Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day- A Day Late and Many Dollars Short

(One of my mother's favorite songs, decided whilst sitting at the kitchen table and listening to the entire Great Rock and Roll Swindle album with my best friend and I in 6th grade.)

You always hear stories about women freaking out over "becoming their mothers"- or at least, this is an old schtick in the same vein as women eating pints of Ben and Jerry's while crying, buying lots of shoes, and freaking out over never getting married. So, being that I'm not Cathy and this particular schema doesn't apply to me, you shouldn't be too surprised to hear that, hell, if I were to turn into my mother, that would be freaking awesome. My mom is pretty bad ass.

Here's a story: Back in elementary school, they had these "Santa's Workshops" during Christmas time and kids were taken down there one group at a time to go buy some crappy sweatshop made gifts for their parents and siblings. Whatever. Anyway, one year my mother got roped into volunteering. It was not long before I had all these kids coming up to me saying "Your mom is so awesome! She taught me how to shoplift!"

Now, let me explain. See, I went to a *really* classy school. Except not. See, at Santa's Sweatshop, the kids who didn't have any money with which to purchase tacky paperweights and compasses had to stand up against the wall while the other kids shopped. Nice, huh? Because that's not anything that could embarass the crap out of a 10 year old or anything. Anyway, my mother, horrified by the situation, goes up to the kids up against the wall and tells them that they're going to be in her group. She then takes them on a tour of Santa's Sweatshop, flamboyantly showing them how to shove the various knicknacks up their sleeves. After that, even the kids that had money pretended they didn't so they could be in her group and learn how to shoplift.

This has always been one of my favorite examples, among many, of "how my mother is." Because it's not just that she's funny and silly and a bit rebellious- it's that she has this innate sense of justice and a talent for making people feel special.

My friends were always way excited to see my mother when they came over to visit, which is something I was always so proud of. She wasn't the cookie baking mom, and she wasn't the "Cool Mom" who wanted to smoke pot with teenagers or anything (thank god). We all just sat at the kitchen table and talked about school, and friends, and boys and politics and other things with her. And she was hilarious, and she made people feel important, and worthwhile, and smart, and funny. Even now, when people are going through a rough patch, I always wish they could talk to her.

Another thing people are supposed to say a lot is that their parents don't understand them. I think I'm pretty easy to understand in general, but if there is one person that always "gets it," it's my mother.

One of her sayings, of which she has many, is that people love you for the way you make them feel about themselves- and she's living proof of that. In my life I've never known anyone else that people loved as exuberantly and automatically as they love her. People just want to be around her- my friends, people on planes, people at CVS, Mormon missionaries... It's an amazing quality, and one that I've always, admittedly, been a bit jealous of.

So, you know, even if it means developing a habit of walking around TJ Maxx for two hours, filling up a shopping carriage and then not buying anything, I couldn't ask for anything more awesome than to turn into my mother someday.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Seasons of Awkward: How Do You Measure A Year In The Life? In Carats, duh)

Ok, so I was getting my eyebrows done at the cheapo nail salon across the street the other day (they're actually not terrible. Plus it only costs 7 dollars, and it's not like anyone really sees my eyebrows anyway, what with my bangs and all. Just so long as I don't look like Jo-Jo the Dogfaced Girl- which was a thing on the verge of happening.), when all of a sudden I hear "Seasons of Love" from Rent playing on the television behind me. Of course, my ears perk up because I'm thinking "SWEET. Another Rent tour!" I've only seen it like, 525,600 times in my life and I could probably stand to see it again, right? But no. No, it was a commercial for Macy's. For jewelry. Diamond jewelry from Macy's. Ostensibly for your mother for Mother's Day, or for your June bride, or simply because you're feeling way guilty about that "business trip" you took to Bangkok. And sure, the song, out of context, seems like a lovely tribute to life and love and living and such. Good things. Daylight? Sunsets? Cups of coffee? Who doesn't like those things? And diamonds! Diamonds are pretty! I mean, SURE- the whole child slavery aspect of it is a little icky, but diamonds are so shiny and sparkly, and you know, if you're making an omelet...

Ok. But the fact remains that uh, this is pretty much a song about a person, dying of AIDS, with a year to live. Awkward! Right? But the kids at this advertising agency don't know that. They just remember all those happy, multicultural people holding hands and singing it on the Today Show back when they were in 6th grade, sitting at the breakfast table, eating a bowl of Cinnamon Apple porridge. It was a heartwarming moment- almost made you forget about the fact that you still had to build a stupid desert in a stupid shoebox for science class instead of spending the weekend happily bouncing around on your pogo ball.

What will they come up with next? I wonder! I thought of some neat ideas on the bus on the way home from work yesterday, after having had several margaritas in awkward celebration of Cinco de Mayo, a holiday I admittedly know little to nothing about, other than that it has something to do with some battle between Mexico and France, possibly over beaded necklaces with strobelighting Corona bottle pendants.


Sam Cooke's Civil Rights era classic "A Change is Gonna Come" would work wonderfully as an ad for estrogen treatments for menopausal women! Picture it- a white suburban looking lady standing in the bathroom, looking wistfully at the half empty box of Tampax. She doesn't need them anymore, but hasn't had the heart to throw them in the trash. Not yet. Maybe not ever. Maybe she will save them and give them to her daughter, little Emmakenziejadenava when she reaches that cusp of womanhood that she herself is leaving behind forever. Maybe she will have them bronzed. Maybe she will stab the child as she slumbers and harvest her skin and... what? No. Time for a hormone patch!


Hot Child in The City by Nick Gilder. Pretty sure it's about a child prostitute. However, it's association with Sex and The City (True story! Every time this comes on my Ipod in the store, someone squeals "This is the song from that Sex and The City episode! Weee!" And then they buy things! Because that is what you would do if you were a character on that show, which some people still think they are.) and the word "pretty" pops up a lot, so really, it would be ideal for a Garnier Nutrisse commercial. I think that's the one SJP is the spokesperson for. She could spin around and toss her hair alot, because that's pretty much what one does in hair commercials. And this song could play, and people would think "Ooh. I too would like to be runnin' wild and lookin' pretty!" Like SJP! Or a child prostitute.


Lou Reed's Walk on The Wild Side would be AWESOME for "Dave and Busters." Because this is how the suburbanites in my mind, and in the mind of advertisers, get totally wild. In reality they're more into key parties, I think. It's pretty wild in the city too, actually, but mostly because I hear that if you go there you've got a pretty good chance of getting shot. I've considered risking it due to my love of skee-ball.


Picture it! A woman wanders towards the fruit section of the Jewel-Osco. She can only get one kind of fruit because her obsessive compulsive husband cannot live in the same house with two kinds of fruit, because that's like, one of his things or something. Or she's poor and only has money to get one variety of fruit. Does she want apples? Does she want grapes? My god. It's like Sophie's Choice up in here! And then, as we hear the low moan of Billie Holiday's voice singing "Strange Fruit"- her eyes fix on some apples in a weird plastic container. But these are no ordinary apples. These are Grapples. Half apples, half grapes. Or apples that taste like grapes. A fruit chimera, if you will. Problem solved! She proudly brings that crate of strange fruit up to the counter, and she's totally not thinking about lynching or anything like that. She's just thinking about fruit- delicious, genetically modified fruit. How happy her husband will be!

The possibilities are really endless, you know, when you totally ignore silly things like context and such. I mean, "What's Going On?" could totally work for Boost Mobile. Perhaps Sylvan Learning Center might want to use Pearl Jam's "Jeremy!" Advertising agencies, take note.