Monthly Archives: March 2011

There’s a Reason the Word Viral Has a Negative Connotation

Okay, fine. After much urging, I finally watched the viral video sensation, Rebecca Black (on mute), and I don’t have enough hours in the night to tell you all of my thoughts, but I will give you a few of them.

1) The pencil sketch portion at the beginning made me think about when Japanimation cartoons first aired in the US and all these little American kids started having epileptic seizures because of all of the rapid movement and the flashing of the television screen. In fact, I think at one point when Rebecca Black is “dancing” she is actually having a seizure. Her parents may want to have her checked out by their family physician. Better safe than sorry.

2) The Blacks should have spent a little extra cash on a stylist. This girl is one animal sweater away from looking exactly like Rachel Berry from Glee, and although Rachel (Lea Michele) can sing, she gets a slushy in the face at least once a week – she’s not exactly who you want to emulate in the trendy outfit category.

3) Do those kids have on seat belts in the convertible? Aren’t there seat belt laws? And is it odd to anyone other than me that every girl in the car has a mole on her face? I don’t know if I know anyone with a mole on their face. Well, I know one person. And then there’s Sarah Jessica Parker, but she had hers removed, so she doesn’t count. How does this chick know two other girls with moles on their faces? I wonder if they live near a nuclear power plant.

3) Now I’m pretty sure it is illegal to ride down the road sitting up on the back of a convertible; unless you are traveling at parade speed…and you’re actually in a parade. Did she pick girls with braces to flank her to add extra sparkle? Did they intentionally find two girls that had even less dancing ability than Rebecca so that she would look better? They keep doing this twisting while remaining rigid move that reminds me of the agitator in the clothes washer. Is it possible that everyone Rachel Berry, I mean Rebecca Black, knows is prone to seizures?

4)  Is that a real rapper? Is he in this video because he’s doing community service? Is he driving a Chrysler? How did the kids get the convertible and the rapper get the LeBaron?

5) What happened to hanging out in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot? Where is this party? We didn’t have parties like this when I was 13. And we sure as hell didn’t wear sequins to them. Why did all those kids leave their headlights on? Don’t they know they’re going to run down the batteries?

6) Where is this dark room where Rebecca is all alone with her red and purple lights and smoke machine? It’s just creepy. I can almost hear the director saying something like, “You don’t have to do anything more than you’re comfortable with, Rebecca.” I feel like I need a shower now. Maybe I should have watched this with the volume on. This is just pure uncomfortable in silence.

I’ve got to stop. I’m getting a headache. I think I may have a seizure of my own if I think about this anymore. Thank goodness I watched the video on mute. If I actually had this song stuck in my head, it is quite possible that I may do myself bodily harm. I would like to say, however, that it is pretty apropos that she’s “dancing” under a weeping willow tree in the end of the video. If this is what our culture now embraces as real talent/entertainment, it should be more than the tree weeping.


Trucks in the Sand

She ran through the woods, breaking through beams of sunlight as her laughter trailed behind her. In the exuberance of her youth she was never winded. Her feet moved from dirt to water to leaves without thought as she chased her dreams down the slope of the ravine. Miles away, he pushed his truck through the sand. The sounds of squeaking swings and children’s voices filled the air around him. His lips vibrated with the noise of a motor and he maneuvered his vehicle across the sandbox, planning his upcoming attack. They had never met. Their eyes had never locked in a glance. He had never heard her sing to her baby doll and she had never watched as he tried to be brave after falling and skinning his knee. Yet years later as she lay in bed, twisting to find the ultimate position of comfort then drifting off to slumber as gently as a summer breeze through an open window; he stood guard in the heat of the desert, eyes alert and mind racing; as trucks rolled by in the sand. He would protect her with his life, this girl he’d never met; now a woman with children of her own. He would not question her devotion, but persevere in his. He was bound by honor, by duty, by destiny; and giving up his freedom to protect hers was as natural as the blood that coursed through his veins. She would never know him. She would never know why he chose to serve her. Some days went by and she didn’t even think of him. But in her heart of hearts she knew he was there and she took comfort in it. She prayed that a gloved hand would never pause above an officer’s brow as his mother clutched a folded flag. And whenever she saw one of his comrades in an airport or a grocery or on the street, she would thank him; even though she knew her words would never reach them all. Miles away, she was the last thing on his mind, yet he continued to fight for her as if she was in his heart.

Unanswered Letter

My heart lies somewhere in the bottom of a box. I poured it out with ink and tears. I stopped and started it a hundred times. I looked at it again and again. My fingers trembled as I folded it. My chest ached as I sealed it away. I cried as I inscribed your name. And then I let it go; closing it in a tiny metal casket and hoisting the flag. The days ran together, one into the other, and my heart drifted across the ocean. Guarded by a dozen soldiers, it traveled space and time. Then somewhere between the sound of gunfire and the blowing sand, it came to rest in the bottom of a box; forgotten in the madness of war.

Building a Wall

For a moment they forgot their task. They were swept away in the possibilities of daydreams; forgetting their reality and running hand in hand toward infinite potential. Their eyes danced to a symphony played on the strings of the heart. Their laughter rose into the night and reverberated among the angels. Their fingers shook off their usual chill and warmed themselves in the grasp of each other’s hand. They took turns, leading and following, in a game of coy smiles and glances. They exchanged a kiss, just long enough to be savored but not so long as to satiate. As their heads lay softly on their pillows, a similar smile was fixed on each of their faces. And as their eyelashes rested on their cheeks, their thoughts slipped into slumber and then into dreams, allowing their flirtation to continue to play in the landscape of their imagination. But just as day always greets the night, the sun broke through from behind the curtains and these sweet fantasies were shaken off with the fluttering of awakening lashes. In the bright morning light, hope faded and realism took hold. So each rose and gathered their tools and went back to the task of building their wall.

Arms of the Ocean

I stood at the edge of the water with my bare feet slowly sinking in the soft sand beneath me. With each supple current from the rising tide, I settled deeper and deeper into the earth below. Over my shoulder hung the moon; unashamed, undeniable, whole. Her glow too dim to cast shadows, but bright enough to illuminate my fears. As the moments passed, my breathing aligned with the rhythm of the waves. It felt as if we had become one organism, oscillating in the cool night air, flowing into each other. I was lost in the waves; absent from my thoughts, floating in my memories. My balance had become shaky now that my feet were completely covered; one heel resting lower than the other. Without disturbing my base, I slowly sat down on the cold granules numbering greater than my imagination. At first they were rough on my thighs, but as my limbs began to numb in the wind, the sand became supple and comforting like a plush blanket of velvet. A gull flew overhead, crying out into the darkness, but I did not try to locate it. My vision was blurred in the deep purple before me. There was no horizon in the night. There was no end to my sister sea. She wrapped her fingers around me as the chilly air filled my lungs and released me back into the darkness with each breath I exhaled. I was deadened to my sorrow. Nothing remained; no hope, nor sadness, nor fear. All that remained was a void that was meant to be. My eyes grew heavy and I longed for rest, so I leaned back into the cradle of the shore and let the arms of the ocean cover me.

You Ain’t From ‘Round Here, Is Ya?

I had to travel for work today and found myself in the back woods of Tennessee, somewhere between Deliverance and Egypt. It was a tiny little town, my destination; one that would fit a description I heard growing up as a “spit town.” I’m from rural Alabama, so for me to be impressed by the lack of civilization is a pretty unusual thing. I knew the area was economically challenged before I set out and I had prepared myself to witness the typical poor, rural items that are common place, such as half buried tires around the perimeter of a trailer forming some sort of semblance of a fence, barbecue served by the roadside from half rusted old barrels filled with wood chips and the smell of sweet mesquite, and shotgun houses set almost on the shoulder of the highway with one of its inhabitants either resting comfortably on the front porch or tinkering with an old lawnmower too close to the road. I dropped the top on my Jeep and tuned the radio in to a “God fearin’, meat eatin’ country station” and figured I’d slip on into town without calling any attention to myself. I didn’t realize that I had innately set myself apart from the locals the moment I had put on lipstick and a bra. The county road on the way into and through one after another One Horse Town, Unincorporated, was littered with hand painted signs displaying Bible verses, firewood for sale and stump grinding services. I was almost surprised when I didn’t see any used cardboard and spray painted signs advertising “Rabbits for Sale: Pets or Meat.” I stopped into a local filling station and went in for a drink. The red-blooded, full bearded, overall clad, American and proud of it behind the counter couldn’t understand me at first, but then I did my impersonation of Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama and he was able to comprehend what I was saying and pointed me toward a cooler in the back. There I found not only a can of scrumptious Diet Mountain Dew, but it was so cold that it had frozen chunks of neon green deliciousness inside of it. In case you have ever wondered the whereabouts of that mid 80s Ford Escort that your friend in high school drove, I found it. In fact, the ratio of 80s model Ford Escorts to licensed drivers in this area was at least 4 to 1. It was a little unnerving to see so many of them in the same place. I felt like Suzanne Pleshette watching the birds gather on the jungle gym in the school yard in Alfred Hitchcock’s film, The Birds, only it was a bunch of Ford Escorts. The good people of this region apparently do not believe in storage buildings. Why would they, really, when they have seemed to do just fine setting extra sofas, buckets, small appliances, clothing, yard implements, toys and other superfluous items right out in their front yard. In fact, a few of the residents seemed so in tune with their surroundings that they didn’t even bother having doors on their fine abodes. There was one establishment that didn’t adhere to this practice, however. It was a little store named “The Inside Store.” Now don’t let your mind run away with you and think that this was a retailer of fine home interiors. It was simply a store that was housed inside of a building; and judging by all of the other vendors selling their wares out of the trunks of their automobiles, road-side shanties and lone, free-standing metal racks right out in the middle of nothing, this Inside Store was one of a kind. Well, there was a place named the Tater Sack, but it looked closed. The natives, I mean, locals made me feel right at home. They all waved at me as I went by. Those who couldn’t wave because their hands were busy whittling or opening a beer gave me a warm welcoming glare. I was feeling right chipper until I passed the white supremacy flag and had an image of Sandra Bullock’s little run in with the klan in A Time to Kill. The bummer about that was there was no Matthew McConaughey that was going to come looking for me. Even if there was, he’d probably be off biking shirtless with Lance Armstrong. Then I passed the most curious thing. It was this scarecrow looking woman. Not a real woman, but one made out of something like a scarecrow and she was wearing this Amish type dress. Above her head she was holding up this huge log. And by huge, I mean like twenty feet long and a good foot in diameter. It was the oddest thing I’d ever seen. It was right there in some person’s front yard next to a big stump carved into some goofy looking fellow and an old cast iron syrup pot turned upside down and holding up the front fender of a mid 80s Ford Escort. I wanted to stop and take a picture of it, but I wasn’t sure if any of the residents were there and I didn’t want to be spotted photographing their every day existence as if it was some sort of novelty. Also, I wasn’t sure they would know what a camera phone was and I had neither the time nor the inclination to assimilate them into the current century, so I just kept on driving. All in all, it was an interesting day. I think if I ever have to go back, I will take along a side kick, you know, someone to man a camera while I drive. And maybe I’ll take some trinkets like you see settlers or missionaries do in old black and white Zulu type movies. Yeah, trinkets sound like a good idea. Perhaps I will take lipsticks.