…I always get hung up on the subject line of these posts, with a lot to say but no name for it, or at least not yet. Similar to how naming a band has always been a mental roadblock for me… thank goodness Karen helped me name our kids. Or they’d still be walking around as Embryos 1 and 2. When the kids fought we could’ve called it an embryo embroglio. And that’s my set, everybody! Nobody? No one’s here? So speaking of great comedy, we have quite the month underway here, having seen the inconquerable Eddie Izzard a few weeks ago in Providence. The guy can just talk about English history in the middle ages and make us all laugh… he’s great. And then we scored tickets to see– wait for it– Dave Chappelle! That’s right, 10pm show in Providence. You want to know who’s part of the “in” crowd that gets to see shows like this? So do I. I’ll report back, assuming I’m not too cool to blog after this experience.
I’ve been too cool to blog all summer apparently. The usual weekends on the Vineyard, kids learning to jetski from Swedish tutors while I wax the convertible. What? Jetski is not a Swedish word? No, more like Karen taking the kids to the lake in town while I sweat through the interior painting of the first floor… putting the final touches on our major kitchen renovation. Yep, even painted the sagging porch, which is mildly appealing now if not structurally sound. We drove to Chicago and back, which was more fun than expected save for a moment right out of National Lampoon’s Vacation where I was stopped for speeding. Yep, we only brought one CD on the trip — because why would we need anything more than Taylor Swift’s 1989? I ask you that fighting back a storm of tears. Yes, you know me, never one to sulk, I was trying to make the best of it by singing along earnestly to “Wildest Dreams” when I found myself alone in the passing lane going right past a speed trap. It’s not this incident that ultimately soured me on the album, I promise you. It was the sad feeling after complete album play #49 that there was primarily a very calculated manufacturing–and not an artistic–process behind this album… I know, not a revelation. This is America after all… if you want high-brow culture, go to France, as they say. Do they say that?
Speaking of high-brow, I just saw The End of the Tour, a movie about a Rolling Stone writer tagging along with David Foster Wallace as he finished his book tour for Infinite Jest, which I daresay is in the top 3 of books I’ve ever read… number one being Goodnight Moon, given how many times I reportedly demanded readings of that book as a child. There’s of course a book that the movie is based on, which I’m just over halfway through, and I gotta say just a little bit into the movie I realized I’d rather be reading the book. I mean why this needed to be on film is beyond me — as that just introduces all of these extraneous issues like how the actors are doing portraying these characters and what they chose to use from the book in the movie. Which ties in exactly to how worried DFW was about being interviewed for Rolling Stone — like how he was losing control of the end product, what would be written about him. And how just by doing the interview he was feeding a sudden celebrity that he felt was misplaced — because hardly anyone had had time at that point to have read his 1,000+ page-not-counting-footnotes masterpiece. It was funny (well funny and sad knowing what happened to him) how worried he was about coming off in Rolling Stone as someone who wanted to be covered in Rolling Stone. He was battling with how as an artist you sort of learn to have a deep distrust for anything commercially successful, but then when your own work becomes a success you suddenly need to figure out what and whom you can still trust, including yourself. I daresay other heroes of mine had this exact same reaction to celebrity: Bob Dylan, Dave Chappelle, Tom Brady.
Joking about Brady — just had to get a mention of the exonerated four-time superbowl champ in there. I know, I know… not exactly exonerated and something fishy was maybe going on there, but we’re talking about a sport that’s damaging players’ brains every day, so really, what do we expect? What? “Captain, the Readership is plummeting!” “Steady… steady… she’ll hold together!!”
Umm, so new accomplishments and endeavors this summer. I somehow pulled off being the musician at a wedding… like playing Ave Maria and Pachebel’s Canon for all the really important parts of the wedding, not to mention the Wedding March blended into John Lennon’s “Imagine” for the recessional. Yep, grand piano in front of a whole church… kids watching eagerly for any evidence that piano lessons just lead to a lifetime of torture and embarrassment. So a lot was at stake. Thankfully I found a piano at the hotel we were staying at for last minute practicing… pulled it off, and then, like the car at the end of The Blues Brothers, I burst into pieces at the reception, although that could’ve been the two bloody marys. Kids are off to good starts in 4th and 2nd grade and Syd is starting town soccer this fall. Syd is also doing well in our family-friendly ultimate frisbee games, including some one-handed touchdown catches caught in a sort of pose, frozen for the cameras. She has her father’s flair for the dramatic. What? I dragged Isaac into a sporting goods store recently (literally a bit of a dragging match in the parking lot) and bought him a baseball glove. He likes it because it’s orange… we have yet to put it to use.
But I’m rambling and it’s late and one of my three heroes is playing football on television, that beckoning force that David Foster Wallace did battle with and warned us about in his writing. But it’s like Jaques Cousteau used to say: “Keep your friends close, keep your anemones closer.” Until next time…