A busy summer is winding down over here… a summer of firsts, Karen integrating special needs kids into summer camp programming at the Y, Sydney getting comfortable on a bicycle with training wheels, then falling, getting uncomfortable with the whole idea again, blaming Daddy for not tightening the training wheels, then grudgingly getting back on the bike only to give up again at the furthest point from our house… Daddy learning how to walk two bikes back with an indignant Sydney marching ahead of him. Sydney started piano lessons after a thorough auditioning of teachers. We ended up with an environmentalist who teaches out of her house and who doesn’t believe in air conditioning (or, she warned, very much heat in the winter)… but maybe this will lead me to get more of the family into long underwear. Let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth. What else happened this summer? I’ve played a bunch of shows with the new rock sensation, the Drama Queens, and am now pulling down two incomes… looking forward to telling the kids how I had to work two jobs to put them through two years of technical school. Yep… these fancy colleges need to get their curriculums in line with reality before we consider shelling out $200K for a degree in ramen noodles and mozzarella sticks. What? Sorry, that’s the little conservative in me — long oppressed — making his little voice heard. Must be the energy and excitement of the Republican National Convention rubbing off on me.
Ah, yes, is it an election year? Do we have more spirit-killing attack ads saturating our airwaves? Sydney asked me if I could be president, which I took as a small vote of confidence soon after the abandoned bike ride, long march home incident. I said probably not. She asked why. I said because I don’t like politics. She asked what “politics” were. I started to answer that politics were having to give lots of speeches telling different groups of people what they want to hear, but she had already stopped listening… thus illustrating another crippling factor in politics: short attention spans, the need to talk about quick and decisive fixes for what might be deep-seated problems only fixed by long-term investments and resultant cultural shifts. I mean, if I may briefly pretend to be presidential candidate, I’d say we need look no further than our teen movies to see manifestations of the problem. Today teens aspire to be wizards, vampires or zombies, whereas when I was growing up we had movies like War Games, Real Genius and Weird Science where kids got to use old-fashioned American ingenuity to hook phones up to computers and hack into Norad, make popcorn with lasers or make a real, living girlfriend (ah, those were the daydreams!!! What?). And that is the real reason why I can’t be president.
So we’re off to StoryLand, NH this weekend for our much-delayed vacation this summer. I was trying to get Karen to work with me to convince the kids that this was
in fact Disney World. She just laughed in an unamused way. I’m currently searching for a publisher for my series of dispatches from Disney World, if and when that trip becomes a reality. I promise to pull no punches. If no one knows or cares who Mickey Mouse is anymore, I will expose that fact. Conversely, if the Disney version of a Turkish bazaar is much cleaner and more climate-controlled than the real thing, I will report that as well. But I think writing about the experience might be the only thing that will get me through the trip… that and the looks of joy and wonder on my kids’ faces. Should I have mentioned that first? Yes, of course, the joy and wonder on my kids’ faces will make it all worth it… until I realize that the joy and wonder is being produced by a multi-million-dollar marketing effort that is effectively subjugating middle class families, putting them into credit card debt for the not insignificant future. Yes, I fully anticipate the dispatches to be bound and sold as the much-anticipated follow-up to Marx’s Das Kapital. Reason #2 I can’t be president.
But you know what they say: if you can’t be president, at least you can make music. They don’t say that? So a couple of my latest recordings are at www.reverbnation.com/ericfriedman. “Christine” is a song about the person at work who puts the entire email message in the subject line. Like multi-sentence messages. She’s never written a word in the body of an email. And then the second rough recording of “jumpers 1 & 2” is one we’ve already re-recorded with the band, and I can send along a site with a bunch of recent band recordings soon. But that song is about two brothers competing for one spot on the U.S. olympic trampoline team. True story that I heard on NPR… thought it was both funny and sad… or maybe neither. Nothing funny or sad about chasing your dream… even if your dream is basically jumping on a really bouncy mattress. I bet the parents of those two guys never told them to stop jumping on the bed… and look where it got them!
Ok, hope your summers have all gone well. Until next time…