Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Title 1:Taylor Swift + Kanye West + a story about a yellow bus gum debacle. Title 2: The longest blog ever. Title 3: A dissertation on the VMAs

Wow, so, I know I’m a little behind on the times (due to the fact that the hubs and I pretty much tivo e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. and watch it days – and sometimes even weeks- after it originally aired) but I must, must, muuuuust talk about the MTV Music Video Awards! The hubs and I just watched it, and I must say, it played out like a terribly well-contrived high stakes drama, which just goes to show that real life really is stranger than fiction.

I was so excited for Taylor Swift when her name was called for “best female video” and as she walked up to the stage I felt physically sick for her because I just knew that it would feel really crazy, and humbling, and h.a.r.d., and awkward to WIN in a category amongst incredible artists such as Beyonce’ and Lady Gaga! (And can I just say that I love Taylor? Can I just throw that out there? I love her. I screaming- repressed-late-blooming-16-year-old-girl-hopped-up-on-a-minimum-of-seventeen-espressos-l.o.v.e-her! I think she is brilliant, and darling, and humble, and just a super great little singer/songwriter. I wanna put her in my pocket and take her everywhere I go. There, I said it. It’s out there for the world to see and I don’t even care. Come what may, I stand by my proclamation of deep and abiding love for Little Miss Taylor Swift.)

So, there I was, completely wrapped up in my Lifetime Original drama where the lovely little unsure of herself underdog was positively glowing and gushing about how all her childhood dreams had come true, and even bad-A rocker Pink is standing up and cheering for her (because, come on, who doesn’t flipping love Taylor Swift? She even has the “too cool for school punk rocker chicks” cheering her on.)

When all of the sudden, seemingly out of nowhere, comes the big. bad. wolf! (okay, so this just went from soap opera to nursery rhyme, but stick with me here people, I will eventually have a point…or several…)

So Kanye strips the mic from sweet little bewildered Taylor and basically says “No offense innocent little 95 pound 19 year old girl who is going to be totally blindsided/shocked/distraught by this random and uncalled for award speech takeover, but you just wrongly beat Beyonce’ who basically made one of the greatest videos of all time…but no offense or anything, she is just WAAAAY better than you….not to take away from you or anything…she’s just amazing and you’re kind of not…but…now here is your mic back, carry on.”


I was sitting there going “Did that jeeeust happen, Ricky Bobby? Did it? How is it possible that that jeeeust happened?!”

So, the rest of the awards show was overshadowed by intense feelings of contempt for the egotistical pile o’ poo that is Kanye West (yes, being that I’m restraining myself verbally, you’re probably going to hear a lot of juvenile potty talk in this post as well… sorry…)

(and can I just take a moment (and another poorly executed parenthetical statement (within a parenthetical statement (within a parenthetical statement))), to go completely off of the subject and inform you that Bubbuh has just jumped into the big red chair with me and he has snuggled up onto my lap all adorable-y and such and that in doing so, he has made my heart melt a little, but he totally smells like a turtle cage and the smell is totally killing me?! Somebody is getting tossed in the shower later today…wowzas…but, I digress…told you I would…)

I seriously couldn’t concentrate. My brain just kept screaming out “Kanye West is an enormous pile o’ poo!!!!” I wanted SO BADLY for the next award recipient to exclaim “Thank HEAVEN that I wasn’t in a category against Beyonce’! Maybe I’ll actually be able to get through my speech!” And poor, poor Beyonce’! She must have been mortified. Mercifully, the audience knew that it wasn’t her fault that Pile o’ Poo McGee did a VMA hostile takeover on her behalf. Her performance was completely awesome, by the way. I am never going to get tired of fancy leotards and high, high, high, pie in the sky heels. You can bet on it. 20 years from now, I am going to be saying “I just can’t get enough of those leos. Just can’t get enough. Keep ‘em comin!” (You may want to tell yourself that I’m kidding at this point, but I assure you, I am not. Love them. I’m wearing one right now. It’s hot pink and is nicely complimented by my 5” Hello Kitty Heels …okay, that time I actually WAS kidding. Try to keep up.)

And did we LOVE Pink and Lady Gaga’s performances? I so did. Pink was actually singing live. Have you ever hung upside down from a trapeze and belted your latest hit live, in front of millions of people? I haven’t…and I’m not even tempted to try…and I don’t have a “latest hit” thus I would find that little feat to be doubly challenging. That was ridiculous. Okay, and Lady Gaga is crazy. Wait, let me clarify: saying that Lady Gaga is crazy, is like saying that the sky is blue, or that fish swim, or that Barack Obama is going to run this country into the ground through an idealist attempt to create a let’s-steal-from-the-rich-to-support-lazy-people-at-all-costs-opia. Lady Gaga is nuttier than a squirrel turd. It’s just common knowledge. I always knew she was crazy, but the VMA’s left me thinking: “Whoa, that chick is CA-Raze-EEEEEEE!” (and I love it.)

So anyway, I’m a little ashamed to admit it, but at the end of the VMA’s, when Beyonce’ won “Video of the Year” or whatever it was, and she went up on that stage, and gave herself THE PERFECT set up (that even the best screenwriters in Hollywood couldn’t have written better) about how she was 17 when she won her first VMA and that it meant oh so much, and nothing was quite like it, and “I want Taylor to come up her and have her moment…” I totally almost started bawling. (and I just got cold chills as I wrote it here again…oh for the love of cheese…(smoked gouda in particular…but that’s a different blog.))

If this hadn’t played out LIVE and unscripted, I would have rolled my eyes and chalked the whole thing up to a petty attempt at emotional manipulation made by obnoxious screenwriters who get off on that sort of thing…you may have heard of them, they write for CSI, The Philanthropist, Medium, and the like. They often kill/murder/torture small children in their story lines because they are pooey writers that have to rely on really graphic cheap shots to evoke the desired emotions rather than actually just writing so compellingly that such measures are unnecessary…but, again, I digress. This was NOT emotional manipulation. This was REAL LIFE and I was part of it. I seriously almost cried, and I will probably adore B (as I like to call her when we’re hangin’ out together on Jay’s Yacht) forever and ever and ever and ever. She is a class act people. I don’t think I would have had that eloquence. In, fact, I think I would have been so self absorbed and nervous about getting booed and caught up in my own drama, that it wouldn’t have occurred to me to do that at all, whatsoever. It was seriously impressive. It was also the most funnest rollercoaster I have been on in awhile, a fact that is both sad, and mildly humiliating, but there it is.

So, I exclaimed (aloud, to the hubs) that Kanye West was…well, I won’t go into details, but I was BUGGED! Then, it just so happens that the hubs had also recorded Jay Leno’s new show and it just so happened that Mr. Poo Face himself was on there! So we watched…and I was completely floored.

Kanye totally owned his own junk. Totally owned it. He readily admitted that he was in. the. w.r.o.n.g. and when Jay pressed for more answers and Kanye caught himself explaining it away, he stopped mid-sentence and said something to the effect of “I’m not going to try and make excuses, I was in the wrong and that’s all there is to it.” He was VERY sincere and I have to say, I forgave him. (Because, as many of you know, when you hurt my girl Taylor, you hurt me as well. We’re almost like twins. We feel each other’s pain. I stubbed my toe on a dining room chair the other day and Tay (that’s what I call her) totally called me and was like “What did you do? My pinky toe is killin’ me yo!” (we like to talk like we’re from the hood instead of Tennessee and Ferron.) So anyway, I just have the HUGEST soft spot for people who will own their crap! Is that weird? “I was wrong.” and “I’m sorry.” are two of the most powerful phrases in the English Language – seriously! In fact, Serena Williams’ failure to just totally own her “I’ll jam this ball down you’re bleeping throat” crap has made me lose what little respect I had for her (okay, let’s be honest, there never was any).

“But he’s an egotistical jerk! How can you just forgive him?!” (You may yell at your computer screen.)

Well, I’ll tell you. I once threw a big old honkin’ piece of bright pink bubble gum into a girl’s hair, that’s how.

“How does that have ANYTHING to do with Captain Pooey-Pooey-Poo-Face emotionally assaulting America’s sweetheart on live television?” (You may demand…and you’d be well within your rights to do so.)

Well, I’ll tell you.

One day after school, when I was 8-ish or 9-ish, I decided to go where no 3rd grader had gone before. I went to the BACK of the bus. Like, the very, VERY back. Any kid who grew up riding the bus in Monroe, Utah knows why this is a huge “No, no.” The back of the bus was where the high schoolers sat. It was their domain. Their very cool, very high schoolery domain. It was sooooo “Pretty in Pink” and “Say Anything” and “Better Off Dead” back there. It was also very “anything goes” back there…except for one thing: NO KIDS ALLOWED. It was an unwritten rule, but a very firm one (as most unwritten social rules are). The Elementary School kids got picked up first, so the High School crowd simply relied on fear and dominance to keep their precious back seats readily available. As I strode confidently to the very, very back, I glance behind to find my peers were in total awe. I was the coolest kid they knew (or the gutsiest…or stupidest at least). One of my buddies got all sorts of high on my insane (and completely unwarranted) confidence and decided to join me. So, there we were, two rogue riders riding to battle (a.k.a the high school). We had pits in our stomachs, and 20 pairs of wide eyes watching from the peaceful sanctuary of the front end of the bus, but the glory that awaited us on the horizon made it all worthwhile. We kept our eyes on the prize. We were going to squash prejudicial stereotypes with our inherent coolness and make Monroe Utah Yellow Bus history. It had to be done. The repression would stop this day!

As the bus pulled up in front of the high school, I was sure I was going to barf. That’s what we called it back then (it was 1989, after all). We got a lot of strange looks and a few chuckles (honestly, who uses the word “chuckles”? come on!) as the first teenagers came onto the bus, but no one said anything to us. I began to relax into the newly claimed back seat. A few more teens made their way to the back. They also shot a few annoyed looks our way, but in the end, they only shrugged their shoulders and promptly plopped into their respective seats. It looked like we were going to get off scot free – woo-hoo! We would be idolized and worshipped for days (or HOURS at the very least) to come, I just knew it.

Then, it happened. SHE got on the bus. Who is SHE? (You might ask.) Well, I actually have no idea what HER name is so we will just call her SHE (with a capital SHE, that rhymes with B, that stands for….um, pool?). And it takes her, like, a matter of nanoseconds to zero in on us. HER eyes light up like sirens. “ALERT! ALERT! Stretch pants lovin’, Hello Kitty pencil pushin’ 3rd graders have infiltrated the rear left quadrant. RED ALERT! RED ALERT!” SHE marches down the bus aisle toward us, her perfectly gelled, ratted, permed, scrunched brown hair bouncing stiffly with each stomp.

Oh my heck! Oh my heck! This was really happening. What was I thinking? What had I done? This was the hugest best worst idea I had ever had! Now I was surely going to die. Swallowed up in an angry whirlwind of stonewashed denim, fluorescent pink bracelets, and Aqua Net fumes. The George Michael/”Not!”/ “insert additional sassy phrases here” buttons that littered her denim jacket (I believe that the TGIFridays people called it “flair” back in the “Pre Office Space” days) gleamed like razor blades. I was toast. So dead.

“You’re not supposed to be back here, now get out of my seat!” SHE growled through candy pink lips.

“We don’t have to!” I shot back confidently. “It’s a free country!” (It’s strange, but I’ve found that somewhere deep within my being there is an incredible and never ending well that is just chalk full of sass and courage. It has never failed me in times of intense confrontation – this was no exception. I really had her with the whole “It’s a free country” bit. Pure gold, I tell ya. I must say, I thought I was quite the genius for pulling that deliciously original phrase out my arsenal. Can’t argue with “It’s a free country!” Nope, you just can’t.

So, I’d be lying if I told you I remembered exactly how the rest of our conversation went. I only remember that, in the end, I had won. We were sittin’ pretty in the back seat as the bus pulled away from the high school while my arch nemesis grudgingly took a seat two rows up ahead. Even though I had won the battle, I was peeved. I don’t remember what she said to me, but it was mean and snotty and it bruised my surprisingly massive 8/9 year old ego. She had to pay. I don’t remember whose idea it was, but a conclusion was reached. We (and by “we” my friend meant ME) should throw gum into her perfectly fabulous Tiffany-esque 80s hair. It was the perfect crime. We were conveniently located at the back of the bus. If I was careful, no one would even know it was me!

I pulled the sticky pink glob from my smiling lips, looked left, looked right, looked left again, eyed the bus driver’s enormous rear view mirror to be sure that her beady little eagle eyes were averted, and then I went for the toss! I held my breath as the gooey gob sailed through the air… and wait….oh no….it’s going to fall short….noooooo!......oh wait… oh yes! The gum caught on the very outer rim of the crimpy madness that was HER hair and dangled desperately from a single crispy tendril.

At this point, did I feel remorse? Did I feel regret? Did I feel that justice had been served? No, no, and no. When I realized that the gum could easily fall out at any moment, I knew I had to do something. So, I ROSE FROM MY SEAT, WALKED PAST HER “PRETENDING” THAT I WAS GOING UP TO TALK TO A DIFFERENT FRIEND, AND AS I PASSED HER FLUFFY, CRUNCHY POODLE HEAD, I PINCHED THE GUM DEEPER INTO HER HAIR. Yep. Totally did. AND SHE STILL DIDN’T EVEN NOTICE! (Which serves to illustrate just how froofy froofy this chick’s hair was to start with...Hey, I’m just sayin’…)

Ballsy… me? Nah.

What the heck was I thinking?

Well, lucky for me, SHE didn’t notice it, but just as I was slinging my backpack up over my shoulder and heading toward the door, the person sitting behind her said “Oh my gosh! There’s gum in your hair!”

I picked up the pace. My heart was racing. I frantically pushed past several other kids from my neighborhood and dashed for the door. Just as I reached the top of the bus steps, I looked up to find her fiery gaze upon me. I had clearly been pegged as the culprit. I gave her a smart smile and proceeded to haul my cookies down the bus steps and straight for home. Unfortunately, SHE detained my older brother just long enough to promise to buy him a pop (translation for Non-Utahns – a soda, a Pepsi, a Coke…etc) if he would rat me out to my mom.

It took very little (okay, absolutely no) convincing to get Bryan to tattle on ME for once, and score a deliciously fizzy and delightfully free “pop” while he was at it. It was pretty much a no brainer for him. I’d tattled on him a solid 3-4 times daily starting at age 2 and going right up to that present day… and, well, let’s be honest, I’d still tattle on him tomorrow if he would give me a good enough reason, I’m a tattler…it’s just how I roll. So, I had it coming – to say the least. That darn Karma…

Boy was I in trouble. Soooo grounded. Soooooo yelled at. Plus, I had to huddle nervously behind the bus driver every day for a month so SHE wouldn’t have the opportunity to murder me in the secrecy of the middle bus seats. I remember lying awake at night in the weeks thereafter and thinking:

“What was I thinking?!”

“What the heck was I thinking?!”

“What is wrong with me that makes me unable to NOT be a total butt hole?” (again, 80s, butthole – it is what it is.)

“I wish I could take it back.”

“How embarrassing!!!!!”

And on and on it went; mental mind chatter beating me to a bloody pulp in the wee small hours of the morning. I just hated how I felt. I was also overcome with the distinct and terribly frustrating feeling that that person WASN’T me. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the devil made me do it, I’m saying that that ONE act had made a bus full of people “see” me in a way that I didn’t see myself. They only saw the bratty little snot who threw gum into the hair of a virtual 80s goddess. They didn’t see the little girl who did nice things for her friends, who loved her family, and helped sick animals, and cried herself to sleep at night for the shame of what she’d done. They just saw the one act. That was who I was to them. Period. And you know what? It really stinks to be pigeon-holed like that. Not only is it frustrating, but it can become confusing too, because we often look to outside sources to tell us who we are. If people perceive us to be beautiful, we will often think we are. If they see us as mean-spirited or evil, we take them at their word. That’s what they see, so that must be the truth. It’s funny.

The unfortunate thing for stars is that they have to make their big, bumbling mistakes under a microscope and in front of millions of people who stand ready and waiting to judge, and ridicule, and persecute them for each and every short- coming.

I’m sure that Kanye West (who, I’m still saying is a total ego maniac)was just feeling a little rowdy and crazy and wanted to jump up and give Beyonce’ credit for her (amazing) video, and he didn’t even think about it. That just stinks. I’m with ya, Kanye. Many a time have I walked several, several miles in those shoes and, while I’m not looking forward to ever doing it again, I know that life has a funny way of sneaking up on us and flinging us into situations that test our character and often leave us feeling defeated and disappointed in ourselves in the end. I’m not saying that what he did was right, but I am giving him a HUGE pile o credit for owning it and making it right. HUGE. I feel so sorry for people who can’t own their stuff. I know life is always bumpier on me when I refuse to own mine. So, here I go:

Dear SHE,

I am very sorry that I threw gum into your amazing 80s hair and then, upon finding the toss to be unsatisfactory, squished it even deeper into your lovely locks. I’m also sorry that I screamed at you and said that I had every right to steal your bus seat because it was a free country. (Even though, technically, the free country part is true…I still didn’t need to yell it at you.) I have no good excuse for doing those things to you. I was in the wrong, and I’m sorry. I hope you find comfort in the fact that I have never ever assaulted anyone else with my gooey bubble gum. It only took one time to realize that I really didn’t like how it felt afterwards. I regret to report that I still repeatedly exclaim “It’s a free country!” when and where the situation calls for such an action. What can I say? I’m proud to be an American…so I’ll keep working on the whole “free country” thing. I also still shout “You’re not the boss of me!” from time to time…but that is neither here nor there. I hope that you are healthy and well, and that you have lots of happy babies and a nice husband to enjoy them with. I also hope that your hair is now shiny and sleek and showing very little residual damage from a decade of 80s permage and Aqua Net abuse. I think that I was just really jealous of you because you were so pretty and had a cool stonewashed jean jacket with amazing George Michael flair buttons…I didn’t mean for my jealousy to come to all that…so again, sorry.

Please let me know if there is anything I can ever do for you, or your hair, in the future.



(ahhhhh….much better.)


Jenna Marie said...

Dear Lola,
You are one of the funniest, gum throwing, back of the bus sitting, Kanye West Hating/Loving, radical people I know! Just so you know... :) I loveth you to pieces...

Anonymous said...

You are forgiven for the gum throwing, but now we know a bit more about where that darlingly cute little boy gets his mischievousness.

You are right on the money with Kanye, what a low class punk.

Love your blog! Love you, love the fam!
-Lee Ann

C Stevens said...

Wow, What a post. I agree. It would be hard to be Kanya right now. However, what a great way to teach your kids (adults too) to say sorry and own our mistakes and learn from them.