This song takes me back to freshman year high school. There was lots of weed, lots of sex, lots of time, but no money and no parents. In high school I was totally into the grunge scene, but I couldn’t shake R&B. So my CDs comprised Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Wallflowers, Sonic Youth, STP mixed with PM Dawn, Whitney Houston, Montell Jordan, BabyFace, En Vogue and Janet Jackson. Mixed into all this was my dad’s record collection, which included John Denver, Temptations, Barry Manilow, Bette Midler, Helen Reddyand random 45s.
Random? Yes. But, that’s where I feel most comfortable.
BTW, I’m pretty sure I’m annoying my cube-mate with my random play list. But, you know what? She annoys me everyday through no fault of her own, just because I’m a temperamental and manic being. She knows that, she has to. It’s nothing personal. Until next time, darlings.
When my dad writes me love notes he usually steals from his favorite songs. Every birthday card, every Christmas card, even phone calls, he’ll pull a stanza or two from a song.
His favorite act to pull from is Barry Manilow. His second is John Denver. Third is Elton. I would totally reverse the order, for myself. But, then I’ve heard enough Barry to last me a few more years. I would probably swap out Barry with Queen.
Sometimes its a bit cryptic and I have to work to try and figure out who he’s sampling from. Once, for my birthday (probably 20th or so) he wrote in my b-day card…
We dreamers have our ways
Of facing rainy days
And somehow we survive
We keep the feelings warm
These lyrics are from Barry’s hit, “I made it through the rain” Out of all the many options he could have chosen from this song he chose the above stanza. The most obvious option would have been the chorus lyrics,
I made it through the rain
I kept my world protected
I made it through the rain
I kept my point of view
I made it through the rain
But no, dad chose the opening stanza. It makes sense to those who know him. He’s always thought of himself as a dreamer. But the last line about keeping our feelings warm…whatevs.
I can’t figure out where he pulled today’s note from. He wrote,
Yell at the top of your voice from the most highest, I Love You. If you have time to day think of me. Love you most Dad
Maybe this is an original. Probably not. Peace out hookers,
Here are two pics of Barry…the first is how I like to remember him, young and pre-surgery. The second is, I hope, a pic of him smoking a joint.
boy: (while checking himself out in a full length mirror, he brushes his fingers through his hair and as he tweeks his nipples, says) “Can I stick it in your ear?
girl: (while sitting on the boy’s bed and brushing her long blond hair while she stares, admirably at the young shirtless boy, ask) “Stick what in my ear?”
boy: (looking over his shoulder, and turning his chin to the floor, he replies) “My penis.” (yes, he said penis)
girl: (still brushing her hair) “What? Well, okay.”
This happened to me. I was the silly girl. And why either one of us thought sticking a penis in my ear was a logical question is absurd. It’s clear he just wanted to know what it would feel like. He was always telling me about all the places he wanted to try and stick his penis. But, me. Why would I say okay. I couldn’t have thought it would actually fit. And if I thought it might fit, I wasn’t scared that it would fucking hurt. We weren’t even stoned when this happened. We were just dumb kids.
The things he did to me boggle my mind. The things I let him do to me. After he broke up with me (I still have a hard time with that part, that he would break up with me is proof of my ridiculous and pathetic state of mind at the time.) I cried a long time. Then I felt sorry for myself and then I exploited men in an attempt to pump up my self-esteem. Then, for years, I hated at all men. Through all that learned a lot of lessons about myself. I learned a lot from that asshole about accepting myself. I learned that boys lie, and friends will too. That my voice is worth hearing, and that whoever I’m with will should want to hear it sing or talk or whistle or mumble. I learned that I want someone to love me, but I also want to love someone back. I don’t want to rest in a relationship that is tentative or complacent towards love. To really love someone with your heart and soul is breathtaking. I learned to laugh at myself. But, best of all…I learned to be myself.
That may sound cliche, but its true. I had lost myself, into oblivion. Little by little he took and destroyed the original me. All that made me unique was erased. But, like a little trooper I picked myself up and tried to move on. I took a lot more drugs, and remember I hated men for a long time. But, then I started to feel a little more empowered and started to get into my dad’s music collection. I listened to Barry Manilow, Bette Midler, some John Denver sprinkled in with a little Elton John, Cher and the Temptations. I remember a time, when when my empowerment was slipped and I was feeling exceptionally shitty. I smoked some weed, put on some Whitney Houston, and started crafting (deconstructing clothes and playing with make-up). As I listened to the record (I’m not old enough to have actually purchased a record player or records, cassettes were the music method of my day, but my parents had a record player and my dad loved him some Whitney. He still loves his Whitney) Anyways, as I listened, the song “Greatest Love of All” clicked on. As I’m playing dress up and performing music videos for myself in front of the mirror, I started to cry realizing how true it is “that learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.” Just as I darkened my lipstick, my bedroom door flies open and my dad is singing in the doorway. One arm up and the other fist clinched and pounding at his heart.
I looked him up and down. And thought, that’s my dad standing there with his hip cocked and his little peach colored shorts being way to short. My eyes wandered down to his red tennis shoes when I noticed him walking towards me. He came sauntering in my direction and making hand motions for me to stand up. With make-up running down my face, I stood up and we sort of danced poorly to the rest of the song. We had a blast. He dipped me, I dipped him. While, this sounds sweet and was actually what I needed at that moment in time. You should know that my dad didn’t do this to cheer me up, that was a wonderful and unusual side effect of his behavior.
He busted in on my room because he was in the mood for a song and dance. He heard Whitney and he came running. I love this side of my dad. He’ll never know how much that meant to me on that day. As I’ve learned to love myself and be myself I’ve started to love other people for themselves.
…Okay, this is getting so cheesy that I want some mac-n-cheese or cheeto-s. My vote is cheeto-s!!!
This has been a mammoth of a list. Meaning, I thought I could just call him up and ask him his favorite movies. But no. While it only has three entries, it took well over two weeks to compile. I first asked my dad about his favorite movies in person and I wanted his top 5.
Dad: That’s too many. If these are my favorites I have to really think about this. I have to pick carefully, what if I’m stuck with these my whole life.
Me: well take your time.
And he did. I called him back a few days later to follow up. The phone rang and rang and then silence. Then I heard, “There you are.” To which I responded, “Where was I?” He replied, “You went off somewhere, but now you’re back! Love you most.” Then he hung up.
So… I called him back and resumed our conversation. He didn’t have his top five as I had originally asked, five movies was really stressing him out. But, he did have a list of three ready, so I think I’ll cap the list at three.
We discussed the many factors that go into choosing a favorite movie. Such as, re-watchablility. It was very important to dad that he chose movies that he could watch over and over and over. His reasoning, “If I’m on a stranded island, in the middle of nowhere these movies have to pull me through the hard times.” This means it’s important to pick movies that you would never tire of watching, on your island, in the middle of nowhere, that is. Another factor was quotability. Did the movie produce quotable lines? Without further adieu, I present the list.
HIPPY THE CLOWN’S FAVORITE MOVIES (btw: This is his clown name. Seriously.)
1. Arsenic and Old Lace
Dad: “It would have to be Arsenic and Old Lace, that’s a movie I would keep under my pillow.” (This is in case he’s robbed; he always said you keep your valuables under your pillow or mattress. Items under your mattress are irreplaceable, i.e. cash.) I do love this movie. We would pop this worn out VHS into the VCR and enjoy this flick about once a week. Carry Grant was big in our household. So were Jimmy Stuart, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Bette Midler and Barry Manilow. The many living room performances to Judy, Bette, and Barry’s tunes got us through life without cable TV.
Dr. Einstein: Where am I? Oh, here I am.
Mortimer Brewster: When I come back, I expect to find you gone. Wait for me!
2. Sleepless in Seattle
Dad: “Well, I have to have Sleepless in Seattle. Have to!!! Because of the hopeless romantic that I am. You remember the part at the end. Oh, it’s the best.” Favorite Quotes: (He couldn’t think of any at the moment, but he’s sure there are plenty)
3. Mary Poppins
Dad: “Absolutely without a doubt Mary Poppins. It’s a feel good movie to watch at night when you’re feeling down.” This is probably one of my favorite movies, as well. I love it when local TV runs it on long weekends or holidays. We learned our life lessons from this movie.
Mary Poppins: That’s a piecrust promise. Easily made, easily broken.
Mary Poppins: As I expected. “Mary Poppins, practically perfectly in every way.” (My dad uses this quote on a daily basis with a little modification to suite himself. When you ask him how he is, you know in polite conversation…Stranger: How are you doing today? My dad: Practically perfect in every way. Sometimes he shortens it to practically perfect.
When it was time to end our call, I said, “Dad I have to go.” His reply, “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.”
I had planned to hang with my dad this weekend, but a familiar conundrum has surfaced. My mom also wants to hang with me this weekend. As with all kids from broken homes, which parent do you choose? My sister’s solution, which has always been her strategy for these situations, who has the better offer? And, times being what they are, I’m kind of on board with this logic.
Dad will definitely pay for whatever outing we choose. My mom thinks we’re learning lessons and being grownups when we pay for ourselves. But, as Ms. A pointed out, you’re not a grownup until you’re married. I’m still finding my way in this scary world. My sister’s going to call both and get the scoop. She said, “If we play this right, we could have the whole weekend covered.” I know it’s wrong, but I’m broke and want to see Mama Mia and Dark Knight and maybe enjoy an ice-cream.