More Reasons for my Stunted Development Revealed
One day recently, stumbling home after happy hour or wherever it was I had been, I entered the domestic sanctuary, where I was greeted by the voice of Carol Channing explaining that when we see a cheerful, beaming woman doing housework on a television commercial, to keep in mind that we are watching an actress. "What the hey is this?" I demanded authoritatively.
"You don't recognize it?" responded the ever alert lady of the house. "This is your record."
"It most certainly is not," I replied, indignant at this association of such rubbish with my exalted person.
"I'm sure it is," the lady, who, never having to, never does concede an assertion once she has made it, "I found it in a box of your old childhood possessions." I insisted that the sleeve of this record be produced at once. (Note: I have not mastered control over the flash on my camera--ed) "I have never seen this thing in my life," I proclaimed, the swell of triumph flooding into my breast. "What is this nonsense? Alan Alda!? Mel Brooks!? Rosey Grier!? Rosey Grier was big when I was a wee child. Well, he was always big. He was a defensive tackle for the Giants back in the stone ages. He played at Penn State back when Joe Paterno was an assistant coach in his 20s. He weighed 285 pounds, which in the 50s and early 60s made him like Refrigerator Perry crossed with a sumo wrestler on the field. Then in the 70s he was on TV all the time. Doing commercials. Doing needlepoint. Guest starring on hit shows (he's the enormous sensitive black guy). Then around 1978 he suddenly dropped off the face of the earth and was never heard from again. I wonder if he's even still alive." (ed--he is)
"Yes, he's the guy who sings 'It's All Right to Cry.' It's the children's favorite song. I knew you would like it."
"No!" I said, trying to disguise the note of horror in my voice.
"Except for Georgie. He likes 'William's Doll' the best."
(Flipping album over furiously) "Alan Alda & Marlo Thomas. Good lord. Marlo Thomas. She was kind of a babe, wasn't she? She fell in the same hole Rosey Grier did in my consciousness (hopefully Rosey was on the bottom wherever they landed). And that smarmy Alan Alda. What a slimeball! You know what he was thinking. Oh, sure, Marlo, I'll do all I can to help to help with your project, you...you sassy, liberated, free love advoc--"
"Now stop it. Is that all you can ever think about? I think it is very sweet that you listened to this record as a little boy. I can just see you sitting there with your legs crossed in your little mustard turtleneck with your white hair falling over your eyes and ears and collar earnestly absorbing the messages of equality and common humanity."
"I absorbed no such lessons. Not in the least. Yes, and that reminds me. I have been researching some right wing websites which explain how a man should properly manage his wife, and it was a real eye-opener. Things are going to have to change around here starting immediately."
"Are they indeed?"
"Yes. Indeed. I'd no idea what disgrace I have been living in these many years, and what contempt other men must hold me in. It has been a great shock to my system. For example, I am never to let another man who is not a relative speak directly to my wife, but I must speak for the family on all occasions. This signifies weakness to other men, and leads them to believe they can have their way with either of of us whenever they wish. One of the writers had just returned from a trip to those Sodom and Gomorrahs of the East, Vermont and Massachusetts--right in our neighborhood--and seen unspeakably disgusting things there, people, men and women alike, who have lost any sense of shame or self-respect."
"Unspeakable things? In Vermont? Where?"
"Well--I don't know exactly where. The point is, the men were weak and shuffling, not ready to defend themselves or their children or their property, without honor, enthusiastically supporting socialistic policies, bearing noncompetitive postures, pushing strollers, allowing their nominal wives and girlfriends to make purchasing decisions and dictate the terms of their lifestyle. I can't help but think he must have seen me that it is really I he is talking about. After all, I have been in both of those states within the past few weeks."
"You are a fool. Haven't you seen those old photographs from the depression, and earlier, of men rocking babies and pushing strollers. We have one of my great-grandfather himself around 1918, still wearing his work suit, taking my grandmother out for a spin in the pram. And he isn't carrying a gun with him either."
"We don't know that he hasn't stuck a piece in the baby carriage. But anyway, it was different back then. He was a man of proven respectability and capacity. Being shot by a thug or a madman on the street would not have been interpreted as a judgement on his fundamental inadequa--"
"Stop. Listen, it's time for Rosey Grier's number."
"You know, this can't be good for boy children. They may not have known better in 1974, but I do. And I still say, this is not my record."
(Yes, this is my faux-retro made in China $50 record player. Laugh all you want. I like it.)