vada and toys
I spent Sunday in front of the television. The race at Martinsville first, then March Madness, Duke wins again. And possibly a thousand commercials, several of them multiple times apiece. It amuses Justin and Melvin that I laugh every time a viagra or cialis commercial flashes on the flatscreen. They miss the humor and I can't explain, it would sound too condescending. A hot middle-aged babe, dressed in the appearance of satin, lounging on a hotel bed, twisting slowly and writhing. The one that slays me is the white-haired cowboy in a big dually pickup pulling a horse trailer with two horses in Utah or someplace similarly rugged. He is stopped by a mud puddle in the dirt road his power vehicle can't mud-sling its way through to completion. He lets the horses out of the trailer and hitches them to his truck. The spare horsepower pulls him on through, manhood intact. I laugh at the brief sex cartoons about old people. A man and a woman, painting a bench together with dry paint brushes, get romantic all of a sudden, like, let's get it on baby, people who just met when they got the roles in the commercial after auditions. They look more like models chosen from an agency. It's Dick Clark and Connie Francis falling in love all over again. Once the old boy is convinced he no longer has to be a sheep, but can be a wolf, the second half of the commercial warns of imminent death. If you use this product, you're on your own, sucker. This shit will kill your ass. The funny part is the list of ways it will kill you is so long it requires as much air time as the seduction to buy the product.
Half way through the list, I break out laughing. I think it can't go on much longer and it does. It keeps on promising at least a heart-attack if you give yourself over to lust. Just like in church. Ask your doctor if your heart is up to getting off. You already know it's a sin. If fear of God doesn't inhibit you, listen to the long sermon of the thousand agonizing ways you will die. Take a chance on love, indeed. Next, the tubular frame of a race car painted white inside a big empty garage. Engine is inserted, a body and wheels put on it, Dale Jr crawls in the window and burns rubber leaving the pit stop to go back into the race. It was a fun commercial to watch the first hundred times. Yesterday I didn't think to count how many times this commercial played during the race. It must be popular. I have no recollection what it was selling. I see the commercial an art form, each one created by artists who are making their living in advertising. The Budweiser horse and dog commercials make a brief movie full of emotion. They're good the first hundred times, too. Dale Jr has become a favorite among the drivers for commercials. He's the most popular driver, his fans are vehement and he's somewhat photogenic. He has become the Paul Walker replacement on NASCAR. Mr Cool who races at 200 mph. Mountain Dew. I'd venture that a high percentage of the newer houses built in the South have Mountain Dew cans in the walls, left by working men putting up the sheet rock, a disposal place for lunch trash. Nabs wrappers, Vienna sausage cans, empty cigarette packs. It satisfies a graffiti impulse, an anonymous way of saying, "I worked on the construction of this house." A signature.
Vada, three, going on four in two months, kept us entertained in an interactive way. She danced, she played with her toys, showed dolls. She came into the room wearing the blue Elsa dress from the movie Frozen, "Who am I now?" I said, Elsa, and she danced out the door, returned shortly in another dress, "Who am I now?" I said, Anna, pronounced Ah-nah, European style. Vada had instructed me earlier it is Ah-nna, not Anna. She danced out the door again and returned in a red gown of a dress and danced. I was ready for her this time. I kicked myself for not getting pictures in her different outfits. I made several pictures of her dancing. Most of them were terrible because I could not anticipate her next move. She was like a flame, unpredictable, flowing with whatever happens. Daddy and Melvin were locked in on the race. I was open to Vada. She brought in a pink plastic pumpkin full of her little dolls. She put them out on the floor. She showed me this one and that one. Mermaids, mini-Barbies, several different kinds. I stood one on top of a box that held toys, and Vada knocked it off. I put another one there. Vada knocked it off. Crystal walked in the door and said, "What are y'all doing?" I said, "We're playing doll suicide." I picked up the Cinderella doll, about three inches high, stood her on the edge of the box, saying, "Cinderella jumps from hotel window," and sent her to the floor. Crystal said, "You're nuts." Crystal in the room distracted Vada's attention from the dolls and me. Crystal came in for a rest from housecleaning and Vada jumped on her wanting to play as soon as she sat down.
Vada took me to her room to see what was playing on her tv. Jurassic Park. It was a scene with a man in a yellow rain jacket and a big lizard. What I saw of a moment of script and visuals confirmed this really was the children's movie I suspected when it was new. Vada pointed at it saying something was about to happen. Whatever was on the verge of happening scared her. She said, "This is mean. I don't want to watch it," and ran from her room back to the tv room. She has taken to acting. Elsa, in the movie, Frozen, has become Vada's alter-ego. She now acts Elsa scenes as if she were Elsa, herself. And she sings Elsa's song as her own. Elsa's world is a magical world for a three-year-old. From time to time, Vada will point at me like she's casting a spell and say in a threatening tone of voice, "I will freeze your heart." It has significance in Elsa's story, though I have no idea what it could be. I clutch at my heart and act like I've been zapped. It's important to Vada that I act the role she assigns me. If I don't know what it is, she explains. It is so much better for me to have a living child in the room. Vada gives me a break from the tv. Daddy and Melvin are pre-occupied and I am ready to let her show me the dolls, tell about each one, tell about her magic snowflake. She begins a performance, "Wanna see what I can do?" I say, yes, and she does a twirl, or whatever comes to mind. Vada gets me through the 1pm to 8pm tv. We snack on junk food and pizza. The flatscreen flickers, tells me where I can eat the cheapest, buy the cheapest insurance, and get more for less.
grumpy old bastard by vada