I just flew in from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and boy are my arms tired!
I am back in The IC (for those of you scoring at home) after moving to the UP. The Lovely Becky and I have work stuff going on here this month, so even though we have obtained a new house in our new home town, we are back in our old home town for a couple of weeks, staying with our friends SER and BH and their new wee one, S-to-the-Ren. SER and BH demonstrated remarkable adorableness today by singing Beatles songs to S-t-t-R, including "I'm Only Sleeping" to put the little lad to sleep. Those are the sorts of things that maintain my faith in humanity.
While exhausting, the trip went pretty well. We took a couple days off to go to Lake Geneva for a quick, drunken vacation with TLB's college friends. The closing on the new house went smoothly, but the people we bought it from mistakenly thought they had a self-cleaning kitchen, because much of it looked like it hadn't been cleaned since the Iranian Hostage Crisis. We fought grease with elbow grease and managed to get the counters back to their natural white. I almost caused TLB to add coffee stains to the floor when I portrayed a character, Mr. Lightswitch, thanking me for cleaning him. Oh, thank you so much, I was trapped under all this grime, and now I can see again! I said in a squeaky voice. And thank you for cleaning my true love, the dishwasher! Yes, being married to me is the gift that keeps on giving.
Right before I began my four-state Upper Midwest tour, Jennifer had tagged me with a meme. I have to name eight (hopefully) interesting, random facts about me. I was dreaming when I wrote this, so please sue me if it goes astray....
1) When I was in seventh grade, I was in a group called The Glazed Chickens. Not a rock group. Not a comedy group. Just a group of dorks like me. There were seven of us, divided into ranks. The head guy was the Archgiglioid. My best friend Tom was the Vice Giglioid. I don't remember what my title was, which means it wasn't that good. The regular people outside the group were Sheep. People that we didn't like were either Sub-Sheep, Sub-She-Sheep, or Sub-She-Sheep-Execretement. At one point, our principal heard about us, and thought we were some kind of gang. She actually asked Tom about what we did, like we were running drugs or starting fights.
2) The gang thing was especially funny because the only thing The Glazed Chickens ever did, besides label people, was write The Joke Book. We had a green Mead notebook, emblazoned with our mascot, this goofy cartoon character called Derange-O the Clown, and we wrote every single joke the seven of us had ever heard. If they weren't directly lifted from books like Truly Tasteless Jokes, they were in that same vein. We categorized them by subject: Sex Jokes, Religious Jokes, Leper Jokes, and so on. We had a chapter on Helen Keller Jokes, and whenever Tom and I happen to mention The Joke Book, we always remember this joke:
What did Helen Keller say when someone gave her a cheese grater?
That's the most violent book I ever read.
I really wish I still had The Joke Book, but when the principal started investigating our gang activities, we destroyed it because we worried we would get suspended or expelled. Let's just say we weren't a very tough gang.
3) I once traveled from Iowa City to Virginia to see Rush in concert. It was the Rush 30th anniversary tour, and I wanted to go see them with Tom. We are both big Rush fans, so much so that no matter what song they would have played from the 17 albums they had released by that point, we probably would have known all of the words. Anyway, as we were enjoying the concert, I heard the first acoustic notes of "The Trees," one of their old classics and one of my favorites. As soon as I recognized it, I let out a very loud, "Fuck yeah!"
Tom, every bit as much of a Rush nerd as I am, turned to me and asked, "Did you just say, 'Fuck yeah'?" As if he was asking me if I had just wet myself.
"Yeah," I replied meekly. At least my pants were dry.
4) I have gone skinny dipping twice. The first time was in high school in San Diego. My friends and I were at a party at Mission Beach. One very drunk friend suggested that the group of us -- five guys -- go swimming. Naked. We had to be hammered because, despite being at an age where guys are very wary about appearing "gay," the suggestion didn't sound the least bit gay to us. Off we went, off came the clothes, and we jumped in the water and swam around for a bit. After about a half hour, we headed back to the party, our clothes sticking to us because we had not thought about drying off ahead of time. In the interim, the police had shown up and busted up the party, throwing some of the drunker kids into the backs of the squad cars. Our little naked excursion had probably saved us from getting busted.
The second time, TLB and I were at a wedding in Tampa with a bunch of her friends from college. We were all staying at a hotel right on the beach. One friend in particular, Todd, was always promoting some type of nude activity. The combination of booze, post-college nostalgia, and beach led to all of us taking him up on an offer to go skinny dipping. About a dozen of us stripped and piled into the water under the moonlight. Todd, however, thought TLB had kept on her swimsuit and called her on it. My quite naked wife bounced up above the water line and said, "Do these look like a swimsuit to you?" That's just one reason (or is it two?) that she's my soul mate.
5) I have alluded to this before, but never fully confessed it: I was a pretty serious Republican until the 1992 election. All through high school, I was a staunch Reagan supporter, and in fact got pretty annoyed with TLB when she would wear her "I survived the Reagan Administration" button on her jacket. I once got into an argument with a very liberal friend about how China's human rights record should not affect its Most Favored Nation trading status. I voted for Bush in 1988.
So what turned me around? A lot of things, such as studying the CIA in grad school and living in New York City. But honestly, it was when I realized that the Republican Party was the party of John Lithgow in Footloose, and I would much rather be Kevin Bacon, driving around while cranking Quiet Riot and trying to get it on with the preacher's daughter.
6) I have never seen The Godfather. I really don't know why, but it's my biggest popular culture gap.
7) I went through the Second City comedy writing program in Chicago. For a year, my classmates and I wrote sketches each week and brought them in, eventually using our best stuff to create a show that students in the acting/improv program performed. Pack for the Afterlife was the closing sketch and song for the show, and hearing people laugh at my stuff was one of the greatest feelings I've ever had.
8) Circle Jerk at the Square Dance was originally the title of a novel I was writing, about a group of people putting on a sketch comedy show. The structure allowed me to insert sketches into the story, such as The Osbournes Animal Planet. I eventually reached a point where I realized the novel was never going to work, got very depressed about ditching the novel, and wound up not writing for a while. The wise TLB suggested I start a blog, partly as an outlet for the comedy bits that filter through my head, but also to get me out of my creative funk. I struggled with what to call it, until she said, "You should call it Circle Jerk at the Square Dance."
You see, I married her for her mind as much as her moonlit bosoms.
I'm not going to tag anyone since so many have done this one. Back with a Top Ten on Tuesday, and hopefully a couple new sketches I thought of while I was on the road.