Monday, February 10, 2003

Painting Clay

When I was a kid my hero wasn't Bob Dylan or F. Scott Fitzgerald. My hero wasn't feline nor a vampire slayer. Nope my hero was Harry Peter "Bud" Grant. Bud was my hero and not so much for being such a fine and successful coach. Nope Bud was my hero because he didn't believe in the cold. It may have been 30 degrees below zero but Bud wouldn't let his players have heaters on the sidelines. His philosophy was if the players were thinking about staying warm then they weren't concentrating on the task at hand- winning a football game. Don't think about being cold and you won't be.

My devotion to Bud and his philosophy were put to a severe test this past week as I walked from the hard concrete parking lots on Washington Avenue to my job in the Hennepin County Government Center. To say it was brisk doesn't do justice to the frigid temperatures combined with some nasty winds. I was doing my best not to think about it but darn it bud, I was cold. Then my favorite pregnant reporter told me that I should buy some silk long underwear and I gotta admit after she said that I did allow myself to feel the cold and admit maybe Bud wasn't quite the heroic philosopher I gave him credit for being.

At least on my way to work I looked sorta stylish. I was wearing my Floyd R. Turbo hat- the one with furry ear flaps. It isn't so much a hunter's cap like Johnny's Floyd used to wear while giving his editorials on the Tonight Show but it's more an ice fisherman's hat not that I know what that means or what I'm talking about. All I know is that in my hat I must look like quite the sight as the people I pass tend to give me a glance or two. But it keeps the noggin toasty warm and if it makes me fit in even less with the pretty downtown people in their stylish clothes well I don't mind.

I'll be the first to admit (and I often have) that if there was a way to tap the energy from my personal problems we could probably heat a city the size of Pittsburgh. I wouldn't give my troubles to a monkey on a rock but after watching the Michael Jackson interview/documentary on ABC this past week I gotta say that I look down right mentally stable compared to Mr. Michael. Holy crap what is up with him?

Put aside his rather freakish and less than human appearance the fact that the man's hero remains Peter Pan and that he lives in the middle of an amusement park tends to suggest something creepy in itself. That he shares his bed with children that aren't his own and that he makes his own children wear masks in public has gotta raise an eyebrow or two. And that he goes to ritzy stores and drops a million or two a visit suggests this one time child star has achieved his goal of never quite growing up and facing reality.

Last week as I was trying to forget my current woes, drowning my sorrows and having my head blown off at Ike Reilly's show I stood there anonymously in a crowd of youngsters thinking to myself how one constant in my life is feeling a perpetual outsider. So watching Michael I couldn't help but feel a little sympathy and sadness. Given that he never was allowed to be a kid when he was one and now that is all that he wants to be, damn he has made some entertaining music. He loses himself when he dances and sings and who can blame him if his art is his only true link to others?

The vets' office called to tell me that Mr. Max's ashes were ready for me to pick up. Entering the hospital I felt numb (and cold). This now a familiar place- we had been there so many times these past few months but this was the first time I was there without Max. I went to the billing window where they had his remains in a small box. They surprised me by also giving me a piece of clay with the imprints of his paws forever memorialized. As the clerk and I squared off my bill she told me what a special kitty Max was. And I lost it. Crying over kitty and all I have going for me is a non freakish looking Kubo nose.

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