Thursday, June 30, 2011
Ah yes...Again we approach that mid-Summer festivity known as the 4th of July. It was a big deal at my house. The summer equivalent of Thanksgiving...Tons of burgers and dogs on the grill...potato salad...my dad even made homemade ice cream.
We'd eat and swim all day. Play volleyball with the neighbors. All the while eager for dusk to set in so we could settle in and watch the fireworks. We'd walk over to my junior high school and sit on a big hill and watch the display. But even that show paled in comparison to the firework show at my house.
He'd sneak out of the house a couple days before the 4th and shop at some random firework stand manned by a toothless Mexican. We'd look at the large displays of what was likely contraband military ammunition and I'd ask, "Dad, are you sure these are safe?" It was kind of a routine with us. I'd ask knowing they weren't safe...just to cue Dad. And just so he could tell my mom he was assured they were safe, my question broke his pyrotechnic trance for long enough to ask the leather faced Mexican, "Are all these legal for Colorado?" as though the guy was an agent from the ATF. The answer was always, "Yes Senor."
We'd load up on cherry bombs, smoke snakes, sparklers, bottle rockets....Then we'd casually stroll to the heavy duty stuff. Larger fireworks...ones that were packaged in a way that the only safety label was a skull and cross bones to indicate they might be lethal. It was these fireworks that really got Dad jazzed.
On the night of the display Dad would prep for his show by bringing out two of his prized saw horses...and wore his Sears and Robuck brown running sneakers. He'd use the saw horses to nail spinners so they'd be less likely to kill anyone in his audience. The sneakers were worn so he could run for his own life in case one did come loose and go flying.
A propane tank with a special attachment was used so he always had a flame at the ready. He'd hold it proudly. Did I mention he wore his wood working safety goggles? He did. You never know when a smoke snake can get a little wiley and go flying.
Anyway, we'd sit at a relatively safe distance...I think...and watch Dad as he lit Mexican dynamite. He'd extend his arm as far as he could...make up the rest of the distance by doing a lunging movement..light the firework...then practically trip over himself as he ran for his imaginary foxhole. We'd watch the spectacle...mostly because we were frozen with fear.
Did he have mishaps? Yeah...a few. One year a bottle rocket pierced and burned our neighbor's shirt as it went flying over our fence and hit the laundry line. Another year a roman candle tipped over and shot balls of fire at the audience...which is to say.."Us."
I think that was the only night of the year I saw Dad run. Good times...
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Growing up I always wanted to be like my dad. I mean sure, mom made nice cookies and cooked some decent grub...but to me? Working like my dad was where it was at.
Dad was what many of you affectionately know as an "IBM'er"..."I've Been Moved" was the running "clutch your gut from laughing" joke acronym for the nerds who worked there.
Did I even know what my dad did during his 40 hour work week? Nope. But it didn't matter. I wanted to be an IBM'er. I think Dad did something in programming. Whatever. I liked his office. Pretty cool. Tons of colored pencils with the word, "THINK" engraved on them. I thought it was a nice way to remind employees why they were at work there...to use their minds and all.
A big highlight for me was actually visiting during IBM family day. Dad would show me around the big rooms with reel to reel tapes on giant thingamajigs that did something or another. Or he'd take me to his office and proudly show me books the equivalent of a New York City yellow pages filled with mathematical equations for whatever widget he made. Cool.
Oh, and the only tangible product I understood was a crude printout of my name "Trina"...Keep in mind this was 1977. So technology at the time was slightly archaic by today's standards. But still...I thought the patterned printout of my name with its letters made with "1"'s and "0"'s was super rad. I could do that shit. My first task upon getting hired would be printing out all members of my family's name. I'd be productive like that.
My love affair with IBM ended the end of 8th grade when I finally made the Varsity cheerleading squad. I spent hours practicing for tryouts...very stressful getting every move right to "Jukebox Hero". Oh and even called my (former) best friend a bitch because she got jealous I could jump high.
Anyway, I came in my house with my cute cheerleading uniform...As I straightened the plastic green and silver streamers on my pom poms, mom and I had the following conversation:
Me (holding up kelly green and white pleated cheerleading skirt): "Isn't it awesome I made the squad? I can't wait to wear this to school!"
Mom: "Yeah, it's nice. By the way, we're moving...to a place called 'Lexington, KY'."
Me (abruptly turning...wide eyed in shock and disbelief): "But I just made cheerleading. We can't move!" (As though cheerleading trumped the family's need to eat on a weekly basis.)
Mom: "Yeah, well, we are. So there you go."
Me (in my head): "FUCK IBM!!!!! BULLSHIT! Why the fuck does he work there? Who needs computers and typewriters anyway? Mark Mahan will finally notice me in my uniform and now I'll never date him because dad has to work?! I hate IBM!!!"
I said the same thing in my head when a similar announcement was made prior to my Senior year in High School.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Remember Ziggy? Yeah...wish I didn't either. I mean really...how the hell did his creator make a mint off drawing a bald dude in a dress who also had elephantitus of the legs? All that and totally humorless to boot. I digress.
I didn't care for the cartoon captions in Ziggy strips...but did find myself obsessed with drawing him. So here's my take on Ziggy after not drawing him for 30 years.
Not too shabby...Go ahead. Compare it to the real fucker. Maybe a bit difficult to make out the writing...It reads, "Ziggy My Way" by Trina Likes Wine (2011). Looking at this sketch I realize my version of Ziggy has shorter arms. So he'd eventually be thinner because he wouldn't be able to reach his hypothetical mouth. Legs may be slighter fatter too...but they'll provide the sustenance he'll need from not eating. Like a camel hump if you will. I purposefully made his head smaller...I always felt a little degree of artistic liberty...I liked it smaller. So there you go.
I also enjoyed drawing Ziggy in action:
This drawing is titled "Ziggy Over Wall" by Trina Likes Wine. Why exactly I drew these is beyond me. My younger less funny 1979 mind must have found some humor in this somewhere.
Nothing else to add here.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Remember those "Line ups" after recess? After the whistle blew you'd have to run to your designated line and remain quiet as teachers did their head count. How dumb was that idea? I mean, the 'being quiet' part. How was I supposed to shut my pie hole after watching Jeff S. kiss Kathy B. at recess? It was big news! Huge!
So I whispered what I saw to Stacey*. She stood in front of me in the post-recess lineup line.
Just as I said, "Guess what? Jeff kissed..." that bitch turned around and said, "Mr McCartney! Trina is talking in line!"
A tap on the shoulder later and I was singled out and directed to a smaller, "Non listener, talker" line. A stint in this line meant you couldn't have Rice Krispy treats on Friday. Bullshit....
(*Stacey later dressed as Wonder Woman and did this gay ass move with her arms pretending to deflect bullets. I told everyone her costume stunk because she didn't even have the truth lasso. Everyone knew Wonder Woman carried that. She became the butt of jokes from Halloween until New Year's.)
Don't fuck with the Trinster.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
I liked pogo sticks. Do they even make them anymore? I don't know....Probably. I'm sure there are nerds out there who still like them...Relish in looking like a complete moron jumping up and down and up and down....Like they're hot shit...Not.
I got mine for Christmas one year when I was living in Colorado. All of my relatives lived out of state, so we came to love the big brown UPS truck as it stopped in front of our house for a delivery. My dad's parents were like a second Santa Claus to us.
The UPS man carried a particularly large box to our door. My dad brought it into our living room and sliced it opened with his utility knife. My sisters and brothers and I all stood around watching in anticipation. Imagine my delight when he peeked into the delivery box and proclaimed, "Whoa! Trina! Someone hit the gravy train! Here you go!" as he pulled out a huge wrapped box.
I scrambled to open it and what did my eyes behold? A pogo stick. It had red handles with this big spring in the center. You've seen them, right? I mean, I'm sure you kind of rolled your eyes at who ever was playing with it...but I'm sure you were curious. I'd like to think so anyway...
I had to try it...immediately. You see, as with roller skating, bike ramps, flute playing, I had to be the best. It didn't matter I was the only freak on the block with a pogo stick. But if anyone else got one, they'd know not to fuck around with the Trinster.
I ran outdoors onto our driveway. Placed my feet on the foot rests and was surprised at the amount of dexterity required to even board the thing. Finally I figured just jumping onto the foot paddle with both feet was the champion's approach to pogo-ing.
"ONE! TWO!!"...jumps I counted before falling off. "ONE! TWO! THREE!"...a little better that time. This is how I perfected my pogo athleticism. Never giving up. Always striving, pushing myself...Once I mastered staying on, height would be next.
You may be wondering what ran through my head as I reached new heights on my pogo. "Man on the Moon" (kind of dumb given gravity pulled me back down. But let's not get technical.), "Kangaroo" (a really good naturally agile jumper), "ZOOM" (A dumb program I watched. Wished I had the stripe shirt), "Olympics" (I really thought there should be a competition for this sport).
What do I think of myself as I look back? "Shit for Brains. Get a life. You look like an idiot on that thing. The neighbors are laughing and you'll never get dates that way. Dismount now!"
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Do you remember that one shy kid you knew growing up? You and all your cool friends would point and say, "Let's see what the shy girl does."
I was that kid. Very quiet...As with everything, being shy had its pros and cons.
One major negative I remember to being shy was being asked to do stuff and being too shy to say, "Fuck no, I won't do that!"...Well ok, I was only in second grade...but I'm sure if I knew the phrase I would have said it. Mrs. Fisk was reading a story to our class. We were seated on the floor...indian style. Can I still use that term? "Indian style"?
Anyway, that day I had the great misfortune of being seated next to Bradley. The dirtiest kid in 2nd grade. He had green fingernails and hair that looked like it was covered in a layer of dust. I was listening to Mrs. Fisk read our story when she suddenly stopped and looked in my direction. "Trina, if you need a kleenex, get up and grab one. Please clean that up."
I was shocked and embarassed. Had no idea what she was referring to...I glanced to my side and saw a giant green booger...in the carpet. Next to Bradley...who at this point was staring ahead as though he was oblivious to the mess...I was shy...so I got up, grabbed a tissue and gagged as I cleaned up Bradley's booger.
Being shy can also mean you're a piss poor athlete. I hated dodgeball because I was always the first target. I'd clumsily try to run out of the way before I felt my cheek sting from getting pummeled by a kickball. I sucked at kickball too...Queen of "airkicks"...meaning I missed the ball with my foot when it was time to kick.
I also remember in 4th grade my teachers had the brilliant idea of a "Lost and Found" parade the end of the school year. Everyone had to wear a random scarf....maybe a mitten or two...a jacket. What did I get? Some fucker actually wore a bright yellow rain hat.
Not just any hat, mind you. It looked like a yellow version of a beekeeper bonnet...Only all plastic. With a clear plastic window so you could see. So fucking dumb. As though we lived in Cambodia and had blinding rain. Anyway, I was too shy to say no. So I had to march in the parade with that hat. And of course who ever did own it pretended it wasn't theirs and instead laughed watching me wear it. Thanks for that.
I did use my shyness to my advantage at times. For instance, I once got totally pissed off by a girl who also happened to be my next door neighbor. I found a dead mouse at recess and put it in her lunch pail. We had open classrooms which were great for hearing her blood curdling scream when she discovered the dead rodent.
I sat smirking to myself as I was not at all suspected. A bully named David was instead fingered as the perpetrator. I had no problem watching him get carted to the principal's office. He was sentenced to 3 days of detention. Oh well.
Did I ever get over my shyness? Yeah. Kind of. 10 moves with your dad working at IBM will do that. But if we ever meet? I'll be the quiet one...initially...until you get to know me.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Back in the day when I traveled with my family and 5 younger siblings, my parents would make a big production out of stopping at McDonald's. You know, the fast food joint? Well, in my house it was a big deal...Do the math. McDonald's for 8 people? Gets pricey, you dig?
Anyway, my parents had the art of ordering down to a science. We'd pull up to the "Drive Thru" as it was spelled and my dad went into ordering mode. He'd brace his hands on the steering wheel and without so much as a glance into the back at six hungry faces, he'd make a general announcement. "We're getting burgers for everyone. Cheese or No Cheese?"
One by one my brothers and sisters would follow his orders by stating their preference. "Cheese", "No Cheese please", "Cheese", "Cheese", "Cheese"...
Then came my turn. "I'll take a Filet O' Fish, no tartare sauce, no cheese with extra pickles please.", I stated in a matter of fact manner. As though my order was nothing out of the ordinary and I hadn't heard Dad's warning shot during his burger announcement.
Silence. Then I'd watch as he gripped the steering wheel until his knuckles turned white. The back of his neck and ears slowly turning a rashy red...visibly annoyed....
"Trina you heard the choices. Cheese or no cheese?" I'd reply, "Oh I said it in my order Dad. Please omit the cheese. On my Filet O' Fish. Extra Pickles. Did I mention I don't care for tartare sauce?"
Meanwhile, my sisters and brothers sat...listening to our calm discussion braced between fear for my life and being ticked off they wouldn't get the sandwich upgrade.
Every time we went to McDonald's on trips we'd engage in this subtle war of words. And every time he'd eventually cave. Mad at himself, but probably thought the 35 cent upgrade was worth not hearing my sarcasm for the remainder of the drive.
That's all I got.