Yesterday, me and Violet were laying on the floor in her room.
That in itself is kind of cool because it isn't lost on me that in a few more years there will be no more of that horse shit allowed. Don't get me wrong: I'll try; when V's girls are all over after school and they're all jammed into her bedroom giggling and squelching, patting each others cheeks with strip mall rouge under posters of bands/unicorns/vampire romeos, I know I'll do one of those KNOCK-KNOCKs where you actually knock while you say "KNOCK-KNOCK" but in reality you were already inside the room with darting radar shooting out of your entire face long before the first vocal "Knock" was anywhere near complete. Then, I'll try and be the "cool" dad and sit down on the floor with the gang and start laughing at whatever it is they're laughing at already, even if I know deep down that, well, they're actually laughing at me...the TryHard in an XL Monsterface t-shirt.
(For those of you who just can't manage to see the future of music before it happens: in 2022 the music world is taken slightly by surprise when the batshit crazy delinquent and one-time teen idol flash-in-the-pan, Justin Bieber, joins forces with the re-re-re-resurrected singer dude from Stone Temple Pilots to form Monsterface, a band whose debut album, DIRTY UNCLES, features a kind of Chris Whitley-ish bluesy undercurrent along with piping hot Les Paul crunch and two lead vocalists singing out the conceptual parts of a filthy detestable uncle (STP) and his choirboy-gone-mad nephew (Bieber). And sometimes there's a dobro and no one anywhere in any facet of culture or the business of culture has any fucking clue what to do with it. I end up wearing the shirt, I reckon. Don't ask me why: it sounds abysmal.)
Violet's eyes will no doubt become weapons at that point, with poison darts emerging from her eyeballs at the rate of a billion per second when I plop down in her room. I will try not to notice. I'll try and be cool, reserved. No hokey stories of my "days in the band". Or my "years on the road". Or the "things I've seen". Nope. Instead, I'll try and just be chill and sip from my bottle of SmartWater (healthy-cool).
It won't work though, I know that. No self-respecting 12 or 13 year olds want to chillax with their fat dad when their friends are all over. Or even when they ain't. So after a few incredibly awkward moments of nervous eye darts and post-nuclear disaster silence, I'll get up and waddle out.
On my way out, I'll ask if anyone wants to see my new Target Bobby Flay gas/charcoal grill. No one will respond or even look at me.
When I close the door behind me, there will be a moment of pause...like in the seconds after a church bell chimes down the alleys of Florence on a spring Sunday morning...and then squeals of appalling laughter will be fired at me from behind the walls of a sacred castle in which I have no place. The sting will be the sting. There is nothing you can do, really.
So, it was with genuine delight yesterday afternoon when I popped down with 14 month old Violet on the mauve carpet in her pink and green room and put on YOU'RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN on the DVD. We watched together for a while, her resting her head on my chest now and then (melting my cold steel guts!), and sometimes wandering over to pick up the metal triangle or the lummy stick in the corner before coming back for more cartoon. Then, at one point,almost unconsciously, I happened to push the little round PAUSE button on the DVD while my daughter was holding onto my hand.
Her eyes got big. Something sparked.
She squeezed my finger hard. Then again. She moved my finger away from the button.
Then, quickly, she pushed it back to the DVD. I hit the PAUSE. Charlie Brown continued his talk. She couldn't believe it. I was magic.
She moved my finger. I paused the film.
Her face grew more intense. She moved my finger again, as if she were leading an elephant across the lane.
I unpaused and the action kicked in. She did it, two/three/fourty times . Faster now, repeating the motion of pulling my finger to and from that one button over and over and over again with desperate rapidity, each time staring at the screen with bugged-out eyes, trying to fathom that it was all true indeed! That her daddy was controlling the universe in which one Snoopy existed! I was mesmerized too. I was witnessing my baby's brain at work. Even if she had a glass-bottom head, it couldn't have been any cooler, any sweeter.
Then, after fifteen minutes or so of the discovery being tested and re-tested, I started to think that I must be close to breaking the DVD player. There was no way it was meant to be fucked with like that, at that magnitude or at that speed. I ended the game with a series of Martian type tongue rolls that I do. It creates a clicky GodAwful sound that never fails to ruin all fun at any given moment. It worked of course, and the moment straddled a sunbeam and rode off into the late afternoon sun.
Then we went down to the kitchen to eat some cheese chunks and maybe some toast and maybe some juice.