Thursday, August 20, 2009

"the most obnoxious singer in human history": August 19 meditation on David Lee Roth

We're getting ready for tour. As if in anticipation of our future's sojourn to the American Southeast, the weather in Baltimore finally ratcheted itself into actual Fucking Summer territory: ninety degrees plus, steaming stuffed-in-underwear afternoons full of loud sun and windless minutes. The shock of the air conditioning at the post office almost stopped my heart out loud. Our pores are open.

Plus, the basement smells like a catshit mushroom pantsuit. It keeps raining and the floor keeps leaking all over everything; Nate's drumsticks were actually moldy. The cat box gets moldy too. Last month's trial run of World's Very Very Best Feline Expensive Litter (which is made out of corn and which friend Michelle refuses to buy because she, commendably, thinks cats defecating into cornmeal is insulting to the world's hungry) grew blue fuzz after two weeks of tolerating the damp concrete hole that is our practice space beneath my floor.

During times like these, I think of you, Diamond Dave, and how you must have suffered at some point during your life. Was it easier to half-starve while living out of your station wagon, sleeping inside the PA on the beach, wearing blue jeans so thickly starched they could stand on their own, than it was to lose your radio show? Did a poorly built smoke pot ever give you a burn worth writing home about? Do you ever think about Massachusetts and get misty?

Incidentally, back in the starching days, did you see kids powdering their faces to appear British? Do you remember the names of any of those bands you used to play with? What about the compostion of those smoke pots? Please, next time let me help you write your autobiography, next time you live again or when you're ready to commit to something that'd dent the coffee table, something with all the pictures from forever and everybody. Something that really talks about what happened. I think we'd really get along; you're almost a Libra so I understand the edges of your personality, and I always admire a good Virgo. Who doesn't?

Thanks for helping me forget that's its totally hot as balls inside and outside, or rather thanks for helping me realize that life is hot as balls all over and that is a ruling thing. In honor of everything you've done for me personally tonight I'm posting this image from a website that claimed you had a severe allergic reaction to nuts. Which you later denied. Also you look like Vigo from Ghostbusters 2.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

DLR Meditation of The Day, August 16

Where did he get those feathers? In his book Crazy From The Heat, he fills the photo section with images of his adventures down the Amazon, through New Guinea, dragging a boat by a rope, entertaining children with his footwear, canoeing, swinging from vines. The book itself mentions very little of these very adventures except to say that he went there, liked it, and his bodyguard Big Ed came too. DLR and Big Ed go rollerblading together. They do everything together. This, also, is barely elaborated upon. Clearly DLR's South American hijinx are manifest here, in this image: an Amazonian clown, a Boy George of the Jungle. Perhaps he wears souvenirs purchased in those very viney thickets he pranced about within. Here is David as Carnaval shaman, "Eat Em And Smile" referring to the concoction of stems and leaves known as ayahuasca and DLR is not just laying down a jagged 80s imperative, he is literally telling you what must be done.

Mr. Sunday Afternoon Special

I wait tables at A Restaurant. Like many other establishments looking to kill you slowly, we serve a dish called "The Elvis"; two slices of thick-cut, applewood-smoked bacon is cooked into two gigantic buttermilk pancakes, whereupon they are topped with bananas sauteed in honey and butter, a blob of peanut-butter butter and powdered sugar. This coronary is served with a side of pure maple syrup. For those looking to dip their toes into the experience without committing fully, we also provide a single bacon-pancake-banana-peanut-butter pile to those asking for "The Lisa Marie" (pictured). It should be noted that most of our guests have a hard time cleaning up a plate of even the latter.

This weekend is the anniversary of the day Elvis entered the next world largely thanks to food, so it seems only fitting that The Restauranteurs AKA Bosspeople of The Restaurant crafted a menu of special foodstuffs honoring his demise and, at the same time sort of accidentally, honoring the capacity of our cuisine to interrupt one's life cycle.

One of the items on this weekend's menu of death is a $35 crash course in diabetic shock called "The Graceland." We do sweeten the deal, aha, though: if you can plow your way through its SIX bacon-laden pancakes, THREE bananas sauteed in a pint of clover honey and clarified butter, THREE BALLS OF PEANUT-BUTTER BUTTER THE SIZE OF A TEENAGE FIST and a bowl of maple syrup, we will award you a bona fide Restaurant Logo tee shirt.

Luckily the only t-shirts we have left these days are Large an Extra Large. Also, you have to eat the whole thing in 30 minutes or under.

This morning, the restaurant is quiet. A little too quiet. At about 10AM, a lone gentleman arrives. At my mercy. At our mercy. He carries with him a backpack and a plastic bag, through which a bottle of something and paper currency is clearly visible. He is in my section. He is fine with only water. Pointing at the specials menu, he looks up at me. He has one eye.

"This come with a t-shirt?"

"You have to eat the entire thing. In a half and hour or less. Its alot of food!"

He smiles. "I'll take it!"

I ask him if he's sure; he says he's sure yes. The kitchen goes nuts, the manager is joking did he ask for a bucket too. Twenty minutes later, I place before him a pile of flapjacks and slime weighing over five pounds, dripping goo from a height of eight inches. The previous evening, four people working in unison could not conquer this dish. He says "Can I wash my hands?"

"The restroom is right around the corner, first door on your left."

The Graceland is thus allowed a moment of repose. Diners gawk, whispering, and capture its steaming, wide-shouldered form in their memories. We take pictures of it with our digital cameras and inside the tiny image within the tiny screen The Graceland makes everything around it seem to contract in size. The man returns, hands still wet. From his backpack he produces two rubber gloves and fits them awkwardly, squeakily, over his fingers.

Turning around, I leave him to his work.

Momentarily, a coworker gasps "He's eaten a whole ball of peanut butter butter!" Suddenly we're all watching again; he's working on the banana chunks, getting them in there. The peanut-butter butter globs are mostly gone. The topping is going down first. He requires more water. He has not yet engaged the silverware.

He drinks a glass of water, sixteen ounces of cold water. Our cooks are emerging one by one from the kitchen to satisfy their curiousity about the man who bragged he could do it in less than thirty for sure. They can't believe it. He cuts the entire pile in half with his silverware, then again. This will be the extent of his cutlery use for the duration of the meal.

Ten minutes down. Toppings gone, syrup undisturbed, pancakes a pile of shrapnel the color of vehicle upholstery. He has food all over his face like a postcard of a baby, and is hoisting jagged wedges of pancake halfheartedly into his mouth. He needs more water.

Fifteen minutes down. He is starting to reel, eye half closed, sitting up from his meal, from his intense pancake-ingesting hunch.

"You better bring a bucket, I'm gonna throw up!"

At this I sort of laugh and pour him some more water and then head into the kitchen looking for a suitable container for what would be, at this point, about a gallon of foamy tan vomit. It occurs to me that we should probably not cater to his immediate whim or perhaps fantasy of barfing in the middle of a restaurant but I sort of feel like I'm going to vomit myself and I momentarily fear that if I return to his side I will either vomit or be vomited upon. The host is ashen; he, too, has got the puke fever.

No. At eighteen minutes, we have to address the situation. A half-dozen tourists are watching him intently, having just finished their comparatively miniature breakfasts, and it would not do to encourage their accidental regurgitation either.

I return to the table.

"These are the worst pancakes I've ever had!" He is swirling in his chair, gloved hands coated with pale muck, fingers wiggling slowly.

"Sir, are you ok?"

"You better bring me a bucket."

"Ha ha! Well. Lets get into the restroom, then. Can you stand up?"

He rises, teetering, and I guide him as gingerly as I can towards the men's room. He stumbles through the partially opened door towards the urinal.

"Sir! The stall!" I exclaim, alarmed. He changes course, heading for the toilet instead. Once more, I leave him to his work.

Twenty-two minutes. An intrepid dishwasher volunteers to check on him. The report back from the front is there's no mess, he wants some more water, and now he's in the hallway. The manager is concerned about whether or not we've landed him in the hospital later today. We decide he's earned The Graceland, now an assortment of cake nuggets and melting ice cubes waiting moistly for his return. This one will be on the house.

Thirty minutes. At a table in the bathroom corridor, head in his hands. I fill his water glass and at the sound of ice cubes hitting plastic he looks up. I give him antacid tablets and he chews them like dinner mints.

"I don't know what I did to myself!"

"Its on us. Could have been the peanut butter butter, right?"

"I'll be fine I'll just have a cigarette. Want to have a cigarette with me?"

"No thanks."

He gathers his belongings and reemerges into the balmy heat of the day. We think, Ah! If he comes back we should give him a t-shirt anyway.