Dave was awash in guilt for arriving beyond the designated 1-3 p.m. window. I assured him it made no difference to me, working at home and all. He was so relieved I didn't yell at him and demand his boss's name, that he hung around to make sure all my VCR-DVD-life support wires were still functioning. He then noted that he was conveniently "fresh out of" a key piece of equipment, a 'blocker' which does exactly what it sounds like. "So, like, you'll still get the same channels but only be paying for basic," he said. "They won't notice unless they do a random check. Sign here, please."
The next lovely man-angel who came to my door was a studly UPS driver – is there any other kind? He brought my father's Xmas/Birthday present – an Epson Heritage Music System. It's one of those old time-y looking stereos that unites all music playing capabilities of my pre-iPod lifetime minus the beloved 8-track – CDs, cassettes, radio and, best of all, records. Remember those?
Last night, I set it up and dove into my long-neglected stack of albums, trying to decide which one to play for the ceremonial first spin. Perhaps
After a few embarrassing flips through the dusty collection, I came upon The One, the album that rightfully deserved to kick off a new era of phonographing fun: "Cheap Trick at Budokan." During my twelfth summer, this album was played so many times, over and over and over again - I was quite surprised to find it still in one piece. This may have even been the point in history when the phrase "ad nauseum" was born.
In 1978, I faced some unwelcome changes in my life. For one thing, my parents were getting a divorce. Though my word-weary pal, Allison, assured me that this would translate into a lot of guilt gifts and trips to amusement parks, I was not comforted. My Dad moved out and my world shattered.
This news arrived about the same time that my body hit puberty like a brick wall. I tried to ignore the B-cup boobs that arrived nearly overnight, even tried to ace bandage those babies, to no avail. My 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Merrill, finally sent a note home to my mother: "Buy this girl a bra." There were only two other girls my age in school who had breasts – Amazonian bullies named Janelle and Cheryl who heartily slapped me on the back and took joy in snapping my new bra strap on crowded playgrounds. Good times.
Of course, with this new body acreage came acne. Oh yeah, that was AWESOME. Overall, I felt like a bullhorn abruptly came down from the clouds – or perhaps, up from the oozy tar pits of hell – and flatly announced: "(Ahem.) Attention! Attention! Heather Clisby: Your childhood is now OVER." There was no gentle easing into Womanhood for me – it came on like a bucket of ice water. (I'm mindfully sparing you the menstruation aspect to this story, gentle readers and Fang.)
So, to cheer me up, Dad and I and packed up his new mid-life crisis toy, a Jaguar XJ6, and we hit the road. He was headed to his 20-year high school reunion in
Keep in mind, kids, that entertainment used to require some dedication, some focus and the willingness to get up off the couch, time after time, and move the needle back to the beginning. I took great joy in this – something comforting and Buddhist-y in the repetition of the act. By the end of the summer, my six-year-old cousin, Ryan, (who grew up to become my
All these comforting memories came flooding back last night as I put the needle down once again and heard lead singer Robin Zander declare, "I want YOU .. to want ME" which I always thought was a fair request. Against my better judgment, however, my heart had been drawn to the cigarette-dangling, spectacled drummer, Bun E. Carlos, mainly for his obvious defiance of what a 'rock star' should look like. Seriously, he looked like he could be the band's sloppy but lovable accountant or maybe sell insurance. The other two, Robin and Tom, were predictably man-pretty, which never really works for me. Okay, maybe sometimes.
Hearing the first roar of all those screaming Japanese school girls … Zip! Those 29 years sure flew by! I finally made peace with my boobs, my acne has been replaced by wrinkles and my Christmas holidays are finally spent with BOTH parents at the same time, in the same room – a major familial advance that began just three years ago. This time, however, I had the power of the Internet … (Insert trumpets blaring here.)
I was quite pleased to discover that none of my beloved CT boys had overdosed but were, in fact, thriving. Bun E. had quit smoking (!) and looked happy, despite never receiving my love directly. Rick Nielsen remains quite relevant, having written the theme song to 'That 70s Show' and 'The Colbert Report.' The band still releases albums, appear on Howard Stern, get referenced on 'The Simpsons' and they even gave a free concert in
Glad to hear some of us never quite grow up.