Saturday, December 29, 2012
Merry Holidays part 2: A cautionary tale.
By Mark William Darus.
Set your Wayback machines to the mid-seventies. I’m like 12 or 13. Santa gave me this Absonormouslyistic HO scale Tyco slot car set. I mean this puppy had it all! It had banked turns, four level high cross overs, insane hairpin turns and cars so heavily magnetically made they’d never fly off the track.
The magnificently logo’d design so truthfully said: 68 FEET OF SOLID RACING ACTION!!!
This was true.
Looking back, I have to give my dad more credit than I did then. Being young, I simply thought we’d open the box and race. I’d forgotten how long it took us to make the Eldon track happen.
I was so antsy and irritated with dad saying, ‘we’ll make it, Mark. We have eat dinner first, clear the dining room table, take care of the dishes and then we’ll make it.”
It was 7:17 AM when I opened hugesaurus present that held “THE TYCO!” and dinner wasn’t until what?!?!?! 2-3PM?!?!?!?! I was freaking out, most sincerely.
Dad and Mom would exchange glances, and mom would ask “ready for another tea, Mark?” I always enthusiastically said YES! Mom: No one has ever made tea like you. I miss you…
Okay, so I was a prick even then. Everyone opened presents, I’d open theirs for me and they’d open mine to them (the cash given me by mom and dad to buy for my sisters and grand folk. Granted, I clearly had issues as I’d sometimes label them: To grandpa, From Satan (he kind of liked that though. To Holly from Ansta! You get the point, I’d toss curves into shit. I’d do this to see their reactions. Christ knows though, I never signed stuff like for grandma or mom. >Well, I did do odd things to the Manger set that my Grandmother made by hand, but I’ll get to that later…<
My tiny jammied frame just sucked it up though, but my mind kept running me silently. WANT SLOT CAR! WANT TRACK SET UP! WANT RACING NOW!!!!
I’m not sure who in my family would say meaningful things like: Patience, Mark. You look sad, Mark, didn’t you get what you asked Santa for? I think this had to come from my sister Holly: Okay, so we run the track around the Bird, over the cranberries to grandmothers rolls we go?
Okay, have you ever lived in a Northern climate during Christmas? You know, the fairy tale realm of a real White Christmas, a few inches of snow on the ground with icy sidewalks, temperatures in the teens for Santa to give you a bike and be told: Oh, you can’t ride that now! It’s too cold. If you fell, you’d split your head wide open!
Call me Southparks Cartman, my eyes were X’s, my lips resembled the dire EKG zig-zag pattern displaying obvious distress. All their words were meaningless to me! Mindless placations to either aide me or to simply make me less of a buzz-kill for them. It didn’t matter to me though, I was a punk-ass 12-13 year old male child and I wanted SLOT CAR RACING!!!!
Hours pass with the swift speed of slowly falling water over sharp edged stone to make it round and smooth.
In later years, I stopped cutting my hair. I liked the long look. Though I was never a hippie, persay. It did take a long time as it grew about an inch a month back then when I was 16 or so for it to cascade over my shoulders and become an embarrassment to my father. Now dad was bald in my total memory of him. He never did the ‘wrap to long remaining strands’ around the head thing. He simply had the ‘look at the top of my head. You either see the letters ‘u’ or ‘n’ depending on your angle,’ thing. He was always cool that way. He’d gone bald early in life, and it never bothered him in the slightest in my best recall. I grew mine long! It’s as if I was saying: Remember my slot car track torture dad? Well, this is me getting even.
I’m talking Cowsills Hair long.
Yeah, I know each generation has to have some point of rebellion. It’s damn near mandatory if you look backward over time. In my life, these coming-of-age rebellions have spanned from, say: Men growing hair to their ass, women shaving their heads bald, men piercing their left ears when the hair length thing became passé, women going braless (I did so like this shift in the history of female fashion! I always knew there was a 50 percent chance that they were truly happy to meet me given their bodily signs.)
During the seventies, women wanted the life they had during WWII. ‘Back When‘. A time when women in the United States worked the factories for the War-Machine doing a Mans job as the men fought the Evil Foe and such. Women learned to like the independence they gained in the physical workplaces of factories, foundries and mass production. They felt a sense of belonging that wasn’t solely based on housework, their kids and their husbands status over backyard chats. In the seventies, after some 25 years after the Second Great War, they wanted equal pay for equal jobs. These women and their generation, undoubtedly propelled by their mothers words reminisced fondly about WWII stories, made an impact.
My sister Holly was a leading benefactor of this time period. Having a grandfather and father in the Cleveland Steel life, she easily got summer jobs during her college years that opened a doorway not normally desired by girls of her age. I say she ‘easily got’ a summer job, which she did. Back when, if you were a ‘Steel Man’, you could get you kid a two-three months of summer labor work job. This Summer Help would push brooms, keep bathrooms tiddy, dump trash, and perhaps shovel slag. Then, these jobs were a given like flack from a gooses arse. Unskilled labor jobs in the late seventies were a dime a dozen here. After Holly claimed her degree at Case Western Reserve University, she went full time at Republic Steel. No longer being some ‘summer-flunky’, she soon heaved a heavier shovel. She’s not the shortest woman in the world, but she is close. She heaved slag for years before getting into a Crane Operator position.
On shoveling Slag. Slag is a by-product of the steel making process. Look at slag like this: You eat a really tasty steak. Your body gets what it needs, protein and such (pure steel created) and eventually casts off what isn’t steel (the byproducts) which is little more than shit from your arse and it‘s your job to make it go away. Another way of looking at shoveling slag is this: Imagine your driveway, and your driveway is about 8 miles long. Now imagine a wet snowfall that lasts all year long that you must clear every hour of every day. Each tug on your shoulders heavier than the last as you lift. Thigh muscles burning with each forward push.
In all honesty, If I can say there is one thing I am happy about it is my sister Holly’s perseverance when it came to being a steel worker/Crane Operator. She worked her arse thru the ranks and as Republic Steel became LTV, ISG, now Acelor Mittal, she still is in command of a seriously heavy fucking machine towering a hundred feet above those below her.
Aw shit, I went further into an area that strayed.
But did it really go so far awry?
Well, men started piercing both ears, some carrying packs resembling a husky-esque purse, songs about unmarried women being pregnant began to spring out with Paul Anka’s (you’re) Having My Baby, (I really hated that fucking song. Such a disgusting abuse of musical instruments! However, Odia Coates vocals sounded emotionally felt, and great.)
This is out of time-based order here, but nearly almost everyone of both sexes went tattoo crazy, followed by body piercing. With tat’s of ‘MOM’ on an upper forearm of some Navy ensign far away from home and missing her, we blasted to full body Artworks covering entire flesh space that lead to magazines based solely on the subject. When it came to body piercing, we went from early Tribal nose piercing to lip, cheek and earlobe elongations to nipples, penis’ and labial areas where metal mates with flesh.
>>>going off on a tangent here, so bare with me, dearest reader. Of the hundreds of both women and men I have talked to about their piercing themselves, those that pierced their tongues, I so easily asked them: “Why the fuck did you do that?”
They always, and I do mean always, answered equally.
“I wanted to give him/her more pleasure.” they’d say with a smile.
They’d see my raised eyebrows and usually ask, “can you imagine it?”
“Not really. I can’t think of the splendor of lukewarm steel against my stout good fellow. But if I did wish such a thing, I’d merely ask her to take a few ball bearings into her mouth and say go for it, darling. I’m sure I’d have to pay for this event to occur, but I’d never want any woman in my life to plant a hole in their tongue, shove a hypoallergenic rod through it to make me feel, uhhhh, more aroused.”
They’d get a bit nervous when I said this. Go figure, if you’ve imagined yourself as the deer in the headlights across a road, you know how they must have felt. They’d usually look stunned, more often than not, their jaw would drop showing me their upper teeth.
“One thing I have to know though, if you don’t mind me asking you a question?” I’d sip my coffee and casually inquire.
“Uhhh, course not. Go ahead.” They’d try to sound confident, but more often then not, their words sounded more like a question.
“When you eat Skippy Chunky Peanut butter, do the hunks of nuts get stuck in the hole in your tongue?” To this day, I don’t believe I have ever received a truthful answer on this.
GOD DAMN IT, WHERE IS MY SLOT CAR TRACK???
Oh, yeah. How could I forget. It’s being held hostage in the fucking cardboard box!
The table did get cleared, dishes washed and tucked away for the next 11 and three quarter months and my father and I would assemble ‘The Tyco”.
68 FEET OF SOLID RACING ACTION!!!
I guess I learned this from my father. Direction are for idiots and morons. Just read the pictures and you’ll figure it out. This turn goes to this set of straights and another crossover piece. See it in the 3D he’d push my mind.
Over the years of my youth there was no lack of building toys in my background appearing at Christmas, birthdays or just whenever presents from good grades.
My parents had the coin and mind to know that giving your kid Lego, Lincoln Logs and Erector Sets created and inspired the ability of growth to a mind craving stimulus beyond school. At age forty, perhaps a tad year or two before, I began to build things. Working with wood, some came out fine, ie a cocktail table and end tables, some candles sticks, a shed created without a written diagram, I got lucky. That luck though, was based on the build things from those earlier toys given to me from my mom and dad, and of course, Santa.
So me and my father layed the track. He smiled as he’d say: No we can’t start yet. We have to lay the overpassess and the guardrails.
Well, it’s now about 8pm and we’re ready for out first race.
My heart is thrumping madly. My blue HO car sporty Richard Petty colors displayed is next to a car I can’t remember. We’re on the Start Line and I’m ready to run…
I can’t remember who said: Get ready, Get set, GO!!!!!
But we ran!
Go to a week later.
New Years eve turning to years day.
My father and I that stroke of midnight decided to run the night for a marathon. We’d run our cars til they fell apart.
Dick Clark in New York made the ball drop.
My dad and I made our historic run.
Lap after lap over 68 FEET OF TRACK, our cars thundered about its course. Sometimes his car gaining lead over mine to mine taking over his. We’d see our cars arses press against the guardrails punching through toward further speed. Small electric motors hissing as rubber wheels meet plastic roads. Pressing onward.
About an hour later, the Teddy and Mark Speedway went sideways.
My sisters had celebrated New Years in ways I’d gain appreciation for later in years down the road.
So my dad and I racing our cars, and Holly and Heidi enter the living room. My dad and I got our thumbs on the buttons running our cars for Supreme Male Dominance of this Household.
“How was it?” Mom asks. She’s had a few Chivas’ and soda, though I cannot say for sure.
“It was cool,” Holly said. “It was fun.”
And my sister Heidi, and who could tell what her face really looked like in a living room of xmas really looks like.
Heidi hurls at me and dad.
Her puke covers several layers of track.
Facial expressions cover the living room and dining room, though even then no harsh punishments would occur.
I don’t seriously you have experienced life until you witness a pair of tiny electric HO scale slot attempt to beat ‘heave hazard’. There is nothing quite like seeing the smallest of wheels splash and hurl bits of vomit about.
This goes down as one of the best xmas’ of my life!!!
So real and so raw.
Mark William Darus