I prefer not to share photos of my immediate family online, and of course today will be no exception. I don’t like the idea of making them vulnerable like that. Who knows what sort of jerkoff “Haha look at these people” website the photos could end up on. I was just sent a photo from my mom that would be a candidate for such modern-day ridicule.
It’s a photo of myself, my sister, and mom and dad from late-1978. I was a baby, my sister was 3, and my parents were in their 30's. It was found in a pile of photos by an old family friend whose wife just passed away. It’s vintage 1970’s, right down to my dad’s glasses, my mom’s top, and the faded retro look of the background. The three of them look very happy, and I look completely spaced out. It made me tear up a little.
I thought about how innocent that group of people were. I thought about how in less than 10 years, my mom and I would both suffer greatly from anxiety and depression, but not know what to call it. I thought about how in 1995, that little body of mine that was so painstakingly protected would be crushed in a car accident. I thought about how my parents are in their 70's now, thought about the amount of time passed, and thought about how these little pieces of our lives are just floating out there in history.
I also thought about a photo I recently saw online. It was of a guy from Alabama - him and his friend as kids, sitting on a bed together with a large keyboard, both wearing sunglasses and pretending to be rockers, or just cool dudes. The photo looked like it probably came from the mid-80’s. I happened upon the photo, because I saw this person make an obnoxious pro-Trump comment on Facebook, and randomly decided to scroll through his pictures. Amidst all of his misguided and ugly bullcrap, there was that photo shining brightly.
It made me a little sad, this photo. This asshole was once like the rest of us, a playful innocent little dope, before they got fucked up. Not that we shouldn’t be angry or even dismissive with this person and his ilk. It was just a reminder that with the exception of the Trump family themselves, we should take a moment to think about each other’s humanity before wishing the other would just die. I just wanted to write that out before I forget about it tomorrow.
My first plane ride came in the Summer of 1987. My family and I had planned to fly to Houston on American Airlines to visit my aunt and uncle, and my recently born cousin. It was an exciting Summer, I remember my sister and I talking at one point how it was "only 90 days" until we got to make the trip. The tickets were quite expensive, I believe they cost over $400 each. To (somehow) receive a significant discount on these tickets, my family saved labels from a total of 17 jars of Skippy peanut butter.
On the morning of the flight, I was flooded with excitement. We were told that it's a good idea to chew gum while on a plane so our ears wouldn't pop. My mom told a female flight attendant of our gum plan, to which they replied "That's a good idea." The moment the plane began to move on the runway, I started frantically chewing my gum. We set off to our connecting stop, O'Hare International.
Following our short Cleveland-Chicago jaunt, we boarded the flight headed to Houston. I sat in the window seat in a row of three, next to my dad who was in the middle spot, while a stranger sat near the aisle. I was given peanuts and a Coke to drink shortly after takeoff, and the man sitting next to my dad gave me the peanuts he was given. I thought that was really cool of him. It was a clear day, superb for window viewing. My dad leaned over and helped me spot a racetrack on the ground below. I later lied and claimed I saw a football field, with a little tiny dot above it, implying that it was a football being thrown. My family told me this mysterious dot was likely a low flying plane. (My family had a history ruining my creative fabrications)
I'm not entirely certain what I got to have for lunch, but I remember it being quite enjoyable. It was something along the lines of a turkey club and potato chips. Upon being served, a male flight attendant asked me what I wanted to drink. I hesitated, looking at him wide-eyed. He smiled at me, clasped his hands together, and said "How about a nice Coca-Cola Classic?" I nodded in agreement.
Once our flight was finished and we had arrived in Houston, I felt as if I had a kinship with the everyone involved in the flight. The pilot greeted all who passed, and thanked them earnestly. The flight attendants smiled and bid us farewell, and I felt like we had just shared something special. I knew they would always remember me.
Remember when you were in school and your teacher would say to your class as a group, “Okay, let’s stop the march to the bathroom” if too many kids were getting up to go at the same time? That’s such bullcrap. That implies that the “march to the bathroom” is some organized effort or a product of groupthink. Also, what if you’re that one kid who REALLY has to go?
I remember in 3rd grade my friend Jason really had to piss, and our teacher told him “Not right now.” He took it with gentle good humor by crossing his legs and moaning in agony, but still, I don’t care for that.
I had a dream last night that Donald Trump invited me to dinner at his house. I'm not sure if it was the White House that ended up at, but it was a nice house. I was invited as a "journalist" for some reason, I presumed because of the obnoxious posts I'd made about him on social media. He was married to a woman who was not Melania, she had a much more conservative look - glasses, short hair, and was closer to his age. They had a window on their house that saw right onto the field where the Washington Nationals play. I asked this woman if they ever watched the games through the window, and she told me that they had intended to go to the games more often, but due to Donald being elected President, they were unable to.
I decided to talk to Donald like I didn't hate him with every fiber of my being, to see what he was really like. I asked him if he intended to go to baseball games after his time as President was over, and he said "From what I understand, you never really stop being President." He then began to show me a slide show while making commentary about the images. Much of it was benign, until he got to a slide that showed an image of someone's calf with a SS tattoo. I informed him that this was anti-Semitic, and he shrugged it off. A young African-American woman with dreadlocks arrived as an additional dinner guest, and I mouthed the words "I'm so glad to see you" when she walked up to where we were sitting, and she flashed a reassuring smile at me.
We were all sitting at a dinner table together, and there were NFL highlights playing on a TV next to us. Donald asked me if I thought that if the Raiders won the Super Bowl, the Black Hole would become disillusioned. I told him that I had not been watching football for the past couple years, but that I thought that they might. Another dinner guest arrived, and it was a Hispanic woman I work with in real life. Donald and his wife then retreated to their kitchen to talk privately, and I told the women that we had to find a way to get out of there.
The sound of hammering is the one thing I can't sleep through, and I was woken by the sound of someone pounding away at who-knows-what. I don't know who the hell is constantly using a hammer in our apartment complex, or what they could be doing, but it happens all the time.
Remember when you were a kid, if you were home by yourself you were supposed to answer the phone by saying that your mom "Can't come to the phone right now?" What a dead giveaway, might as well give the kidnappers your address at that point.