The Pompatus of Love.
This may or may not horrify you, but I watch TV. I think of it as an exercise in marital understanding. We’re all different, right? For some of us, TV is entertainment. For others, it’s a tool we use to get through the flu without actually killing ourselves.
Shaun and I baffle each other. How did we ever get married? How has it lasted 16 years?
We stare at each other a lot. And then something unexpected happens.
I don’t understand you, but here: I bought you a horse.
I don’t understand you, but here: I bought you this
ugly giant flat screen TV.
We try to bridge the divide. Occasionally, Shaun volunteers to come to the barn. Encased in a ton of metal with the doors locked. What she’s thinking: “Why would I want to be outside? In the dirt? With bugs? Is that…poop? Ewwwwww. Didn’t you come home with a black eye recently?”
Shaun asks me to watch TV with her. “Sure!” I say, stuffing my reluctance deep into an old, unused, neuron.
I stare at the TV. I stare at Shaun. What I’m thinking: “Why would I want to see Inside San Quentin? Blech. I also watch, through my fingers, relationship dramas acted out above anesthetized, bloody bodies. Is that a LIVER? Ewwwwww.”
Enter American Idol: I love all music, Shaun loves all TV reality shows. It should be win-win.
Keith Urban had to screw it up. (Dang it all Keith, you’re my favorite judge.) This week he wore a T-shirt printed with “Some People Call Me Maurice”. I burst out laughing, and giggled every time the camera panned to the judges.
(I had to laugh at something. The contestants were instructed to sing a Beatles song. Beatles? Who are the Beatles?)
“What’s so funny?”, Shaun asks, mystified.
“His shirt!”, I gasp, as disturbing memories, mostly involving a dorm room at UC Berkeley and Alex’s make-up from Clockwork Orange, un-spoll in my brain.
“What does it mean?”, she says.
“Space Cowboy?”, I say.
“Himalayan Dental Assistant?”, she says, trying to figure out this wacko game of bizarre careers.
“The Joker?”, I say, certain this will make my point crystal clear.
“The Green Lantern?” she says, baffled.
We’re in trouble. We go back to the show.
I Play My Music in the Sun
The next day, I bring up video of The Steve Miller Band on YouTube. Shaun listens with that look on her face.
“You like this?”, she says, stuffing her incredulity into a vacated synapse.
I’m so busy processing how innocuous this song seems in 2013, (it felt very counter-culture in 1974), that I have to make her repeat her question.
“Well, yeah, don’t you?”, I say.
“Not exactly?”, she says, searching for something that won’t hurt my feelings: “I was more in to Motown.”
I can work with this: I like Motown.
Problem: I also like Metallica. Led Zepplin. Janis Joplin. Bach. Jay-Z. Lady Gaga. Loretta Lynn. Mozart. Brooks and Dunn. Eminem. Itzhak Perlman. Barbara Streisand. The Village People. (Did I say that last one out loud?)
Sure Don’t Want to Hurt No One
My dad used to say two things weren’t for sissies:
- Getting Old
Getting Old: I nearly had a heart attack listening to some really GOOD musicians say they’d never heard of the Beatles. Not for sissies.
Love: I don’t think Dad meant actual love? Love is easy. Blammo. Love slams you, whether it’s your wife, husband, kid, or fur family. It just flattens us. Getting up over and over, that’s the hard part.
I’m pretty sure Dad meant sticking to a relationship in which the other half doesn’t like rock and roll.
THAT is not for sissies.