Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Shocking Thanksgiving

November 22,1979 is the Thanksgiving I'll never forget. My family was spending the week in a hotel at Willow Beach on Lake Mojave. Stupid names, because Willow Beach is a small hotel, campground, boat ramp and bait shop, there is no beach and Lake Mojave is part of the Colorado River. How the Hell can you have a lake in the middle of a river?

I was a freshman in high school and had just turned fourteen. My family at the time consisted of my Mom, my stepfather Ed and my stepbrother Bill, who was the same age as me. Ed decided we should spend the Week of Thanksgiving water-skiing, so off we went to Willow Beach.

Ed's brother Carl and his family also came along for the trip. Carl had two incredibly hot daughters around my age. Bill, and I had many a discussion about how it would be OK if I made out with one of them because we weren't really related. The Lords of teen lust blessed Bill and I even more that week, Carl's two hot daughters each brought a hot friend.

Consequently I became an extraordinary water-skier that week. The only way my hormone filled teen body could keep from getting a boner around four girls in bikinis was to get into the freezing cold river. Every time the boat stopped I was in the water ready to ski. The rest of the time I sat at the back of the boat wearing my mirrored sunglasses with a life vest on my lap.

I didn't think I had a great shot at making out with one of the hot girls, I wasn't the best looking kid around, but I was on the football team. I sat on the bench for two games then broke my finger in practice and never played a down, but they still gave me a Letter! I had a good sense of humor, I knew a lot of dirty jokes and I had great hair. My hair feathered like a Tiger Beat cover model, like Parker Stevenson, as if the Fairy Queen of the seventies had drifted down from the clouds and blew perfect hair plus twenty on my head.

Thanksgiving day arrived. I was getting ready for the big night and had just stepped out of the shower. I put on my best jeans and favorite shirt. (Property of Saugus Football, 1979.) I gazed in the mirror thinking how good I was going to look after I feathered my hair. I plugged in the blow dryer and turned it on. Unfortunately for me I was standing in a puddle of water and there was a small crack in the cord of the blow dryer. When I turned the damn thing on the electricity raced through the cord, but instead of powering the blow dryer, it shot out the cracked cord and hit me on the right side of the stomach like a bolt of lightning. A bolt of lightning that lasted for six seconds. The arc of electricity that hit me must have been a foot long. The lights flickered, the outlet blew and I was thrown to the floor. I got up shaking. There was a hole the size of a silver dollar in my shirt with black smoke rising from it and my skin was bright red.

The night got worse from there. I had ruined my favorite shirt, my hair wouldn't feather without the blow dryer. Without my favorite shirt and perfect hair I had no confidence. The tremendous shock had also upset my stomach so I couldn't eat. I was afraid to tell my mother what happened and she got mad because I wasn't eating. Then she embarrassed me in front of everyone by sending me to bed. I didn't make out with any girls on that Thanksgiving.

What's even weirder about this story is that three months later hair started to grow on the spot where I was shocked and to this very day I have a hair patch on the right side of my stomach.
(Click on the image to see more hairy detail.)

The hair patch isn’t so bad. What really sucks, is now I like getting shocked. Carpet static is like foreplay, I always test 9-volt batteries with my tongue (even when they're new), and I secretly hope that someday I'll be struck by lightning. Worst of all though, is I just can’t eat on Thanksgiving without giving myself a good jolt of electricity first.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody, and don't panic if your lights start to flicker. It's just me getting ready for the big meal.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Either way, they pee themselves.

In a recent episode of Live Wire, Courtenay asked guest scaremeister Baron Von Goolo which was more satisfying: making people laugh or making them scared. For his answer you’ll have to go back in time and listen in, or go to iTunes and download the show. In the mean time I will satisfy you, readers, with my answer, though nobody asked me. I found Courtenay’s question strikingly evocative. As a performer I find both acts very satisfying and strangely similar. I’m reminded of a story…

Years ago I made a sizable portion of my impoverished thespian’s income by dressing up in animal costumes and entertaining kids and adults at various events That’s a whole other blog, which I’ll get to soon enough, and hopefully before Jonpaul thinks to do the same because I know very well that he did his plushy/furry turn as well.

One gig that stands out as pertinent was called “A Walk on the Wild Side” and was a fundraiser for the zoo or walking or the wilderness or something. I was hired (along with Jonpaul, coincidentally, and his old girlfriend who won’t be mentioned again because she was evil, stupid and boring) to dress as an animal and entertain participants as they walked along a secluded trail in Washington Park. The event organizers threw us into a van along with three furry costumes: a lovable tiger, a laughable lion and a horrible gorilla. I got the gorilla. It was as scary as the lion and tiger were not…which they were not…and that’s scary! It had red-lidded eyes and ghastly flared orifices and ragged looking fangs. It smelled pretty scary too.

They dropped me off along the trail somewhere with the instructions to hide in the bushes and pop out and ooga booga when wild-side-walkers passed by. That’s it. It was one of the greatest gigs of my life.

I remember sitting alone in the bushes on that sunny afternoon, birds singing and butterflies quietly fluttering by. I thought to myself, as I often did in that line of work, what the hell am I doing? How did I get here? What has become of my career? Then the first gaggle of walkers approached. I’m sure there was a good cross section of society involved, but all I recall are middle aged women. So, the first knot of middle aged women walked by, obliviously laughing and chatting as I suddenly leapt from hiding with a horrific human scream. This scream begat screams which begat more screams which begat my own deafening laughter inside that smelly rubber and fake fur head.

Women scattered up and down and off the trail. It was sick and cruel and beautiful. Had it been Halloween or even dark outside they might have been at least subconsciously prepared. But they had no clue. For all they knew I was a deranged hairy transient, rabid dog or Bigfoot. Regardless, I’d been given a license to terrorize and was just doing my job.

That same scene replayed itself again and again for hours as clueless victims wandered into my thicket of fear. Sometimes people would laugh or even stop to snap a photo. But mostly it was a lot of screams, fear and anger. It never got old and it was immensely satisfying. The peak of enjoyment came when by twist of fate my high school vice principal walked into my trap. She was as big a pants-wetting rube as the rest. I wanted so much to tell her it was me, and that now we were even for that whole Saturday school thing. But I didn’t. And I’m glad.

Time flew by and before I knew it the van had returned to take me away from my wooded parlour of panic.

It turned out my fellow manimals hadn’t had such a great time. Their plush and huggable outfits were more conducive to cute photo-ops with runny-nosed toddlers and some minor babysitting by the porta-potties.

Incidentally Jonpaul did get a little taste of my experience that day. A young child was inconsolably traumatized by the sight of Jonpaul’s face peeking out the lion’s mouth, as if the beast were in the act of swallowing him. That was pretty cool.

So, I’d rank them thusly: 1. Making them scream 2. Making them laugh.

Okay, I’ll tell you (but you still have to listen to the show). Baron Von Goolo said his favorite thing is to first make them laugh, then, when they are disarmed and vulnerable, make them soil themselves. That bastard is sicker than I am.

Mission Accomplished

It’s confession time.

The family had gone to sleep. I was still up, alone and feeling curious. I found myself at the computer with a crazy desire to explore. My mind wandered along with my fingers, and I’m a little embarrassed to admit…I googled myself again. I guess I just can’t stop. I know it’s supposedly a natural thing to want to do, and I’m not the only one doing it, but still, it feels kind of naughty.

But you know what readers? I’m glad I did it, because I discovered something! The number one result of my googling is my first “Hello Internets!” blog entry! Mission accomplished! And when I say mission accomplished, I mean it!

I’ve come a long way in the land of the Googles and I owe it all to this blog. I want to thank everyone involved and apologize for claiming the whole enterprise was “a masturbatory waste of my time and talents.” I regret those comments, except for the masturbatory part, because it brings this humble blog entry full circle, back to its first paragraph and teasing set of images, all wrapped up tight and ready to post. Another success!

Now I’m going to look at internet porn and touch my privates.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

True Stories up on!

Want to hear all the audio from the night Jonpaul McLellan called "A triumph..."? The night my mom called, "completely humiliating"? The night some guy in audience called, "Show us your tits!"?

Well, it's all up at the Powell's bookcast!

One warning - okay, three:
1) Again - at the very beginning of the very first piece..a swear word. The big one. El Cursola Grande.
2) You will learn more about feminine hygiene than you ever, EVER wanted to know from Chelsea Cain. And yet you will be tranfixed. How will it all end? You'll just have to keep listening to find out!
3) Don't eat anything before listening to Kristin Hersh's story.

Heed those warnings, and you'll be fine.