Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Mike Davis: Man or Myth?

My father is a mysterious, powerful man around whom legends have been created, even though he is still young and healthy. Mike Davis exercises, gardens and sleeps in a full suit. Mike Davis was invited to the Grammy's. Mike Davis took a flight from Los Angeles to Orange County because the 405 was crowded and he didn't want to be late for a dinner appointment. Mike Davis appears to not be listening to anything you are saying, but actually retains 95% of your babbling and provides thoughtful advice at a later date.

Six years ago, my sister told my dad that it was time to get him fitted for a tuxedo for her wedding. He replied," I already have three. Maybe one of those will work."

Last Friday, he announced that we would be having a black tie Oscar party on Sunday, much like the black tie party thrown for the McLaughlin Group's "2006 Year in Review" episode.

Note: We have yet to grasp the concept of inviting people outside of our immediate family to parties.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Gated Woes

The homeowners association in my fascist gated community has a new tool of oppression, the 8 1/2 x 11 copy paper notice, most likely printed at the home of a local loyalist and hung around the community for all to obey. Recent sign #1 states that "All holiday decorations must be taken down by January 31, 2007." After the peer pressure involved in forcing my family to hang Christmas lights across our back fence in the traditional community pattern (string of red lights across top of fence, white lights draped in calculated, wave-like fashion below), I was surprised at the lack of tolerance for leaving the lights up past January. I didn't see any printed fliers about the people who put their Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving, but I suppose the community has bigger issues to deal with than hypocrisy.
Recent sign #2 unfortunately was not accompanied with an explanation for its surprising warning of "Zero tolerance for verbal abuse." I felt a perverse joy at the thought of what must have transpired to prompt the printing of that unexpected gem. Which unhelpful, misinformed, disgruntled employee got yelled at?! And for what?! It might have been the same incident that prompted recent sign #3, which is placed on the counter at the clubhouse in a protective, plastic frame: "Absolutely no one besides staff allowed behind counter." There is nothing behind that counter worth stealing, unless you desperately needed the scheduling book for the tennis courts, a cat calendar, or the sauna key attached to a cut of PVC pipe. If someone headed behind the counter, it was to rough someone up. Though generally not a supporter of violence as a means to an end, I understand why someone would see force as their only option for getting past the pervasive "can't do" attitudes that one encounters when trying to get anything done around here.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The best four years of WHOSE life?

While waiting at a stoplight last week, my sister and I watched as one boy at a bus stop grabbed a nearby notebook and tossed it into traffic. The owner ran out into the street and collected what he could before a car drove over his papers and scattered the remainder over three lanes. My sister then asked, "On what planet is it acceptable to be such a dickhead?" She wasn't expecting an answer; we were both already preoccupied with haunting memories of the planet of dickheads: high school.

I went to a small, Christian high school, the kind of school that most parents would expect to have a smaller percentage of dickheads than large, public schools. That would be an incorrect assumption. Compared to public schools, small, Christian schools have the same ratio of dickheads to non-dickheads. However, since there are fewer people overall, the Christian school dickheads are expected to multitask. The dickhead must be the homecoming king must be the scholar athlete must be the drug user must be the Junior class treasurer. It's a lot of responsibility. Thankfully, they generally possess the self-confidence of ten invisible choir losers combined, and then exponentially multiplied. (Note: though not required to fulfill as many roles as the dickheads, the invisible choir losers don't get a free ride. They generally need to join the cross-country team, volunteer, and get pregnant at a surprisingly young age.)

The only way to deal with high school dickheads is to make jokes about how they will one day pump gas for a living. Unfortunately, this does not apply to the special breed of small, Christian school dickheads, as their multiple roles prepare them for a generally successful life. The good grades, the discipline from playing sports, even the resume-boosting minor role in the school musical ensures that they will finish college and then find a well-paying real estate job.

My consolation comes from knowing that the proverbial dickhead has lost his threat in my own life. He is no longer my prom date or my ride home. I don't owe him anything, not even a laugh. I'm laughing because that kid's papers are all over the road, and that is funny.