Nothing like a trip to Warped to make you fear for the future of your country. Hey, you — yeah, you with the one-inch ear grommet. (I’m told they’re called “gauges.”) Now that your passion for individual self-expression has tipped over into self-mutilation, what with the Ubangi earlobe and neck tattoos, are you aware that you’ve now entered the shadowlands of the economy, that no one will hire you for anything more than hawking CDs of bands that will never get a major-label record contract? Maybe you’ll get beamed up to roadie someday, and you can pick up the girls the band rejects. Motorcycle maintenance — there’s another career path, if you have the skills. Or you could be the next Cat Whisperer, although you should note he has not done that thing with his ears, and if he wore a long-sleeved shirt and gave up on the stupid facial hair, he’d look relatively normal. You, however…
Oh, and you over there — yes, you, the sweet, lovely 18-year-old, although you look younger, hon. I’m assuming you’re 18 because you too have self-expressed through permanently inking parts of your body that will be revealed in standard white-collar office garb. It’s possible you are younger, though, and did this to yourself with a fake ID or even parental approval. Someday you’re going to get tired of working at Costco and want a leg up, maybe into a spot as a dental hygienist or LPN. Dentists are professionals, and like professional office staff; do you really want to spend the rest of your life dabbing concealer on that stupid butterfly under your earlobe? Tell me the story behind that one. Oh, you got it because a butterfly represents transformation, and you used to be really shy, but then you met Kenny and he brought you out of your shell — sorry, your pupae stage — so you thought you’d demonstrate your love and devotion by making it permanent. And then he left, but hey, it’s not like you put his name there or anything. Butterflies are pretty. Stupid dentists.
Oh, don’t mind me. I’m just spinning conversations with the air. It’s entirely possible this generation will march boldly into the future and seize it with both hands, and that one day the cover of Fortune magazine will feature a CEO with a net worth of $20 billion and a giant grommet in his ear, and that my teeth will be cleaned someday by a hygienist — nay, my dentures fitted by a dentist — with an inky sleeve depicting the battle of Armageddon, enacted by anthropomorphic toothbrushes. And no one will think anything of it.
And maybe monkeys will fly out my butt. Just watch.
Back from Cleveland in the nick of time for the heat to find another gear of misery. Today’s expected high: 100 degrees. Today’s expected cloud cover: 0. Percentage of today I will spend in the great outdoors: Not bloody much. But I’m glad I went, both for the midweek break and the chance to see some things I haven’t seen before, and meet the wonderful Michael Heaton, who led us to a great bar just west of downtown, the Parkview, where I was introduced to deep-fried asparagus. We were to meet him on the street out front and follow him there, so I said, “What kind of car do you drive?”
“A red convertible,” he replied.
Expecting a Mustang, or something worthy of a blogger who calls himself the Minister of Culture and the brother of a famous Hollywood actress, I was nonetheless taken aback when a Chevy Cavalier with deer damage pulled alongside. Oh, well — he is a journalist, after all.
More on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame later. One last word about Warped:
I won’t apologize for enjoying the parents’ tent as much as I did — the air-conditioning, while not terribly effective, was a pleasant break, and the ice-cold water a wonderful treat. I read “A Clash of Kings” on my iPad and watched other parents — the woman who alternated between Virginia Woolf on her Kindle and mad texting on her phone, another who went through two issues of the Chronicle of Higher Education before turning to “American Psycho.” Reverse Daycare was staffed by a cute girl of Indian bloodlines who, I decided, must be a student of the hard sciences at the higher-ed level — she was self-assured among her sweaty elders, and her tattoo was small, on her shoulder blade, and depicted the DNA molecule.
But I did get out every couple hours or so, to walk around until I wilted and listen to some music. The music was? Loud. The sights were? Arresting (and I’m sorry, I can’t get this photo to rotate):
(You wonder how I handle these moments as a parent? Teachable!)
Now, off to catch up on a few days’ of put-off work. Stay cool, all.