it. It haunted me that Ron had to listen, repeatedly,  to the tape of his son being murdered in order to get some justice. The fact that Kelly cried "Dad, Dad, Dad" as he was nearing the end of his beating and his last experience of consciousness, was brutal and was horrible for Ron to have to hear. The fact that these same cries didn't stop these thugs is unbelievable.

Mine's on the far left
I had several people come up to me expressing how much they "totally got" my piece. And they did too! Several mentioned the doughnut being pink and knew that I meant it in an insulting way. Cool people. Ah but it's nice to get our of Stepford and mingle with people who "get" things. One lady told me that one of the officers always ate pink doughnuts. Hmmm.

There is talk of KCET doing a documentary on the exhibit. That would be fantastic. You can help make that happen by going to this page and voting for the Kelly Thomas Artwork.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kelly Thomas Art Exhibit

A few weeks ago, I was on Facebook and got a private message for me and my friend Cherie Currie. We were being asked to donate pieces of art for an exhibit / auction in memory of Kelly Thomas.  We weren’t necessarily being asked to make pieces for the show as much as donate something. Having been riveted by Kelly’sstory from the minute I heard it, I agreed, instantly. Cherie soon followed and went into how she would do a piece for the show.  I figured I would need to as well since a whimsical scene featuring a jar of marshmallow topping would seem fairly inappropriate. 
Cherie’s work is just plain awesome. She carves with a chainsaw. Her beautiful mind started whirring and spinning and creating. She wanted to carve a bench, something very positive. She was asking questions about what Kelly liked and clearly was going to do a beautiful piece that represented healing. I loved where she was going. I just couldn’t follow. I looked again at the video of Kelly beivg attacked at the hands of these officers. I posted it on my Facebook page and got a lot of reaction. But many were saying what I would normally say, things to the effect of what a tough job it is for the police. It's impossible to know what you might do in their situation, etc. I didn’t want to do something that might offend other law enforcement officers, I really do tend to look at things from their side, but not in this case.
The image of six, fairly hefty cops on top of Kelly wouldn’t leave me; nor would the question, “How many overweight cops does it take to sit on one skinny homeless guy?” The image of a doughnut immediately came to mind.
As the mother of a son who is neurologically atypical, I could not rise above the situation. I’m in the situation. My son’s paternal uncle is a paranoid Schizzophrenic. I pray daily that my son’s diagnosis will remain only Aspergers syndrome as he moves beyond his teen years and enters the age where Schizophrenia  could  manifest.  As he is now, my son is quite “normal” but tends to behave askew when nervous. I can see him getting into a misunderstanding with law enforcement so easily. A misunderstanding is not something one should die for. I made sure he watched the video and let him know “No matter what is going on, when the police are present, hands up, no arguing! No discussion! No gestures! Silence!” I think the video helped him to understand.
I talked to my friend, Andrea, in New York and told her I couldn’t do anything positive. “What do you want to do?” 
“I want to paint a doughnut in a pool of blood. Like one of these guys sat it down as if to say 'be right back, got to go beat up a homeless guy now'. All in a day’s work.”
“Then do that! You have to do what you feel.” was her response. OK. I did. I also got out the maglight to model for me because one of the officers had used a flashlight to pound Kelly’s face in. I wanted the light on the doughnut to represent justice shining on them. And I wanted that doughnut to be pink and covered in candy sprinkles to play up the clownlike antics of the cops and further insult their manhood. I wanted to do it in photorealism. This is a style I'm trying to veer away from because it's really constipated of me but I wanted  to use it here; I wanted the blood to look as real as possible.
Because this was real. This IS real.
Static, quiet, no movement.  
A life has been stilled. 
I started it digitally, no sketch on paper. I was under a bit of a time crunch and thought it would be a more direct approach. I don't recommend it. It looked sterile like this for way too long like a construction paper collage. I hated looking at it so I wasn't enjoying working on it.
I had to flesh it out ASAP. Once the blood seemed real, I felt better.
Almost there...
Here is the final, including the gallery wrap that goes around the stretcher bars.

Thursday, May 31, 2012


Once upon a time in 1992, there was a live show I was involved in called “Seventies Celebration” or something like that. A lot of music and TV stars from the 70s were involved including me and several other Bradys. We were doing a "comedy sketch" which Barry Williams co-wrote. Florence was supposed to be Sally Jesse Raphael and I never did figure out what I was supposed to be. I couldn’t remember the lines because they came out of nowhere and made no sense to me. I just knew the thing sucked and I began to get performance anxiety like I've never felt before. I was sure that I would pass out on stage and make a fool of myself. It was hours between rehearsals and show time which was live on stage at the Wiltern. 

I was feeling pretty insecure which is something I really do have a talent for. Then I saw Olivia Newton John which didn’t help. Not that I don’t like her, on the contrary we had worked together and I found her to be wonderful in every way. I had done an illustration job for her. She and her psychic were writing a children’s book to teach kids about the environment. I had designed and illustrated the proposal. They loved what I had done but the publisher wanted to go with their own in house art department. It was one of those “Gee Susan, we’re really sorry but they have the final say…” things. It really wasn’t a bad thing but still mildly embarrassing and I just didn’t want to hear her say again, “I’m so sorry about what happened…” I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable mostly because that would have made me more uncomfortable.

So I was mildly avoiding Olivia Newton John which made me a little hyper aware of faces. I became aware that I was seeing the Bee Gees pretty much everywhere I looked. This was strangely unnerving, but everything was unnerving. The whole thing started to get very surreal with all of these oddly familiar faces. It would take a while to register if I actually knew these people around me or just knew them from TV. I think everyone was feeling that way so to play it safe they all acted like long lost friends. It was really very nice. Meat Loaf gave me a hearty “Hello” and I had no idea where I knew him until he started rehearsing and I realized who he was and that we’d never met. Coupled with the surreal hyper awareness anxiety imparts, it began to feel like I was coming on to a hit of acid. And there were those darned Bee Gees. It seemed that everywhere I looked, there was a Bee Gee – sometimes two. I was studying their faces and the brotherly resemblance. I know there were only three of them but it seemed like 20, maybe 50.  It was like they were inter-dimensional and could be in two places at the same time. I’d start to feel a little better and then I’d look up and see another Bee Gee. Totally nice guys but they were freaking me out. I was sitting in the Green Room, humming a little mantra to myself for comfort. “Bee Gees Bee Gees everywhere, in the green room, on the stair…” then someone said “Hi Susan”. It was Sonny Bono, always a friendly face. I had met him a couple of times before, but we weren’t what I would call friends.  Our mothers were in a club together and knew each other well, maybe that’s why he knew my name. Since most people don’t bother with our real names, having him say “Hi Susan” surprised me and drew me to him.
“Your sketch is cute, it will go over well.” He said. Poor guy was just making small talk and didn’t know that he was in for an interrogation. My nerves made what little social grace I have fail me, I just blurted my thoughts..
“Really?” I shouted.
“Sure, it’s funny.”
“REALLY, Sonny?”
“…Yeah?....Why, don’t you like it?”
“It’s terrible! I don’t even understand it! Do YOU think it’s funny?”
He could have lied again and walked away but instead I guess he sensed my distress and he came over to me with compassion. He nodded his head from side to side as if to say he’d seen worse – point being, no,he didn’t like it either. But he smiled and said, “Hey, it really doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad. The audience will love it no matter what you do.”
“I’m really nervous, I’m afraid I’m going to pass out on stage.”
He laughed and said, “Even if you did, you would still get a standing ovation! No matter what you do, the audience will be on their feet. You can do no wrong, relax.”
“I guarantee, they will give you a standing ovation when you walk on stage and won’t get quiet enough to even hear the skit.There is absolutely NOTHING to worry about.”
What a sweet guy. He made me feel better.
“I promise, it will be great. I PROMISE!” He extended his arms to hug me.
I hugged him and I saw another Bee Gee over his shoulder.
“The Bee Gees are freaking me out.” I blurted.
“Everywhere I look there is a Bee Gee.”
And it was like he could read my mind and now he decided to mess with me like one messes with someone who’s high; he leaned in close and whispered, “They’re EVERYWHERE!”

We did our bit and Sonny was right. The crowd was on its feet and never heard a line of dialogue. When we came off stage, God bless him, Sonny had come to the side to watch.
“See Susan, what did I tell you?”
I hugged him so hard I may have hurt him bad.

I got a little taste of what Sonny might have been like as a Dad, and I felt a tiny portion of what Chaz must have felt when he passed away so suddenly.

To prove this was not just an acid flash back:

Friday, May 11, 2012


I live in Cattyland. It's as sweet as Candyland but smells a lot worse. When I decided to get back into art I found that living with foster kittens and cats made things fairly impossible. I knew my life had changed the first time I tried to knit my son a scarf and I had 12 kittens in the house. I doubt I need to explain that scenario much further. I'd been messing around in Photoshop on my computer for years and pretty much got my artistic jollies that way; but a friend of mine had an idea that he wanted me to illustrate in watercolor. It had been years since I'd painted and it would seem the cats wanted to keep things that way. I had moved and no longer had an office where I could shut them out. Painting was impossible and dangerously messy. Many pigments are poisonous. Another friend had the answer; "Get a Wacom Tablet." he said. I followed his advice and am experiencing the enjoyment of painting that I haven't had in about 20 years. It's a digital, simulated experience but I still like it. Maybe one day I will have a studio where I can get back to painting the old fashioned way but will I ever want to?  For now I really like the fact that I'm not making the enormous messes I used to make. And of course the best part of painting digitally is that I can ERASE!!! I'm not terribly savvy with the tools of photoshop (I don't even use Photoshop, just Elements). So digital painting is pretty straightforward, Wacom tablet "pen"set to round brush covers 90% of what I do.

The tablet made all the difference. I was doing collages before but couldn't call them paintings. I use the Intuos 4 and so far have not explored the many options that it offers. Still, the desire to have the tactile physicality of a brush will always be there. I use it just for painting and not for drawing. So far, for me, there is no digital substitute for pencil and paper and I see no need for one. True, the cats will carry a pencil away in their mouths but there's little harm that can be done to them or the work. (It always baffles me, do my cats live such boring lives that EVERYTHING I do is that fascinating for them?) I make a sketch on paper and scan it into the computer.
I thought I would share what went into this latest piece:

The inspiration for Cattyland is the board game, Candyland. Being food obsessed, it was my favorite game as a child. Over the years I have seen incarnations of the board illustrated in  a way that I find so inferior to the original. I am old school when it comes to cute. I just don't understand what passes for cute these days. I didn't even when I was a kid. I always loved Hugh Harmon and Rudolph Ising cartoons, and found the Muppets gross. (I know - sacrilege!) I like the way our readers were illustrated in the 1950s and I certainly prefer the version of Candyland that I played with as a child. In looking for the different boards I found this fabulous history, complete with slide show. There has been a different board each decade. Check it out:

This is the board I grew up with, so it is my favorite.

I wanted to make it for cats so each area was re-created with a cat theme. The peppermint stick forest replaced by "Catnip Fields" etc. All "lands" were done as separate illustrations. I start with a sketch and scan it into the computer. 
color gets added in layers

Then I start painting over it using a Wacom tablet and Photoshop elements. No waiting for paint to dry, just start a new layer!

When each piece was done, it got set into the larger  layout which contained the trail.

The most important stop for feline players

In total, there were ten illustrations combined. Although each one was flattened, it ate up lots of memory. My computer coughed and wheezed through this and in the end, the final piece was nearly 700 MB. I got to the point where I just had to stop because my computer was crying.

And all combined, it looks like this:
This and others are available as part of a line I am offering for purchase to help raise funds and awareness for animal rescue. For more info click here

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The Last Photo of Susan

I found this shot in with some old photos I’ve been meaning to scan. This really should have been the last photo ever taken of me.  This should be the picture that evokes, tears , regret and deep pain. Minutes after this was taken I should have died.
But I did not (as is evidenced by my writing this) Rumors of my death have persisted and appealed to my macabre sense of delight. And as with Mark Twain, they have been great exaggerations, but this one is not a rumor nor is it even known.

We were at my mother’s friend’s house for a barbecue. I could not swim and was told exactly where the shallow end ended and that I was not to venture any further. There was a little sea horses on the side tile and I was not to go beyond  it. I remember having this cavalier sense that the grown ups were wrong, as usual, and I was probably a great swimmer but just never had the chance to demonstrate this. After all I had taken dozens of baths and felt quite confident that my aquatic skills honed in the tub would prove to be sufficient for any other body of water.

I was wrong.

Grasping the side of the pool I did not think much of the fact that I was, indeed going beyond that sea horse. After all, I was hanging on to the edge in spite of the fact that I knew there was nothing to worry about. I was a fabulous swimmer but just to keep Mom happy, I did cling to the side. My Dad was sitting next to the pool talking to a male friend and now and then he would say, "Get back to the shallow end". I would but then I'd go back past that sea horse, making my way across the pool, sideways, like a crab.

I lost my grip.

I remember all of this very vividly. Right after going under and not being able to come back up something became undeniable: I really CAN’T swim. Who knew? Oh yeah, I guess they knew. Flashbacks of this moment stayed with me for many years and made me far less head strong than I might have been. Now I’m struggling and the worst of this is that I can hear my Dad who is supposed to be watching me. He’s talking about golf with another guy. They are sitting in chairs only a few feet from where I am drowning and I can hear them. Part of me wonders if he can’t see me and another part wonders if he doesn’t care. I got to the point where I was breathing water, in and out and it was painful and held no satisfaction. It was impossible not to, it was a reflex to breathe but it hurt. Then I felt somebody grab me and pull me up.

According to Mom, she had an instant flash, like she heard me mentally calling her. I think Mom gave me this explanation because it made her seem magical but my sister’s is likely more accurate. SHE saw me. Anyway they both did and screamed and a friend said she knew lifeguard techniques and jumped in and got me. 

The friend was Sandy Descher, daughter of Audrey who's house we were at. She claimed she knew what to do and she really did. She got me on the patio and began pumping the water out of my lungs.  It was just like in the cartoons; water was shooting out of my mouth like a fountain. I thought this was really embarrassing. My sister remembers watching and thinking “Oh how embarrassing for Susan.” Self conscious freaks that we were, we would have considered death over looking foolish. My brother, Larry was no different. He was caught in a rip tide as a teen and absolutely refused to shout for help. I've since gotten over that and actually seek ways to look foolish. I also remember being equally embarrassed over her taking me back into the water to make sure I wasn’t afraid of it. I felt patronized by this. Looking back, Sandy was really remarkable. She handled the whole situation with such expertise. I think she was only nineteen years old.

I loved Sandy even before she saved my life.  She was 16 when I was born and 19 when I began admiring her. She was always so good to me. She bought me my first heart shaped box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day. I loved her delicate features and her turned up nose. Sandy was not unlike most of the people in my world; she was also a child actor. I knew she had been in a film with Elizabeth Taylor which was very cool. She was in “The Last Time I Saw Paris”. This was very cool but not nearly so cool to me as another film she did, the  Sci Fi classic, “THEM”.  Now THAT was an enviable role. There was also this little number which I remember seeing on TV - "Space Children", most intriguing. 

Sandy, third from left, in a bathing suit no less!
Great Look!
Now that I’ve wasted loads of time looking her up on the internet, I would assume, from my findings, that my Mom and her Mom met on the set of Vincent Minelli’s “The Bad and the Beautiful” where she worked with my brother, Chris.  They both had small parts. I especially like her look on this film.

Yes, Vincent Minelli was Judy Garland’s husband and Liza’s father. Liza used to come to the set and she and Chris would catch tad poles in the murky MGM swimming pool. Liza would often tag along for lunch and was known by my mother as “That homely little girl with all the nervous ticks. “Of course, in the years to come,  my mother would be amazed with how well that little girl turned out.  In fact  she made her a lesson. If we saw her performing Mom would say “You would never know she was the same person!  You wouldn't have thought she would ever amount to much and just look at her! She’s come so far! Look at her grace and poise! That just shows what hard work and dedication can do…” 

But my ADD digresses. I did not die that day but my father may have wished that he had. The guilt he felt over being right there and not realizing that I was filling my lungs with pool water must have been overwhelming. The thought of what might have happened plagued him. I would have an occassional nightmare about it where I could hear the water over my head. Dad would just get sick about it. Oddly enough I didn't ever go to the hospital just to get checked up. I mean I had water in my lungs but Sandy must have gotten it all out. Good job Sandy! 

Probably because of Sandy's wise insistence that I get right back in the water I was not left with any fear of it. I do, however, have a fear of fathers watching their children. I know it makes me sexist but I do think women are wired more strongly to see danger in everything and to be diligent. I don't think men worry as much - which can often be a good thing - but I also don't think they pay as much attention. My own parenting experience with my son's father verified my feelings a thousand fold.

Of course my little tale of thinking I knew better than my parents has been retold ad nauseum to my son. But it's the kind of lesson you really can't describe, you have to live through it. I'm glad I did.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Hazards of the Mosh Pit for the Elderly

My son and I have been attending local bands’ gigs for a while now. While not always impressed with the level of musical ability I have been impressed with the fact that the original nature of the punk scene seems to have made a come back. These kids these days do put a value on integrity and there is the old feeling of appreciating where everyone is coming from. I have seen bands of all ages and varying styules and ethnicities on the same venue. Most of all they understand that they are continuing something that was started by old folks like myself.
My son has never been embarrassed to have his Mom along and I have always been greeted warmly and often with the kind of manners that would impress June Cleaver.  I admire anyone with the guts to express themselves artistically and some of these kids are pretty darned good. My son’s favorites tend to be mine as well, we do lean towards the same taste. He smells hypocrisy immediately as well as commercial hype, always has. That's my boy. One band, Chemi-kill has a song that I think is pure genius. It’s called Glass Jaw and it’s so simple and perfect angry anthem. Now I know it’s a teenage tradition to offend you mother with your music and since we have such similar taste I have deprived my son of much of that fun. Nevertheless he will find truly suck ass bands and play them loudly. It takes a lot to offend me but bands like Anal Cunt do the trick.
So when Chemi-kill announced their CD release party, Mike and I wanted to go. I decided to invite my friend, Elliot too. Elliot and I met in high school; he was a pioneer of the punk scene in Los Angeles back in the day. He even has the spoon that Germs singer, Darby Crash, used to O.D. with.  I wanted Elliot to see how the scene is today. So Elliot joined us saying that he couldn’t think of a better way to spend this “holiest of days” (4/20)
Elliot has let his hair grown long and it is white so he has the look of an ancient sage. Needless to say we looked quite different from the rest of the crowd.  Mike always says “Please Mom get in the mosh pit with me!” I protest that I’m too old, I’ll break a hip and I don’t have health insurance to cover it. I never liked moshing anyway or as we used to call it: slam dancing. But on this night I did not go to the mosh pit, the mosh pit came to me.
Maybe I was having a senior moment and stumbled too close to the pit but before I knew what was happening I was down.  My son claims he wanted to gently push me but somebody fell into him and I went over like a bowling pin with him on top of me. I’m sure the kids were thinking “Oh look the old lady fell over!” but all were sweet in picking me up off the ground and handing me my bent glasses. Mike apologized profusely. 
For the rest of the weekend I was fund raising for Precious Paws at an autograph show with a black eye and painful (possibly fractured) rib.  Other Bradys (Chris Knight, Mike Lookinland and Robbie Rist) were there as well as celebs I hadn’t seen in years like the Hudson Brothers; so there was a lot of hugging going on. Ouch! Of course everyone thought it was great fun that I was suffering from mosh pit injuries. I must admit I agree.