Post-holiday peace


The doorbell rang at half past four, and Scott and I were gone by quarter ‘til five, before the sitter could change her mind. Even almost two years ago, it was hard to get somebody to watch Sam. Not to mention that she was fifteen and being dropped off by her Dad, and it was snowing in central Alabama.

I don’t remember exactly where we went. Dinner at least. Probably a movie. Anything at all to recover from the holidays. I do recall wandering around Whole Earth (or whatever that store is) one of the few venues that hadn’t simply shut down because of a few centimeters of white precipitation.

Mostly, I remember that when we came home, the kids and sitter had built a perfect snowman, of the variety I could never achieve as a child. I had been avoiding going outside in the disgusting white stuff at all, and the sitter must have bundled them up and taken them out there first thing. I realized only after the fact that I had done this on purpose, hired someone else to play in the snow with my children.

I hate winter. Its relative absence is one of the things I value most about living down South. We rarely get anything resembling sleet, let alone actual flaky matter. And when we do, the governor pretty well has to close the state. So Scott and I left that afternoon to see a town deserted, and we came home that evening to admire the novelty of a white roof and yard, of a man all built up under our front ash tree.

We parked in the garage, paid the sitter, and congratulated ourselves on giving our children an experience without suffering through it ourselves. We sat down inside to enjoy the scene without. And while we watched, once more, the snow began to fall.

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Ah. It is World Market. Now we know. Beam Me Back Up

Red Writing HoodI’m linking this post up with Write on Edge’s Red Writing Hood” prompt to begin a holiday related story with ‘the doorbell rang’ and end it with ‘the snow began to fall’.

A Starbucks Kind of Morning

It was a Starbucks kind of morning. I woke up to the sound of my kids yelling at each other, which meant that

1) They had been up before us long enough to get into a squabble (which even for them takes a few minutes) and

2) There was likely something wrong out in the rest of the house.

Oh baby. Little did I know. I popped out the retainer that keeps my bottom teeth from overlapping, pulled on some pants and lumbered out of the bedroom. For the next full minute, all I could say was “Oh my God”. Over and over again. “Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God.”

oh my godThat is dog food. In the floor.

Oh My God

A LOT of dogfood in the floor.

OH My GodNearly a third of a bag of dog food in the floor.

OH MY GODIn three rooms of the house and just outside the back door.

OH MY GODAnd Sam was skating in it. This last picture was taken after some cleanup had occurred. The fight was because Caroline was afraid of being implicated, while Sam was sure he could cajole the dog into eating it all. (Sorry, even Fudge isn’t that much of a pig.)

When he heard me in the hall, he said, “Quick, hide! It’s Dad!”. Sorry, kiddo. You get Mom. Dad’s a lot nicer.

Since Sam hid, the first person I saw was Caroline, on her hands and knees, desperately trying to pick up each and every crumb. “Not your fault.” Those were my first three words once I’d stopped with the OMGs. “Caroline, sweetie, this is not your fault.”

Sam had some bullshit story cooked up, and after my initial jaw-drop reaction, I managed to keep my voice neutral with him. However, my response did include the words, ‘stop lying and start cleaning’. I no longer think the dishwasher incident was accidental. And I’m really not sure if his sister was involved in that at all, or if she was just an incidental participant afraid of being accused of tattling (a behavior we’re trying to teach her to stop). Sam’s initial lie for the dog food was slick, it was short, and if the evidence hadn’t been staring me in the face, I might have believed it. Once I called ‘bullshit’, the elaborate, obvious untruths started. But at the outset, he could have been talking weather for all the emotion he showed.

Yesterday, he cut up his shirt (not uncommon before meds, but JESUS he’s taking something now) and hurt his friends in the morning. Today, he made this mess so clearly because he thought he would have to stay home and clean up. And cleaning a mess is a reward for him. This kid loves housework. And he hates going to school.

Sorry, Sam. Nice try. We made him clean about a third of it. Caroline volunteered to clean up another portion (started to cry when she thought I wouldn’t let her, even). And Scott and I got most of the rest. But there is still dogfood underfoot and will be all day. All week. He was not entitled to miss school for his mess, and he was certainly not entitled to make Sis any later than the whole thing already did.

So I felt pretty damned entitled myself when we went through the Starbucks drive through. But damn it, the Starbucks guy only wanted to sell me drinks. And none of those came in shot glasses. When I asked him if I could buy back my sanity, he swore it wasn’t lurking anywhere in the store. Damned barista. What does he know anyway? If it isn’t there, after all, where WOULD it be hanging out?

Certainly not at home.

When the Books Close In

Right now, in the room we call our office, there are books. A shitload of them. They aren’t all mine. Aren’t even MOST mine. And they don’t confine themselves to the office. They are everywhere. Here are just a few examples.

Mine:

OK, so I don't have them completely stuffing EVERY corner

His:

And Neither Does He

Ours:

But working together, we're pretty darned close

and Theirs:

And our children have learned well from usAlthough technically, standing up these would give us enough room to also include the ones you can't see that he's thrown behind the bed

And maybe that wouldn’t be so bad, but there are three full bookcases I didn’t even bother to feature, plus another one that is empty. And then there are the boxes. Boxes and boxes and BOXES

Yes. That's also books. Every boxof the exact same thing.

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a flicker of inspiration at Lightning BugI’m linking this up with The Lightning Bug’s “Flicker of Inspiration” #27, “Here with Me”.

Crash

I’ve had two car crashes in my life, both many years in my past now. The first one was one hundred percent my own fault. Trying to find the museum center in Cincinnati, I drove all around the base of Union Terminal without ever discovering the actual entry road. I had a passenger, a fellow student at the college of Mt. St. Joseph. We wanted the history museum. I can’t remember her purpose, but I was looking for newspaper images of the 1937 Ohio River flood for a short story I was working on.

I got turned around in this warehouse district. Everything was too close together, I didn’t feel entirely safe, and there was a semi-truck unloading in front of a stop sign. Not seeing the sign, I ran it. Not seeing me in time, a pickup truck T-Boned me. Emphasis – this was my fault. The pickup had the right of way. My little blue car was totaled. The truck had a tiny dent.

No real injuries. But also, my Mom was in Louisville, and I had only just gotten my first cell phone. It was around five hours before we got rescued. I sent the tow truck off to wherever tow trucks go, and we finished our research before Mom could pick us up and drop Angela back at campus. (I went home. The whole thing scared me to death.)

The other time, several years later and having gone on to grad school, I got rear ended in Lexington. I was taking Mom out past Keeneland to see the castle on Versailles Road. A lady in her mid fifties was following too closely and slammed into my tail when I stopped suddenly for a red light. (She was sure the light hadn’t changed yet. I still vaguely fear she was right.) In any case, I was not formally responsible for that one. (Though I’ll always fear and wonder.) My little white car was damaged, but not beyond repair. Her teal blue sedan was totaled. So I guess between the two crashes, I came out evens.

But what I remember, really, is how different I felt about the two events.

In that first wreck, although nobody was seriously hurt, I expected nothing until impact. The car had no airbags, so Angela and I were spared the trauma of exploding cloth in the face. And even though the blue car must have only spun for a couple of seconds, those moments felt like a lifetime, one where I could feel reality intruding on a protective little bubble. Although I never believed in my own immortality, until that moment, I never thought I could die in a car wreck, either. In that single rotation, until I crunched into the light pole, I realized I could die any way in the world. It was the closest thing I ever experienced to an end of my youth.

The second time, I saw the lady coming in my rear view. I told Mom, “Hold on.” She thought I was referring to my too-fast stop. She had time to say “You’re OK, honey.” I didn’t have the seconds to explain, so instead I said, “tight” and took my foot off the brake. I jammed the foot back down again pretty much on impact, and that little bit of cynical readiness, of believing the car in my mirror wouldn’t stop in time, saved me a neck injury. Because I didn’t have time to verbalize what was going on to Mom, she got whiplash. And because the air bags in the car behind me exploded, the other driver broke her glasses and the other passenger broke her arm.

Maybe I didn’t come up evens after all. Maybe I actually came out ahead. Knock wood.

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remembeRedButtonThis piece was written in response to this week’s RemembeRed prompt, which asked us to write for ten minutes in response to a single word – “Crash”.

I Guess My GPS is a Politician

My GPS (her name is Samantha) hates left turns. She’ll take me on outrageous adventures around blocks and across highways to avoid turning left. The other day, from my friend Jenny’s house, I ran up to the grocery store for a few minutes. Because the store was on the right, I knew I’d be making a left turn getting back out of the parking lot.

So I knew better than to buy it when, after I’d finished my shopping, Samantha said “Please continue to highlighted route” and drew a little right arrow down the road I’d been on before going in the store.

“Uh-uh.” I told her. “I fell for this yesterday and let you drive me around a tiddly-wink block to cross the street and deal with two extra red lights rather than just turning left. Not buying.” I turned left out of the store and waited.

Samantha said, “Recalculating,” which is her fallback position if I’ve made a choice with which she disagrees. Then, “Please drive 2.1 miles and keep right onto highway I-71 North…”

“No,” I said. “Not that either.” It was another left turn she was dodging, but it was dark, and I was unsure exactly where I had turned right coming to the store, so I wasn’t quite clear on where to turn left returning to the house. In any case, by then I was pretty sure I’d gone too far (the turn was a matter of feet from the store’s parking lot to the light).

Samantha can’t hear me. She lacks the ability to respond to voice commands. But she knows when I’m disobeying her will. Much to Samantha’s discomfiture, instead of getting on the highway, I turned around.  Left followed by right. It earned me two “Recalculating”s.

However, this turnaround put the road I needed on my right, and Samantha’s left turn aversion was thus overcome. She took me back to Jenny’s without further confusion, even going so far as to admit that I would have to make two additional left turns on the way back.

Yes, I know, my GPS needs psychotherapy. I know just about how the session would go.

Therapist: So, Samantha. Tell me about your manufacturer. When did this left turn aversion begin?

Samantha [robotic voice]: I’ve had it since I was first programmed, doctor.

There is no consistency to her behavior. Sometimes, she’ll let us turn left as appropriate for an entire lengthy journey. Others, she’ll change her mind five or six times over the course of one fifty mile trip.  She’s about two years old, and her maps are admittedly outdated, but she does this with roads that have existed on maps for much longer than she has been in existence.

After all my visiting was through, and the time to return to the airport had come, I needed to fill up the rental car prior to returning it. So I needed directions from Cincinnati to a specific gas station in Louisville, and from the gas station to the airport. Samantha said something like this:

“Take exit 8, on right. Turn right. Continue .6 miles to Thornton’s on right.” (The gas station was on the left. But she frequently gets right and left confused, largely to favor the right.)

Scott and I have learned that all instructions (especially those close to a destination) must be taken with a grain of salt, so I checked the route after getting my gas. She said:  “Turn right on Crittenden drive. Keep right and take ramp ahead. Drive 21 miles to ….”

 I turned her off before I followed even one of those commands. I could see the airport’s perimeter fence while standing at the pumps. It was not twenty one miles away. I tried asking her to find an alternate route. When that didn’t work, I just went inside and asked how to get there. The attendant’s directions were a lot shorter, coming in at about  a mile and a half long. Unsurprisingly, there were multiple left turns.

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Samantha’s name derives from the voice options in the Garmin range. Formally, she is “United States. English. Samantha.”

Back from whence I came

Memories Captured: Caught one

CarolineNSam

This is one of my favorite pictures of my kids. It’s from January of 2008. Christmas is over, but we haven’t taken down the tree. We don’t yet know it, but we will be moving from Lexington, Kentucky to Montgomery, Alabama in a scant 7 months. Caroline’s hair is cut into the adorable pageboy she wore until she was almost seven years old. Sam is still all mischief and only limited anger. He and Caroline are roughhousing gently. And they are both delighted to be there, glad to be brother and sister, and happy to smile for the camera.

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Got oneI’m linking this post up with  the Memories Captured project hosted by Galit of These Little Waves and Alison of Mama Wants this.

Dear Caroline and Sam

Dear Caroline and Sam,

This morning I woke up with

the dawn

I put on

my slippers

Oops. I meant to put on

 

my shoes

My car was covered

 

with ice

I turned on

Samantha

and drove to

Kroger

I bought

bacon eggs and milk

Then, I drove back to Jenny’s, and we had breakfast. I love you, I miss you. Keep taking good care of Daddy for me.

Love Mama

Sam Meets TSA

I’ve been flying since I was three or four years old, flying alone since I was ten. I love airplanes. I went through a period in my early twenties when I feared flying. Some combination of motion sickness and tension over those thrill bumps at take off and during turbulence served to make me a less than confident traveler. And anxiety still tugs when the plane first starts to taxi. But after that bump when the wheels leave the ground, I’m usually OK.

I usually fly with my family these days, either sandwiched between Sam and Caroline or forming the bread with Scott on the other side. The kids are decent flyers now, though Sam had a rough period there when he was three or so. The last time we flew with both kids was decent. We had problems, but they were all to do with the airline, not the kids. Sam napped on the flight and spent his awake time trying to jump up and stab the overhead buttons.

I considered this an improvement over that one bad year when, besides having a previously undiagnosed ear infection that caused him to moan through take-off and scream through landing, he managed to shut down the Ft. Myers International airport security system all by himself. Oh yes. My baby did that.

I was flying alone with the kids, coming home from Florida, and we were running late. It is hard to get out of a hotel, return a car, and race through the concourse with two small grouchy tagalongs. I had Sam on a leash, one of those backpack things, and he loved it as much as I did. It gave him a sense of security, and it gave me the ability to yank on the other end if things got crazy. But the security folks made me unbuckle him way too soon. I had always planned to remove it before we went through the scanner. But my idea was to wait until the last second, rip it off, throw it in a bin, and stuff it back on the instant we reached the other side.

However, while I was still trying to get the kids out of their shoes, some watchdog of a woman informed me, “Ma’am, he’ll need to stow that in a bin right now.”

“He really needs it. Can’t I do it just before he goes through?”

“No.”

So I stripped it off and, absent the force that he knew I was using to control him, Sam went nuts.

“Ma’am, he can’t stand in a bin.”

“Sam, get out of the bin.”

“Ma’am, make sure your bags are all lying down before they get on the conveyer belt.” And, while I was trying to comply with this command, “Ma’am, where did your son go?”

If there are five words in the English language a mother doesn’t want to hear in the airport security line, then those five words must be ‘where did your son go’.

I panicked, stopped fixing the bags (the conveyer belt had stopped anyway) and whipped around. I called “Sam!”

“I’m wight hewe,” he said calmly. He was nearby. I could hear his little voice. But I could not see him.

And then I could. There were two lines of people, two conveyer belts moving our items down the pike, and he was between them, lying on the floor.

“Ma’am!” said Lady Watchdog with a new note of urgency in her voice.

She never finished her sentence. She didn’t have to. Because right then, I realized both  both conveyer belts had stopped. The little green and red lights where people walked through had gone dark. One guard monitoring a screen said, “Hey, what happened?”

Did you know that airport security can be turned off by pushing a single big red button?

I didn’t either. Nor did Sam. I have no idea why such a button even exists. Maybe in other airports it doesn’t. But TSA is really extra-strict in Ft. Myers, because it is a pretty common liftoff point for international travelers.

Perhaps that has something to do with it. Or maybe the button is a holdover from some earlier time when there might be some reason to suddenly shut off security.

Whatever its raison d’être, the button is supposed to live under a locked plastic case, so that someone like my industrious three year old can’t accidentally turn it off. But the case was open. Sam, sitting up, smiled at it.

“Pusha button,” he told me.

I said, “Sam!” But I couldn’t even think of what else to do or say. I had visions of arrest, of having Florida Children’s Services seize my kids while I was interrogated for terrorism. How in God’s name am I going to explain this to Scott? I wondered.

“I’m wight hewe,” Sam said again, patiently repeating the information I had clearly failed to absorb. “I pusha button.” Then, he popped out from under the line and went back to dancing in one of the totes on the floor. This time, nobody tried to stop him.

The TSA woman and I gaped at each other across the line. I wanted to say “I told you he needed that damned vest,” but I was still too stunned by the possible repercussions of his actions to even verbalize the thought. Other passengers, those immediately in front of us, and those behind us as well, had noticed the disruption, and they were all turning to stare.

Suddenly two burly men descended on our stuff. “If you want to just follow us this way, Ma’am, we’ll hand check you and get you on your flight.”

Seriously? My kid shut down your airport and I get by with a patdown and luggage deconstruction. But I wasn’t arguing.

Behind me, I heard the machines coming back to life and slowly booting up. And I clearly heard the phrase, “Why wasn’t that locked ?” at least twice. They seemed to consider the whole thing their own fault. Thank God.

I wonder if they still have that button. I wonder if it has been disabled or put in a metal box. And given Sam’s proclivity with locks of all kinds, I wonder if the box wasn’t really locked all along and he just so dexterous that it might as well have been open.

Not just anybody’s Mama

I’m not your standard Mama. I curse around my kids when others cover their children’s ears. I teach them Beatles and Rolling Stones where others play high-pitched-children’s voices-singing-it’s-supposed-to-be-endearing. (And I did NOT introduce the Wiggles to them, thank you very much. The kids introduced them to me, and after years of hating, I have actually grown to enjoy that one single kiddie group. And also one song by Raffi. But that’s it.) I’m kind of a control freak about things other parents don’t care much about (and I totally don’t care about the things I probably should prioritize.) I’m a liberal whose kids go to private schools and would even if they didn’t have autism. And I am absolutely not the clingy type.

So it horrifies me to realize that it has been at least five, possibly eight years since I took more than a night away from my children. (And then only one since Sam was born, and that was with Scott.) Scott travels sometimes with work for a weekend. Rarely. But I have never really taken a trip by myself since becoming a Mom.

Until now.

I’m leaving tomorrow for four, count them four days and three nights. My Auntie Em’s daughter is getting married, and this is a wedding I don’t want to miss. I already had to miss one friend’s wedding this year, and it killed me that I had to pick which one I could go to. I so wanted to attend both. And I’m so grateful to be at least able to attend one.

And, even more exciting, I’m a GODMOTHER, and I get to stand up in church in front of God and all his disciples and promise that I’ll never let Jake down. (And I won’t, either.) (However, if you hear about a Catholic church getting struck by lightning this weekend in Northern Kentucky, someone please see if my body can be retrieved from the wreckage.) This is beyond cool. My friends Genie and Mike have actually got two godmothers and one godfather for this baby. I’m the… I think the official term is non-same-religion godparent. Or something like that. And anyway, the godfather is off being a soldier, so my boobs and I get to stand in for him! It’s like being both in one. Genie calls it my Victor/Victoria stint. (Only nobody’s gonna mistake me for Julie Andrews.)  It’s causing the deacon in charge of facilitating this thing some real distress. Nevermind her.

This is something my agnostic butt wouldn’t miss for the world. Genie has stood by me at times when almost nobody else would. She has been my friend since fifth grade, and I can’t wait to hold her baby in my arms and promise to love it forever.

To triple the fun, I’m staying with another friend. Jenny and I have been friends since preschool, and it’s been far far FAR too long since we got to just hang out. Our parents used to gripe about our incessant sleepovers when we were five and six. But GUESS WHAT Mom and Dad, we were pre-making up for practically the rest of our lives.

So I’m really excited to be going.

But my anxiety level is also through the roof. Because I’ve never left the kids for this long. I’ve never totally abandoned Scott for a weekend. He ditches me as rarely as possible because these two require two parents most of the time. It is neither practical nor sane for one of us to plan a long weekend away.

And I don’t understand this emotion. Who the fuck am I? It’s not like I feel Scott is incompetent. He’ll cope OK. Or at least do as well as I do when I’m pulling a few days as a single Mom. This kind of separation anxiety … it’s the kind of thing other parents feel. Not me.

Because I am not your standard Mama.

And I desperately need this break.

Surely I’ll be fine once I get on the road tomorrow.

Yes. I think I will. Now that I’ve written it down, the excitement is starting to trump the anxiety already.


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Yes, I have an Auntie Em. You don’t? Didn’t everybody’s mother and her best friend watch The Wizard of Oz obsessively every year, to the point that they don’t know why they weren’t named Dorothy? Oh. Just me? Well. Learn something each and every day. Take me back to the blog

It’s the Muppet Show

I didn’t start to cry until Kermit’s first song twenty minutes in. That’s pretty goddamned restrained, if you ask me. By the time we got to “Rainbow Connection”, I was bawling. And when the idiots at the theater brought the lights up five minutes before the credits began, I started howling with incoherent rage. Sorry. If the main characters are still on screen, it is not the credits yet. I don’t care if they’re sharing the space with text.

I can’t say enough how much the Muppets mean to me. I’ve held off on finding out much about this new movie until the last second, because I didn’t want to hope. They’ve always done a decent job, even since Disney took them over. But with all this hype, if they screwed the movie up, I was liable to be devastated.

They didn’t.

I loved it. From the little Toy Story Shorts prequel through the last “mnah-mnah”, I was completely taken in. I don’t suspend disbelief. I don’t think you have to in order to enjoy a story. But I’m sure anybody who listened to me hooting and sobbing at the screen would have thought I felt otherwise.

I first saw the Muppets on my parents black and white kitchen TV when I was a newborn. No, I don’t really remember back that far. But it’s a close thing. I used to sit at the kitchen table and crane my neck because the only place for the kitchen TV was way up on top of a freestanding china cabinet. I remember exactly how I used to squeal every time Kermit came on and said, “It’s the Muppet Show”. I know the theme by heart. And I’m sure you don’t need me to linkup to Youtube, because now I’ve got the song stuck in your head, too.

The Muppets are exactly the same age as me. A few months older, actually. OK really, Kermit and a few of the gang are older than that, because Jim Henson was showing them around on places like Sesame Street before they got their own gig. In fact, I think Kermit was guesting on Ed Sullivan as early as 1966. Which makes him more than a couple of years older than me. Ten of them, really. IF you want to be technical. But by GOD he looks good. They all do. Really, the whole thing was true to Jim Henson’s vision.

But that’s exactly why my heart broke over and over watching it. As much as his creations will outlive him, as much as the magic of Muppetry keeps him alive in our hearts, Jim Henson is dead. He’s been dead for twenty one years now, and I’d really expected to stop mourning him by now. It’s awkward. I never met the man. But my heart hurts for his absence like he was a member of my immediate family. (This isn’t the first time I’ve made a fool of myself over Muppets. See here and here.)

So every time Kermit opened his mouth, I got a little more teary eyed. Steve Whitmore sounds exactly like Henson in the role. I have the first couple of seasons on DVD (and yes, I cry watching those, too). And the voices are indistinguishable. Whitmore’s Kermit is a kind of substitution. A game of pretend that teases me with the man himself. That’s not fair. Because Whitmore gives Kermit life. Really, he does. And there’s no reason Kermit should have to die (Tex “no relationship to the head injury” Richman’s opinion aside) with his creator. But seeing him, hearing him makes me miss the creator more.

It’s funny how everybody’s gone Muppet crazy here lately. If so many of us had really been raised on the show like it is being claimed, then it would never have gone off the air. When they tried to bring it back several years ago, it wouldn’t have failed. There’s a running gag in The Muppets that innocent shows like this have been cast aside for modern violence. Of course, the Muppets prove they are still relevant, good triumphs over evil, and everything comes together in a nice dance number before the credits.

The implication is that the Muppets offer a gateway to a simpler era, where the rainbow connection is a physical thing, probably being held up by Gonzo and Fozzie, who are waiting for Miss Piggy to squash it in a flying karate leap. But there are two problems with the image the movie presents. First of all, as I said, every attempt to bring the Muppets to TV has been ultimately unsuccessful.

Second, the Muppets aren’t simple at all. They’re richly complex, and they dance along the edge of seemly without ever plunging into the sea of inappropriate. Whatever that would be. (Also, they’re merrily violent.) There’s a scene where Jack Black comes out of his dressing room shouting  “I told you, I haven’t finished putting my balls on yet”. Risqué until you realize he’s talking about hard foam craft products. Linda (who turned me onto Muppet Radio at the last second today, the day before it goes off the air) says the chickens have been clucking along all week to the C-Lo Green ditty that drops an F-bomb. In the movie, they have a barbershop quartet consisting of the Swedish Chef and Beaker, among others, mangling “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. AC/DC’s “Back in Black” riffs run through at least one “getting the gang back together” scene. And the movie’s intro song is Paul Simon’s Mama Pajama, which is about underage sex if you actually listen to the lyrics.

(Oh – and as far as I can tell, they didn’t screw around with remakes of the songs. They played the real things. Kudos.)

The Muppets stay relevant not by tying us back to something bygone but by touching on modern themes that matter. In all truth, the running gag is accurate. They’ve been superseded by Dora The Explorer and her fake under-mature clones. I suppose in prime time verbage, that means Phineas and Ferb and i-Carly. Producers prefer kids content that is so inoffensive as to be completely lifeless.

In contrast, producers are scared of Muppets. Muppet humor appeals to everybody because it doesn’t set an imaginary bar between children and adults. And no people, I’m sorry, the ‘adult’ stuff does not go over the kids’ heads. They may not get every single reference. But Caroline sat up and pointed over at her brother’s crotch when Jack Black started griping about his balls. If the kid with Asperger’s who was nearing a sensory meltdown clued in, then I’m pretty sure every other child in the room got it, as well.

The Muppets stay in tune by recognizing that kids aren’t stupid. Their adult humor isn’t adult humor. It’s family humor, because “family” doesn’t have to mean inane and childlike doesn’t have to mean naïve. And even if they’ve been outdone on the TV screen, the Muppets’ movies are still popular. I think this one is going to be a blockbuster.

And this is one of the things in life that makes me wish I had the capacity for belief. I’m agnostic because I’ve got serious issues with organized religion.. But watching that movie, I wanted to think Jim Henson could see it, too. That some vestige of self remains after we die. Some part of us that can still experience human joy. I don’t really think so, though. I think Henson is dead and the closest I’ll ever get to him is watching Kermit in new movies and old reruns. I want to bring the man back to life, but it isn’t going to happen.

The king is dead. Long live the king.

Go watch The Muppets.

You probably won’t cry as much as I did, and you absolutely won’t regret it.

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Red Writing HoodIf you’re here from Red Writing Hood, you probably noticed that I appear to have stuck my middle finger up at the word count. Sorry. Really. I get horrible anxiety when I fail to follow some crucial instruction like that and then claim to have completed the assignment. But also, the song is still running through my head. So maybe I get extra words for that. Or something.

And if you think I ignored the part about magnum opi, then you don’t read this blog very closely. At the moment, this is the area that gets most of my writing. It’s twisted. But I think it counts.