It’s been a roller-y-coaster-y several days here.
I’ve been mostly meat free, except a minor showdown with chicken enchiladas and heavy cream on Cinco de Mayo. It won. I enjoyed every moment as I fell, I enjoyed a lovely get-together with some very good friends.
Prior to that, there was the sad news that Adam Yauch of the Beasties succumbed to cancer, and after that was the sad news that Maurice Sendak died after a stroke.
My own dad died from cancer a little over a year ago. He had mostly left us when I was young; he was in the military and traveled around the world while we stayed put. He and my mom weren’t that good together, so the stability of staying put and daily lack of conflict were both good for the family. Up til when they got divorced and things got really ugly. I didn’t let him into the house one day, shortly after the divorce. I didn’t really talk to him for another 28 years. I discovered, in Hospice with him, sharing memories with his new family and friends, that I really am like my dad. and it’s not a bad thing. I don’t know if that’s The One Thing that “made” me gain weight, but certainly watching one’s food-and-drink-loving father starve to death makes one appreciate that pleasure in life can be fleeting. When one realizes that one’s father isn’t bad, and shared some of one’s pleasures, and is gone… one can sort of… I dunno. Compensate, albeit unhealthily, and say “fuck it, I could die tomorrow.”
Weight issues aside, I think my dad was also the first rebel I knew. He introduced me to Johnny Cash (Live at Folsom) and Kenny Rogers (he thought The Gambler was big stuff when I visited him in Germany as an eight year-old.)
I grew up in the 70s, and you couldn’t go through that era without seeing the “How Many Licks” commercial for Tootsie Pops, or the cartoons about parts of speech and the constitution, or the “Really Rosie” cartoon. I read Maurice Sendak. He creeped me out a little, with kids encouraged to be themselves and have dreams that didn’t make sense. MY life was supposed to make sense and be all sewn up neatly.
I suppose he was the first subversive I knew.
As I grew up, others brought me new ideas that ran counter to what I was “supposed” to think. Kafka rocked my world, along with Neitzche. I was introduced to the Dead Kennedys and Sex Pistols, different sides of the punk-rock coin.
And then came the Beasties. The were raunchy. They were ballsy. They were catchy. Taking it further than mullet-rock like, “I wanna rock,” they served me rebellion and attitude on a plate kinda’ like spinach– I wasn’t sure that I liked it, but I swallowed it up. Ad-Rock, Mike D, and MCA got in my face and made me sing along. and shake my ass.
Sadly, with my dad, with Maurice Sendak, with the Beasties’ Adam Yauch, I never tied the strands together while they lived. I never expressed the love and appreciation that I felt, the feeling that flourished under the discomfort they brought me to.
But it’s different now.
Thanks dad, MCA, and Mr. Sendak. I hope you guys are having a great time together in the beyond.