August 30, 2009
The Prince of Peace Has Risen, Hugh Hefner, Playboy Mansion, Shel Silverstein
The other day, my son was getting out of bed around three in the afternoon, walking around in his bathrobe, going out for a smoke, and his girlfriend and other friend suddenly started talking out loud and I thought of two things at once. Both were books. One was Ron Carlson’s story “Bigfoot Stole my Wife.” Our narrator is explaining why Bigfoot would have stolen his wife and explaining that Bigfoot was stalking the wife all summer. He says, “In the two and a half years we were married, I often had the feeling that I would come home from the track and something would be funny. Oh, she’d say things: One of these days I’m not going to be here when you get home, things like that, things like everybody says. How stupid of me not to see them as omens. When I’d get out of bed in the early afternoon, I’d stand right here at this sink and I could see her working in her garden in her cut-off Levis and bikini top, weeding, planting, watering. I mean it was obvious. I was too busy thinking about the races, weighing the odds, checking the jockey roster to see what I now know: he was watching her too. He’d probably been watching her all summer.” I always liked that because it so neatly summed up their marriage. Like a Bukowski relationship. He was at the track, she was doing something productive. Then she was gone, and if you want more details, you must read the story and you should follow it by reading, “I am Bigfoot,” where Bigfoot gets to tell his side of it, and apparently he does have a side. Bigfoot is not the guy in the stream. He says, “one that really makes me sick purports to show me standing in a stream in Northern California. Let me tell you something: Bigfoot never gets his feet wet.” But he also explains this stalking of women, apparently women like Bigfoot. Who knew?
But back to my son. So, he gets out of bed in the early afternoon, and if he keeps on like this, I’m afraid Bigfoot might steal his girlfriend. The other book I thought of was the book we published Shel Silverstein and Me about Shel Silverstein living at the Playboy Mansion. That’s where he got all the inspiration to become a great guru. So, if you want to become a great guru, you might want to think about that. Your great wilderness of the soul could be at the Playboy Mansion. You could emerge as a spiritual leader. Like Moses or Shel or Gandhi. At the Playboy Mansion, according to Marv’s book about Shel, you couldn’t get noisy until someone announced, “The Prince of Peace has risen,” and that indicated that Hugh had woken up and you could now begin to make more noise.
My son’s friends are quiet and respectful until he emerges in his bathrobe. He hasn’t taught them yet to say, “The Prince of Peace has risen,” and I explained that two rabbits, one girlfriend and one guy friend isn’t the same as the Playboy Mansion. He wants to check the Mansion out, see for himself. Maybe he can be a great be a great guru like Shel. He already has a guitar and a knack for drawing. Who knows? At least Bigfoot can’t steal his wife since he hasn’t got one yet.
I’ll end with the words of Ron Carlson one of this century’s greatest living fiction writers. Because there is truth in fiction and he gets truth so mixed up with fiction that the truth is what you hold onto. From the end of “Bigfoot Stole My Wife,” he says, “People are always saying: don’t believe everything you read, or everything you hear. And I’m here to tell you. Believe it. Everything. everything you read. Everything you hear. Believe your eyes. Your ears. Believe the small hairs on the back of your neck. Believe all of history, and all of the versions of history, and all the predictions for the future. Believe every weather forecast. Believe in God, the afterlife, unicorns, showers on Tuesday. Everything has happened. Everything is possible.”
Well, we had a great dinner last night with our daughter’s girlfriend’s parents from Murietta over to spend the night, and yes, we had my ex-husband and his wife over too. My ex-husband arrived with a fanny pack. Now, I remember when he used to need a fanny pack when he was working in the film industry, but what are the chances that he is going to need to fix something around the house when he is over at someone’s house for dinner? Slim to nothing. But he has that look. We had margaritas, guacamole, seared ahi, Spanish rice, stuffed chilies, gazpacho, great food and great company. I think Mark made everything a little to spicy for most people, but they liked it anyway. Margaritas help a lot.
This week we are going to the Sequoias to go camping and fishing. I wish we could bring our dog JJ, but I know Mark would say it’s not a good place for her. She would love it. We always camp at this place where no campers or RV’s are allowed, and that’s why we love it there. Only tent camping is possible. We camp beside a river and that water rushing is the first and last thing you hear morning and night and the sky is full of stars. When we first took the kids there, they were amazed at how many stars there are. Stars and waterfalls, good reasons to leave Los Angeles for one more weekend before we are all plunged headfirst into the fall semester. Everyone is a college student in this family except me and I teach.