10 Car Pile-Up on Memory Lane
2004-07-19 - 11:12 a.m.
Shkbob and I would like to officially announce our boycott of VH1's latest ill-advised nostalgia program, I Love the 90s. We are staging this boycott for two reasons.
First, we have come to the sorry conclusion that the sooner the assorted talking heads that feed their crack addictions by appearing on these programs run out of money to feed themselves, the better. We're looking at you, Michael Ian Black, and so's St. Caroline. I once tried to write an entry on the toxicity of the countdown/nostalgia-show peanut-gallery flotsam and jetsam, but I broke down somewhere around page 5. Seriously, all these people need to be stopped. If I have to hear Emily Nussbaum or Joe Klein or Mo Rocca (who has used up his Daily Show good will entirely) deliver their smirking, down-their-noses, meta-ironic retrospectives about the relics of the past that they will never admit to having sucked down like their morning half-caff Starbucks lattes, I will have to kill and eat one of them. Who's with me?
Second, and more importantly, we refuse to watch I Love the 90s because we grew up in the 90s. We were teenagers in the 90s. We saw every movie and TV show and listened to every song that they talk about, and if we wanted traumatic flashbacks, we'd go to the Sudan and take LSD.
Besides, I've already had far too many flashbacks this week. I'm moving.
Moving is already a bitch of an experience. You have to come to terms with exactly how much shit you have, and that's never a good thing. It's not just realizing exactly how many boxes it takes to clear a bookshelf. It's realizing that you have all sorts of crap in drawers and the back of closets, things that you were hoping would never see the light of day again. And that's not even including the things that are still in boxes from the last time you move.
Plus, it's not just that I'm moving out of my apartment. Oh no, I already finished that step. No, I'm moving all of my stuff out of my mother's house. All the things that I shoved into corners at the end of every year of high school and college are being excavated out, and the revelations are far more terrifying than anything I could have ever imagined.
You see, I found my poetry.
Oh, don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about, particularly if you yourself keep an online diary. You know the poetry.
The poetry that you wrote while you were thinking about that special someone during study hall. The poetry that you wrote for class about the bleak desolation of teenage life, using, as imagery, the junk food wrappers left on the table in the Senior lounge. The political poetry about the rape of the Earth, our mother. The poetry you swore would lead you to suicide if it ever got into the wrong hands. The poetry that actually uses the word "thee."
Oh my God, I was a melodramatic child. I was not happy unless I was in love with someone who didn't love me back, and writing about my emotions as though I was the only person who truly knew what it meant to be in love. I found some old notes that I had passed to people during class detailing my belief system that had, as its cornerstone, the belief that for every human being there was a special someone, the other half that would make someone whole, and that, provided one listened to the messages sent to us by the universe, we wouALRIGHT ALRIGHT I KNOW I KNOW!!! I WAS A PATHETIC LITTLE TRAIN WRECK!!! ODDS ARE YOU WERE TOO, SO SHUT UP!!! SHUT!!! UP!!!!!
. . . just shut the fuck up, okay . . .
It isn't just the traumatic reminders of my high school self that I'm discovering, or rediscovering. I've found all the programs from all the shows I've ever been to, both student and professional. Part of me wants to get rid of them, but I know that my mother would burst into tears if she saw me throwing them away. This means that, as much as I might not care to ever show evidence that I saw the revival of Hello, Dolly! starring Carol Channing, I will nevertheless be able to for at least the next decade.
It's different when it comes to the shows I worked on. I've found the posters and programs from my freshman year productions, including the first show I ever directed, "Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You." I found the casting and directors notes for a number of my shows as well. I'd read through all these scraps of paper and I'd laugh, or tear up, or cringe. It made me miss a lot of people that aren't around me anymore, both those that I still call or e-mail and those that I haven't heard from in ages.
As I was looking through all these things, I put on the latest Ani album. Truth be told, I'm not a huge fan of this one, but there's one song on there that I am absolutely crazy about. It's called "Educated Guess," and on it she sings, "I've got this whole new family, and I'm in love with each of them. And I'm on this list called 'Lucky' whenever I'm in reach of them." That line kept running through my head as I read the director's note for "Night Coil" and remembered how I felt like I had found a family, and even though the family split apart and the members went off to Paris or Providence or, in my case, Austin, I still felt so lucky to have had them near me for as long as I did.
The specific mention of "Night Coil," by the way, was for NelaBella, whose birthday card for me was found this morning by my mother, more than six months late. It made me very happy.
I know I should put all these things into a scrapbook, but I don't have any time right now, and I also kinda hate scrapbooks. I'm not sure why, but I think it has something to do with people feeling the need to display pictures to others that have no bearing on anyone's lives but their own. So for the moment, they just go into boxes that will be sent to my dad's place in Austin until I have an apartment with enough room for all that beautiful shit. As is, I will barely have enough room for the shelves and shelves and shelves of books that I don't like but can't get rid of, because someone had the bright idea of getting a PhD in English.
I'll tell you, leaving behind my Far Side collections and taking my copy of Tristram Shandy with me. There ought to be a law.
Before I go, I need to say that I am extremely happy to have The Amazing Race back on the air. It's the perfect combination of "Six Feet Under" and "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?" The only team that I've so far come to loathe has already been Philiminated (tm TWoP), but I have a feeling that I'm going to learn to hate the pizza guys, the bowling moms, and any number of the random couples. Best of all, there's a little person this year, and while I certainly hope that she does indeed prove that little people are thoroughly capable of holding their own in such an event, the fact that she and her partner are rather bitchy and dumb make it okay for me to feel the occassional wave of schadenfreude. And that, my friends, is what wins a show an Emmy.
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