The Nitty Gritty

But more than all of those I am an entertainer. I carry around a ukulele with me for the same reason a gangster carries a gun; better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Stage or sidewalk, Your Pal Pete shows are just where they happen.
Currently, I'm working on a musical, RagnaPOP(or she's got the bomb), set to premiere at this year's Capital Fringe Festival. I'm also working on music, comedy, and musical comedy; for kids and/or adults.
The fruit of these projects will be available on this site, so check back regularly!

Friday, July 28, 2006

My Last Delaware Post

Famous people from Delaware:
Valerie Bertinelli- that's right Eddie Van Halen's ex-wife

Teri Polo-Ben Stiller's girlfriend in "Meet the Parents"

Tom Verlaine- Guitarist of nacent punk band Television, my Eddie Van Halen when I was growing up.

Henry Hemlich- perhaps you're familiar with his maneuver?

Elisabeth Shue- recipient of the Academy Award "Kiss of Death"

Ryan Phillippe- aka Reese Witherspoon's oscar date

More fun facts:
Most of Delaware's borders are part of the famous Mason-Dixon line that seperated north from south during the civil war. (o.k. that's only fun to geography nerds).

"Going to Delaware", as it turns out, is slang for smoking pot according to wikipedia(though I can't find the link where I saw that). The reasoning is that Delaware is so boring, you might as well get high.

In Wayne's World when Wayne and Garth travel by green screen to Delaware the picture behind them is of the Indian River Bridge located between Dewey and Bethany.
This was the location where I had supposedly drowned when I was 19, at least that's what a kid told my ex-girlfriend, who believed him. You can imagine the surprise when I ran into her best friend at college that fall.
"Pete! You're not dead!"
And me, being a man of hair trigger wit, said,"NO!"

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Love the band, Hate the fans

I spend way too much time blogging and not enough on "Surviving Retail", my tome of retail anecdotes and my unique brand of amateur sociology filtered through the lens of Capitalism.

But I can't quit you baby, so I've made myself a deal:I can only post a blog after I've written 5 pages for the book. This means it will be a while between posts, but the book will get done faster (hopefully) and make my blogs better(maybe).
I'll leave you, for now, with this one.

First, I have to clarify the title. "Hate" is probably too strong a word, replace "don't have much in common with". And now that I think about it, "Love" is too strong a word for some of these bands and/or solo acts, I'll use "Have at least a decent amount of respect for," instead.

Fugazi- I'll just get this out of the way. Fugazi is undoubtedly and deservedly a monumental band in the history of Indie Rock, as much for how they did (do?) things as their music, which is influential on it's own. But,the reverence paid to them, in DC, borders on worship. If you don't believe me, go to the Black Cat with a friend and start talking shit. You can talk shit about Jesus while your friend can talk shit about Fugazi , your friend is far more likely to get beat up than you are.

Led Zeppelin- All the kids with long hair and jean jackets that stank of a piney scent loved 'um, but to me, they were part of the group of unscary bands that kinda scared me as a tyke. I was just going by t-shirts, but Kiss, AC/DC, even the Grateful Dead seemed like "the Dark Side" to me.

But little did I know I was missing the Beatles of heavy metal, one of the exalted few acts that has made a almost fully listenable double album. I read "Hammer of the Gods" at 15 and it rocked my double wide trailer dwelling world. Classic rock radio filled in the blanks, as I started realizing how many Zeppelin songs I had heard before I knew who they where.

They are also like the Beatles in that a band can be Beatles or Zeppelin "esqe" but never capture the rhythm that makes them so unique.

Justin Timberlake- I probably have the least in common with JTÍs fans, not being a teenage girl prone to hysterical screaming, but I loved his album "Justified." The lion's share of the credit goes to his producers, The Neptunes (their album "in search of" as N.E.R.D. is one of my all time favorites). He's the closest thing I have to a guilty pleasure but I don't believe in the concept, it goes against the Popagenda.

Marilyn Manson and My Chemical Romance- I've always said that if you hate a band because of their image it's the same a loving them for it, but both of these bands put this to the test. But I'm talking about the songs, because I'm a song guy, and they both have a decent amount of great ones. It's just that I only had to wear all black once to know it wasn't for me and I wouldn't relive my teenage years for anything.

Some videos I love:
Henry Rollins letter to Ann Coulter (Bad Language!)
Tom Waits and Iggy Pop in coffee and cigarettes

Monday, July 24, 2006

Delaware memories part 2, Rehoboth Boogaloo!

People have a funny relationship with where they grew up. They stay or they stay away, it’s hard to be anything else. I had a lot of friends growing up and in my early adulthood that I shared a desire to get out of Delaware with, but most of them still live in the area. There are advantages to that, they tend to be closer to their families, for one thing. I may have the luxury of public transportation and regular rock shows but they have careers and families and are in general more successful adults than I. As I often say, fate plays a funny game with us all.

My last smidge of state pride was snuffed out with the issuing of the State Quarters. I was really psyched that my little homestate was finally getting some nationwide love. The Delaware quarter features Caesar Rodney’s ride through a thunderstorm to Philadelphia to vote in favor of the Declaration of Independence. Heart warming, patriotic stuff. It was political suicide at the time, but now history has judged him correct and the event was now immortalized in coin form.

The first time I had some in my pocket, I went to a party and showed the pride of my erstwhile home to any one who’d care. One woman asked, “Is this what you do to meet women?”

No, NO! Would that work? More over do I want it to work? What if I end up marrying a woman I met that way? Do I honestly want to tell my grandkids when they ask how I met grandma, “I showed her 25 cents and I was in there like swimware!”

When I visited family in Rehoboth last year, the change brought about by the influx of money into the area was startling. My dad, uncle, and I all grew up there at different times, but we exclaimed the same curmudgeonly things: “When did that go out of business?”,”When did that put that there?”, and the most popular one,”That’s a fuckin’ shame!”

The outlets, that seemed rather ostentatious at their original size has grown into a tax-free shangri-la for the thrifty. When I was a kid it was a big deal when McDonalds opened on Rt. 1., now it’s a gauntlet of the usual suspects of gentrification, Ruby Tuesday, Walmart, et al.

Downtown is a different story, housing sprawl is the name of the game. They’ve got housing developments on every bare piece of real estate, even under the rt. 1 overpass, so now you can pay a premium so you can live like a troll. The guy that bought my grandmother’s house took out the back porch and shoehorned a new house into the backyard, where I made some of my earliest memories.

All of this is to be closer to the beach, with is about half the size it was when I got sick of it as a teenager. Then after the 3 to 5 months of usefulness in the summer, it becomes a virtual ghosttown. At least that hasn’t changed, that and the fries are still greasy and amazing.

The ironic thing to me is that a lot of people who are driving up property values (and taxes) are from the DC metro area. DC, to me, represents everything I needed in Delaware but couldn’t get: culture, music, tolerance. But that beach’s got a heavy pull, and every weekend in the summer, people can’t get there fast enough. But to me it’s like when I walk past a trendy nightspot with a ton of people waiting in line to get into it. I’m glad I don’t have the slightest desire to join them.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Misty Watercolor Delaware Memories of the Way I Was (part 1)

It's funny being a native of Delaware in DC. Every summer , tons of people visit the beaches and towns where I spent most of the first 20 years of my life for fun and frolic. You know the Running of the (Fake) Bull? I didn't. Ever been to a Punkin' Chunkin'? I haven't, and I regret that.

Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution, thus it's slogan that adorns the license plates "The First State". When we first moved there I saw that on the rear bumper on my granddad's car and thought, "First state? I never even heard of the place until we moved here." And this was when I was 6, long before I developed my trademark wit. That still makes more sense than one its also known for, "The Diamond State". I, to this day, have no idea how this stuck.

It hasn't felt like home in a long time. But it was, from 6 to 12 in Rehoboth(briefly) thenLewes and from 12 to 20 in Georgetown. You practically take a traveling tour the next time you drive to Rehoboth or Dewey Beach as you go around Georgetown's traffic circle and past Five Points(where I lived through elementary school) as you make your way beachward.

I have a lot of friends from DC that had passed 'round the Georgetown circle who have said,"That seems like a nice small town to live in", mostly ones that grew up in the city. Really, something tells me the first time you drive a half hour to go to the movies might make you recalibrate that opinion.

The most accurate assessment of the area was that it's a great place to retire. But great places to retire are shitty places to grow up. Just ask anyone who grew up in Florida. I wasn't weird, I mean I had a jean jacket and everything, but I was just weird enough to feel isolated from everyone else. It's was enough to make a straight boy listen to The Smiths and write the lyrics on his Chuck Taylors, and insure that he would remain a virgin for the longest time possible.

I could try to paint a picture of all the things Georgetownian to help along my more urbane readers but I gut use this example: I once had a kid call me a "hippie" at a party because I had a Ramones T-shirt on.

And the worst part is the reason why I hated it was a source of local pride. In Millsboro, there is a store where you can buy official "Slower Lower Delaware" merchandise. You can buy any number of items with the slower lower Delaware mascot, surprisingly, a turtle, to remind you that it's not your imagination, shit is REALLY moving that slow.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Fun facts about Delaware!

I grew up in "the First State", more specifically Sussex County. I've had some family drama as of late and it makes me think of the hate/tolerate relationship I've had with the place. More on that later.
I will say, flat out, if you've only been to northern Delaware, you have never had the "Your Pal Pete" Delaware experience.
Fun Facts about Delaware!

1. It's fuckin' flat- especially in Sussex County, if the Al Gore worst case scenario happens, most of it is gone. As much as may have wished it when I was younger, I certainly don't want that now.

2. Bob Marley worked at an auto plant in Newark for a while in the mid 60s.

3. The car crash that derailed rockabilly pioneer Carl Perkins' career in 1956 was just outside of Dover.

4. Sorry fellow fans of "The Simpsons" , there is no screen door factory of note in Delaware, but a lot of carpet is made there.

5. The first European settlers were killed by their political correctness- The Zwaanendael Colony was established by the Dutch in present-day Lewes in 1631. The settlers got super pissed when a native stole their coat of arms, but not much as they were when the native tribe presented the settlers with the thief's head. So, the thief's family and friends killed ALL the interloping clogmongers(I can say that, I'm a quarter dutch).

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Edgy, Classy and Weird

If you describe yourself as edgy, classy, or weird, you're wrong. That is just the nature of those particular words.

Edgy- Edgy is a word used mostly by people with no discernible edge of their own to describe the potentially offensive, like, "It's an 'edgy' kind of comedy!" When you can't bring yourself to even say "adult" or "dirty" to describe anything, you are not, in fact, edgy. You could try to save yourself and say"I'm fucking edgy!" But that's trying to hard .

Classy- I don't think I've ever used this work in a less than 75% irony context. Any less and you'd run the risk of being a guest on Maury Povich show saying, "I'm classy!" before you lift up your shirt and give the black bar and curse beep guy something to do. Therefore, not classy.

Whenever I hear that word I flash back to when I worked in Delmar, Maryland at a convenience store late one night. One lady tromped in and said, in a outdoor voice, "Lemme use your pisser!"
I was still shocked and awed by this slightly, but my co-worker immediately shot back,"We can let people use our bathroom anymore." It wasn't a public one, it was behind the employee only doors. I didn't know if that was true, but I was only comfortable with the funk of my co workers any foreign funk would offset this delicate balance.

She offered a compromise,"give me a napkin, so I can go 'round back."
We both went into full body ick mode and went, "NNNOOO!" at the same time. After she left I turned to my fellow register jockey and said, "That, my friend, was classy."

Weird- We are all, in our own way, weird. People who are truly, honestly strange above the garden variety never see themselves as weird. To them everyone else are the weird ones. Its like not being able to smell yourself.

I have to say that I may not have as much time to devote to blogging as I would like these days. I started working at the toy store part time and I really have to get some work done on the retail book. I do love doing this, though, and I will post as much as I can.

This is where I ask a favor, which you're free to take or leave. If you know somebody who might enjoy my angsty musings, send them my way. I'll still love you if you don't, I just want to spread the love, is that so wrong?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Lonnie Bruner vs. the catfish

My pal Lonnie is one of my favorite people in the whole world. He's a good friend and true original with whom I share a lot of great times with. The son of bitch is blessed with good looks, musical talent, a great wife and was given a fuckin' BOAT, but he has still called me the luckiest guy he knows. I'm definitely lucky to know him.

There are many Lonnie stories, like when he found a deer that had just gotten hit by a car and ate the whole thing and his subsequent bout of vegetarianism or our rock and roll adventures in the Milk-O-Matics, or the story behind my song "(Lonnie) lose the girlfriend (you gotta)" (I will say it wasn't about his wife) but I'll tell just this one because the man himself asked me to.

About a decade or so ago, my roommate and I were watching movies in our living room. We were under the influence of a substance. I don't want to get to specific , so I'll just say it made PCU the greatest movie ever and Jeremy Pivin a shoo in for best picture oscar for his poignant portrayal of James "Droz" Andrews. It wasn't powerful enough, however, make it seem possible that John "Gutter" Favreau would become a successful actor and director. They haven't made a drug that strong yet.

Out of the only window allowing natural sunlight into the room there arose such a clatter, we'd have turned of heads if they weren't made of batter. To what should my bloodshot eyes should appear, but it's Lonnie, knocking and screaming, "Come here!" Somebody else may have used the door, but Lonnie doesn't go out like that. He knocked at the window and instantly overloaded our chemically altered noggins. " You've gotta see what's in my trunk!"

He dragged us out to stinging daylight to show us, thankfully parked on our lawn for easy access. He was on a date(really), fishing, and caught a big-as-frig catfish on the Wicomico river about 4 blocks away. He pulled it out and aimed it's face at me and the fish gasped at me. I could almost hear it say, "Dude, Dude."

It was all too much, Lonnie went back to put the catfish back in the river (it survived, by the way) and then came back to take us to Taco Bell. There was to much going on with the fish that we weren't introduced until he came back to his date, Serenity. Yes, that's right, her actual given name was Serenity. She lived on a houseboat with her Mom and Dad and had only recently started listening to the kind of music that the rest of us took for granted, for example, she'd never heard "Stairway to Heaven."

We made the mistake of informing the serene one about the psychedelic journey we were on. "Really? What's it like?", she asked. She start jerking her hands quickly in front of my face,"Does this, like, totally freak you out?"
"Not totally," I deadpanned, but I was dangerously close to losing my shit.

She'd been looking at my eyes for so long grabbing my paranoia soaked attention that I didn't notice that her hair wasn't short like it seemed, but in a tight bun in the back of her head, so when she took it out in the middle of our conversation, it looked like she grew a foot and a half of hair instantly.

That was it, I just stared at the floor until I could be safe again in my own living room with my soft taco supreme.

But that's life with Lonnie, the best trip of all.
The second most unintentionally funny stage patter I've ever heard.

This happened, maybe not unintentionally, at the location of THE most unintentionally funny stage patter,(link) Scandals in Ocean City at about the same time.

The reggae band uprising was playing and right when I got there the singer introduces this one song in a Jamaican accent so thick you could practically smell the ginger beer and ganga, "This one is 'bout our 'omeland, this is called 'Baltimore'".

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Orange Flags of Courtesy, Part 2

I have never used the flags myself, and I was one of the only people that actually yield for pedestrians when I drove, to the profanity rich ire of my fellow drivers.

I became very curious about the overall effect the flags would bring, if they would work(yes, well, better than before, I guess), if they would look funny when people use them(as it turns out, it was fucking hilarious) and how quickly they would get stolen.
“Why would somebody steal them?,” a customer asked me.
I replied,”Maybe because they’re not nailed down.”

Did they not go to high school? Well, I don’t know, maybe the concept of stealing lawn ornaments and real estate signs was more indicative of my more rural upbringing. O.K. then, did they not see a dorm room or roommates bedroom decorated in modern street sign?
The neighborhood certainly has it’s share of kids with the requisite amount of precociousness.

One day I was walking down Connecticut and a woman in her mid 50s and dressed all in black smoothly walked up to the crosswalk, grabbed a flag, got into the passenger’s side of a running car, and take off. A flag steal with actual choreography, I felt like I was in a Disney Channel version of Heat.

I saw a woman putting reflective DC flag stickers on the flags and writing DC DOT in permanent marker, I saw this as an opportunity to get a little research. I asked her how many flags have gotten stolen and she said,”One or two.”

So if she was telling the truth, worst case scenario, I’ve witnessed half of every flag theft? It seemed really unlikely since some of the flag holders were almost empty on both sides, but they could have gotten blown out by the wind. Regardless, she wasn’t worried.
“Putting the DC stuff on it should stop that.” WHAT? When these were people born were they already 25? Maybe in the killing of brain cells that we all do in our early-20s they forget any desire or memory of stupid shit you do for a laugh. With the affixation of that indie rock fetish of the DC flag, I wanted to steal one myself!

Obviously, many people shared my desire, if not my restraint. The DC flag stickers were replaced by flags accented with a strip of 2 tone reflective tape and the helpful “Stop” written in big letters. Mind you, I may have gone to Delaware public school, but I thought that was one of the only true universal things in this world was don’t hit people with your car.

It’s interesting to note that, as far as I know, two people have been hit crossing the street, but not at crosswalks or while wielding the flags. There might have been more, but real research and blogging go together like healthy and bacon.

I, however, am taking no chances. Since people tend to show more respect to the red light, that’s where I cross the street with the little blue guy to tell me it’s all clear. The flags have proven to be useful as a weapon of the walker to pound against discourteous automobiles at they whizz past, but that’s not for me. Even the slightest chance that I may meet my end at the grill of a beemer, orange flag of courtesy as funeral shroud, is way too high.
This is this a hilarious video of George Washington. Warning,people at work, profanity!you tube

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Orange Flags of Courtesy, Part 1

If you drive where I work, the Chevy Chase section of DC, you may see them. On Connecticut Avenue, they are there. Kids, Mothers pushing stroller, grandmothers at the crosswalks welding the orange flags of courtesy. Waving them wildly, they bring all the pageantry of a junior high football half-time show to the normally mundane act of street crossing.

Once, in the hallowed times before the flags,while the freeway snipers were still roaming free, a customer at the toy store asked if I thought it was safe for her and her grand daughter to walk a block down the street to Starbucks. I broke it down for her,”Sniper or not, It’s not safe to walk down the street.”

Chevy Chase has the friendly close knit residents and pedestrian Influx of a community but all the traffic jackassery of a large city, where cars dart through streets like a herd of fidgety cats that have to be somewhere else, RIGHT NOW! When I moved here I came up with an unofficial slogan for this phenomenon : yielding’s just another word of nothing left to lose.

It’s a little regarded DC law that if a pedestrian has to cross at a crosswalk, whatever oncoming vehicles have to stop for them. At first the DC department of transportation just put a few signs on the side of the road as you cross into DC from Maryland, a gentle nudge. But if people disregard the big red traffic light in front of them, how are they going to notice the subtle 9x12 sign? Regardless, no one would dare try to cross street unless the coast was clear, remember what I just said about yielding?

They got a little more direct, bolting narrow 3 foot signs to the center of the street at the crosswalks saying, “DC law YIELD at crosswalks" with the appropriate pictographs for the non reader. They had a springy base on the off chance (really more of a eventuality) that a car might hit it.

The only way they could have lasted a shorter period of time is if they were made of fresh bananas. They’d almost immediately have black marks up and down the sides from getting hit by cars. The marks quickly became chips in the safety yellow borders, leaving just the bolted stump in between 2 and 3 weeks of it’s life.

Then came the orange flags. At the two crosswalks in the neighborhood, on either side of the street were racks of small orange flags on a wooden stick, eight on each side. A sign on every rack explained that you carry it, along with your innate pedestrian righteousness, to stop traffic.

“I don’t like ‘um.” one guy told me,”gives people a false sense of security.” With the adrenaline soaked gridlock breaking still being done with SUVs and Volvos alike, any sense of security was a false one.

Part 2 later... I’ve been a little self conscience about the length of my blogs.

Monday, July 10, 2006

I hate to admit it..

Tai Shan is pretty fucking cute..

I'm actually kinda excited about the new Justin Timberlake(don't tell my roommates)

I've never heard that James Blunt song, "Beautiful", not like I think I'm missing anything, it's obviously been overplayed so much in some parts of the world litigation is being considered. I've been in enough Starbucks and CVS to have heard it. It was also about 3 months before I heard "My Humps". Maybe this is why the world series of pop culture didn't work out.

I've never gotten sick of Owen Wilson, I still think he's the man...

Friday, July 07, 2006

For the love of God, don't Affleck yourself!

Definition taken from the Your Pal Lexiconograph:
Affleck-v. -ed -ing 1. to wildly stretch beyond the established bounds of your talents, from American actor Benjamin Geza Affleck.

Typecasting is quite the slippery slope, for the waiter/actors that are currently doing more waiting than acting just having a role memorable enough for people to have any opinion of you is an unfulfilled dream, but actors that are typecast bitch an awful lot about it.

But let’s be honest, what would Henry Winkler have if he wasn’t the Fonz or Jalel White if he wasn’t Urkel? Certainly not a fuller trophy shelf. Still typecasting seems to be a lingering enough fear for actor to attempt to “stretch” themselves. Which brings us to the phenomena of “Afflecting.”

Ben seemed like he might be a talent to watch(in my opinion) when he just played mooky everydudes to great effect both benevolent (Good Will Hunting, Glory Daze) and malevolent (Dazed and Confused, Mallrats). The cracks started to show around Armageddon, it might have been more evident if the contributions from both Liv and Steven Tyler weren’t so much worse.

Then, my God, where to start, where to finish? Forces of Nature, Reindeer Games, Pearl Harbor, Changing Lanes, Paycheck, Daredevil, Jersey Girl and Surviving Christmas all framing the standard from which all bad movies are measured, Gigli. He made this with his actual girlfriend and they still had the kind of chemistry that got me a D in science.

Pity poor Keanu Reeves, the guy has only truly been good at roles where he seems to be droolingly high. People argue with me with that assessment with The Matrix, a movie I think is great despite Keanu’s best efforts. Jesus, he was shown up by the dude from Bush in Constantine. It could also be contested that “Afflecting” could be better suited as “Keanuing”, at least Ben has never played a major religious figure like K-Reev did in Little Buddha, but this is my definition, you’re welcome to use “Keanuing” if you’d like in your own vocabulary. Maybe it’s because Ben seems smart enough to know better, but you can’t always smell your own stink.

They can both learn something from Vince Vaughn, whose come off a long period of being miscast (Psycho, anyone? Anyone?) to embrace his everydude roots to great effect in Old School, Dodgeball, and Wedding Crashers after forgetting them shortly after Swingers.

Take heart, for there is life after “Affecking”.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Best. Disclaimer. Ever.

I don’t know if you’ve seen the Snoop Dogg Orbit gum commercial, where our hero averts eternal damnation with demonic octogenarians for his dirty language. Orbit gum comes to the rescue and next thing you know, he’s sitting pretty in Heaven, in a “dogg” bowl the size of a above ground pool surrounded by angelic hotties more in Snoop’s age range.
The disclaimer :Dramatization. Orbit Gum will not get you into heaven.
My roommates think they put that there as a joke, but I’m not sure. Some unlucky Orbit Gum chewer comes out of a near death experience of less than Snoop quality and he may go for restituion.

I used to think disclaimers blocked what was the only form of natural selection we had left. We don’t have predators filtering our gene pool, so something needs to be done. If a person needs to be told not to hug a bear cub and drive into a active volcano, don’t they kinda need to die for the benefit of humanity?

The problem is that medical science being what it is, these people don’t die and instead become rich from the resulting litigation. Or at least their lawyers do.

It’s a well traveled road on this blog, but working retail has proven the value of disclaimers. At the Toy store,I often have been the living disclaimer, warning customers every time they need to have anything to make anything else work. “Do you guys have a Mac at home?”, “Do you have glue for this model?”, “You know you need to subscribe to a service to play World of Warcraft?”
I’ve had people get pissed at me for asking, “I’m not an idiot!” Of course not but a lot more people have thanked me for thinking about them and even more have said,”no, do I need that? Thanks!”
This came from times of people wanting to return things that they had opened before realizing they needed something else to make it work. Their defense was,”YOU didn’t tell me I needed that.”
I’m sorry if it’s unreasonable to ask that you actually know what you’re buying, but it’s not a secret. It’s clearly marked on the product what it is and what it needs and if you asked me before you bought it, I would have told you. So I became much more proactive for my own benefit.
I was waiting in line at the Black Cat and the guy behind me remarked to his girlfriend,” Do they really need a sign telling people not to piss in the neighborhood when they leave?”
I interjected, “Trust me, if there’s a sign there’s a reason.”
The same holds true for disclaimers, it’s to try to save people from themselves, with various degrees of success.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Kickball Dilemma

I have tons of friends who can’t stand the Adult Kickball League and I can see why, people from NOVA clogging up our happy hour beerways with their jackassery. I don’t share that opinion. (If there ever is a movie made of this blog, they’ll have have to film me last week ago with some friends where we portrayed two rival kickball leagues in a mock West Side Story dance fight)

Bill Maher (probably the funniest asshole in America) went on a long diatribe about what has come to be known as the “Rejuvenile” movement. I’m paraphrasing Bill, but basically he said grow up already. I don’t really agree with that and not just because I live in a particularly fragile glass house. I was a “rejuvenile” when “rejuvenile” wasn’t cool. Scratch “cool”, substitute “named by the media”.

I don’t have a problem with it because it brings back what is what I think is the best parts of childhood: carefree whimsy and complete dedication to fun. It may be a bit forced, but my experience at the toy store taught me that’s better than the other childhood traces that we see more naturally in adults.

We are born selfish creatures, reaching and eating everything in our grasp because we have no reason to believe it’s not there for us and crying when we’re not allowed to do what we want. We are suppose to grow out of it, but we don’t if we’re not taught out of it by our parents or by experience, we don’t, and we do it as adults. Trust me, I’ve worked in retail.

If I was to trace it, it would go back to parental battle picking. If you always pay your child’s sales tax they’ll be 14 looking for you to pay it when you're not even in the store. If you reward your child for everything, they’ll become adults that expect rewards just for being decent human beings. If you let them they’ll keep screaming at the top of their lungs when they don’t get what they want way into their forties, trust me. Education doesn’t seem to matter, the people that have yelled the loudest have usually been doctors, interestingly enough.

But the whimsicality gets beaten out (psychologically) first by a parental desire to “mature” you until puberty rears it’s hormone addled head, when you do it all by yourself. But you miss it, eventually and it manifest itself, cloaked in faux irony, in action figures, old board and video games and God help us, kickball.