This is a story based on what I, and I think many other people, do when feeling unwell. It’s published in the British lit mag, Litro.
This story was originally here on my blog, but after a good, much-needed edit, it became exponentially better and was then accepted for publication in the iconic, warm Deep South Magazine. I could not be more proud. Makes me wanna drink a big ‘ole glass of sweet tea.
It’s inspired by real people who I knew from my dad’s hair salon in the Beverly Hills of Dallas, Park Cities.
Yes, it’s true. Our film, “His Name is Bob“, was voted by the Dallas Observer as in the Top 10 best music docs in the city.
Huge honor. Here is the link to the story.
Just a quick back story: I co-produced it with J. Sebastian and Heather Lee. Together, we are 3 Frogs Productions.
Selected to be in nine film festivals across the U.S., the film received distribution on The Documentary Channel and ran for a year. After that it received streaming distribution from Nelson Madison Films in Los Angeles, and it can be seen now on Google Play, YouTube Movie Rentals and SnagFilms.
You can also buy a DVD on our site.
The story of a spiritual savant who survives his own personal holocaust.
A line from our trailer that pretty much says it all:
Bob has nothing to offer us. Except the answer that could save us all.
Come join us on a spiritual journey.
My latest essay, “Corrective Shoes and Colonics,” was published in Red Fez.
It’s all true.
Yes, I am a sad one. But all of it, this tragic story, utterly tickles me.
Jingles. Yes. I have written them. Can’t say I’m proud. It’s just a fact: when you’re an ad copywriter, some corporations call for musical renditions through which they woo their customers. Or think they are wooing them. (Right now, the Milestone Electric “Fix it in a Flash” jingle makes me instantly frozen with distaste and anger. I want to punch the TV in the face when I hear it.)
You see, most of the time, these simpleton-ish ditties get stuck in my head on a terrifying loop and I end up singing them 24/7 like a crazy person inside my head, but sometimes, these irritating melodies spill out when I’m in the shower or taking out the trash or walking to the ladies room (or in a ladies room stall). So excuse me in advance, if you ever see/hear me singing to myself.
My jingle was for fried-in-GMO-vein-clogging-corn-oil (might even be some motor oil in there) shrimp from Long John (Dong, we said) Silvers. Yes. But not just any ‘ole shrimp. BIG SHRIMP!
Here are the lyrics:
“Big shrimp, sounds like a contradiction.
Big shrimp, we’re not talking fiction.
Big shrimp, it’ll bigger than your prediction.
Big shrimp, it’ll cure your shrimp addiction.
At Loooong Joooohn Siiiillllvers…
The jingle was sung for me by a now-deceased friend, Mark, who chose to interpret this jaunty number as a Frank Sinatra/SNL Bill Murray lounge singer, replete with accompaniment on his portable Casio organ.
It was incredible and I can sing it now. I wish you could hear me.
The agency, however, chose to make it schmaltzy with a chorus of singers and lots of tambourines, finger cymbals and congas. (Not really.) But the thing I liked best about the commercial was that the couple, two blonde-ish, middle-aged actors (bad casting, middle aged people can die eating this crap) who were meant to be in love with Long John’s Big Shrimp flirted with each and actually “toasted” with the shrimp a la wine glasses. However, while on production, they (I didn’t get to go on the shoot) saved the best for last:
These two vanilla-y, scale-paid actors consumed this death food by wrapping their wrists around each other like newlyweds do at a wedding when eating their cake and FED each other the shrimp.
I am going to find this gem of creative brilliance and post it here. All I have now is a clunky, boxy three-quarter tape that costs oodles to get transferred to a something playable. (The speed technology advances is as warp-speed fast as Twitter posts appearing on my feed. I refresh my page and there are 3 Tweets. I look up two minutes later, there are 568. True story. Sort of.)
Nevertheless, Mark sent me a cassette (what are those?) with his joyous recording on it. I played it for everyone who I could pin down in my office for at least a minute.
But the fun didn’t end there.
Mark used the same tune for another song that he wrote lyrics for, and sadly, I can’t claim authorship to them. His excellent song was “Let’s Rock Iraq.”
Once again, he sang his unique compositions a la Wayne Newton and he just tickled me – his voice had a certain swagger. Back in the backward technology days of 90s (car cell phones the size of bricks) and when we were at war with Saddam Hussein, he sang this one to me – into my answering machine. When I came home from work, I was greeted by a flashing light (always so exciting!). I pushed the button and out came these astonishingly clever lyrics:
“Saddam is such a mad man.
Hussein rhymes with insane.
He’s really got it, that man.
This guy’s a royal pain.
He’s stirrin’ up the Arab masses.
He needs some geography classes.
Look how high the price of gas is…
Let’s go kick some Iraqi asses…
And then repeat that last refrain.
When I got home and heard this on my modern machine, I just fell out (this is what they do at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church when someone is slain by the spirit. I was just writhing with uncontrollable laughter.)
I miss my friend, Mark. He was such a funny, kind, gentle soul, and so wanted to be a jingle singer. When he died, he left me all his VHS tapes of classic movies like “Gone with the Wind” and musicals like “My Fair Lady” – hundreds of them! I was in Cinema Heaven!
And while Mark never was a national sensation, he was my Big Shrimp-singing hero for a brief :30 in time, and was famous through Big Shrimp from Long John Silvers. In my office. For all who passed by.
To this, I raise my imaginary crunchy crustacean and toast a hearty thank you to the Jingle God – and Long John Silvers for bestowing upon me – and Mark – the chance to immortalize ourselves in the baffling contradiction called Big Shrimp!
Recently, my story, “My Black and White Dad”, was published in Flash Fiction Magazine, a literary journal out of the UK.
So, yeah, I was crazy that day. I was driving on I-75 in a tornado-esque rainstorm, feeling a mammoth deficit of estrogen and progesterone, and straight up terrified, like pee my pants terrified (I’m a big baby), that the 18-wheeler within inches of my car was going to shove me into the concrete barrier.
And that would be it.
Histrionic? Yes. That’s me. But I don’t like driving and especially in Dallas on I-75, where one Thursday night a bunch of guys on crotch rockets descended upon me like a swarm of killer bees, scaring the bejesus out of me, then scurried away in formation like one long, glittery rattlesnake. This memory haunts me every time I hit the entrance ramp.
Anyhoo, this is the story, the fear-based rant I dictated to my sad iPhone, a 4 that is lacking in all hipness and coolery. Also contributing to my Woody Allen-ish neuroses (love him, his obsession with death, but could do without his betrayal of Mia) is my OCD. But I don’t want to get into a loop about that. So stop I will.
Blessing to you all who pass this way….and actually stop and read.