This is a short set I did at Stadium Bar & Grill in Quincy, MA on 6/23/15.
UnScene Comedy Show hosted by Shawn Carter.
Video courtesy of Jim Akiba.
This is a short set I did at Stadium Bar & Grill in Quincy, MA on 6/23/15.
UnScene Comedy Show hosted by Shawn Carter.
Video courtesy of Jim Akiba.
Social media can be a great thing. But it can also be a big ol’ bitch bastard. People tend to want to be the one who says, “First”. I think that’s just human nature. Whether it be a celebrity death, a blockbuster sports trade or just about what happened on tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead. Some people get so caught up in being a news breaker, the fact of whether or not the news they’re breaking is accurate becomes secondary. That’s what happened immediately following the bombings at the Boston Marathon.
“Well I saw it on Facebook, and the thing said I should like it and share it unless I’m a terrorist myself. Which I’m obviously not. You’ve seen my tattoo. So I liked it and shared it So what if it’s really a photo of two high school kids from Revere just watching the marathon. They have backpacks and olive complexions, let’s ruin their fucking lives” – Somebody somewhere.
I saw one photo online of man outside a building and the caption said that it was a video still from a chemical warehouse in or around Boston. It urged people to keep an eye out for this man as he may have plans to carry out a chemical attack somewhere in the city. Multiple people I know shared the photo on the big book of faces. It turns out that it was a photo taken in London 5 years ago. But that natural urge to be first takes over, and people spread the lie.
I saw another photo of a shadowy figure on a roof. People want to know why was there a person on a roof. All of a sudden, there’s a conspiracy theory about a figure on the roof. Now it’s no longer just a roof, it’s become a grassy knoll.
Of course this isn’t taking into account that in the city, a roof is like a yard. People go out there for a variety of reasons. One of which is to smoke pot. Another is to watch the Boston Marathon. A third is to smoke pot while watching the Boston Marathon. Even another reason is that some people like to make sweet love to their ladies or gentlemen on rooftops, either solo or in tandem, while smoking pot and watching the Boston Marathon. There is a veritable litany of different reasons as to why someone would be on a roof in the city. But at least ninety-four percent of them include the smoking of the reefer weeds.
Two days after the bombing, CNN falsely reported that there had been an arrest made in the case. People started gathering in front of the Moakley Federal Courthouse, for some reason. Apparently they expected the police to pull up out front and walk the suspect(s) through the crowd where everyone could take a shot at them Jack Ruby style. The police certainly wouldn’t think to do something tricky like slap a fake moustache and an eye patch on them and bring them in through the back door.
One local station kept cutting away to their reporter in front of the courthouse who would find a new way to say the same thing, which was nothing. One exchange in particular that I enjoyed went something like this:
News Anchor: “We now go live to the Moakley Courthouse where our intrepid reporter anxiously awaits to bring us the latest on this breaking news story”
Intrepid Reporter (quickly looking up from her iPhone): “The police have asked us to move across the street from the courthouse. The crowd has swollen to a few hundred people and I can’t really see anything at all, but I think that a white car is driving by the building right now.” Right then, a white car drove by the building. That’s top-notch reporting right there.
Thursday April 18th 2013, the FBI finally released photos and video of the actual suspects and asked for the publics help in identifying them. Which they did. But that was after all of the other pictures of “suspects” had already been circulated ad nauseam.
That night the two suspects (now and forever known as Black Hat and White Hat, because fuck them) killed a police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He was Officer Sean Collier and his name deserves to be remembered, not theirs.
Then they carjacked a guy and got into a firefight with police. Black Hat was killed, supposedly from being run over by White Hat when he fled the shootout.
The city and surrounding communities were put on lockdown Friday April 19th 2013 while every single law enforcement official in the USA (it seemed) searched for White Hat. Businesses were closed. There were no trains, buses or cabs to be had anywhere. There were virtually no cars in the streets or pedestrians on the sidewalks. It was eerie, like a scene out of the movie “I Am Legend”. Except Will Smith was replaced with Mark Wahlberg and they called it “I’m Fuckin’ Legend, Kid”.
They finally found him hiding in a boat in a back yard. Helicopters used infrared cameras to pick up White Hats heat signature. The tactical teams used flash bang grenades as they moved in to apprehend him. I sat glued in front of my television that day, as I assume everyone in the world did. I could be wrong. We do like to refer to ourselves as the “Hub of the Universe” in Boston, but I realize that other people have shit going on elsewhere. Like jobs, or whatever. But it really made for some riveting television.
I would compare it to the OJ Simpson Bronco chase just on the sheer, “I can’t believe that we’re actually watching this happen” aspect of the whole thing. It will be remembered for a long time, and referred to in conversations that begin with, “Where were you when?”.
I just hope when they make the movie, Leonardo DiCaprio plays me.
Or I play him.
I remember the first time someone told me that Santa Claus didn’t really exist.
Sorry, should I have said Spoiler Alert?
I was in second grade, and it was during recess. Not morning recess mind you, but the afternoon one. I shudder to think how I would have handled this troubling information had it been sprung on me during morning recess, when I was barely awake and hadn’t even had my fruit roll-up yet. It would have been devastating.
But during afternoon recess, with my little boy belly all stuffed full of tater tots and milk, I just rolled with the punches.
“Only babies believe in Santa Claus!”
It came from one of the older boys. I think he was a fifth grader, maybe even sixth. One of the big shots. They roamed the halls of Plymouth River Elementary School with impunity. Dumping books, calling names, and giving people the what for in the lunch line.
“Well what are you? A baby or something?”
The question wasn’t directed at me, it was aimed towards another kid. But instinctively I wanted to make it clear that I was in fact, not a baby, even if this other baby was. I guess I’ve always just been a survivor like that.
“Yeah, everyone knows Santa’s not real.” I said, “Like someone could fly all around the world giving presents to kids in just one night? That would take at least three days. There’s no way.”
But all the while I kept my fingers crossed behind my back. Because you can argue all you want about whether or not the big man exists, but you can’t argue with the time-tested science of Crossies. I figured that I would be in the clear either way. The older boys would think that I had my shit together, and maybe they would refrain from giving me the business on the playground and making me cry for my mommy.
But if Santa was real, well he couldn’t begrudge a boy from using one of the oldest tricks in the books to keep from getting taunted in front of his peers, could he? Santa Claus seems like the kind of guy that would be against bullying. Although Rudolph might disagree there. But I thought it was a foolproof plan.
The bell sounded then, letting me retreat without further conversation back to the safety of my teeny tiny desk. But as the rest of the day dragged on, I found myself wracked with guilt. Had I really just sold Santa Claus down the river in order to impress some older boys so they would like me? Did my finger crossing actually even keep me safe? Or does Santa Claus not play by human rules? I mean I’m not calling him a demon, but his name is an anagram for Satan. Plus you have the whole Claus/Claws paradigm, making a scary situation downright terrifying for a seven-year old boy raised Irish Catholic. Was I messing with an evil that my adorable young mind couldn’t even comprehend? I could barely even concentrate on my Play-Doh.
I went over all the things that I knew for a fact about the situation.
Well first off, I don’t appreciate you accusing my dear departed mother of mail fraud, which is a federal offense. And secondly, maybe your mother is the one that is the criminal!!
See that didn’t feel good, did it?
I know for a fact that Mom didn’t open the envelope, because as I said earlier, I never got the dirt bike that was on that list. If she had read that list, I totally would have killed myself on a dirt bike that summer. So I guess it all worked out for the best.
When I got home that night, I must have looked like a seven-year old with the weight of the world on my shoulders. My mother asked me what the trouble was.
Mom: “What’s the matter with you, my favorite child?”
Me: “Mom, is Santa Claus real?”
Mom: “Why do you ask that?”
Me: “Some kids at school were saying that he wasn’t real. They said that parents just say that he’s real to scare their kids into behaving. They also say that parents buy all the presents and put them under the tree pretending that they’re from Santa. Is that true?”
Mom: “Well what do you think? Do you believe in Santa?”
Me: “I don’t know Ma. It seems like someone couldn’t do all that in one night. Just the border crossings and customs searches alone would take up a big chunk of the day. I’m not sure if I believe in him anymore.”
Mom: “Well if you don’t believe in him, there’s no way he can be real. Don’t let anyone tell you that Santa isn’t real. You’re a seven-year old boy, Santa is real if you believe in Santa, don’t listen to those kids.
Me: “But Mom, they’re older boys.”
Mom: “Well they sound like a bunch of dipshits to me. The thing that really matters is what you believe. That’s the only thing that matters.”
I remember trying to stay up at night to see if I could catch Santa in the act, even though I always heard that if he sees you seeing him, he’ll throw acid in your eyes to teach you to mind your business. Christmas acid. I never made it very late. My youthful excitement would leave me absolutely exhausted sometimes. I do recall one night yelling at my parents when they weren’t in bed at one in the morning.
“Santa’s not gonna come if you don’t go to bed!!”
Oh, how they must have laughed at me.
A few years later, when my mother got really sick, my father sat me down.
Dad: “You know there’s no Santa Claus, right?”
Me: “Well, kind of.”
Dad: “Christmas is going to be very small this year. We don’t have the money, and Mom’s in the hospital. You’re old enough to know the truth. I’m sorry.”
Me: “That’s okay Dad. Presents aren’t that important.
I meant it, although I was still kind of bummed out. But presents really aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things, and they really shouldn’t be.
They’re nice, but so’s a hug.
At least that’s what I believe.
And it never hurts keeping your fingers crossed.
The 1970’s were a great time to be alive. There was so much going on. There was that cool song that everybody loved. There was that guy that used to always say that crazy catchphrase on that show. Oh man, how we’d laugh every time that crazy catchphrase was uttered by that guy on that show. We’d laugh like little kids.
I miss the sweet innocence that I so nonchalantly displayed back then. My sweet, sexy innocence. I wish I could have it back. I’d bottle it up and sell it at Sotheby’s. Or on eBay. Or maybe on Craigslist. It really sounds like more of a Craigslist post, doesn’t it? A jar full of a beautiful boys sweet, sexy innocence? Hmmm. Now that I think about it, maybe that’s more of a face to face transaction. Cash only, you fucking creep.
But I can’t go back in time. I realize that. I’m Bill McMorrow, not Bill McFly.
Luckily though, through the ancient dark magic of photography, I can at least relive it.
The word ‘photography’ is derived from the Latin root word ‘photographer’. It literally translates to English as “I’ve stolen your soul and stuck it on paper, subsequently you will never be allowed into heaven”.
Soul stealing and heaven denying were a booming business in the 1970’s, as evidenced by any suburban shopping mall in America. The North one. I can’t speak for the shopping malls in the South one. Que?
Glamour Shots were all the rage back then. People absolutely loved gussying their children up in their shiniest attire and commemorating the awkwardness forever. My mother was people. She insisted that her children wear only the finest of velour and polyester blends for picture day. She also insisted that we not act like little ungrateful pricks during the soul stealing ceremony.
We always went to the Photo place at Sears & Roebuck in the South Shore Plaza in Braintree. This was before Roebuck went rogue one day and just disappeared. Rumor had it that he killed a man in a drunken argument over the unrequited love of a sweet baby lady. Or mayhaps it were a cocaine transaction run amok? History will never know. But Roebuck disappeared for some reason. Okay, let’s call it a coke deal gone bad.
When I say that we always went to Sears, I mean that’s the only place I remember going. I was a kid. I wasn’t in charge of much back then. If I remember correctly, it went like this.
Mom: “Get in the car. It’s picture day.”
Me: “Okay, but why are Donna and Michael getting in the car?”
Mom: “Because it’s picture day. All three of you are going to be in the picture.”
Me: “Whoa. I didn’t sign up for none of this. I work solo.”
Mom: “Oh Billy, you’re the sweetest most beautifully blue-eyed angel baby of a boy who a mother could hope to push out of her innards. Truth be told, I really only want a picture of you, but if I buy the three kid picture deal, I get a free hip flask and a complimentary carton of Winston’s. And you know how momma loves her Winston’s”
Me: “That’s okay, Mom. I’ll do it for you. In thirty years I can just Photoshop them out of the picture and we’ll laugh about it then. Of course you’ll have already passed away thirty years prior to that, so maybe we should just laugh about it now.”
Mom: “Hahaha. That’s really funny.”
We would make our way to the plaza by way of roads. Mom would drive on one, then turn onto another, eventually ending up on the third floor of the parking garage. She did all of this without GPS. She was like a pioneer.
My mother would lead us into the store and inevitably there would be a line of very uncomfortable children wearing very uncomfortable clothes waiting to have their less than happy memories preserved in perpetuity. The most exciting part of the whole experience was that the photo section was located right next to the escalators. Very few things were more exciting to an inquisitive young lad than a set of moving stairs. Remember, these were the days before you could get porn on a cell phone. Or a cell phone.
We would spend the hours going up and down the escalators. Up. Down. Up. Down. Walk up the down one. Walk down the up on. Run up the up one. Run down the down one. Fall. Cry. Rinse. Repeat.
Of course someone always fell. That was just how it was. Rub some fucking dirt on it and get back in the game, kid.
When it was time for our picture to finally be taken, my mother would yell our names and we would scramble to her from whichever far-flung escalator stair we were inhabiting at the moment. She would make last-minute adjustments to our clothes, slap some spit on any wayward tufts of hair she noticed, and send us in to make magic.
And make magic we did.
If Mom was here today, I’m sure she would smile and laugh and say,
“I remember this day so well, but how in the hell did I miss your sisters hair? Oh well, shit happens. Now be an angel and go fix Momma a highball.”
This is from last year, but there’s still time to make a dream come true this Christmas.
Originally posted on Bill McMorrow:
The Christmas Season is here, guys and gals. Or lady guys, if you gals prefer? What’s that? You don’t want me to call you gals or lady guys? You want to be taken seriously and therefore you insist that I call you women? Well alright then, message received women.
You are adorable.
Christmas is the time to show your family and friends how much you love them by showering them with exquisite gifts you have thoughtfully purchased for them on a high interest rate credit card.
Whether it be fine jewelery, flashy sports cars, or limited edition Beanie Babies, Christmas shopping can be expensive. In today’s economy, it’s smart to come up with other, less costly presents for your loved ones. Such as:
The Surprise Sandwich Of The Month Club
Imagine the look of joy in your family/friends/co-workers/baby mammas/daddies eyes when they open this gift. Hey, everybody gets hungry sometimes. The Surprise Sandwich Of…
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A lot of retail stores have decided that Christmas shopping is so important that they need to open on Thanksgiving. That’s right. Some are opening at 6PM on Thanksgiving Day.
Fuck their greed.
Fuck their sales.
Fuck their profit margins.
Fuck their employees.
Oh wait. They are already fucking their employees, so I guess I can skip that step.
When I used to work in retail back in the day, I liked to sing a song in my head as a kind of theme song, you know, to get me through the day. Because everybody needs a theme song sometimes. I don’t care who you are.
Workin’ in retail, what a way to make a livin’
My only holidays, are Easter, Christmas and Thanksgivin’
I know, pretty awesome right. Dolly Parton would later steal that from me, change a few lyrics, and have a hit song and movie with ‘9 to 5′. That duplicitous bitch. She took my theme song away from me. Now they want to take one of those three holidays away from America, too? I call bullshit on that.
This is all to help boost Black Friday sales.
You remember Black Friday, right? That’s the holiday that those same retailers made up out of thin air to get people to spend more money?
Why is this okay?
Not only is Thanksgiving its own federally recognized holiday, but I submit to the court that it is also a far superior holiday than your precious Christmas tomfoolery.
Thanksgiving is a time to gather with your loved ones and enjoy yourselves without the pressure of having to max out your credit card to maintain the love. It’s a time to eat too much food and fall asleep on the couch whilst watching football and thinking about more pie. It’s a time to reflect on what you have, and be thankful for it.
It’s not a time to go stand in line and fight strangers for $10 off some piece of shit gift that the recipient probably won’t even like. That’s why they always ask you if you want a gift receipt.
Seriously, how is this acceptable?
I read the comments from a CEO of one of these companies, I don’t recall which one. But he said that the early opening is due to the overwhelming customer demand for it. Fuck those customers.
Listen, the customer is not always right. Have you ever been in a Wal-Mart? Take a look at some of the customers you see there. You’re telling me those people are right all of the time? I would argue that saying that they’re right even a small percentage of the time would be too kind of you. But I’ve always said that kindness is your best asset. Along with that killer smile. What are you? A toothpaste model or something? Well you should be. You could totally pimp some Glisten to the kids.
Thanksgiving Day is about pre-gaming for the big meal by driving around in your fathers Reliant K car with your friends, smoking a bunch of weed and listening to ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ by Arlo Guthrie. You know, if it was still 1988 and you were me. It’s a time to wake up at 6 in the morning, put the turkey in the oven, and then drink Bloody Marys until your face is partially numb. You know, if you’re my wife.
It’s a time to spend with family and friends. It’s better than Christmas with its fictitious fat man and his all-consuming assault of commercialism .
Christmas is about disillusionment, disappointment and debt. Well, I guess it’s not entirely just that. There’s usually some cookies too.
Anyways, I refuse to be a part of your Black Friday/Thanksfornothing Thursday nonsense, corporate America. I’m on to you.
You bunch of dicks
I turned forty-three a few weeks ago. Very quietly. I’m not a big drinker. Alcohol isn’t really my gig anymore, although it used to be. Occasionally I will partake in liquid libations, and I will enjoy it. But not nearly as much as I once did.
I got drunk for the first time on my twelfth birthday.
Now, I’m not counting the other times I would sneak a sip off my mothers’ highball, or whatever type of beer my father was drinking at the time, usually Schlitz or Schaeffer. Sometimes I wouldn’t even have to sneak a sip off the highball, because my mother would offer me a sip. Calm down, it was a different time back then. Watch an episode of Mad Men if you don’t believe me.
Now, I’m not saying that my mother would let me get plastered during a party and then force me to get up on the coffee table and do my incredibly spot on impression of Elvis Presley, to the sheer delight of all of her friends. That would be a ridiculously poor judgment call for a parent to make in the course of raising a beautiful blue-eyed boy baby. Letting them get shit faced and spread the joy of music to the world, one living room at a time? I think we can all agree that would be wrong.
But encouraging your cherubic young son to take a shot of liquid courage before he absolutely brings the fucking house down with his heartfelt, soulful rendition of “In The Ghetto”? Ain’t nothing wrong with that, am I right?
Thank you. Thank you very much.
Mom died from cancer when she was forty-four. I was eleven. I watched my father cope with her death by drinking heavily, every night. Usually he would pick up a handle of whatever rot-gut whiskey was on sale at Brady’s Package Store on his way home from work, and then drink until he “fell asleep” in his chair. When he was passed out, I could finally shut off the sad country music that was playing on the record player. Most of the time it was Marty Robbins’ “My Woman, My Woman, My Wife”. He listened to that fucking song repeatedly. To this day, I get a pit in my stomach if I hear it. Luckily that doesn’t happen very often. Apologies to the estate of Marty Robbins, but I was more of an El Paso fan.
One day during that long painful year, I was over at a friend’s house after school. His parents had a fully stocked bar down in their basement. I mean FULLY stocked. They had cases upon cases of alcohol. I told him that my birthday was coming soon and I needed a bottle of booze to celebrate with. Because that’s how all twelve-year olds celebrate a birthday, right?
Mom always said, “Cake and ice cream is for pussies”.
He agreed to sell me a bottle. I was particularly enamored with the Crown Royal, because it came in a purple velvet sack. I felt like I was making a shrewd business decision by picking a bottle with extra bells and whistles. Oh, the wonderful things a growing boy could do with a velvet sack and some alone time. We haggled for a while over the appropriate compensation due for a bottle of top shelf booze with an accompanying love sock.
He was looking for cash considerations that I was unable to accommodate, as I was an unemployed eleven year old boy. After some fierce negotiating, I talked him down to a half-pound bag of peanut M&M’s and two of the candy bars that I had been assigned to sell for a school fundraiser. I’m pretty sure I got a good deal. Although the school got totally fucked.
When I arrived home, I hid the bottle under some clothes in my bedroom closet. I would check on it fifteen times a day, just to make sure it was still there. I was scared that my father would find it and yell at me. Or even worse, that the monsters living in there would find it one night and have a party. A party that ended with them stumbling out of my closet, loudly demanding that I wake up and cook them some french toast at three in the morning. Because french toast is delicious 24/7, and even drunken monsters know that.
The bottle survived in there undiscovered for the two or three weeks leading up to my birthday. On that day, I paired it up with a well aged three liter bottle of RC Cola and set about the task of becoming a man. There was a new development being built down the street from my house. My sister Donna, my friend Jeff, and I climbed up onto some rocks overlooking the street and drank the whole bottle whilst chain-smoking Marlboro reds. You know, like sophisticated kids.
It would be the first of many times this would happen during my teenage years. You know, once I actually became a teenager. Because twelve years old isn’t quite there yet. But I was working on it. After polishing off the booze, we took a walk, or stumble, down to the East Weymouth Bowl A Wey, and played some Defender. I really don’t know how we made it down there, or back home.
But once again, it’s something I got very used to over the years.
The Boston Red Sox are World Champions. Again.
Yes, I realize that the world consists of more than just twenty-nine cities in America and one city in Canada. But it’s called the World Series anyways. I agree with you, that’s very shortsighted..
One of my earliest childhood memories is watching Carlton Fisk’s home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. I had just turned five, so apparently I was a big boy who could stay up late and drink highballs with the older bigger boys. Remember, it was the Seventies. I recall our smoky living room erupting with screams as Fisk used his voodoo magic to wave that ball fair. I can still see my father skipping around the room cackling into his can of Schlitz.
I remember the first Sox game I ever went to. It was a Sunday morning and we were getting ready to go to church. Because that was something that I did back in those days. Because I was a five-year old child who possessed neither the vocabulary skills nor the upper body strength to convince my mother otherwise.
My father came into my room and asked me if I wanted to go to church, or if I wanted to go to the Red Sox game instead. I didn’t believe him at first.
People didn’t just let their little sinner children skip Sunday Mass for a baseball game, did they? Is that what Jesus died for? So Billy can enjoy a couple of Fenway Franks, and eat ice cream out of a miniature batting helmet? Seems to me, if Jesus knew that this was the way it was gonna go down, he might have reconsidered the whole sacrificing himself for the sins of others schtick, and concentrated more on the carpenter side of things. Maybe go back to school and get his contractors license. Make some bank.
Dad said he had already talked it over with my mother and she said that it would be okay for me to miss church this one time, because I was such a sweet beautiful angel baby of a boy anyway, so God would totally forgive me.
But she still took my heathen brother and sister to church because sometimes a kid needs to have God beaten into them in order to let them know that God loves them.
We took the train into Boston. Dad worked for the T, and when we got on the train we went up to the engineer booth. One of his friends was operating the train, so we sat in the booth for the ride. At one point I sat on his lap and he let me “drive” the train. Not in a sexy way. In a little kid driving a train way. I’m sure that it was against the train driving rules and people could have lost their jobs for letting the five-year old drive the train in a not sexy way. Even though I was actually just hitting the horn. I was so good on the train horn. Probably one of the best ever. At least in my age group.
But once again, it was the Seventies, so rules didn’t really apply. I mean, it’s not like I was texting while driving or something
“Hey, let the kid drive the train. I’m to busy applying Chapstick and being discolicious to drive it myself. Does anybody want to touch my mutton chops?”
I remember walking into Fenway Park and seeing the field in person for the first time. I’d never seen anything so green. It reminded me of the Emerald City in Wizard of Oz. It amazed me. We took our seats and I watched the game with rapt attention, while also keeping an eye out for flying monkeys. It was exhausting. When I woke up, it was the seventh inning and my father was asking me if I wanted to leave. I did.
Baseball can be a long ass game for a little boy to sit through. It might be different nowadays, but they didn’t prescribe ADHD drugs to kids back then. If the kid didn’t pay attention, you would just smack them and say, “Pay attention”. Now people give you the stink eye for that.
We left Fenway and made the train ride home to the suburbs south of Boston. I don’t remember if the Sox won or lost. I just remember that Dad got me out of church on a Sunday for a day of fun. Just the two of us.
Dad died in 1996 without having ever seen the Sox win it all. If I could talk to him today and tell him that they have won three championships in the last decade, he would shake his head, laugh at me, and ask me if I was high.
And I would say, “That’s really not any of your business, Dad. I’m a forty-three year old married man. I own a house, Dad. A house!! The Boston Red Sox are World Champions! Again!! And yes, I’m a little high right now.”
But now let me fill you in on what the Pats, B’s, and C’s have been up to.
You’re not gonna believe it….
Elvis Presley died.
Calm down, it happened 36 years ago. You didn’t know? I have a hard time believing that. It was on the front page of all the newspapers, and I’m pretty sure it made the six o’clock news that day. You really need to pay more attention to current events. You should know about stuff.
When I was a child, Elvis was my idol. His rhythmic hip shaking and guttural noise making intrigued me. He wore flashy jumpsuits emblazoned with rhinestones and gummy bears. He drove a big Cadillac and took massive amounts of amphetamines. All of the things a young boy aspires to do.
I used to listen to Elvis records all the time. I would work on my lip sneer and pelvic thrusts while standing in front of my bedroom mirror. I would thank people very much all the time. I even tried to grow a pompadour and mutton chops at one point before my mother vetoed my choice of hairstyle in favor of a boy’s regular. I was almost like a mini Elvis.
When my parents would throw a party, chances were good that at some point during the festivities I would wind up getting up on the coffee table to impersonate Elvis for everybody. They would clap and dance and laugh. Eventually one of the drunken ladies would try to get me to “king them”. Yeah, you know what I’m saying. The seventies were a sexy, sexy time.
I was also a big fan of Elvis’ movies. Yeah, I know, right? Every Sunday, channel 68 would play three of his movies back to back to back. That sounds like too many backs. I might mean back to front to back. That sounds better. There must be a front in there somewhere. I would watch as the King played various characters that could all sing and dance and woo the dames.
When he died, I took it really hard. I was sad that I would never get the chance to see him in concert, or have him adopt me and change my name to Billvis Presley and hand feed me fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches from a golden plate right before he took me cape shopping
See the thing about it was that Elvis was my first taste of rock and roll. My parents both loved country music, or country and western as they used to call it. So I didn’t get to hear much rock music as a child. They liked Elvis Presley though.
Sure he had a lot of gospel songs and what not, and he might not even be considered “rock” today. But the first time I heard Heartbreak Hotel, I felt something stir in my loins. But I was only five, so I didn’t know I had loins yet. Or I knew I had loins, but I thought that It was just something to wet the bed with.
I knew it felt different from the music I normally heard, though.
And I knew that I loved it.
Our flight from Wenatchee to Seattle wasn’t until 10:55 am, so we had some time to once again contemplate absconding with that pancake machine we were so enamored with during breakfast. I told Connie that I was certain she would be able to fit it into her pocketbook while I faked a seizure in the lobby. She insisted that I was out of my mind, and that there was no way that something that big would fit in her pocketbook. I politely disagreed and asked her if she’s seen her pocketbook. It’s like a fucking suitcase. She told me to shut up and I did. I’m not a stupid man, although I sometimes play one on the internets. The worldwide one.
I hate when my vacation ends, because I’m always paranoid that I’m going to forget something precious and leave it in the hotel Like my soul. I also feel that way when I’m going on vacation. But if I forget something when I’m going away, that shit will be there waiting for me when I get home.
We checked out of the hotel and made our way to the airport for the forty minute flight back to Seattle/Tacoma. It was one of those little regional airports that you can drive right up to and park. No shuttle buses or moving walkways to eventually bring you lazily to your destination. We returned the rental car and made our way to the security checkpoint.
I really don’t understand why I have to take my shoes off when going through the airport security checkpoints. Why can’t they just put an x-ray machine down on the floor? Maybe I couldn’t find clean socks that morning. Or matching socks. Or maybe any socks at all, and I might have forgotten to clip my toenails in the last couple of leap years. Now I have to be publicly shamed for it? That seems un-American to me. Obviously I’m not a terrorist. My cheerful disposition and intimate knowledge of American cheese should appease even the most churlish of TSA agents. But it never does, so I have to take off my stupid shoes like a common Neanderthal.
TSA quickly assessed that we were on their side and we got to the waiting area about fifteen minutes before boarding time. We hung out talking to Amy and Joe about our amazing grand prize-winning weekend. It turns out that they weren’t the original winners of the Capital Cities trip. Someone else had won it and couldn’t go due to a family commitment. Sucks to be them. So they drew another name and it was Amy. Which is cool, because they were really fun to hang out with. I bet those other people were dicks. Their family was probably all like, “We wish you went on that trip instead of fulfilling your family obligation. You’ve ruined the Wedding/Christening/Bar Mitzvah with your drunken tomfoolery. Grandma doesn’t love you anymore. Seriously, attend a meeting or something, you asshole. Oh, and you’re paying for that (fill in the blank)!”
We boarded the prop plane for the forty minute flight back to Seattle. I am already on record with my abject disdain of prop planes. I don’t like being able to see an engine stop. I think that if God wanted man to fly in prop planes, he’d put jet engines on them. The flight back to Seattle was pretty turbulent, and I felt bad for Connie Bigs because of all the excessive squeezing I did to her leg. But she’ll heal, like a big girl does. When we landed, we departed the plane and said our goodbyes to our Nebraska friends. We had a four-hour wait for our flight back to Boston, so we went and got some sustenance to tide us over.
Connie and I stopped and got bagels in this place I want to call “The Bagel Store”. That’s not the actual name of the place, but that’s what it was. A store full of bagels. Bagels as far as the eye could see, as long as your eyes can only see to the back wall. They probably had more bagels behind the wall in the kitchen, but I can’t vouch for that. I chose a delicious French toast bagel with cream cheese, because they didn’t have any Freedom toast bagels. Connie got a chocolate chip one, because she always confuses breakfast with dessert. It’s adorable.
We paid for our food and headed out to sit at our terminal for four hours. As we were leaving the register, I glanced at the customers in line. Mike Birbiglia was standing there. As I have previously stated, Birbigs was one of my must see acts during the weekend, but due to the meet and greet with The Lumineers coinciding with his set, we weren’t able to see him. I tapped Connie on the shoulder and informed her of my discovery.
ME: “Holy shit! Mike Birbiglia is standing in line.”
CBS: “Really? Are you sure?”
ME: “Yes, that’s him with the backpack. I recognize his stance.”
CBS: “Are you getting all creepy stalker right now? Don’t get all creepy stalker on him.”
ME: “No, I’m not going to get all ‘creepy stalker’ on him. Don’t be ridiculous. I’m just going to stand here and wait until he comes out, and then approach him in a non-threatening manner and tell him I love him.”
CBS: “Yeah, that sounds fucking creepy.”
ME: “No, you don’t understand me. I’m not saying that I love him like I want to marry him or skin his flesh off and wear it as a bodysuit under my clothes, like I love you. I’m just saying if he ever wanted to come over to our house for a sleepover, that would be wicked awesome.”
CBS: (shaking her head) “Well, I have to go to the bathroom.”
ME: ” Go ahead. I’ll wait right here. Don’t worry, I’m not going to be a creepy stalker. I just want to tell him that I think he’s great, and that his movie Sleepwalk With Me is fantastic, and that we don’t live that far from his hometown of Shrewsbury, so if he really is serious about that sleepover thing I could even come pick him up. No problem at all. I won’t even charge him any gas money or anything.”
CBS: (Walks away silently, with that look on her face. You know the one.)
About five to seven minutes pass, and Connie Bigs returns
CBS: “Did you say hi to him?”
ME: “No, he’s still in line. But I think it’s really moving along now.”
CBS: (rolling her eyes) “Let’s just go sit down and eat. He’s probably flying out of the same terminal, since he’s down here. Maybe he’s flying back to Boston and we’re on the same flight.”
ME: (Reluctantly) “Alright Connie. You win this round. I’m not going to make a scene, because I love you, and because of the intense scrutiny the TSA places upon people acting like raving lunatics yelling angrily at their wives in the airport nowadays. But I want it on record that I am sitting down and eating this bagel under protest.”
CBS: “Duly noted. That’s my big boy.”
We walked down to our gate and found a seat where we proceeded to eat our now cold bagels. After we finished, I said I had to use the bathroom. There was one right there, but I walked back down to use the one by the bagel place. Mike Birbiglia was gone, as I had feared. I went back to where Connie was sitting and told her. She laughed at me. That cut me to my core. Well, maybe that’s a little extreme, but it definitely scraped me a little bit.
We spent the next few hours catching up on the new season of Arrested Development via the magic of Netflix for iPhone. We watched four episodes and I must say we laughed out loud like idiots during them. At least that’s the impression that I got from some of the looks cast our way from other travelers. They should have looked in a mirror at themselves, because they all looked pretty fucking ridiculous to me. A few hours before our flight we decided to grab something to eat at Chili’s. It seemed like a good idea, since we still had a seven hour flight back home, and man cannot live on soy nuts alone.
By the time we finished our food and paid, the ticket counter had opened up. We went up to it and asked the flight attendant if there were any first class upgrades available. She said that there were two seats left in first class, and that it would be another $240 per person. This seemed well worth it, for a seven hour flight. Or six-hour and ten minute flight, with a fifty minute layover in Chicago. I still had $300 left on the American Express gift card that no one would accept as a form of payment, but luckily American Airlines did. Probably because they have American in their name too, and it would seem unpatriotic of them to decline something American.
We boarded the plane early, like first class people have done since time immemorial. I had never flown fancy style before. To be honest, whenever I have flown somewhere, I always walk through first class and silently glare at all the beautiful people and wish them ill will. Even the children. Especially the children. Nothing’s worse than a little kid in first class. Nothing.
We sat down in our comfy seats and waited as the rest of the passengers filed by us silently glaring and wishing us ill will. Even the children. It was actually pretty awesome. When the plane was in the air, the flight attendant came by and gave us a warm towel, which I always thought only happened in barber shops and wet dreams. Then they gave us bowls of nuts. So warm and salty in my mouth.
Then they came around and asked if we wanted lunch. We had stupidly eaten an hour before, thinking we’d be back in the poor part of town where you fight for any little scrap of food you can get, so we declined.
The flight was great until we got about 45 minutes outside of Chicago. We flew through a seriously scary lightning storm. I’m almost positive I fractured Connie’s forearm with my concern for her well-being. But that’s what love is all about. Protecting the one’s you love from things that scare you most. It was a horrible experience that I was pretty sure was going to end badly for everyone involved. The plane was bouncing and dropping. The sky was alive with lightning bolts. The flight attendants were all crying. Or at least they looked like they were through my tears. It was mortifying.
But we landed safely in Chicago, and the plane erupted in applause. Then people started chanting, “Encore! Encore!!” The flight crew broke into a rousing rendition of Sweet Home Alabama, but one dickhead had to scream, “Play Freebird!” It always happens. Just let them play what they play, dude!
We weren’t switching planes, but we got off to stretch our legs and kiss the ground like the pope would do.
I mean the kiss the ground part, although I’m sure the pope needs to stretch his legs too. He’s old, and arthritis ain’t no joke. Although he probably just has an altar boy stretch his legs for him. Maybe work out his quads and such. Like the bible says.
We boarded the plane again, because the lightning was so much fun the first time, we figured we should do it again. I actually told Connie that we should just rent a car, and make the sixteen hour drive home. She said no.
The weather had delayed some takeoffs and we wound up waiting on the tarmac for about another hour. In the back of my head, I was kind of hoping they’d just say, “Fuck it! We’re not taking off in this shit.” But they didn’t, and we did. The plane finally took off and we were on our final leg of this very long day/week. Connie slept for a bit, while I stayed awake to enjoy every single bump on a very bumpy flight. Every… single…. one.
We landed at Logan around 2 am, an hour after we were scheduled to arrive, and were met by Connie’s parents, Big Jim and Donna Momahue. We set out for the half hour ride to their house in Weymouth, just glad to be on terra firma again. Until Big Jim almost killed us in the tunnel coming out of the airport. We asked him to settle down a bit and drive like a grown up. He agreed, or maybe he didn’t. I’m not really sure. I was very tired. But we made it to their house with minor emotional trauma, so that’s a plus.
We then took the fifteen minute drive back home to Whitman, and crawled into bed at 4 am. There’s nothing better than crawling into your own bed after a week away.
What I’m trying to say is,
If you see a contest on Facebook, maybe you should take a shot and enter it. People really do win those fucking things.
I’m living proof.