Saturday, March 5, 2011

Delving into the dusty and ramshackle regions of my mind.

For some unfathomable reason Mother Theresa over at “The Rain in Spain…” tagged my dull and boring self for the meme asking I spout off seven remarkable things (outright lies) about this poor Southern redneck. This week at work was frustrating and crazy, which delayed my participation. For that, I apologize to Mother T.  I do enjoy these little trips into the dusty regions of my ramshackle mind, I hope I do not scare anyone away, still working in a rush so forgive the typos.  

1.)This is going to amuse a lot of people and have some question my manhood but I actually like the music of ABBA. I never owned any of their CD’s but since I was a kid when one of their songs played on the radio, I would soon be grooving to their music. Now when I was in high school I kept my appreciation of Sweden’s super group a highly classified secret.  So yeah, as my contemporaries were zoning out to KISS, Twisted Sister, and Black Sabbath I was geeking out to a group that back then was at a minimum snickered at or outright ridiculed.

A few months ago, my wife bought a used DVD copy of the movie “Momma Mia”, which is based around many ABBA songs. When I hear her upstairs watching it most of the time I will eventually drift up to the family room myself.  One thing about the movie that just does not ever seem right is hearing Pierce Brosnan sing.

2.) It is a subject I have never touched on, but I met my wife at a Jimmy Buffett concert in Charlotte, North Carolina.  It was the summer of 1992 and I had just graduated with a nice and shiny two-year Associate degree from one of South Carolina’s finer community colleges. My job search had started a few months before and after sending out scores of resumes, I was hitting a humongous goose egg. It was several months after the conclusion of Operation Desert Storm and America was welcoming home thousands of troops with the military gearing up for a massive draw down in strength.

Curious enough, I had left the active army back in 1990 at the conclusion of my four-year enlistment when word started to come down from officials about a reduction in force back then. I figured I would beat the rush by leaving the service, get into college,  and be sitting pretty as a civilian long before the majority of troops were sent home. Little did I know that barely a month after I rejoined the civilian ranks Saddam would do something very stupid and invade little Kuwait.     

My major was electronics and by the time I had my degree I found myself competing for entry-level technician jobs with former Navy personnel with over twenty-years of experience.  Let us just say by that time it was a buyer’s market with forty-something ex-Navy Chief Petty Officers almost coming to blows with each other over a minimum wage technician jobs at Chucky Cheese pizza places fixing old fashion video games.    

My brother Steve took pity on my sorry, unemployed soul and coughed up the bucks for both of us to go see Jimmy’s concert. By chance, I ended up sitting beside the future Dragonwife, who was newly divorced and accompanied by some blind date bozo her best friend had arranged.Thirty minutes into the concert her blind date understood which way the wind was blowing and went home early.

Because of my attending a Jimmy Buffett concert my son, Darth Spoilboy would eventually be born along with my daughter Miss Wiggles being adopted from China. Moreover, my wife and I have been married now for what seems like a couple of millenniums.

3.) One of my most pleasant memories from childhood involves a camping trip to a small barrier island, which was actually nothing more than a glorified sandbar when I was about five years-old.  My hometown, Georgetown, South Carolina sits on the edge of a coastal estuary called Winyah Bay that is used even now for fishing and simple recreation.  While growing up my family would often make fishing trips into the bay and since Georgetown was a port city big freighters were often seen heading towards the docks or back out to sea.  Those freighters fascinated me since I had some idea they were part of a much larger world that I could not comprehend.  Many times as we fished on the bay I would watch those big ships heading back toward the ocean waving at the guys leaning against the railings and marvel at the places they were going to see.

It was early in the spring of 1969 and my dad loaded up his boat with the old tent, an old cooler, and other supplies and along with his best friend and his son we were a few hours later in Winyah Bay heading out the same direction as those freighters. We set up camp on a small barrier island way above the high tide line next a medium sized tree that had somehow taken root. The island was about a mile long but was no wider than fifty yards.  The one memory of the place that is still clear after all these years is pristine beach facing the ocean with huge shells littered all around and how almost Caribbean-clear the water looked.

We fished on the open ocean, a new thing for me, all day after getting the camp setup. Later I caught a small hammerhead shark and who I battled, at least in my mind, like Santiago from “The Old Man and The Sea.” My dad took a picture of me holding up the two-foot creature still attached to the line even though my arms felt like warm taffy. We cut the shark loose then and put him back in the water. He swam around the boat for several minutes, slapped it with his tail a couple of times and then disappeared.

After putting ashore at the camp, we had a manly dinner of canned spam on bread washing it down with Pepsi. As the sun went down my dad and his best friend went night fishing leaving Jack and me at the campsite. After stern instruction about what not to do, we watched them fade off into the night. Jack and I had a ball pretty much doing what we wanted but for me the best thing was watching a freighter heading out to sea.

4.) Watching my teenage son is a riot, free of most of the bad family drama I went through the kid is crazy smart and popular in his group of friends. Now if I don’t have a heart attack worrying when he gets his driver’s license I figure I will be ahead of the game.

5.) My daughter is eight years-old as of this post and if I worry about anything, it is she. Since I was in the military, I have some insight into the workings of the male brain. Hell, not too long ago I was one of those hormone-driven punks and if I ever get into serious trouble if will be because one of those creatures hurt my daughter. But, do not even begin to think I consider my daughter some delicate, hot house flower. She is an utter firecracker and in a few ways the boys do not understand what she can do to them.

6.) I am finding middle-age pretty much sucks, but since fighting it is stupid and the alternative is death which is a serious mega-bummer I can deal with the increased fire threat on my birthday cakes each year. Now if there was a couple of things I could change I would wish for better eyesight and my damn hair back. I suffer from a medical condition with my eyes preventing all forms of corrective surgery, as of right now and the foreseeable future, so barring a miracle I’m screwed on that end. However, I am seriously thinking about joining the hair club for men.

7.) My final aspect I will reveal for this meme is an oldie but a goody, I unreservedly from the deepest bowels of my soul hate suburbia.


Jack Jodell said...

1. ABBA was a fabulous group full of great melody, tight musicianship, and great harmony. Liking them is nothing to be ashamed of, male or female.
2. I get a kick out of the nicknames you have given your family-LOL!
3. I hope and expect that someday "Darth Spoilboy" will be able to relate similar pleasant memories of a boyhood outing with you. ;-).
4. Your boy should do just fine with his license. Somehow, in spite of all odds, most of us manage quite well.
5. Happy birthday to "Miss Wiggles", who I'm sure will be able to handle the boys just fine on her own. Remember, girls these days are afforded much more freedom than in the past, and most end up commanding attention AND respect. I've got bad eyes too, but you look just fine to me. ;-).
6. While I do not share your fondness for the military (I HATE regimentation), I respect your viewpoint. Perhaps you could volunteer for the USO or something?
7. It is the home of many yuppies and narrow-minded types, but if it's home, it's home. YOU certainly don't fit the stereotypical mindset...

MRMacrum said...

First off, you should have saved the ABBA comment for last. From that relevation forward as I read, I not only questioned your manhood, I decided that instead of old glory hanging from the porch come the 4th of July, it is a rain bow flag that flutters over your yard full of amber waves of grain.

No real man would ever admit liking ABBA. And would certainly never be caught tapping their feet. Sorry dude, but that's just the way of things.

Liberality said...

I enjoyed reading this post. ABBA is ABBA. And people like what they like. It's no big deal. I am glad you have a daughter because it will force you to think of things from the female's perspective. As for the eyes going bad, don't I know it. And the print on everything, thanks to computer generated print, is too small.

Randal Graves said...

I see the gentleman from Maine already addressed the pertinent issue of the hour. Once this comment is finished, I'm off to write a letter to Ozzy, Tony, Geezer and Bill detailing your blasphemy, unless you find success with hair restoration in which I'll refuse to mail said letter if you share your secrets.

Beach Bum said...

Jack: The military I served in does not exist anymore, while the "Soviet Menace" was largely a construction of the military-industrial complex the Russian bear was no more wiser than the American eagle and subject to the same cluster f@cks we seemed to excel at which could have resulted in WW3.

My military had been for decades a legitimate way for poorer kids and minorities to get ahead. Yes, we prepared for war but we at least had confidence that if we fought it was for something real.

Mike: LOL!!!
You know I need to buy a rainbow flag just to piss off the neighbors. Yeah, my taste in music is always been off the normal path. In fact I'm still big on "Up with people." I will now hang my head in further shame.

Liberality: Wiggles shouldn't have much to worry about boys, she doesn't take any shit off me much less her brother so some douche will be small potatoes.

Randal: Trade the freaking Rogaine crap and I actually believe it made things worse. Looks like Hair Club for Men for me and I'll keep you informed.

Sue said...

I like ABBA, can't stand Pierce Brosnan..

Nice story about meeting wifey

nice memory of Dad time...

When my kids got their license I never slept til they were home safe in their beds. Its a terrifying time in a parents life!

Dads and daughters, another terrifying time you must live through!

turning 50 sucks big time, worst day of my life. I could not even say 50 for the longest time!

I love suberbia..

Nice to meet ya BB!

Bill's Big Bamboo said...

Middle-age sucks ... until you get to old-age.

I still like ABBA. The babes were HOT ... & thanks to their music, always will be. Even if they are well beyond "middle-age" now.

MRMacrum said...

Now see what you did. You created controversey where none existed before. I hope you are happy.

Although doing something just to piss off the neighbors does mellow it out a tad. But then you brought your sorry self roaring back to shameville wuth the "Up With People" comment.

I had a very good family friend who sang with "Up with People" back in the late 1960s. Because of her, I was force fed their music until even I had to tap my feet just to give the appearance of being on board.

I think it was then that visions of happy smiling faces began to cause me serious nightmares. I have yet to recover.

Infidel753 said...

Nothing wrong with Abba. It's nice, light, cheerful music, most of it. I don't know how this idea got started that you have to dislike certain music to be considered part of the "in crowd". If that's the case, the "in crowd" is merely a herd.

Do keep up with medical research on eye problems. We're living in a time of unprecedented advances. You may find that what can't be done now can be done in five or six years.

Pixel Peeper said...

There is nothing wrong with ABBA. Being a teenager in Germany in the 70's, I HAD to like them.

Also nothing wrong with middle age. Well, some things, but really, I'm finally at a point in my life where I'm confident enough in myself that most of the time, I don't care what other people think or say. It's great knowing everything...

The eyesight bit...? Well, you're right, that sucks.

Thanks for the trip into your dusty regions!

Windsmoke. said...

Oh! no not abba they drove us crazy because every second song on the radio back then was abba. They were an insult to our ears as we enjoyed the likes of Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep, Jethro Tull, Status Quo, Aerosmith etc, etc, etc. Happy birthday to Miss Wiggles. Fantastic post all the same :-).

Beach Bum said...

Sue: My son is pretty level headed but its not him I really worried about, its the other crazies out on the road.

I simply do not belong in suburbia, the yards here are not too small and the houses are not on top of each other but I just cannot describe the people around me as human.

Bill: The hotness of female singers does have a lot to do with the length of my attention span. Middle age would not be as bad if I could get back on a regular exercise schedule, working third shift and having taxi duty for my kids throws the me off.

Mike: LOL!!!
Believe it or not I waste a dollar or two every now and then on the lotto just on the hugely off chance at winning which would catapult the family and me out of this hell soaked, pod people inhabited place. Now they like it here, its just me that is anti-social but a couple of million would buy their agreement to move.

What's really insane was that Bob Saget had a short-lived sitcom about living in suburbia that was my exact situation.

I apologize for that "Up with People" comment, on second thought that was over the top and uncalled for.

Infidel: The lens in my right eye is about as uneven and rough as the terrain in Afghanistan. I forget the name of the disease but I was first diagnosed in 2003 and as of right now the only real option is a lens transplant. The docs did say that stem cells research offers a possible avenue but that is "five years away." My last appointment was 2009 and they said five years away again. Bummer.

Now I'm still able to drive and do anything else its just something I have to watch.

Pixel: Middle age is fun in some ways, the grumpy middle age man I play so well tends to make the teabaggers at work to leave me alone.

ABBA is cool, I do enjoy their music as well as John Tesh and Christopher Cross stuff. Now having my son roll his eyes as when I play my stuff is funny as well as his requests for me to turn the music off as I pick him and his friends up from some place.

Windsmoke: Never fear my friend, check out my playlist on the lower left side of my humble blog. I have a little AC/DC.

Akelamalu said...

Nothing wrong with liking ABBA - they were and still are fabulous!

I enjoyed getting to know more about you :)

Mr. Charleston said...

Some things you should never admit, #1 is #1. I think Crum nailed that one. Like you, I too am a Parrothead from way back. Didn't find a wife at his concert but lost a girlfriend (she wanted to leave early)(she did, I didn't).

Totally with you on #7 but stuck in one for the time being, albiet an acceptable one.

Liked the camping story. There was a dredge fill island in the St. Johns river where I grew up and we would camp and gig flounders. Good memories.

Cloudia said...

Great getting to know you better!

Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral



Lowandslow said...

Re: #5: As the father of 3 daughters you might appreciate this line: "I have 5 acres behind the house and a new shovel. They'll never find your body. Wanna press your luck??"

Great post. :)


Beach Bum said...

Akelamalu: Feeling liberated I downloaded a couple of ABA song on my MP3 player today.

Mr. Charleston: I could actually write a post on that camping trip and may eventually. While I do remember some things about it clearly like most things that happened over 40 years ago most of it has been colored by time.

Yeah, suburbia is a hell for me. I'm just not into the whole home owning thing, I understand its cool for others but I get no enjoyment in what amounts to mortgage inspired indentured servitude and yardwork serfdom.

Plus, the homeowners association acts like Nazis.

Cloudia: Scary I know, but I don't really bite.

LowandSlow: Planning on buying an assault rifle (M-4) and be cleaning it when my daughter's boyfriends come inside to get her. Of course I will have a loaded magazine real close. Boys are brain dead but they should be able to get the message. As I have stated many time I'm not liked around here anyway so I will not lose any friends over this.

Oso said...

I too am a closet ABBA lover, and you have encouraged me to come out and celebrate my ABBA-hood.

"my wife and I have been married now for what seems like a couple of millenniums"....ROFL and hoping she doesn't read your work.

Being the father of two adult daughters, it's better off having a strong kid like Miss Wiggles appears to be!

If you need a snooze here's something I put up at Krell's new place: Roundtree7

Beach Bum said...

Oso: I should add that everyone should disregard me poking fun at my wife. She actually was looking over my shoulder when I wrote that segment, my head still hurts from when she popped me aside it with her hand.

Like I wrote to LowandSlow an assault rifle and a bad local reputation should temper my daughter's future boyfriend's attitudes.

A few minutes away from going to work and will drop by Krell's place when I get settled in there.

Akelamalu said...

Hope you're dancing round the room when you're listening to ABBA! ;)

Teresa said...

You always make me laugh, I love it.

Mother Theresa said...

Finally sent my kids back to school, and am now getting time to read this. I love ABBA too, and we also have that are so right about Pierce Brosnan. Oh, and my husband likes them too...and he's every bit a real man (trust me, I know). And I love the story of how you met your wife...a really great example of how one small event can change your whole life. Aren't you glad your brother took pity on you? And be happy that you have a boy and a girl...I have three girls, so worries about men multiplied by three. So, if not suburbia, where would you like to live then?

Ranch Chimp said...

Thanx for all the rcall of event's and such, alway's great hearing them from folk's. I had raised 3 daughter's myself Bum ... and I hipped them young to the score and life, basically told them the truth ... "your dad is a royal fuck up" (my exact word's) ... do not try to be like me if you want to avoid as much misery as possible. I was more than frank with them, and many parent's around thought I was very unparently actually, once the President of PTA at one of my daughter's school's so called reprimanded me because I asked for them to let the kid's vote instead of us, on whether they want/ should wear uniform's at school. Folk's complained that my art collection at home was too graphic, sexually oriented, etc, etc, the list is endless. I will state though, that 2 of my daughter's were national honor society, president's of student council's, all have degree's etc, etc ... so on the other hand year's later ... some teacher's asked me how I was so successful at raising my daughter's ... I told them simply ... I showed them the reality at a young age, and seeing me, made them extra careful of not wanting to end up like me. :)

Ranch Chimp said...

Sorry Bum ... but I was the one who deleted the 4 comment's above, because oddly it printed the same comment 5 time's is why.

Beach Bum said...

Akelamalu: My daughter and I were dancing around listening to "Dancing Queen" last Saturday.

Teresa: Thank you! I had a few more things I could have related but that would have scared people. But one thing I'll mention is that clowns freak me out.

Mother T: I kid my wife on some of my posts so don't take anything serious on that stuff. As for where would I like to live? Ideally, New Zealand, Australia, or southern Chile. I am not crazy about crowds or the rules in suburbia. I'd settle for some out of the way place away from people.

Ranch: I can relate because I'm not big on local society. I tend to be a misfit in many ways and the crowd never likes someone who goes his own way.

No worries on the extra comments, its happened to me many times.

lime said...

i don't mind ABBA but really can't deal with "mama mia." i have been known to dance around in public places when dancing queen comes on though. yeah, it's fun mortifying my children.

oh yeah, the can blame mickey dolenz for them. i met mr. lime at a monkees reunion concert. went by myself and wound up sitting next to him when a mutual friend spotted me sitting alone and said i should come join the group he was with.

as for hair club for men....don't do it. embrace the bald. not a thing wrong with it.