It was great sadness, Saturday, that I read about the death of standup comic Robert Schimmel.
Schimmel wasn’t the most well-known of comics but that in no way diminishes his talent. I first saw him on one of Rodney Dangerfield’s young comedian specials back in the 80s. This was his set from that initial encounter. (Note, this is most definitely NOT safe for work or children. The language and verbal imagery is “industrial strength.”)
Later, he had his own HBO special (probably more but I only saw one). That special featured one of my favorite bits by any comedian, ever. It kicks in at about the 4-minute mark, when he starts talking about jalapenos.
If you don’t have time to play these videos, let me suggest that you at least start this second one, then press pause to let it load. Continue reading the post here, then come back and forward to the 3:48 mark. But really, if you have 15 minutes and some privacy, this is a chance to laugh your head off and appreciate a true comic talent. Suffice to say, you will never think of Popsicles the same way, ever again.
Award of the Worlds
For some reason beyond my grasp, I’ve ended up with another nod of appreciation in the form of this award, from the Pride of Wisconsin, Christy, and her blog “I’m Just Sayin’”.
Many thanks to Christy, who in addition to writing a clever and interesting blog, helps her fellow bloggers immensely by hosting various blog hops, trains and other means of gaining followers.
As usual, these awards come with instructions. For a change, I’m actually going to follow the rules.
The first rule is to thank the awarder. Check.
The second is to pass on the award to 4 other bloggers. This is the part I usually beg out of because I don’t like the “Sophie’s Choice” nature of having to pick from so many talented friends. But this time, I decided to comply, although in keeping with my customary rule breaking, I’m increasing the number to 5.
First, I’m giving the award to 3 of my longest-tenured blog friends and new Real Life Friends, Cher and Rich at Ask Cherlock, Cassie and Carly at Sisters From Different Misters, and the Carpetbagger at Carpetbaggery. You’ve all been in my corner from the beginning, but more than that, you write damned fine blogs. Ask Cherlock is the gold standard for civil political and issue-oriented discussion. The Sisters write a wickedly funny and interesting blog about their crazy lives and families, and Carpetbaggery is a stellar full-service blog about anything and everything, from high brow political issues to the “How to be a Man” classes for sale in his home town. You guys are the best and I’m honored to know you.
Now to break out of The Burgh, I have some winners from a whole ‘nother world. I hereby send this award to Kelly at The Bachelor Girl (soon to be Mrs. Bachelor Girl) and Jessica R at Leelafish. Both are from Shreveport LA and bristle when you call them Cajuns. And they do NOT, in fact, have to travel the state by fan-boat, like I initially thought. Both, however, write wildly entertaining blogs about anything and everything, from their family life to life in general. And Jessica shares my birthday, which will be coming up in less than a month. I’m sure we’ll keep you informed.
I also had a mind to give the award to two other outstanding blogs, Woman:Confused and Jennifer Juniper. Both totally deserve it but upon further review, have already obtained this very same award elsewhere. Plus, Woman:Confused is probably too busy worrying about the margin of victory by her LSU Tigers last night to even notice personal accolades.
In looking at where this award has gone previously, I’ve found that the third rule varies. But I’m going to use the rules as set down by the one who gave it to me. This third rule is that I have to answer the question, “If you could go back and change something about your life, what would it be?”
If you think about it, that’s a really tricky question, because everything you’ve done leads you to where you are today. For example, as a college student, I might have chosen not to leave a low-paying and permanent job for the promise of a job that would pay me more over for a summer and then be done. But if I hadn’t been unemployed at a particular time, I wouldn’t have applied for that record store job that gave me a 12-year career and allowed me to meet scores of famous (and not so famous) musicians.
In 2004, solely for my own amusement, I wrote a series of essays exploring this very point… What would I do differently if I had another go? My name for the series was “The Wayback Machine”. It proved to be a very engaging exercise, and today it proves useful, as I will select one of these as my do-over story.
The Wayback Machine, Part 2
When I was in 9th grade, I had a total crush on Tina, a girl in my English class. This was the first class after lunch period, so I’d always try to hurry back in hopes that she’d be back soon too and we could hang out for 10 or 15 minutes before class started. I’d always have the kind of gum she liked in my pocket, so I could give her some. Hell, I pretty much spent my whole allowance on grape flavored Bazooka Sugarless Gum, just so I could give some to Tina every day. Now that in itself wouldn’t be that much, but others in the class caught on that I always had gum and could not say no to anyone asking for some. I don’t know how many packs I went through in a week.
Tina was kind of a tomboy from the “wrong side of the tracks”…always wore jeans, and an army jacket. She had straight blonde hair and teardrop glasses. But she always talked to me and we were definitely friends. What I most remember about her is that she had a great butt… so round and firm and fully packed… but I digress…
She actually typed a book for me… OK, it was a class project. We each wrote a story, and then had it bound into a kind of hardbound book cover. Anyway, she was taking typing class and agreed to type my story for me. I was so hoping she’d be entertained by the story, but she maintained that if she was typing, she couldn’t actually read what the story was about. (Right.) Anyway, it was something that she didn’t have to do and I was so grateful that she did. (Remember, these were pre-PC times. This was typing on a manual typewriter, with manual alignment, spacing and error correction.)
As our freshman year drew to a close, I was given the news that we were to be moving from Columbus to Toledo after the school year, so my spring was kind of a lame duck season. At the end of the year, our class had a big roller skating party at USA, United Skates of America. Tina and I spent most of the day together, skating around, playing arcade games, etc. All I could think of was that I wanted to ask her to do the Moonlight Skate with me. (Translation: skating around holding hands, or with arms around one another, to the tune of a current love song or power ballad) Anyway, I was absolutely determined that I was going to ask her…after all, what did I have to lose? If she said no, hell, I’m out of town for good. I was just waiting for them to call the Moonlight Skate.
So there we are, playing air hockey together and fuckin’ Jim H comes up to her.
“Hey, when they do the Moonlight Skate, will you skate with me?”
She said yes.
I’m surprised they couldn’t hear the sound of my heart plopping on the floor.
Can you do that? Asking in advance? Shit, I’da done that…. FUCK! All my plans were ruined. I couldn’t believe she said yes…we’d spent all afternoon together. Not to mention the guy was a total douchebag.
So that was it. When the time came, they skated, and I sat on the side watching them. Then the session was over, we said goodbye and I went home.
OK, duh, I ask first. We skate and I’m emboldened to give her a hug or kiss upon my most unjust departure to parts unknown.
It’s not like anything could have really happened, but it certainly would have left me with a little more self-confidence. The real coup would have been if I could have mustered up enough courage to try something during the entire preceding school year.
Or maybe just to tell those other gum-hungry pricks to fuck off.