Monthly Archives: January 2016

I Get PAID To Do The Wild Thing: When Suddenly Everything Makes Sense



“So when the show was finished I took her around the way
And what do you know she was good to go without a word to say
We was all alone and she said, “Tone, let me tell you one thing
I need 50 dollars to make you holler, I get paid to do the wild thing”

–Ton Loc, Wild Thing



This was my 14-yr old daughter’s moment of recognition, an epiphany.  We had listened to this song in the car many times before this, but just last week it all started to make sense to her.  Like me before her, she is now understanding things she didn’t before, and life will never be the same.

When I was 14, (14!), I my father took me to see the movie “Coming Home” starring Jon Voight and Jane Fonda.  Voight’s character is paralyzed from the waist down but Jane Fonda is determined to prove that his “equipment” still functions.  To do this, she gets on her hands and knees and well, you can guess the rest.  It wasn’t until many years later that it clicked what was going on there.  My reaction was, “OMG, I was sitting next to my FATHER!  EWW!!!!”

It was around the same time that my next-door-neighbor and I were doing the “Time Warp,” (again) in her brother’s bedroom and she slipped on something and started to shriek.  It was a used condom.  Again, it occurred to me years later what the contents of a “used” condom was.  Again, it was an OMG moment and another “EWWWWWW.”




“So, she lays down beside me again
My sweet painted lady, the one with no name
Many have used her and many still do
There’s a place in the world for a woman like you
Oh, sweet painted lady
Seems it’s always been the same
Getting paid for being laid
Guess that’s the name of the game”
–Elton John, Sweet Painted Lady
Elton John’s double-album “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” taught me everything about life that I need to know.  We’ve got suicide by sticking a head in the oven, women, essentially pedophiles who want to sleep with Alice while their husband’s are away, and a guy who sleeps with his landlord so he doesn’t have to pay his rent.  And of course, there’s the sweet painted lady, a prostitute who sleeps with sailors during their short ports of call. On the flipside, I also learned that it was okay to fight on a Saturday night.
I remember finally understanding that a “squeeze box” was not an accordion and that “Stroke Me, stroke me” was about, well, you know.  Finally, I understand that the reference to “a needle and a spoon” in the amazing Stone’s song “Dead Flowers” is about heroin.
My daughter will start to understand the sexual innuendos that are in some of her favorite  television shows.  She will start to understand the lyrics to the unedited versions of horrible modern songs that are so filthy that I can’t even bear to listen to them.
My sweet innocent child, there’s still a lot to learn out there in the world but there are indeed just happy pop songs and family tv and movies that are lovely reflections of the non-underbelly of life.  I can’t shield you from the rest but I hope I can talk you down from some of your “EWW” moments and we can just laugh and laugh, together.




When I was part of the online dating “community” a large percentage of male profiles would say, rather emphatically, “No drama, no baggage.”  These pompous idiots infuriated me because that request alone, shined a light on their intolerance and serious delusions of the real world.  In reading between the not-so-subtle lines they were really just saying, “no psychopaths or crazy ass bitches.”

I don’t subscribe to the concept of us all having “baggage” and bringing it into our relationships.  We are all made up of our pasts, dramatic or not.  Oftentimes our partners are sympathetic to the memories and experiences we carry and will always carry.  If we’re lucky enough, they will want to learn about them and understand the things we bring to the table.  I’m happy to say, that I’m one of the lucky ones.

For my entire adult life I have had several recurring dreams that are so incredibly frustrating because they always end in exactly the same way.  I know that dreams are highly personal and usually not that interesting to other people but the main themes and point are somewhat universal (I think).

In the first I’m desperately trying to catch a train from Boston to New York where I grew up.   The steps go like this:  I go to an information booth where I wait while the agents ignore me as they chat and laugh with each other.  When they finally acknowledge my presence, in a “what the fuck do you want?” haughtiness I ask when the next train is.  Usually I have something like an hour to catch it but it involves taking two subways to get to the right station.  I never have the change to put in a turnstile slot  (old school, I guess?)  and I have to find a place to turn my dollars into coins.  I then clamor to make the subway that is just pulling into the station and off I go.

When I arrive I go to some sort of holding area where about seven or so suitcases, duffle bags, and boxes containing pieces of my life have somehow materialized.  When the train finally pulls in giving the passengers about five minutes to board I seem to have great confidence that I can take several trips to carry them down to the platform little by little.  Some make it on but while I’m going up to get the last of them, the train leaves, along with my boxed possessions.  When I ask an  agent where they’ll eventually end up, he tells me that if I’m lucky they’ll end up in a massive warehouse of lost things or, they’ll get thrown away.  And poof, with that, part of my life is gone forever.

In one other, actually one I’ve had for a bit longer, my collection of books, which in the dream has turned massive, ends up on shelves at my old summer camp, a place I know every inch of and what I consider my “happy place.”  There are enough to fill the equivalent of 4 bookstore-sized shelves and are affixed to the softball field where people can come and buy them.  Inside one of the bunks are racks and racks of clothes I’ve never seen before in sizes I’ve never been.

Most people have a childhood home where they can store things in a basement or garage.  I haven’t had a childhood home since I was 13.  I lived with my mother in an apartment and my father lived in California so I’ve had to move my life with me, FOURTEEN  times since college.  Even though I’ve amassed most of these things post-college, they are my burden to bear, weighing me down, complicating my life.  I’ve forgotten trunks in storage rooms with precious things, never to be seen again.  I’ve had boxes of letters cave in on each other because of moisture in basements of my several houses.  I’ve had to throw away clothes because they’ve spilled over onto basement floors.

For years I’ve attempted to purge the stuff that I’ve lugged around for my entire adult life.  I’ve torn up pictures of people who I have no clue who they are, I’ve tossed several piles of angry, critical letters that I received from my father over the years and just kept the nice ones, and sold some shit I never needed in the first place at yard sales.  In some ways, this seems like a shedding of some sort, relieving myself of useless baggage that has done nothing but weighed and worn me down.  Soon they will stop crowding me.

I recently told my therapist that I dream of a bigger house.  We talked about the shit I’ve amassed and how horrible it makes me feel when I see the clutter of my life.  In response she said “We have to live within the space we have.”  That was profound for me.  To me, it means more than needing a place to put things.  It also means what clutters and takes up space in our  brains, what makes us feel badly about ourselves.

I’m praying that this concept manifests itself in my dreams.  I’m praying that my seven or so massive boxes and suitcases whittle down to what is manageable to get on a train in one trip.  And maybe, just maybe, those things that end up in a massive warehouse of lost possessions will free me of the baggage that is clearly in my head.