Warning: "continue" targeting switch is equivalent to "break". Did you mean to use "continue 2"? in /homepages/17/d217077930/htdocs/wordpress/wp-content/themes/suffusion/functions/media.php on line 666

Warning: "continue" targeting switch is equivalent to "break". Did you mean to use "continue 2"? in /homepages/17/d217077930/htdocs/wordpress/wp-content/themes/suffusion/functions/media.php on line 671

Warning: "continue" targeting switch is equivalent to "break". Did you mean to use "continue 2"? in /homepages/17/d217077930/htdocs/wordpress/wp-content/themes/suffusion/functions/media.php on line 684

Warning: "continue" targeting switch is equivalent to "break". Did you mean to use "continue 2"? in /homepages/17/d217077930/htdocs/wordpress/wp-content/themes/suffusion/functions/media.php on line 689

Warning: "continue" targeting switch is equivalent to "break". Did you mean to use "continue 2"? in /homepages/17/d217077930/htdocs/wordpress/wp-content/themes/suffusion/functions/media.php on line 694
cemetery – Oh Honestly, Erin
Jul 312010
 

“That he’s not here is nice,” mused Alisha as I typed the title to this post.

But seriously, I promised my sponsor Rob that I would write something nice about Henry. So here it is.

Before Henry and I started dating, we were just co-workers who occasionally hung out. It was 2001 and I had just met my biological dad’s mother and her sister Charmaine for this first time. Now, for the last 21 years of my life, all I heard was horror stories about how my father’s alcoholism, drug addictions, and the abuse who let loose upon my mom’s face. He was a monster, and not someone I spent a lot of time thinking about.

But sitting there with my grandma and her sister, looking at old photos of him and hearing about the good side that he apparently harbored, I felt really conflicted. Guilty for hating a man I barely had a chance to know, since he died when I was three. I was always thankful that he never had a chance to inflict pain on me, but these women were making me wonder if good things could have come from him being in my life.

I left their house that day and went straight the cemetery, where I sat by his grave and cried. My boyfriend called me while I was sobbing and said, “Oh. If you’re going to be crying all night, then I’m not coming over.”

Then I got a call from Henry, who wanted to know if I wanted to go on a drive with him. When he heard me crying, he said, “Where are you?” I told him and he said, “Stay there.”

He found me in the cemetery and brought me water. We leaned against his car and he let me cry. He let me talk about my family and my feelings and quietly made sure I was drinking the water; he would always lecture me for not drinking enough.

Later that night, my boyfriend wound up coming over anyway. We sat at my dining room table while he ate the fast food he brought over for dinner (for himself, nothing for me). And I sat there, watching him eat, and I realized he was totally not the person I wanted to be with. I made him leave.

“You still up for going for a drive?” I asked Henry when he answered his phone. We wound up sitting on a big rock in a deserted parking lot by Station Square, talking and laughing and just having a good time getting to know each other.

And then I broke up with my boyfriend.

Jul 242010
 

One of the awesome things about my friend Lisa is that she calls me every time something reminds her of me. This has been especially meaningful  since she’s been living in Colorado for the past few years and I don’t get to see her very often. Even if it’s just a song I like that’s playing in the supermarket, she’ll call and sing it on my voice mail.

Today’s phone call was because she saw someone that reminded her of me.

“I was in Whole Foods,” she began. “This lady was walking past me and I was like, ‘Erin Kelly!'”

I’m sitting in my car, having just left the cemetery, and imagining my Colorado doppelganger walking past Lisa, looking fantastic with a slew of sycophants in her wake. Hopefully she wasn’t dripping in sweat and sun tan oil with her hair pulled back in a moist bun like I was at that moment.

Lisa went on to extrapolate. “She walked just like you! You know the pouty way you used to walk in high school when you were upset and wanted someone to follow you?”

“Lisa, I still walk like that,” I admitted.

She laughed. “Why am I not surprised?”

I came home from my cemetery run and relayed the phone call to Henry.

“I know that walk quite well,” he mumbled with a frown.

One week and three days until Lisa and her husband Matt move back to Pittsburgh!

May 202009
 

motherbonnieBorn in 1895, Mother Bonnie was always one for puddin’. Tapioca puddin’, banana puddin’, figgy puddin’ — it made no difference to Mother Bonnie. She just really liked that thickly smooth texture, like a dessert dish full of curdled mucous, topped with a sheath of viscous skin. As a child, she’d slurp it up real good, then gargle with it to get rid of the tobacco aftertaste she was born with.

Now, Mother Bonnie grewed up to be a legend in her neighborhood. Having thirteen chitlins herself, Mother Bonnie knew a thang or two about getting the little snot-nosed ones to eat all the important foods, like beets and sweetbread. She’d grind ’em up real good in her sausage machine and stir the ensuing mush into a base of vanilla bean puddin’, letting it set into a coagulated mound of sweet nutrition.

All the mamas in the neighborhood came to Mother Bonnie’s farmhouse for help getting their own children to eat their vegetables and other pickled delicacies. They’d trade heirloom pearls, romance novels, masturbatory apparati fashioned from corn husks. One desperate mama used to let Mother Bonnie suckle from her wrist.

During the Depression, our Mother Bonnie had to get creative, as all the livestock done began shrivelin’ up like pruned carcasses. She began digging up fresh graves for puddin’ mix-ins. As more and more holes began to turn up the cemetery, Mother Bonnie’s children grew plumper, their cheeks outflushed all their schoolmates by at least fifteen shades. It didn’t take long for other townspeople to notice the correlation, and soon no one ventured near Mother Bonnie’s farmhouse, lest they wind up puddified.

Not that Mother Bonnie minded being outcast. It gave her more quality time in her puddin’ studio. And even after all of her children grewed up and moved away, Mother Bonnie continued to churn away at the puddin’. Even in failing health, body half-necrotic  and gangrened from untreated infections, Mother Bonnie swore by packing her sores with puddin’. Her motto was: If it ain’t able to be fixed with puddin’, then fuck it up the ass and go back to bed.

No one in her family uses it.

Mother Bonnie was straight in the middle of ladling bowls of bloody puddin’ to a table set for no one when she finally succumbed to the order of things and gave up her gelatinous ghost. It was Flag Day. She was 99 years old.

Her puddin’ is served in school cafeterias nationwide.

Oct 122008
 

Even though we’re being graced by an Indian summer and it was nearly eighty degrees yesterday, it was still a perfect day for taking some photos of Blake and Chooch: autumn edition. 

My only intention was to stuff a preppy sweater vest on my small child, dump him in a mound of leaves, and have him behave accordingly for the camera. Except my small child doesn’t behave accordingly for the camera. He doesn’t ever stop moving. So instead I took a thousand photos of Henry’s large child playing in the leaves. Blake managed to wrestle him down for one or two shots at least.

I always keep the animal masks in the trunk of the car, because you just never know when the urge might arise to hold up the corner porn shop as a giraffe. But I’ve used them so many times now in photos that I wasn’t planning on utilizing them yesterday. Then I turned around and saw this pint-sized horror stumbling toward me.

It’s almost like the masks were swirling around my face, whispering, “Don’t deny us.” So then I was like, “Ok fine, it doesn’t ever get old. Let’s do this shit.”

Christina said, “I like this one because the background looks so happy.” I considered that opinion for a fleeting second and then countered with, “Really? Because I feel like a little girl was murdered in that greenhouse in the background, seventy years ago. And that’s why I like it.”

One of the cemetery groundsmen took a time out and perched on a tombstone to watch how this would unravel. It kind of made me have stagefright. Until I remembered that I wasn’t on a stage.

This is actually an improvement upon Christina’s natural look. I bought her that necklace by the way because true friends encourage suicide.

He’s late, obviously.

Blake has cool hair. For a rabbit.

~~All the more.~~

Jun 022008
 

(*and by busy, I completely mean lazy.)

Urgent. Will die without reading.

  • 07:14 I’m subtitling 2008 as The Year I Gave My Dentist Too Much Money. #
  • 07:21 Chooch has determined his breakfast to be a red freezepop. #
  • 10:56 On the way home from work last nite I had a clear vision of a jagged piece of glass slicing through half my face and one eyeball. Awesome. #
  • 04:32 At one point last night, Christina noted that an entire hour passed without me mentioning murder. Gold star alert. #
  • 05:07 The dinner Henry made me looks uncannily like dog food, which is apropos I guess. Tastes good though. #
  • 05:56 Was standing still in front of my desk, lost balance and half-fell. Sent a fork catapulting through air. 1 witness. #
  • 06:00 Me: Eleanore, remember when I totally fell? Eleanore: Uh, yeah babe. It was five minutes ago. #
  • 08:36 Shit I hate Tina so bad that it makes me laugh murderously. HAHAHAHAMURDER.#
  • 09:41 were my arms too short to ransom you from leper’s skin and snacks of glue? #

  • 10:52 Henry: what kind of woman are you? You don’t carry Kleenex or have tampons. #
  • 12:47 Henry just explained to me the concept of fire and how it doesn’t get along with clothing. #
  • 14:46 She makes me feel pretty. #
  • 17:43 Saw a dead fish in a pond and henry gently reminded me that animals really do die. Except it wasn’t so gentle. #
  • 20:15 Chooch is now the owner of a neon pink fish named Switchblade. Wagering with Henry on who kills it first: Chooch, the cats, me. #
  • 21:20 Chooch’s head is big enough to use as an ottoman. #
  • 23:36 I think part of my eye just peeled off. #

  • 10:00 I know this comes as a shock, but: 2-year-old + pet fish = what was I thinking? #

Other than that, I spent my weekend chasing my kid through a cemetery, getting all up in Henry’s hair, eating pizza, watching through my fingers as the Penguins lost, being treated to a good grilled cheese lunch by my friend Jess, wishing I was in Ohio, and getting lost in my own ‘hood.

May 232008
 

VI: The After Show

Corey and I couldn’t think of a better way to cap off such an amazing concert than by returning to our luxury motel. Pulling into the lot at 11:30, we were greeted by several shifty denizen who chose to congregate outside their rooms with beer and cigarettes. Corey wanted to get a picture of the Pennant Night Club next door, because it was country night and this amused him to no end, but he made me go with him. It was at this point that I realized I was probably more suspicious than anyone else in that lot, what with the way I stopped dead in my tracks, hunkered over to suppress giggles, to stare at a couple across the lot.

Corey gave me this look that screamed, “What the fuck, are you crazy? You can’t just stop and STARE at the crazy townies having sex around their clothes out front of their room!”

I snapped out of it and followed him to the street.

“This place has wi-fi?” Corey asked in amazement after we reached the front of the motel. “How does a place like this have wi-fi?”

“They probably steal it,” I said, shrugging, and then we both laughed and couldn’t stop because the Giddy Sibling Bug had bit us.

Back inside our room, I called Christina to tell her that the state she was born in sucks. She was really hurt by it, and Corey shouting things like, “New Jersey is gay!” in the background only wrenched the knife further, because she actually is gay. I mean, she has a tattoo of New Jersey on her leg, that’s how proud of it she is.

“Where exactly in New Jersey are you?” she asked. I couldn’t remember the name of the town, other than the fact we got lost and ate at Pat’s Pizzeria in Gloucester, and that we saw a lot of signs for Camden.

“Um, no wonder you hate it. Camden??” That’s when I learned that Camden had replaced Detroit as the most dangerous city in the nation. “You should be OK as long as you’re not in a gang, though,” she reassured.

Meanwhile, Corey was debating whether or not he wanted to take a shower. “I mean, did you see the shower curtain? It has burn holes in it,” he whined. But he finally manned up and conquered the shower stall. He came out of the bathroom a walking cautionary tale.

“I don’t even want to think about all the dirty New Jersey sex that was in that shower before me,” he spat with disgust. “And just so you know, the water smells like fish. Have fun with that in the morning.”

We got comfortable in our respective knife-slashed beds with the local Gloucester channel on TV. Backed with all the best soft rock hits were still-ads for the local cemetery, a middle school talent show, and a list of the honor roll students. It was a sweet surprise when the ads were pre-empted with some small-scale recording of a youth fishing competition. It was awesomely terrible and we couldn’t stop watching.

“This almost makes me want to live here,” I said. Then we laughed.

“I’m so afraid to close my eyes and sleep. This place scares me. Have you ever seen No Vacancy?” Thanks, Corey. Thanks for making that the last thought in my head before I fall asleep.

Around 1:30am, a nearby door slammed. “Oh goodie, our neighbor’s home!” Corey facetiously enthused. Then he got up and put his face up to the peep hole. I was paranoid he was going to get shot, so with the covers pulled up to my chin, I hissed for him to get away from the door.

I woke up in the middle of the night, thinking I heard a car alarm. I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming or not, but I remember thinking I should probably check to see if my car was still in the lot but I was too afraid to go out there. (The window of our room overlooked the back of the property, not the lot.)

The next morning, we gladly turned in our key and Corey snatched a covert picture of the miserable desk clerk who hated us.

VII: Cereality

Aside from seeing the Cure (and eating at Pat’s Pizzeria), the only other thing I refused to leave before doing was getting breakfast at Cereality, located on U Penn’s campus in Philly. I was proud that I finally forwent using Henry as an atlas and tapped into my Blackberry’s resources to find the place, nary a wrong turn. But first, we filled up the gas tank in Gloucester. I tried to get it myself, thinking I could get away with it, but an older Mexican swooped in and grabbed the nozzle off me. Foiled.

As soon as we crossed the threshhold, I was in my happy place. “Rock Me Amadeus” was playing when we got there and Corey, who is in AP Euro and should maybe try acting like it, said, “Huh. We had to listen to this song in my history class.  I think it’s supposed to be about someone historical?”

Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Kiss Them For Me” came on just in time to aid me in tuning out the disgusting trucker-caliber sniffling and snot-suckering taking place behind me. Mmm, yummy — just what I want to hear while I’m trying to decide what I want to EAT. A nice bowl of bubbly snot? A mucous smoothie? There’s not enough froth on my coffee, would you mind blowing your nose in it?

Fucker.

At home, I have a healthy bowl of oatmeal every day, with a hearty handful of flax seed sprinkled in for good measure; so I decided to live large and ordered a bowl (it’s actually served in an over-sized Chinese take-out container) of The Devil Made Me Do It. Basically it was the most disgusting, stomach-turning house-blend on the menu and I was entirely too overwhelmed to come up with my own concoction without at least six months prior planning. Cereal is some serious shit.

One of the people working there was this awesome Goth chick with spiky blond hair and black lipstick. Corey and I simultaneously fanned ourselves.

“She’s like, so cool,” I enthused, and Corey concurred. It doesn’t take much to impress us. Evidently, just some bleach and a faceful of kohl.

After I paid for my container of diabetic shock, I went to the milk counter and, as if to apologize to my body for what I was about to funnel into it, I squirted skim milk onto the cavity-making mound.

Joining me at a small outside table, Corey blurted, “Guess what that Goth girl talked to me!”

“Oh my God, LUCKY! What did she say??” Sadly, I really was jealous.

“She said, ‘Did you pay for that already?'” We squealed over that for a few seconds, and then he added, “And her name is SIMONE!”

My cereal consisted of Cocoa Puffs, Lucky Charms, malt balls, and chocolate syrup. I don’t even like malt balls, but goddamn all cereal should have them. It was the best ever, but after five spoonfuls, my belly tried to reject it. Of course I forced down almost the entire thing and got sick as soon as we hit the turnpike. Corey was smart (and boring) and got something healthy that was made of Life, strawberries and honey or some shit.

While we ate our cereal, “Just Like Heaven” played and we were like, “What the fuck, best breakfast ever.”

Five hours later, we were standing in my living room, blabbering on to Henry about our motel and the people we saw there, Pat’s Pizzeria, all the strip clubs, being lost, not understanding how to get gas.

“I feel like there should be a movie about this: When Well-To-Do Kids are Forced to Fend for Themselves.”

[Part 1][Part 2][Part 3]

May 152008
 

When Henry and I arrived at Club Zoo last night, one of the doormen cracked a big smile and called out, “Hey! How ya doin’, buddy?” in Henry’s face. Henry has no friends, so of course I was a little suspicious. And amazed. I whispered, “How do you know him?” After puffing out his chest a little and grunting, Henry informed me that they became fast friends at the Chiodos show, when he was outside pouting because there was too much gutteral screaming emanating from within. I wonder what they talked about that night? Bandannas? Judas Priest? Sixteen-year-old girls in tight jeans?

The crowd at this show was a little older than what we’re used to, with only a handful of scene kids scattered in the mix. I pointed this out to Henry, hoping he would feel less sore-thumbish, but he countered with the fact that he still had a good twenty years on the majority of the fans. And he was right. And I laughed.

Henry and I hung out upstairs for awhile, pretending to like each other. Then I got upset because he wouldn’t look at me when I was talking to him. Because I’m ugly, that’s why!

Before long, the opening band, the post-hardcore Pelican, took the stage. I was curious to see them live after hearing some of their stuff over the years, and made sure to remind Henry that they don’t sing, so that I wouldn’t have to field his predictable questions once they started. For the next thirty minutes, the venue was blanketed with the intense droning that could easily be mistaken for murder’s soundtrack, or Armageddon’s dinner bell. It was loud, dramatic, powerful and I loved it. It made me feel a lot of hatred in my heart though. Henry complained at one point that they sounded like a slowed-down Black Sabbath, that he felt like he was on downers, that it all sounded the same.

But Henry is also a thousand years old and really lame.

We went down to the floor after their set to prepare for Circa Survive. “When they come on, can we at least go a little closer?” I begged Henry, who doesn’t like bumping bodies with people half his age. (Though that’s how Chooch was made, oh!)

“You’re going to throw me right into the middle of that crowd, aren’t you?” he grumbled, but obligingly followed me a little closer to the stage.

My view was gloriously unobstructed until halfway through the first Circa Survive song. First, a midget meandered over and stopped a few feet in front of me. Then, his tall female friend with a mushroom-shaped head of blond curls planted herself right in front of me. She looked old from the back, like she was his mother. I kept calling her Penelope Ann Miller, even after she turned around and I learned she was really just a teenager. Some other guy who was with them took her place obscuring my line of sight with his ultra-thick neck and proceeded to drink his water like it was a can of beer. I hated him, too. Times like this call for a sickle.

I was able to see enough to know that Anthony Green was definitely fucked up and I desperately wanted whatever it was he was on. It was like he was possessed up there, he was arching his back, undulating, and throwing up his arms; it was almost like watching someone have sex with air. It’s like his body is going to blow up with emotion. I don’t know how you could stand there and witness that, and still walk away not liking Circa Survive. It just scares me, because every time I’ve seen them, Anthony has seemed so wasted and unpredictable (not always in a good way); the first time I saw them, he spent the majority of the time singing from a supine position on the stage. I just worry that something terrible will inevitably happen. (I’m looking at you too, Jonny Craig.)

My throat closed up as soon as those first words left his mouth, my eyes burned with tears, and I thought I was going to die. I guess this is how fanatical God people feel when they’re doing that gospel shit.

They  mostly did material from their latest album, but when they treated us with songs from Juturna, everyone went crazy. They played two of my favorites, “Great Golden Baby” and “In Fear and Faith,” and my heart felt so battered. I used to hole up in the cemetery and listen to that song over and over back in 2005.

I’m sure Henry enjoyed standing behind me through their set. He still doesn’t like them, but at least he doesn’t hate them anymore. (He doesn’t like Anthony’s voice, at all, and he’s not alone. People either love it or hate it. Personally, it’s like a drug to me.)

When they left the stage, I momentarily yearned to kill myself, and then we hung out by the merch table and made fun of people. I caught Henry texting his work boyfriend, Dave, and I was all, “Ooooooh, Henry’s work boyfriend, Dave!” and it made him angry. I kept trying to see what he was texting, but he shrugged me off and took a few steps away. I’m sure whatever it was, it was spelled wrong.

I think Henry was hoping we could bail after Circa Survive, but I was really anticipating Thrice, too. I’ve liked them for a really long time and have managed to miss them every time they come through Pittsburgh. My kid is essentially named after their drummer, for Christ’s sake. I didn’t think Henry would mind Thrice too much, because their new material is on the mellow side, and even their old stuff is less screamo, more rock.

They started off quietly, softly; I’m sure Henry was thinking, “This isn’t too bad. It’s ok,” but then it was like BAM! Bright orange lights flashed on and the band just fucking exploded. It was INCREDIBLE. Their guitarist, Teppei, is one of the most talented and distinctive guitarists ever. They kept a good balance between new and old, mellow and heavy, but the highlights for me was definitely when they pummeled through material from their album The Artist In the Ambulance. That album helped me block out a lot of idiocy when I was working at Weiss Meats.

Toward the end of their set, a young boy ran up to me and very excitedly whispered in my face. He had his hood up over his head and I’m pretty sure he was high. It really freaked me out because:

  • I don’t like it when strangers talk to me
  • What if he had a bomb in his backpack?
  • I felt like he was going to stab me
  • Or OD at my feet
  • I’m pretty sure he was like, 12

Evidently, what he was saying was, “I’m hiding!” because before he had the chance to repeat it a third time, security swooped in and chased him out the door. I have no idea what he did, but I’m glad he didn’t get the chance to involve me further.

The show ended shortly after that potentially dangerous episode. We walked past Henry’s doorman friend on the way out, and he was all, “Hey! Have a good night, buddy!” and Henry smiled all big and goofily and stammered, “You too.” I allowed us to get a few feet out of earshot before I started teasing him.

“Stop it! This is why I don’t have friends, because you get so annoying.”

Feb 252008
 

There’s something you need to know about me: I’m still the fifteen-year-old girl who turns to music when a boy breaks her heart. I’m still the sixteen-year-old girl who locks herself in her room and blares the stereo after fighting with her parents. I’m still the nineteen-year-old who sobs into cherry wine while listening to The Cure. I’m still the seventeen-year-old girl who thinks every emo song was written for her.

I’m the twenty-eight-year-old girl who gets in a fight with Henry and runs off to the cemetery to scream along to the lyrics that your little brothers and sisters are cutting themselves to.

Not too long ago, someone asked, "Aren’t you a little old to be getting excited about this kind of music?" If I ever stop getting excited about it, stop feeling it in my heart, then I’ll know I’m dead. Exactly what kind of music is someone elderly like me supposed to be listening to, anyway? Should I be donning loafers and sitting back with some John Mayer?

Last summer, when Henry and I were going through a rough patch, Chiodos was there to keep me alive. Their music inspired me to paint again and their lyrics inspired me to keep writing when I really wanted to give up. When I missed their set at Warped Tour, I didn’t care that I was essentially the mama amid a churning sea of other surly fans who missed them due to an unusually early start time.

Yesterday was going to be my first time meeting them. For me, it was worth the three hour drive to Columbus. I wanted to thank them for doing what they do, for making music that means so much to me. But by the time we arrived at Magnolia Thunderpussy for the in-store signing, my heart felt weak and my legs were spaghetti. (Marinara sauce, please.) Very few people were there; I anticipated a line full of unwashed hair and star tattoos serpentining out and around the store, but there were only a handful of messy haired kids loitering quietly among the racks of CDs.

I sat outside for awhile. I was thirty minutes early and Chooch was unable to be contained within the tiny record store. Henry let him play in snow while I tried to make idle chatty with two young people who sat on a retaining wall.  I admitted to being freaked out, hoping to bond with the girl of the pair. She laughed, but it wasn’t the encouraging kind. I think she was suspicious that some old broad was trying to make convo. Later, she asked me if I had come by myself, and I took that as her way of including me. She kind of looked like Rachel Bilson. Then I started thinking about The O.C. and realized, "Holy shit, I really am young……Oh well."

Inside the store, I was mindlessly flipping through used CDs when I looked up and saw three of the band members slipping behind the counter. There was no grand announcement or applause — they managed to slink by unnoticed by most of the kids. A short trucker-capped employee with a voice too husky for a girl came out and determined where the start of the line would be. I had the good fortune of being close by, so only fifteen or so people managed to be ahead of me. Henry and Chooch were still at the front of the store; the growing covey of fans made a barricade that he wasn’t trying to attempt to break through.

I turned around and wheezed, "I think I’m going to die!" to the girl behind me. She laughed. I liked her. She had nice glasses and she let me cut in front of her when I got caught up in the mad scurry to get in line. But I wasn’t kidding — my palms were getting sweaty and I was seeing double.

A trio of tiny girls wearing varying shades of grey and black and olive green huddled in front of me, giggling about what they were going to say to the band. One of the girls never removed her oversized black sunglasses from her pale face. Another had braces. The third looked around and disgustedly observed that there were so many scene kids there. "Oh wait, I am one," she added with a laugh. I wanted to punch her. I wanted to punch her and say that I liked Chiodos more. Then I wanted to steal her purse. Not because I liked it all that much, but because maybe it seemed like the right way to end things.

It was my turn way too quickly. I was barely prepared and my hands shook a little (a lot) as I unrolled my poster and slapped it down on the counter. The first person in line was Derrick, the drummer. He gave me a friendly smile and I felt slightly brave enough to speak. I started to tell him that I had come from Pittsburgh, but the girl in front of me had made it to the end of the line and wanted a picture of all of them. He held up his finger to me and moved in close to the rest of the band. But by the time he turned his attention back to me, I had lost my nerve and started to slide my poster down to the guitarist, Jason. I could have told him that I used a magazine clipping of his eyeball for one of the paintings I made last summer. I could have told him that there used to be a bar outside of Pittsburgh called Chiodos and my mom beat the shit out of the Chiodos daughter because of a guy. I could have told him these things but I didn’t because it probably would have come out sounding like something articulated by Corky.

Henry was standing off to my right, behind a wall of posters. I silently hoped that he wouldn’t embarrass me, because if those guys thought I was old….

Henry chose that moment to release Chooch who in turn came running toward me. Derrick shouted, "Aw, look how cute he is!" When Chooch reached me, I used him to my advantage and picked him up so they knew he was with me; it suddenly didn’t matter that I was "too old" to be there or that I couldn’t find meaningful words to say to them.

The band collectively said things like, "He’s adorable!" and "I like your shirt, little man!" Derrick looked at me and said, "You know, we need a mascot…" Everyone laughed and then he gave Chooch a high five. Even the scene kids in line broke down their steeled pretensions long enough to say "Aw."

Henry doesn’t like Chiodos at all. I mean, he wasn’t glaring at them and flashing Crip signs from behind the protective cover of a rack of Ramones t-shirts — he just doesn’t like their music. I thought that maybe after meeting them he would change his mind. Maybe their boyish charm and ruffled hair would inspire him to give their music another change.

"Do you like them now?" I asked, once we left the record store. (I’m kind of like the Verizon Wireless Guy — I re-ask him with every disc rotation.)

"No! They didn’t do anything but stand there." His standards are too high.

Thank you Chooch, for revitalizing some of my maternal courage and giving me another reason to add to the "no" column of "Was Having a Kid a Mistake?"

Then we went back to the hotel where Henry started snoring and I made him sleep in the car.

Sorry for getting all serious. I promise to resume my regular asshole-y writing style in time for the next entry.