Friday, March 20, 2009

Lockin' and Poppin' with Tom

I used to have a boss who wouldn’t let me go to important meetings unless I wore her clothes.  She really believed that image is everything, and I can remember her mantra, “You don’t wear Prada for the people who don’t get Prada.”  Have you ever seen Prada?  Really.  I don’t get it.

When Tom and I met, he was looking for someone who gets his jokes.  I can always be trusted to crack up over the stuff he says.  He doesn’t wear his sense of humor wrapped around him like a fox stole, the kind with the little dried up paws and empty eye sockets.  You have to listen for it, and not everyone is going to get it. I don’t think he says funny things for the people who don’t get him.  Actually, I don't think he gets Prada either, so this is working out pretty well.

There have been many times where his ability to fire off a solid half hour round of hysterical one liners has changed the way the earth rotates on its axis for me. When things get really bad, that’s when he’s the funniest.  I try to think what it would be like to have both my arms and both my legs severed in a farm accident. The depth and breadth of material this kind of tragedy would draw out of him is unfathomable. I shall fear no evil, because it’s going to be frickin’ funny. 

Maybe you had to be there, but the other night, we were strolling along a downtown waterfront, called Southbank.  It was beautiful out (as always here), we were eating gelato cones and basking in the warm afterglow of breaking even at the casino. There were street performers every fifty yards or so…a scraggly guy playing upside-down 5-gallon bucket drums, a classical Spanish guitar playing dude and then, I donno, this weird set of two kids.

One looked like the older brother, about 14. This isn't him, but you get the idea. He was sitting on a pretty hefty piece of music amplifying equipment that I picture being painstakingly dragged down to the river with them for these gigs. Like a woofer or something, is that what you call it?  

His baseball cap was turned backwards and it appeared as though he’s spent about the last 18 months doing nothing but practicing looking apathetic to the world. Such a thin veneer, so easy to see through. I think he was actually quite proud of what I assumed to be his little brother, who looked to be about 5 or 6.  

Now this littler kid was moving around in the middle of the sidewalk, creating a traffic flow issue. There were at least 30 other strollers halted and watching him. Again with the backwards baseball cap (I hate that…makes me sound like a grandfather in my own head, “You’re life is going the way the brim of your cap is, Sonny!”).  But he’s adorable. Like a Pixar cartoon, all the quintessential, embellished features of kid cuteness…big eyes, blond, baggy pants . 

The music coming out of big bro’s amp is some kind of cheeseball hip-hop and the little bro is doing what appears to be The Robot.  This is a dance from the eighties where you pretend your joints only move one way in measured amounts.  No one has really seen it since Vanilla Ice started doing Celebrity Rehab reality shows as far as I know. 

It was the weirdest vibe. What is a five year old kid doing in front of a casino at eleven o’clock at night? Do his parents know he’s here? Why is he doing a dance that ended before he started? What cut of his tips does the big bad bro get? What’s he thinking? Is he having fun?  I’m uncomfortable. I think he should go home and play a video game now.  This seems exploitive somehow, make it stop. I think I want to go home now. Meh.

And then there’s Tom. We roll up and he nonchalantly takes the scene in, turns to me and says, just loud enough for anyone to hear, maybe even the kids themselves, “Humph.  By the time I was his age, I was lockin’ AND poppin’.”

Guess you had to be there.  I just really like it, that when stuff around me seems, well, inappropriate, I get to hear a narrative on it that is so perfectly synchronized with the scene. Inappropriately… very, very …appropriate. Yeah, you have to be there. 


  1. The rest of the time, he thinks he's Michael Scott from NBC's "The Office" and gets the last word in for every conversation with, "That's what she said".

    Sometimes it makes more sense than others.