Sunday, August 31, 2008

"All Summer Long"

Have you heard the song, "All Summer Long," yet? 

 

I have to tell you that I listen to so many of my old tapes – yes, tapes – can you believe I still have a cassette player in my car? To tell you the truth I'm reluctant to even get a new car (mine's an '04) for fear that tape players are now obsolete.  Yikes!  What'll happen to all my mix tapes?  Is the very existence of mix tapes at question these days?  Ya know, I've been given a mix tape or two in my day from perspective beaus – or at the very least, someone wanting to sleep with me – and I've given away one or two homemade varieties myself.  What will the lovelorn do? Enroll an interest-of-the-heart in Columbia House – 7 CDs for a penny? Do they even still have that? Boy – I am way off the track.

 

Anyway, I listen to a lot of… old… we'll go with… recordings, and even the radio stations I listen to play a lot of older music – they call 'em the classics.  Hey, the stuff from the 70s is classic.  So, I can't really be sure of the last time I actually heard a new release.  I'm not even sure this song I've been trying to tell you about – and for those of you dedicated enough to persevere through all this babble to read about – is new, but I think it is:  "All Summer Long" by Kid Rock.

 

What I can tell you is that I never imagined I'd be so taken with anything by Kid Rock.  Sadly, this has nothing to do with his music – actually this song, which has so recently captured my attention, is the only one I know by him.  I've never heard anything else he's done – and he's sold over 24 million albums (CDs ?).  I couldn't get beyond all his hair, tattoos, grungy fashion style – have you see the hats, and time-frozen personal tidbits on check-out tabloids.  Shallow – I know.  Judgmental – I know.  Superficial – I know!  I'm sorry.  It's just all that exterior stuff (hair, ink, hats – I know, now you're wondering, what on earth is it with her and hats?) gets in the way for me.

 

Anyway-------------------- This song is just so cool!  There's just something about the summer of your 17th year.  I think for many of us, we're like the singer – caught between adolescence and adulthood.  After that summer, it's all different somehow.

 

I think back (Don't say, "Oh, no!"  I'll be quick.) to Bob Seger's song "Night Moves."  The singer in his song tells of his own summertime coming-of-age story and while reminiscing back to 1962, he muses that it's funny how the night moves, when you just don't seem to have as much to lose, strange how the night moves, with autumn closing in.  I was 17 in 1982.  Back then when we sang that song, we naturally changed the lyric to 1982 – we thought we were clever.  None of us could possibly grasp all those lines really entailed.  But I can tell you, and with absolute certainty, I get it now. 

 

Okay, I promised I'd be quick.  Back to "All Summer Long." 

 

In this song, the singer reminisces about his summertime love – he remembers, for instance, "the way the moonlight shined upon her hair."  How gentle, huh?  Wouldn't you think that for guys their memories would be more like, 'she had some set of jugs on her, yuk-yuk-yuk…' but, moonlight?  I guess they're not all Beavis and Butt-Head types. 

 

He thinks back to their time together and tells us, "She'll forever hold a spot inside my soul."  How tender, huh?  There's just something deeper about a spot held in the soul vs. a spot held in the heart.  I mean, I know heart and soul go hand-in-hand, but for a guy to fondly remember a love past and say that – "She'll forever hold a spot inside my soul," ahh… doesn't it just hit you deep down inside. 

 

Throughout the song he tells us some of the things they did together that summer, including singing their favorite song, and he wraps up his tale by sharing, "Sometimes I'll hear that song and I'll start to sing along, and think, man, I'd love to see that girl again."  How moving, huh? 

 

I have to tell you, I never really thought guys looked back like that.  I generally think most guys fit into that Beavis and Butt-Head category I touched on earlier.  I must confess, I've obviously been selling them short. 

 

So I guess a fond, nostalgic sensitivity is not a guy/girl thing.  I guess it's a romantic thing.  You could be Kid Rock – wanting to go back in time to see an old love.  You could be Tom Petty – or any Wilbury for that matter, hoping to be remembered when a particular song is played (visit "End of the Line," the song is "Purple Haze").  You could be Bob Seger, realizing how the night moves differently when you're a little older, when you just don't seem to have as much to lose.  Or, you could be you and me, regular people, who listen to the music of these romantic poets, creating the soundtracks of our lives; and maybe, every once in a while, when caught up in the busy routine of our day-to-day, we'll hear a song that will stop us in our tracks, make us take a moment and say from our hearts, "Oh, I remember the time when… hmmm… I wonder what they're doing now."

 

Feeling a little wistful,

 - M

 

 

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Coffee Date

Hey, I've got some news.  I won the featured author/book contest on www.polkadotbanner.com for the month of August.  That's quite an honor for such a new release.  I couldn't be more thrilled.  In addition to being recognized and congratulated for having the most hits on that site, I also enjoyed partaking in an interview. 

 

I don't want to tell you all about it here – you'll have to click on the above link and read it for yourself, but I do want to mention one specific thing.  In a lighthearted way I was asked to offer men five successful dating tips.  One of the things I suggested was not to ask, "When was the last time you had sex?" I culled this precious little tidbit, as well as the others, from my own actual dating experiences.  I even touched on this one in particular during an audio/podcast interview I did for Inside Scoop Live. 

http://www.insidescooplive.com/author-pages/Hill-M-reading-interview.html

 

Here's the deal.  Arrangements had been made for me to meet a potential would-be dater, at a Starbucks, on a Saturday morning, at 11:00 a.m. – pretty casual; in fact, you almost can't get more casual.  So anyway, we meet, we get some coffee, and we begin the initial round of questioning.  "What brought you to Arizona?" (Pretty typical question)  "How long have you lived here?" (Pretty typical follow up)  "When was the last time you had sex?"  (Not so typical - WHAT?!?)  Who asks that?

 

As I mentioned, this story came up during my Inside Scoop interview.  As I told the interviewer, I didn't fault the guy for wondering – I don't even fault him, completely, for asking the question.  What I fault him with is how indelicately he asked it. 

 

For whatever reason, this incident made me think of Charlie Sheen's character on "Two and a Half Men."  I'm sure if Charlie Harper went on a date with a woman, who had been single for some time, he might wonder when the last time she had sex was.  The thing is, I don't think he would just blurt out the question.  I think he would shroud it in witty innuendo, skirt around the issue in a playful way, get a little cat-and-mouse thing going, you know, endear himself, someway, to his chaste, feminine quarry, don't you?  I mean, what the heck was that guy thinking? What answer do you think he wanted to hear? A couple of weeks ago? Yesterday? 10 minutes before I left to meet you?  I was completely turned off by this guy.  No refills, thank you very much.

 

So the other night, while watching a rerun of the aforementioned, critically acclaimed sitcom, I found myself completely turned off by Charlie Harper – and his kind (of which there are many).  In this particular episode, Alan runs into an old friend who is also divorced at this point in her life.  After a quick catch up, a hug and a 'we should get together sometime,' a dinner date is arranged.  Big brother Charlie, the seasoned lothario, counsels Alan to be prepared for sex later that night.  Na├»ve Alan, taken aback by Charlie's confident, intuitive assumption asks him how he can be so sure.  Charlie tells Alan something to the effect that the woman is pushing 40, her looks aren't going to last forever and her window of opportunity will be closing – so she's desperate.  And of course, being desperate, she'll sleep with Alan.

 

Here's where I take offense: 40 and the implied effects of aging = desperate.  As an aside, I'd like to point out that to hit 40 and discontinue aging, you'd have to be dead.  What I really object to is having the value of a woman reduced to nothing more than her MLF-sleepabilty factor as determined by overly sexed-up, shallow, horn-dog type characters like Charlie Harper; even if he isn't real, there are plenty of them out there who are – Starbucks Java Joe, for example.  Women are much more than just penis receptacles!  And just when I thought I couldn't care any less…

 

- M

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Steely Dan

Perhaps I should start right off with a clarification.  I am not talking about "A" Steely Dan; although with the theme of my book, you can understand why I felt the clarification might be necessary.

 

Last month I went, with my brother and sister-in-law, to the Think Fast concert down at the Dodge Theater.  As the concert date approach, we began to talk about it at their office.  One of the young aestheticians there asked, "Steely Dan?  What is that?"  What is that?  Was she kidding me?  "It's not what," I told her (now you understand why I felt it necessary to clarify up above what I'm talking about).  "It's who – as in, the one and only, Grammy-Award winning, American jazz fusion rock band, that's who.  Steely Dan.  They've been making music for four decades – Steely Dan! … No?"  With a shrug of her shoulders, she walked away saying, "Never heard of 'em."  Can you believe it?  This is why, at 43, I sometimes catch myself saying, "Young people today…" 

 

I shared this story with the receptionist at our office in California, who just responded with a non-descript, "Ohhh…"  I said to her, "You don't know who they are either, do you?"  She said, "No, sorry."  Then I asked how old she was, and when she responded with, "Twenty-three.  In fact, twenty-three just today – today's my birthday," I just said, "Oh.  Happy Birthday."  Young  people today.

 

It is true they started making music and recording hits while I was still in my single digit years, but c'mon, they're Steely Dan, man.

 

So we get to the Dodge and we can tell immediately, by the people congregating around the theater, we are with an older crowd.  That thought was cemented as we took our seats.  Just a few rows in front of us, we saw a woman trying to negotiate her Rascal Scooter down the aisle.  No lie!  Well, okay, it may not have actually been a Rascal; it could have been a Jazzy, either way the point is she was buzzing around in a geriatric mobility device – at a concert!  I looked around for the man with an oxygen tank and a walker – I figured he couldn't be too far behind.

 

As the place filled up, I began to talk with the lone man sitting next to me.  My sister-in-law warned him not to speak with me.  "Don't say anything," she said, "it could end up in a book!"  (I guess she wasn't too far off, huh?)  He was drunk and had no idea what she was talking about.  I found out that although he lived in the Valley for over 25 years, he had recently moved back to his hometown of Detroit, and came back just to see the show.  I began to refer to him as Detroit – Drunken Detroit was more like it.  

 

Me:  So, what makes a guy come to a concert alone?

 

DD:  Tickets are expensive these days. Plus, my girlfriend's in jail.         

 

Me:  How nice for you. 

 

DD:  She's really my ex-girlfriend.

 

Me:  Again, how nice for you.

 

DD:  Yeah, she wanted me to bail her out, but that's expensive.  It's like $1,000.

 

Me:  $1,000 is a lot of money – better to leave her rotting in jail.

 

DD: It's not just the money.

 

Me:  No?

 

DD:  She actually signed a complaint against me.

 

Me:  Is that why you moved back to Detroit?

 

DD: Yeah – No!  The thing is, if I bail her out and they see my name… you know?

 

Me:  I don't think you actually go to the jail; you would go to a Bail Bondsman.

 

DD: Doesn't matter.  While she's there, I'm getting my stuff from her apartment.

 

Me:  Sly.

 

DD:  Don't you hate how airlines charge you for overweight luggage?

 

Me:  How much are you taking from her?

 

DD:  Just my stuff.  It's mine, why shouldn't I take it?

 

Me:  I don't think Northwest will let you take a futon on the plane.

 

He left to go get another beer – not that he needed any more.  When he returned, he had his new cup of beer in his old empty cup.  So once again, my attention was directed his way.

 

Me:  What's with the two cups, couldn't find a trash?  Or wait, souvenir? 

 

DD:  It helps me count.

 

Me:  Really?  You need visual aids and props to help you count to… two?

 

DD:  (goofy smile)  Sidenote: His actual intake must have been more like 22.

 

Me:  Boy, I bet you're a real catch, huh?

 

DD:  What's that supposed to mean?  I'm fit.  Don't you think I'm fit?  I'm 52. 

         Pretty fit for 52, huh?  I mean, fit for any age, really.  Do you think I'm fit?

 

Me:  As a fiddle.  (A mental fiddle.)

 

Finally the headliners were starting the show.  As the intro played, I had Drunken Detroit whooping and hollering beside me, yelling out, "Alright!  I knew they would open with this! Whew!!!"  Then, after a minute or two, he turned to me and asked, "Which one is this?" 

 

Yeah!  A real catch.  There really is a reason why after a certain age they say all the good ones are taken. 

 

And speaking of age, who is it that said 40 is the new 30?  Clearly not 20-year-olds.  To them, we're old.  The 20-year-olds running around today don't even know who this iconic rock band is. I think it must be the 40-year-olds of today who say that.  The same 40-year-olds who, when 50, will say, "50 is the new 40.  My, aren't we fit?"  

 

So what if we're aging a bit, and the younger generation doesn't quite get us.  It's the natural progression of things, isn't it?  Hey Nineteen didn't know 'Retha Franklin, and now Hey Nineteen is probably collecting Social Security.  Heck, she may even be attending rock concerts in a motorized scooter, who knows?   

 

True, I may be just growing' old and reelin' in the years, but so what, give me that funked up music and I'll be fine.  NO STATIC AT ALL!

 

- M