20 February 2009

A Friendly Interrogation, cIII Style - Part Deux

So as I was saying yesterday, I got a wild hare up my posterior and deliberately won the opportunity to be “questioned” by cIII over at The Goat and Tater. So despite my best efforts at escape and evasion, Goat and Tater Man caught up to me. Ambushed me on my own turf, can you believe it? Shit. Well, the questions were good, so it’s cool. This is Part Deux of that epic interview:

RFI #003. Every child has that Moment of terror that brands our brain forever and ever. Care to share yours with the Group? If not, I can dig it. Pennywise the Clown freaked me out as well.

I get it. HehHeh, yeah, I see what you’re trying to do. You a sly one, you is. Under the guise of Deep Analysis to “give insight” into my Character (or lack thereof), what is actually going on here is a method to expose my weaknesses.

Ha. Try harder.

But in the interests of full disclosure, I did some navel-gazing, a little Self-Reflection into the murky past that is my childhood. The net result was that I did, indeed, stumble upon something dark and dangerous swimming around in that swamp. A bone-chilling, butt-puckering ice-cold glass of unsweetened Terror that I, still to this very day, have trouble swallowing in one gulp.

It has to do with not breathing. As in, feeling like my lungs were not going to work.

I was about 6 or 7 I think. I was sick. Sick with a capital ‘effin S. Fever like I had swallowed a goddamn blast furnace. Sweats, chills, shaking as the leaves on the big poplar tree in old Mrs. Calhoun’s yard next door. It was very early in the morning, probably 1 or 2 o’clock. I am sitting in a chair in the living room coughing and trying not to cough because it hurt so fucking much. The pain was making me wheeze so hard I felt like I couldn’t get enough oxygen.

When you are a little kid, that sick, in the dark, and you feel like you can’t breathe, the Fear settles in hard. It coils itself around you like the fat loops of a python, blood warm and greeny-black. My friend, at that point I was the unlucky peccary that slipped and fell to the jungle floor to be snapped up by that evil python. He encased me in a steel spring wrapped in leather, and squeezed. I was suffering a full blown case of the Yammering Fantods, because I thought I might not live. It was one of the worst nights of my young life.

There is an angel in this cloud of Fear. Someone who rummaged around in the Weeds engulfing me and pulled me up on my feet. That angel would be my Moms. She sat in that chair with me for hours, hugged me while I coughed and cried and gasped. She had a deft hand with the washcloth to keep me cool. Somewhere in that swamp of anxiety she convinced me I was going to be okay and managed to get me back to sleep. Mom: Antidote To Fear, Cosmic Weedkiller. I love my Moms.

RFI #004. Anchovies on that Pizza?

Well, shit. A food question. About one of the most reviled Pizza Toppings in the History of the Known Universe. Smelly, salty fish. Who the fuck wants to eat smelly, salty fish? When I was a Gumbo lad, I was possessed of a certain unsophistication in matters culinary. Pepperoni was the topping supremo, and even adding green peppers to a pizza was to announce an Intention to dance on the edge of the cliff. Anchovies, then, were akin to marching into Torquemada’s office and loudly declaring that the Earth revolved around the Sun: evocative of a strongly held conviction, but guaranteed to get one into Deep Trouble.
Anchovies were the province of weirdos and heretics and were not something I felt I had the wherewithal to defend. It wasn’t until years later that the pagans began whispering in my ears of the seductions I was missing, the opportunities lost to expand my mind and enlighten my palate. The nymphs spoke softly to me, leading me to small tomes of condensed Knowledge regarding dark secrets. Knowledge of the very underpinnings of human Ingenuity meeting Desire meeting Resources. I learned of the Ancients and their salted barrels of fish consumed by the hundredweight in the mouths of sailors, centurions, and peasants. I was initiated into the mysteries of garum colatura and nuoc mam: pungent liquids created by cultures separated by different languages and thousands of miles, creating useful sustenance from that which Grosses You Out. I even read of customs in some countries to grill anchovies and eat them like one would eat corn on the cob. Pick them up and gnaw your way across the fish. Encouraged by my researches, and emboldened by a dosage or two of Barley pop, I finally sampled anchovies on my pizza. The results, I am happy to say, were Enlightening. I found myself in the company of that Spanish fisherman, that Roman peasant, that Vietnamese cook creating a mouthful of goodness: pungent, salty, powerful and oh so satisfying. Just like life itself.
Anchovies on my pizza? Hells to the yeah. I like the company they keep.

RFI #005...and E. Best Childhood present ever. Mine? A black and Canary yellow Huffy Pro Thunder. It had these Bad ass yellow Mag Wheels that were cast with molten Lead I believe. No shit. The thing weighed like 60 pounds. *sigh*

A Red Ryder carbine-action air rifle.

No, I’m kidding, I never got one of those. They kept telling me I’d shoot my eye out. Come to think of it, I did nearly get my eye shot out. But that’s a story for another time.

This was a bit of a stumper. As much as I dredged the silt at the bottom of my Memory Harbor, I just could not recall many of the presents of my childhood, which made me maudlin, and a tad weepy. But then a snippet of Song, fleeting on the ear, brought me back in a rush to my bedroom, and me on the floor in my roughly ten-year old awkwardness. It was a Record Player, small, cheap and mine.

I say record player, because it played honest-to-god 45’s and 33-1/3’s (yes, kids, actual vinyl) and it was NOT a stereo. Or “Hi-Fi” as the unhip (read: parents) might have called it then. It had a hinged top with a latch, but was not the infamous “Close-N-Play” that all the ‘cool’ kiddies had. It was simply a rotating platform with the needle mounted on the swing arm, and the thin metal pylon in the center. It was awesome.

It was awesome because we, my Big Bro and I, didn’t use it to play records so much as abuse them. Because, really, you give two boys a machine that makes noises they can manipulate, and you can bet manipulation is exactly is what will happen. You know, playing 45’s at 33-1/3, or vice versa. Putting the record on and manually spinning the disk really fast. Or backwards. Think of us as the white boy, sorta-redneck Jam-Master Jay or the Bomb Squad of Simonsdale. Heh.

We had a bizarre collection of singles to mangle, which included such gems as “Chinese Twist” by The Popcorns (hey, remember them?), two different versions of the theme from the old “Batman” show on TV, and “Chicken Crazy” by Joe Tex. Testimony, out there, brothers and sisters! On a slow Saturday afternoon, there is nothing more hilarious than listening to “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” at 3 times the speed at which it was meant to be played.

“Aural assaults aside, Gumbo, but what really makes this so great?” sez Goat and Tater Man.

I daresay that record player was the main seed for my Love o’ the Tunes to this very day. Togetherness, man. Creation. Funny shit that me and my Big Bro could laugh at for hours. And all I have to do is look at my brother and say something like “Chicken wings, chicken necks, chicken thighs….They gone chicken crazy!” and both of us lose our shit in a fit of laughter. No replacement for something like that, no way. That’s why that record player was so awesome.

Herewith concludes the interrogation, er, interview. cIII chuckles and comes around to unlock the cuff from the chair. I resist the urge to take a swing at him. After all, someone’s gotta pay for the whiskey, and I reckon the first round is on him. Heh. No one chains me up without at least buying me a drink.

Okay, everybody, stand up and stretch! HOOO-AAHH! I apologize for the two-parter format. It was brought on by a fit of laziness combined with wordiness, running headlong into the goat rodeo of getting my Wee Lass bathed and prepped for bed. In accordance with the spirit of the thing, the honor of the interview also carries with it a certain responsibility, a Passing Of The Torch as it were. Who’s next?
If for some reason, someone would like to be interviewed by me, The Big Giant Head, I will gladly lay some 5 questions on the 14th non-consecutively posted commenter on this, the second part of my interview. Heehee, All that means is that you can post as many as you like, but comments before and after the 14th slot cannot be by the same person. In the event that happens, you will be disqualified and subjected to the scorn and laughter of your blogmates. Or maybe not. The rules are flexible. Loopholes, man, it’s all about the loopholes.


  1. Nuoc mam I can handle (I luuuuuuuuurve me some Vietnamese and Thai food), but smelly, salty fish on a dish I could live without is still gross.

    My uncle - my co-conspirator in the Blowing Up My Grandparent's Back Door Affair - had a silent 8-mm projector and a collection of old black-and-white Mighty Mouse cartoons. I am here to tell you that there is nothing funnier to a couple of pre-teens than watching old black-and-white Mighty Mouse cartoons backwards on the living room wall.

  2. I love my first Record Player because it was the only thing I could use in my room that lacked sockets.
    Yep, I listened to gramophone, that was activated by turning a lever. Good ol' days!

  3. First I wanna say, I kicked Vodka Mom's ass all over the blogosphere tonight ::)
    And secondly, Irish my man, you write up some kinda storm....

  4. Ummmmm......I guess a simple, yes, I like anchovies wouldn't do for you, now would it?

    That part was my favorite. I love the way your mind thinks.

  5. Hm, anchovies. The bait of the fish industry..Love em or lynch em? What, not Kosher? So I can't try them? (Whew!)

  6. I spent hours upon hours in our living room as a kid with my parents old records and record player.. *sigh* Good memories there... and lots of hippie music. ;)

  7. I'm pretty sure I have no idea how to even begin understanding your rules, but that may or may not have to do with a) being knocked up, or b) being not-yet-caffeinated, or c) both.

    And anchovies? Glorious little bits of salted fishy goodness. I'm convinced it's anchovies that have elevated Vietnamese cuisine so far above any other Asian fare. Mama loves her some anchovies.

  8. Never had anchovies on a pizza...that just sounds very nasty!!!
    Although, when I was a child...I loved eating sardines on saltine crackers with my dad...And would eat pickled pigs feet with my mom...EWW!!

    Not now...I'm a bit more sophisticated in my eating selection now...Like, fried calamari or an occasional fried catfish(I really hate the stuff but do eat it!haha)

  9. I had a record player and played the 45 of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road at the wrong speed all the time. It was so much fun.

    Pennywise the Clown still scares the heck out of me.

    Don't understand the rules to your interview offer, but I wouldn't mind playing along. :-)

    Happy Friday!

  10. Freakin' Firefox! Or freakin' google? One of the two. My blooger account is under my yahoo address but I used to have a blog named Bridgeburners under my google one. Now when I have google and blogger opened at the same time google logs me off and the old blog comes through.

  11. I love when I discover that after leaving a hundred comments. I hate it when shit doesn't work.

  12. And I haven't done this kinda thing in awhile where you leave like a dozen comments to get to the number you want,

  13. So... Captain is breaking the rules then?? what does that mean??

  14. OMG! Did the same thing with the records. The freakiest thing was listening to The Chipmunks at the slowest speed ( was it 16? ) and finding that they sounded normal.

    I enjoyed every word of this post and can totally relate to the family bonding "inside jokes" kind of thing.

    Peace - Rene

  15. Shit. Ok, I skipped the rules bit, but now I have a great idea for a post.

  16. My childhood nightmares were full of one of those hand-push lawn mowers with blades arranged in a cylinder, inexorably chomping the grass and all before it. I was before it! And my task was to keep running ...

  17. wow . . . that was a long one, but fun nonetheless. :-0

    for the record ANCHOVIES RULE!

    gotta tell ya Gumbo, i run around quite bit from the edges of the Blogoshere to the mundane center where i reside.

    there are three or four blogs that i follow rather faithfully and yours is one of them.

    {i won't mention the others, 'cause they already know who they are and this comment is about yours. oh, okay Barry, Braja, Kilter and a couple more. so there.}

    Irish Gumbo at its worst is extremely enjoyable.

    where in the world does all this creativity come from? :-/

    i luvitt.

    keep on bloggin' brother. ;-)


  18. Oh man! I remember my first record player. It was blue and had what I was amazed to learn was a "sapphire needle." I told evertyone. I played my 45s and 33s all the time, from The Bugs (I didn't remember if it was the Bugs or the Beatles and went with the former . . .) to Lesley Gore to the Shangrilas to Annette Funicello. Oh yeah. Good times, IG. Good times.

  19. Oh yeah, I forgot to say "listening to “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” at 3 times the speed at which it was meant to be played" made me LOL for real....that shit is hilarious.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...