Thursday, March 26, 2009

I am proud to call this man a friend and one swashbuckling faerie. Meet the "Rammer."

Please allow for a brief intermission from our adventure at Disneyland for, by granting it, you also open the door to a purveyor of great magic and a beacon of great light. This man to the left, who we will simply call "The Rammer" represents all that is fine and good in life. Critter and I were drifting lazily though my past which took shape in a pile of disorganized photographs, most of which Critter rightfully chucked aside into the used bin of the banal...graduations, weddings, birthdays, drunken orgies...all the standard crap we pretend we need to go through to come of age. However, not unlike the Ring in Tolkien's magical masterpiece, this photograph somehow edged its way to the top of the pile, its power, its lustre, pushing itself before all others. Gingerly, Critter picked up the picture and set it opposite to his furrowed, bushy brow.
"Who is this?" he asked. "Who is this sailor of life?"
Only the truth would suffice.
"The Rammer."
"But WHO is he??" Critter questioned again, resolute and almost angry. He wanted more than a name, what he was asking for was an answer, a working truth, a design, an equation, something you could work into working for you. Clearly something this man, the Rammer, had achieved himself. Who else could hold such a dashing pose, both relaxed but stern? The definition of "grace at ease."
I felt like Dennis Hopper in Apocolypse Now trying to describe Col. Kurtz to Martin Sheen.
How could I help scratch the surface of this enigma? What could I point to to help uncover and reveal this human grail, who shirtless and wearing tailored short shorts, brings both welcome mirth combined with rain puddle depth to who and whatever he touches.
Ok, that was too many long words to describe a state of mind whose infectious simplicity buzzes around my head like a deranged will-o-wisp.
Ok, this is who he is...
The Rammer:
*A faerie first and foremost. This is a man who looked me dead in the eye and said he'd never been happier except as a green grocer at a supermarket. That was coming from a man who was leading us into the proverbial battle of a large location shoot in San Francisco. I was surprised, scared but mostly impressed at his incredible candor. He then asked me if wanted to go get "fucked up" after the ad agency meeting was over. I love men over forty who still want to "get fucked up."
*He's a nautical man, a swashbuckling skipper of sorts. Not so much the seven seas, but a master of our heartland's lakes, rivers and causeways. There is a certain spirit attached to man drawn by water and Rammer has it. It is the modern day wanderlust.
*He is a lover. plain and simple.
*And honest to god, he loves squash and backgammon. He loves to play and that will never change.
*And most importantly, he is a kind soul and nothing can bring him down. He will walk with the unperturbed grace only children or blind men usually possess but somehow, day in and day out, Rammer found this bright eyed glee within himself and has never let it slip from his fingers.

In the immortal words Mr. Frampton, Erik, "Do you feel like I do?"

For this I salute you brother!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Escape from pass from hell.

Critter and I somehow managed to escape the fracas we created when we (why do I say "we"... Critter did it, I just watched in total wonder) launched that little Vadar guy onto the steep west facing slope of the Matterhorn. For some reason, I thought he might land softly, figuring the Matterhorn to be built out of some top secret soft urethane product Disney developed for his park in conjunction with the Defense Department. Sadly for young Darth however, the Matterhorn is one of Disney's older rides and appears to be made out of good old fashioned drywall and wood. He landed hard, sharply cracking his Kmart Vadar lid. On the bright side, a passing Matterhorn roller coaster car shouted with unexpected glee, thinking they had lucked into some Disney/Lucas co-promotion with little Vadar as a temporary addition to the classic ride.

On a brief side note, Critter and I waited the 45 minutes to take the Matterhorn. The ride itself was thrilling, Critter comparing it to much quicker version of the "High Summer Berry Log Jam" the Bigfoot nation throws up in Oregon when they ride felled redwoods down the river. But for that brief moment when the coaster skirts below that white yeti in the middle of the mountain, I saw a quiet tear well in the thickness of his tranny mascara. I didn't say a word, just let the moment hang there as we both knew we had to get out of this place.

Anyway, we bolted, leaving Futureland for the rugged promise of Frontier land. Critter, now dressed as a well to do if not somewhat eccentric Asian transvestite and I, well, I guess I am the "guy" who takes Asian transvestites to Disneyland. Critter, still feeling slightly ill at ease, asked why people kept staring at him and pulling their children away. I was about to try and explain the concept behind "transvestite" when he added "I don't understand, I look pretty and more importantly, I feel pretty. what is the problem Matt?" I didn't have the heart to sink his battleship so I shrugged it off, claiming the average American does not yet understand exotic beauty.
Pausing for a moment to watch a family of 9 devour turkey legs the size of, well, themselves. They sat quietly, all of them pencil thin except for the Mother, who brought the family back to some sort of median national weight. He mused aloud "They remind me of that group, what were they called, oh ya, the Donner Party." I took a second look at the family and shuddered, realizing that on an evolutionary level, they were a notch away from that Donner group and also that it would probably take a lot less than being trapped in a frozen mountain pass to get them to eat each other. Yikes!

A moment. Please listen. Critter pointed to that log raft that leads to Tom Sawyer island. I nodded and we made away across the circle river to the island. Around us, small kids scampered with glee. Before I could say a word, Critter tore off, running through caves, crossing the crazy suspended bridge, ducking into secret passages with me quick after his heels. We ran and chased each other around the island, laughing like hysterical cockatoos, weaving our way around this artificial wilderness. Other kids joined, following our Asian transvestite disguised Bigfoot leader as he deftly blazed a trail across the island. We laughed, we forgot we were in the depths of Anaheim, we forgot we had parents who watched too much daytime TV, the teachers who scowled with a lifetime of regret, we forgot about the layer of brown air that wrapped itself around every dawn, and we left behind the fear of the neighborhood bullies and an uncertain future. We laughed and shared a moment, a dizzying line of young faces chasing each other around a rock. Critter and I were reminded it can still be beautiful sometimes when everyone forgets what they think they should think.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Critter walks among us, undetected as we make our away across the Faeirie Zoo, Disneyland.

What is this picture you might ask? Who is this bizarre yet oddly arousing exotic white haired woman? Well, hold on to your knickers, that is Critter. That's right. Why does he look like an Asian transvestite starring in a low rent version of A Chorus Line? After two hours of wandering around Disneyland, he could no longer stomach being groped, fondled and photographed anymore. Our ploy worked, no one saw him as anything more than a Disney "castmember" some Orange County suburbanite teen hopped up on Christ and an annoyingly good attitude trying to make a few extra bucks after Football practice. Despite being endowed with the quiet patience of a redwood tree, Critter nearly lost it. One little fellow, who was dressed as Darth Vadar (at Disneyland?? What kind of parents does he have? Shouldn't he be dressed as Peter Pan or one of those dwarves? You know he's like one of those awful kids from Charlie and the Chocolate factory, TV Mike) Anyway, he asked (if you can call it that) if he could sit on Critter's shoulders. In the interest of avoiding trouble, Critter consented. When he finally got up there, the kid joyously screamed "Look mom, I am king of the world!" which nervously amused his parents who felt compelled to begin taking pictures. Then he made a second and very ill advised request of Critter which was simply "Giddyup." Critter is one of the most gentle creatures I have ever met... bred on berries and dandelion wine and the sweet air of evergreen forests, but when young Darth, clad in K-mart plastic black, asked for a Gidddyup, he got one. He was Giddyuped straight into the west face of the Matterhorn. So, once we had all shared a quiet awkward moment, Darth's mom then screamed bloody murder. We ran and resorted to Plan B. Critter became "Leslie Wang" a stewardess on Singapore Air and I became a British Major, Col. Lingus. So far, so good.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Find me a faerie

Skyrockets were in flight and I assure you, there was some afternoon delight. What a day it was. Some friends from up north, stopping over from a cross country trek that included that grandest of canyons, some spring training and an assortment of RV parks, invited Critter and myself to the most Magical of Kingdoms, Disneyland. How could I refuse? Critter was enthralled from the get go as he and his childhood friends had wondered for years how one place had corralled so much magic for so long? Whereas Critter and his kind had avoided the limelight for decades, living in comfortable seclusion deep in the forests of Oregon, here was a place in the midst of vast civilization that boasted witches, dwarves, toys that can talk and dead pirates that tell no tales (although when we actually went to visit these rotting pirates, Critter remarked that they seemed abundantly chatty to him. They wouldn't shut up about the fact that they told no tales, particularly after they died. Not to mention, they loved to sing. Yo hoho ho everywhere. The only people who sing more are all those freaky little kids in "It's a small world after all." Critter asked if there was anyway to free those poor children and I asked him, wold you want them free to roam the world singing that song? He took another quick glance around as as the little Hawaiian hula girls shook their arms and there grass skirts and nervously nodded "no.")
But let's back up a sec.
Before we drove to pick up our friends, we were thinking about what Critter would need to wear to conceal his identity. We were first thinking of being a big sunburned German tourist or maybe some Russian gangster when it occurred to both of us that we were traveling to the most faerie populated place on earth. How could one lone Bigfoot make a ripple? We decided that Critter would go "au naturale." Wearing nothing but a set of old Mickey ears that I was using as a coin jar, Critter and our three other companions set out for Disneyland.
It was Critter's first time in a RV and he was fascinated by the fold out bed. However, driving on the 10 past downtown LA to the 60, we were are lulled into a pensive quiet as massive grey ocean lie sprawl of LA surrounded our tiny craft, our Winnebago bobbing in this metal sea, suffocating out the sprite in our spirits. Resolute, our captain pushed the pedal harder to the floor and we set sail faster for a dream that someone else dreamt up for us.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Me and Critter down by the schoolyard.

Critter is a Bigfoot and Critter is my friend. He hates this picture of himself but he said for whatever bizarre reason, that nearly all the pictures we have of him or any of his many friends all look the same. Traditionally, we believe we have one photograph of ONE Bigfoot when in reality, they are photographs of hundreds of different Sasquatch that simply appear to be the same to our untrained human eye. To my friend Critter, each photograph and each Bigfoot is hugely different. Critter looked me in the eye and said "It would be like if someone took a photograph of you and put it next to Yao Ming's or Gary Coleman's and said they were identical." I then asked him why all the photos were taken near the same dry creek bed. He laughed and said "Well, a lot of us live pretty close by and we thought it would be pretty funny to fuck with all your heads. Also, if the shit ever hits the fan, we thought it might be convenient if you thought there was only one of us out there." I took his point and resolved to not let my myopic naivety push me toward any Yeti generalizations.
Anyway, we have been having a ball ever since we met on the way to the beach. I was going for my morning jog when I saw this Bigfoot stretching near the public restrooms near State Beach. I asked him what he was doing at the beach and he said that he'd somehow gotten lost after a pretty "big night partying" up near Eugene, Oregon and found himself in Santa Monica. As far as the stretching, he simply said he'd never jogged in the soft sand and wanted to make sure he hadn't strained anything.
So that is how we met. He offered me some berries he'd found up above PCH which I respectfully accepted. He then asked me if I would show him around town bit, thinking he might as well soak up a few of the sights before heading north. He really wants to hit Universal Studios ("I will really scare the snot out of some kids") and check out some yoga.
I agreed and am writing this while he naps on my leather sofa in the other room. Surprisingly, he does not snore nor does he smell in the least bit. He is quite clean and fancies himself some sort of modern day dandy. Whoa, he is stirring, more to come later.