Halloween in Da “Wood”

October 28, 2008

I love Halloween.

Other than my birthday it’s one of my favorite holidays.

If your birthday is in October, more likely than not if you have a party it’s going to be a combo birthday/Halloween party. How cool is that? October is the one month out of the year when I’m not the only one putting on a costume for the party. Bring on the “Naughty Nurse” or “Slutty School Girl” outfits, mommies. It’s great when the mommies at parties get dressed up and try to prove to other mommies that they are a “MILF.”

Unfortunately, this is not true for all mommies.

I had a one-hour clown in Inglewood, i.e., “the Wood,” for a child’s birthday/Halloween party. I showed up and none of the adults were dressed up, unless you count having major attitude as a costume.

I did my usually thing and played with the kids. Halfway through the party the mom came stomping up to me and looked pissed off.

“You better do face paint. I paid for face paint, I’m gonna’ git face paint, god damn-it!” All this was said while she waved her fat finger around in my face.

“Ok. I can do that.” It’s the least I could do since you asked so nicely.

So I painted faces, god damn-it.

Once I was done I started to put my paints away when the mom came over and plopped herself down in the chair in front of me.

“You ain’t done yet, clown!” She exclaimed as she put her fat finger back to work and pointed to her face.

“What would you like me to paint on your face?” I asked as nicely as I could because that’s my way.

“I WANT you to put a fucking red heart on my left check. And don’t make it look all stupid and stuff. It better be fucking cute or I ain’t payin’ yo’ ass. You got that, clown?”

“One very cute, red heart coming up.” You stupid bitch.

“And once yo’ done wid dat, I WANT you to paint my baby daddy’s name on my arm. Right here, clown. Do yo’ hear me?” And she stuck out her tremendously huge arm. If she had asked me to write the Declaration of Independence on her arm I could have, her arm was that big. And yet her arm was dwarfed by her ginormous attitude.

“I can do that.” I should’ve gotten an academy award for my performance that day as, “The Patient Clown.”

“Yo’ betta’ not fuck it up either. Or I ain’t payin’ yo’. Yo’ got that, clown?”

Someone took her “I’m a bitch” pill today.

The baby daddy came over to watch me immortalize his name on his baby momma’s arm. Lucky guy.

“Hey, clown. Do you know how to do anything with helium balloons?”

“No.”

He didn’t need to know that I once worked at a balloon store and could make balloon sculptures that would blow his mind. If they had been nicer to me I would’ve most likely done something small, yet impressive.

I’m a pushover that way.

Too bad his baby momma was such a bitch to me. I feel sorry for the guy.

Note to self: Don’t knock up a crazy bitch.

I AM a Purple Dino Type


LOVE VS. SMOKING

September 19, 2008

“What’s your name?”

“My name’s Kimberly, Santa.”

“That’s a beautiful name Kimberly. How old are you?”

“I’m eight.”

“If you just ate then you’re not hungry.”

Kimberly laughed, “NO! I’m eight years old.”

“Sorry about that, Santa must have snow in his ears. Do you know what you want for Christmas, Kimberly?”

“I want my dad to stop smoking. If he dies, I won’t feel bad ‘cause I’ve asked him a thousand times to stop and he won’t. He must love smoking more than he loves me.”

Yeah… What do you say to that? I was not expecting that at all. A hush had fallen over the room. I could see all the adults’ faces frozen in shock. I’m sure my face was also frozen in a state of shock, but it couldn’t be seen because it was covered in a fake beard and sweat. I composed myself and did what every adult in that room wanted to do. Change the subject.

“Do you like Furby’s, Kimberly?”

“Yup.”

“That’s good. I do, too. Maybe you’ll get one for Christmas this year since you’ve been so good. I think I have a gift here for you.” I quickly grabbed the gift for Kimberly from the adolescent helper assigned to me by our hostess. “Merry Christmas, Kimberly. Ok, who’s next? Is there anyone else left?”

Now I know what you’re thinking: Why a Christmas story in the middle of September?
Well, Kimberly’s words have been reverberating in my brain and in my thoughts frequently as of late. My mother is a smoker and last week it finally caught up with her. She had a heart attack.

Am I sad?

Yes.

Am I shocked?

No.

I’ve always told my wife that I knew that this day would come. I was never sure who it was going to “attack” first, my Mom or my Dad. You’re never really ready for it, even when you know that it’s inevitable. No one ever wants to be reminded that his mother is mortal and will not be around forever.

Every time I tried to sit and write for my blog (or write anything for that matter) my thoughts always go back to my mother. Finally, after many hours suffering staring at a blank page my wife said, “Just write about what’s on your mind.” So I am.

It has been many years since I heard Kimberly’s sad insight, but I can hear her voice as clear as if she just spoke to me. She was so brutally honest. I, too, had begged my parents to stop smoking when I was younger. Now that I’m older I have a better understanding of why it’s so hard to give it up. But I know that it is possible to quit. My mom’s mom, who everyone referred to as Nana, used to smoke. I once asked her how she was able to stop.

“I had a heart attack. The doctor said that if I didn’t quit I would have another one and eventually die. I came home, threw away all my smokes and have never touched one since. It was easy.”

My Nana was a very “tell it like it is” gal. She had her heart attack when she was around 70 years old and lived to be 90. She had 20 extra years with us, and I know that we all benefited and are thankful for her strength. My mom is a virtual carbon copy of her mom. I pray that she continues to be, and follows the lead laid down by her mother.

I’ve had a lot of friends offer up personal stories of hope of someone close to them having to go cold turkey and succeeding. “My dad quit 10 years ago and we just celebrated his 70th birthday.”

I’ve also had friends tell me stories with a not-so-happy ending. “Your mom got really lucky and has been given a second chance. My dad had one; it was his first and last.”

My mom works in a hospital and I believe that is what saved her life. My parents live so far out in the “boonies” that you have to drive 20 minutes before you reach the “Middle of Nowhere” just south of “Where the Hell Are We?” If she had been home when it happened who knows how things would’ve played out. The hospital that she works at is so small that she had to be airlifted via helicopter to Dartmouth Medical Center in Hanover New Hampshire. I thought that was pretty cool. Mom, not so much. I guess a helicopter ride is different just after you’ve had a heart attack and are in need of emergency angioplasty?

I thought long and hard about going back to visit her. Money’s tight, my wife’s seven months pregnant and there is a lot of work to be done (and on the cheap, to boot). Hell, when I asked my Mom about visiting she said, “Why? I’m fine.”

But, as my wife put it, “Are you going to remember our credit card bill or that you spent time with your mom?”

My plane ticket is booked and my writer’s block has been lifted. To my readers, thanks for being patient in these, my emotionally trying, times. I love New Hampshire in the fall.

I AM a Purple Dino Type… Now go hug a mom and tell her how much you love her!


“Steven Spielberg and Cindy Crawford Know How To Do It Right”

July 12, 2008

“Don’t step in the elephant poop, Barney.”

I looked down to see a big steaming pile of shit right at my feet. “Thanks for the heads up.”

“Can you believe all THIS for a two year old’s birthday? Must be nice to have money.”

Judging by my surroundings I would have to agree that “Yes, it must be nice to have money.” Too bad it can’t buy common sense. At this particular party it wasn’t the elephant rides that seemed the most odd to me, it was what was next to the ten-foot tall beverage fountain placed inside a temperature-controlled tent: A life-size ice sculpture of the parents holding the birthday child. It was more creepy than impressive.

I’ve seen more people piss away boatloads of money throwing birthday parties for one and two year olds than the government spends on “defense” in a year. I mean really, come on people. I realize that out here in L.A. everything is a competition, and kids parties are no exception. L.A. has a gross abundance of peeps that make more money in a month than some countries make in a year. And if they don’t, they try to make it look like they do.

“Can you believe their last movie only made 75 million? Ours always make at least 150. And that’s not including international grosses.”

People of all tax brackets are catty. It’s just that us common folks’ incomes aren’t splattered across every rag mag for all to see.

Then these people feel the need to throw their kids a birthday party that rivals that of any state fair. I hate to break it to you folks, but your kid is never going to remember a single moment of the event. Let’s be honest with ourselves rich folks – and you know who you are – the party is really for you, so that you can show all your “friends” (and I use the term very lightly) the size of your dick… Oops! I mean the size of your bank account.

If you’re going to blow that kind of cash at least wait until the kid is old enough to remember it. (I would say “appreciate,” but very few kids nowadays appreciate anything. There are some that do, but they’re a rare breed and if you yourself have an appreciative kid, commend yourself as a parent on a job well done.) I was at a party once where the dad hired the gymnast from the U.S.A. Olympic Gymnast Team to come and perform. His son was turning eight years old and could at least enjoy and remember the party. So that was money extravagantly well spent.

I know it’s your right to spend your money how you want. It’s also my right to bitch about it. After one of these parties I would sit at home eating my watered down tomato soup and think “How the fuck are you people good at business?” Wasting that much money on a child’s party does not sound like very good business to me, unless of course you can write it off as an entertaining expense for business relations? Hmmm?

Thankfully, I have come across some publicly wealthy people that kept it simple for their kids’ first and second birthdays. Two people whose parenting skills I was truly impressed with were Steven Speilberg and Cindy Crawford.

For one of Steven Speilberg and Kate Capshaw’s daughter’s second birthday, he (and by “he” I mean one of his many assistants) hired me and a few others to be the four Teletubbies – oh, sorry, the four Alien Babies. We danced and sang songs while some of the kids watched and a few joined in. Nice and simple. I did get the opportunity on my break to discuss with Steven the intricacies and fascination that kids have with the Alien Babies.

“Why do you think that the kids love the teletubbies so much?”
“Well Steven, I have a few theories on that subject.”

I, of course, went home that night and updated my acting resume since I had discussed my acting strategies for my character with Steven. Plus, he was running his home video camera so technically, I was directed by him.
Purple Alien Baby with purse played by Jason Lassen – Steven Speilberg director.

Similar to the Spielberg’s, Cindy Crawford wanted to keep her son’s first birthday party simple and basic. Just how a first birthday party should be. Cindy had a small list of things that she wanted the performer to do: sing, dance, bubbles, puppets, parachute games, and Ring Around the Rosie. She was also nervous about having someone show up in a costume, but was willing to take the chance that her son would like Elmo, aka Red Monster, in person as much as he does on TV. Cindy requested that the performer be gentle, and more importantly, be able to do the Red Monster voice; two requirements that made me the man for the job.

Cindy was the best. She played all the games with us and insisted that “Red Monster” take a break halfway into the party. When I was in the kitchen taking my break she came in to visit me.

“You’re doing great. The kids are having so much fun, and my son’s not even scared of you. Take as long as you need before you come back out.”

And yes, she’s more beautiful in person than on TV or in any magazine, both inside and out.

It’s nice to see that some of the wealthiest people here in L.A. know how to keep things real. Small child equals small party. If I were rich would I throw my kids a humongous grossly overpriced and unrealistic birthday party? You bet your ass I would! But not until they were turning four or five, and might have a shot at remembering a thing or two about their party.

My final words of advice to parents of soon-to-be one or two-year-olds: Keep it simple. Family and close friends are all you need; there will be plenty of time to spend lots of money on your kids and their birthday parties. So save your money while you can, the bigger the kid, the bigger and more expensive the toys get.

“I AM a Purple Dino Type”