Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Simple Superficial Pleasures

Snowing In Seattle - Sherwood (mp3)
Ice Cream - Sarah McLachlan (mp3)
Favorite Things - John Coltrane (mp3)

Twice in the final days before Christmas, I have found myself freed from Calypso (read: work) with my shipmates (read: all three of my children) journeying through the fourth circle of Hell (read: Hamilton Place mall traffic), through Lotus-Eaters and Cyclopii and HHGreggses of the seas in the hopes of returning safely home in time to give Santa plenty of booty to drop down the chimney (read: move up from the basement at 1 a.m. Christmas morning).  [NOTE: I realize that Dante and Homer are unfairly intermingled in the above reference. Chalk it up to laziness.]

These experiences were sandwiched around a 48-hour bug that created Exorcist children and poopy parents. While this might be TMI for some readers, this is essential information, as it is when we are in times of great misery, stress and suffering that we become most aware of that which makes us happy and appreciative.

And, because my weekend experiences were entirely wrapped up in the superficial and marginal trappings of illness and "Christmas" (read: puke and presents), I found myself gleeful and grateful for those superficial and marginal things in life that touch my heart in particular.

Orange Julius: The original Creamsicle drink. In reality, anything that tastes remotely like a creamsicle qualifies here. The flavor of creamsicle is better than kettle corn, dark chocolate, brown ale, or even caramel. Creamsicle tastes like heaven.

A Charlie Brown Christmas: The acting is as bad as acting can be in something animated. The animation isn't much better. It's not particularly funny. The Zapruder film has better editing. Yet... we watch. And kids love it. It's almost as if the shittiness is exempted because it is so damned pure of heart. And isn't that what Christmas is all about? Sorta?

Movies You'd Never Watch if You Weren't Sick and Bed-Ridden: In-between grimacing sprints to the bathroom, I would lie half-conscious in my living room watching the best and worst DirecTV had to offer. The Black Hole. Click. The Goonies. Days of Thunder. I own none of these movies, nor would I (except for maybe The Goonies), but something about being too weak to care and desperate for anything to take your mind off of the demons in your intestines makes these movies blessed opportunities. But dear sweet God The Black Hole just ain't very good, no matter how amusing I might find Earnest Borgnine.

Baked Lays: It continues to be the crystal meth of processed foods. No medical professional and no reasonable loved one would recommend a sick person eat entire bags of Baked Lays, yet there I was, 12 hours into my recovery, licking out every last crumb of a bag that had only been opened a few hours earlier. I kept convincing myself it was for the salt intake. Truth is, at times when you feel like anything and everything in your body is only there for a very brief visit, you just want to maximize the enjoyment of welcoming it in.

Drivers Who Wave You In: One of my biggest pet peeve is when people make ridiculous jumps in logic. Just because someone has never cheated at golf doesn't mean they won't engage in insider trading. Just because a President never screwed around on his wife doesn't mean he won't stick a big metaphorical dildo up the ass of the collective citizenry. So this is only worth what it's worth, but I sincerely appreciate people who, jammed into lines of hundreds of other miserable cars in mall parking lots at this time of year, find it in their hearts to wave other people in. They might be serial killers or tax dodgers the rest of their lives, but for those few hours they spend waving people in and letting other desperate drivers catch a break, they are saints, and they are Godsends.

Threadless.com: I spent close to $200 on presents for various people at Threadless.com this Christmas season. And for every dollar I spent, I got several minutes of childish glee from jumping around on that site. I started stuffing my online shopping cart with T-shirts in late November but didn't finalize the order until December 15, because the experience was a constant "two steps forward, one step back" waltz of changing my mind, finding better shirts, missing out on an item that went out of order, and diving back in to find another option. Those dudes deserve their income, and so do the dozen or so shirt creators (anyone can be one!) whose designs had me beeming.

Bands Who Send BOTG (Tasty) Free Songs to Promote: He had me at "Superdrag." This dude named Dan sent us the song "Snowing in Seattle" and described it as "Superdrag/Nada Surf/Beach Boys" while admitting that it's much harder to identify the music you put your own sweat and blood into as opposed to the music of others. Thing is, as far as Superdrag is concerned, Dan is spot on. The song is scrumptious power pop and right up my alley, so it's included above. Sherwood's upcoming album is expected to come out next summer on the MySpace record label, so keep it in mind if you dig this ditty.

I figured I'd share these few minor things with you here. Feel free to offer some of your own in return. And have a splendid, phosphorescent, Merry Christmas.


Bob said...

Billy, this is a tender and sweet post, but the Exorcist puke photo that kicks it off is just laugh out loud funny. We've been fighting some sick over here, too, but not like that.

Bob said...

Man, you're right. That Sherwood cut is a good one.

John said...

And snowing in Seattle it is....we've made an 8 foot snow man, a 6 foot snow woman, and an amorphous attempt at a giant whose second torso part was too cumbersome for me to lift, hence its transformation into something resembling a caribou/dromedary. Great to see the blog continuing in such style this holiday and sad you're under the weather.