Sometimes when I watch TV, especially commercials, I'm amazed at what they show, things I never thought I'd see as a kid.
There is, of course, the music on commercials. I never thought I'd see companies using the Beatles, the Stones, the Who to sell products, and Donovan is all over the place. One night, late at night, I saw a commercial for a vibrator followed by one for a penis pump. Oh, and those Exzyte commercials, for penis enlargement. At that stuff to enhance "female pleasure." Tampon and condom commercials. Commercials that say "diarrhea" and "hemorrhoids" a lot.
But the ones that always get me, for some reason, are the Mucinex commercials with the little mucus family that moves into someone's sinuses. People, that is talking snot right there on your TV set. Walking and talking snot. And this isn't South Park, which after all, featured a talking piece of shit. This is a TV commercial you can see on primetime. It's like something I would have giggled about as a kid: "What if there was a commercial for cold pills and there was talking snot, like little people made of snot, and the cold pills would kill them? HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!" This is the kind of stuff that one of my old friends (no names, please) and I would laugh hysterically over when we were bad teenagers and indulging in herbal remedies. Talking snot.
I wouldn't have remembered -- shouldn't have, really -- that yesterday was V's birthday, except that we share some Facebook friends and everyone was wishing him a happy birthday. Barf. I can't tell you how much trouble I used to go through for his birthday every year: a selection of carefully selected gifts, cards, a couple of pints of my homemade sorbet and once I even cooked him dinner when Mrs. V was on a business trip on his birthday. When I turned fifty, he blew off my party at the last minute, and then sent a gift, which was an unwrapped, damaged book with no card. Actually, the only time I ever got a birthday gift from him was one year that I helped him out with the internet -- he really didn't know how to use eBay, and I spotted a collectible there that he really wanted. I told him about it, and he told me how much he wanted to bid, and I took care of it for him. It was actually a lot of two identical items (I had a collection of the same item he did), and I announced that the second one would be his birthday present to me. He was a really bad friend in many ways, but he had me so snowed with his wit, intelligence, and goofy charm that he got away with it for years. He still gets away with it with a lot of people. None of those people wishing him happy birthday have any idea that if you're not useful to him, he's not interested. His fans, of course, are useful, to a point. I'm not even a fan any more. After 36 years, I gave it up. I'm still not happy at being thrown away the way I was, of that passive-aggressive thing of pretty much ignoring me until I got upset enough to be the one to break it off. I think I still feel hurt, and it did leave a certain empty space in my life. But I'd rather have it empty than have him in it again. Barry always thinks V. and I would, maybe should, reconcile; V. & I knew each other for something like 32 of the 36 years I was a fan. But it would never be fun again. It would just be me, waiting for the next time my feelings would be hurt. No more, no more.
I have a friend in Chicago I rarely see. We actually met when he was in a band that did some gigs with V. in New York. (I did meet a lot of worthwhile people through V, I must say.) I'll call him Matt. Matt and I met around 92 or 93, and had a huge and constant correspondence, all on paper, maybe four or five letters every week. We fancied ourselves in love for a bit, but that didn't come to anything. He was brilliant, an amazing writer, and amazing songwriter and singer. He was also painfully shy and not very socially adept. In other words, he was one of those brilliant and peculiar guys I tend to adore. Anyway, about a year after I got married, he met someone and they got married. We couldn't make it to the wedding, but i was very moved by how he wrote about her and by his obvious love and admiration for her. Our correspondence dwindled, of course. The last I heard from him was maybe a few years ago, and he included, rather proudly, a program from one of her roller derby games (which she did even though she was rather old and heavy for the gig). He was really enthralled.
He's not really an internet dude, but I had the idea the other day to look for his wife on Facebook. We hadn't met but knew of each other, and I really thought she was cool. I found her Facebook page and saw that she lived in Kentucky, which struck me as odd, but maybe they had moved there. I decided to look at her blog before sending a friend request, and I found they were divorced, maybe a couple of years, and it seemed to have been her idea (a feeling-trapped, different-goals thing). I felt very sad for him, did not friend her, and wrote him a long letter. Some things end, I guess: marriages, friendships. And some of them change. But I do hope to reconnect with Matt, who is a truly sweet and wonderful person.