[about the author]
i actually like speaking in front of large crowds. freakish,
i work crossword puzzles in ink.
i am the american nigella lawson. or maybe the american eddie
izzard. can't decide, really.
i would be a really good mom, but i'm cool with being a really
i am sometimes more perceptive than i would like to be.
i am fiercely loyal. sometimes, stupidly so.
i never play dumb. never.
i am way too hard on myself.
i am a change agent.
i sometimes cross that fine line between assertive and aggressive.
i am not afraid to tell people that i love them.
i am militantly pro-choice.
i am pro-adoption.
i know a little bit about alot of things.
i typically enjoy the company of men more than women.
i am capable of being really mean and nasty, but i fight it.
i am a lifelong cubs fan. do not laugh.
i have been known to hold a grudge.
i have hips.
i am not my sister.
i am lousy at forgiving myself.
i am an indoor kind of gal.
i am a bargain shopper. to the point of obsession.
i am 32 flavors. and then some.
at least it's not o-town
the welfare christmas plan went over smashingly with my family this year, with only one person actually receiving a lip balm product of any kind. that would be my dad.
my dad is, i swear to god, the hardest person in the world to buy a gift for. he was forced into early retirement a couple of years ago, and, along with his full-time employment, gave up all of his hobbies at the same time. so…there isn’t much of anything to really give him.
except backstreet boys albums.
he loves the backstreet boys. the statement is, in and of itself is laughable. and sad. but to fully appreciate the depth of hilarity involved, you’d have to know a little bit about my dad.
you know wilford brimley? the guy who does the quaker oats commercials and says something like “it’s the right thing to do” or some such bullshit about oats? okay, he’s a dead freakin’ ringer for my dad.
of course, my dad doesn’t actually eat oats. too healthy. instead, he drinks coffee by the gallon and chain smokes kool non-filters. king size, of course. because you just can’t get enough tar and nicotine in the regular sized ones. [ ed. note: oh, come on, you know they must be all-natural and good for you and stuff…just look at that waterfall scene on the package. you don't think the tobacco company would try and mislead you like that, now do you?]
and, he drives a giant-ass dodge ram truck that gets about .3 miles per gallon and sounds like there's a monster truck rally going on inside your head.
several years ago, when my grandmother was battling cancer, she took an abrupt turn for the worse. i received a call in atlanta that she wouldn’t make it through the weekend, and hopped the first plane home. my dad came to pick me up at the airport. on the drive home, we made small talk, but it eventually waned in light of the 500 pound gorilla riding bitch in the truck: would we get to my grandmother’s house in time for me to see her one last time.
we sat at what seemed to be the world’s longest red light, my dad lighting what must have been his third cigarette in 30 minutes.
now, there aren't a lot of choices in radio in the town where i grew up. you pretty much have the following:
1. old school country music [i.e., george jones, merle haggard, loretta lynn]
[ed. note: it doesn't really have anything to do with anything, but i can't help but laugh at this.]
2. new-fangled countrymusic [i.e., tim mcgraw, dixie chicks]
3. not-really-old-school-but-still-not-new-fangled country music [i.e., the judds, brooks & dunn]
4. talk radio [while most markets try and limit this genre to am, you can find it in glorious stereo on your fm dial in my hometown]
5. old-school gospel [i.e., okay, i don’t even know anyone i could possibly name here.]
6. new-fangled gospel [i.e., and...ditto.]
7. album rock [i.e., pink floyd, ac/dc, lynrd skynrd]
8. top 40*
*when i say “top 40,” please note that it should actually be top-40-that-was-top-40-about-six-months-ago-in-the-rest-of-the-country-including-montana.
so, my dad is flipping through radio stations and he stops on as long as you love me. i turn to him in disbelief. disbelief that anyone is still playing that song, of course, but even more disbelief that, of all the possible stations [okay, it’s not like there were really that many choices, but you know what i’m saying], he chose to stop on that song.
“that’s sort of sweet,” i thought. “dad probably thinks i like that song. that it's cool or something. that it’s the kind of music i listen to.”
i’m about to tell my dad that i’d probably rather hear the ccr song he just passed up…although that might actually fall into the too-close-to-call category, when he reaches up and turns up the volume.
“you know…i really like to hear those backstreet boys sing. i really do.”
i sit in stunned silence, staring at my wilford brimley lookalike dad in his giant-ass truck with his king kool hanging out of his mouth singing along with the freakin’ backstreet boys. for a moment, i honestly believe i have slipped into a parallel universe. or, at the very least, one of the uppermost circles of hell.
that year, there were lots of great gifts under our family’s tree. but the gift that lit up my dad like the proverbial christmas tree was his very own copy of the backstreet boys’ millennium album.
he played it so much he broke the tape.
again, i say to you: no lie.
in the years that followed, he was equally thrilled with black and blue and the hits – chapter one.
but, this year, the boys let us down. no new release. i have the sinking feeling that we may have heard the last from the backstreet boys, and it makes me sad. [ed. note: how fundamentally wrong is that sentence?] after all, that means it's back to the drawing board for me when it comes to christmas gifts for my dad.
i’ve tried to get him to branch out a bit, but he says that 98° just doesn’t have the “talent.” and NSYNC is “trying too hard.”
hey, the man knows what he likes.
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