Never Gonna Be That Old

17 Jun

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  I am in love with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.  Let’s try another way of stating this:  I, a 65-year-old-evangelical-Black-woman, am in love with Macklemore and Lewis’ new video release of “Can’t Hold Us” (featuring that cutie-pie, Ray Dalton).  If you know what I’m talking about then you are probably under 30-years old and your jaw just dropped to the floor that a 65-year-old-chubby-ass woman knows and likes the writers of “Thrift Shop”—pee-pee sheets and all.  But if you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, then you’re most likely a Mormon, dead, a conservative Christian (all over 50-years-old), and you’re thanking your God that you never heard of the alternative hip-hop group from Seattle’s song, “Can’t Hold Us” from “The Heist,” that is now my new anthem.  Just the musical hook alone makes you want to soar if you’ve got any life left in you:

“Here we go back, this is the moment

 Tonight is the night—we’ll fight ’til it’s over

 So we put our hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us…

Macklemore Thrift Shop knowyourmeme dot com

Scene from “Thrift Shop” video: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Remember how I told you in my previous “I Do, I Do” post that it was my 65th birthday and 34th wedding anniversary (I gave my husband to me as a birthday present), and that my husband (WW) and I were going to sit around in my garden, drink wine, and read books (not that there is anything wrong with that on any given Sunday)?   Well, forget-that-Jack.  That lasted about 2 hours.  The next thing I knew we were on a plane to California in search of great friends (translation: not boring, non-judgmental, and generous to a fault friends), good wines, and fine times!

Balloon by Eleanor

(“Traffic Jam” balloons ahead of us) Photo by:  Eleanor Tomczyk/2013

“Did you know that Eleanor Roosevelt said that ‘We’re to do something scary every day,’” asked my friend as she gingerly plopped her little body (no bigger than a minute) into one side of the balloon basket and giving the rest of us the first indication that she might be scared shitless about our adventure?  I wanted to tell her that I didn’t know if the logic of that quote held up on its own because there is some pretty scary shit out there that I personally wouldn’t even want to try because of its aftermath:  you may survive it, but it could leave you maimed, crippled, brain-dead, or de-balled.  Just recently I heard about a scary fad that Baby-boomer men are doing called “tackle-tightening” (a.k.a. “ball ironing”).  It’s a new spa treatment in Santa Monica that polishes the family jewels with a laser and irons out the wrinkles (only in California, right?) to make said balls look younger.  Now the concept of this scares the crap out of me and I would never do it even if I had the equipment—I’m just sayin’.  I asked WW if he’d ever consider the procedure, and he said he’d rather go up in a hot-air balloon and crash-land (thank you very much), and there would be no more discussion about scary gonad scraping as he cupped the family jewels and fled to his man cave.  So there you have it.  Not all things that are scary should be engaged in.

Born to be wild photobucket dot com

Tweety meme from:

But I do have a “born to be wild” type of personality, so I soared over the California vineyards with my husband and dear friends and conquered my own fear (a slight problem with vertigo) by holding onto the basket railings and poles in what I perceived to be a nonchalant stance.  I was feeling pretty sure of myself until almost near the end when the pilot announced that we had drifted slightly off course, but he wasn’t allowed to land in any of the vineyards below:

BALLOON PILOT:  “Aw folks—it looks as if we’ve going to have to land on that knoll straight ahead, and it is going to be a rough landing.  Brace yourselves—bend your knees, lean to the left pushing your body into the side of the balloon, grab the rope rings, and hang onto them for dear life!”

The four passengers (my husband, my two newly married friends, and I) tried to look as cool as cucumbers as we crouched below the sight lines of the basket.  But as I sank below the rails, I caught a glimpse of their faces and I swear I could tell what they were thinking:

SHORT FEMALE FRIEND:   (“Eleanor Roosevelt:  you didn’t know what the hell you were talking about, and I even used your useless quote in a business conference to encourage women to be fearless.  It looks as if we’re headed for a crash landing, which means if we survive it, we’re all going to roll down the hill like four Jack and Jills summarily breaking our crowns.  Jesus, Mary, Mother of God—help!”)

FEMALE FRIEND’S TALL HUSBAND:  (“Maybe if we jump from this height, we’ll only break a leg or two!!!”)

BALLOON PILOT (out loud as if able to read our minds):  “Don’t even think about jumping or it will throw off the balance of the balloon and whoever doesn’t make the jump will go shooting straight up in the air and really drift off course.  Now, stop fidgeting, and do exactly what I told you to do!”

WW:     (“Oh, God:  This was my idea as an anniversary fun event, and now we’re all going to die?  Well, that’s awfully rude!”)

As for me, I went all Edvard Munch in my head and stayed that way until we landed:

The Scream

“The Scream” by Edvard Munch

Upon survival of our balloon ride, I think there is a coda that should be added to Eleanor Roosevelt’s epigraph:  “Do something that scares you every day, but regularly live your sorry-ass life to the fullest because on any given day it truly may be your last.”

I can’t remember if I was scared when the pilot finally landed our craft, but I just remember thinking that this didn’t feel like the day I would die.  We all landed without a scratch (albeit a little lopsided) due to the expert steering of our pilot, and other than the inability to climb out of the basket due to my short height and cumbersome ass (so much for my tall friend’s concept of me jumping out of a hot-air balloon in mid-air), it was quite the adventure. (IMP. NOTE:  Our pilot was a Baby-boomer with a quarter century of flying experience, and like “Sully” Sullenberger, who safely landed his plane in the Hudson River without losing a passenger, you really want the old dudes to be your pilots when you’re going down and it’s not your time to meet your Maker—this guy really kicked ass!)

But isn’t THIS ironic:  At one of the wineries the next day, I wore platform shoes (inappropriate for the events of the day, but since I was being transported by a limo, I felt I could risk dressing like a diva), and I slipped and fell on the level ground of gravel, bloodied my left leg something fierce (ruined my to-die-for-outfit), and I can hardly walk today.  It just goes to show you, that we all are going to die someday, and it could be on scary high heels or some scary-ass adventure, but since God only knows the date and time, we might as well chill and just reach for our dreams doing whatever it is that rings our bells!

Prat falls

I am discovering the reason I like Macklemore and Ryan Lewis so much is not because I’m trying to “act young” or “hip” as I used to say in my youth—it is because they inspire me as an artist—no matter what the age.  I love Ben Haggerty’s (Macklemore) backstory:

“All of their success has come in just a few months, and all of it is on their own.  They have no record label and no agents—just Haggerty, Ryan Lewis and a dream.”—ABC Nightline

Their soul-searching lyrics have become an “overnight” sensation which took 14 years of hard work and their big-tent hearts launched the career of 51-year-old Seattle-born Wanz (Michael Wansley) who had given up on ever having a career as a singer.   He had a dead-end job at Microsoft before recording one of the most memorable “Barry White-like” hooks ever:

“I’m gonna pop some tags, only got twenty dollars in my pocket / I-I-I’m hunting, looking for a come-up / This is fu-cking awe-soommme…”—Hook from Thrift Shop/Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

There is nothing wrong with working for Microsoft until one retires, unless you have hopes that bypass a corporate ceiling, you know in your heart of hearts that you ain’t never gonna be that old, and “you can put your hands up like the ceiling can’t hold you” to reach for your dreams and keep doing so until you’re dead!  As a Baby-boomer, I refuse to have my best years having happened in my youth only.  The good times are ahead of me, today, tomorrow, and any day after that (God willing).  I just have to stop wearing inappropriate shoes on my adventures setting me up for classic pratfalls on level ground that everyone on Earth and in the Heavens are laughing their asses over.   Grrr!

Getting Old Maxine

Cartoon by: John Wagner (“Maxine”)

“But I’m kind of comfortable with getting older because it’s better than the other option, which is being dead. So I’ll take getting older.”—George Clooney

 “Nevertheless, I can tell you that you will awake someday to find that your life has rushed by at a speed at once impossible and cruel. The most intense moments will seem to have occurred only yesterday and nothing will have erased the pain and pleasure, the impossible intensity of love and its dog-leaping happiness, the bleak blackness of passions unrequited, or unexpressed, or unresolved.”― Meg Rosoff, What I Was

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intentions of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to slide in broad-side, thoroughly used up—totally worn out—and loudly proclaiming:  ‘Wow, what  a ride!’”—Mark Frost

Baby Boomers grow old Horsey

Cartoon by: David Horsey

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on June 17, 2013 in Uncategorized


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21 responses to “Never Gonna Be That Old

  1. sonia

    June 18, 2013 at 12:20 am

    How awesome is it to hear that Macklemore inspires ALL! They are GOOD people too. Am super psyched to read your blog, and would love to hear more about all that inspires you. Best, Sonia

    • etomczyk

      June 20, 2013 at 8:18 pm

      Sonia. Thanks for stopping by. I have a lot that inspires me because I’ve overcome a lot in life (mother was a paranoid-schizophrenic–father was a jerk), and I’ve used humor to help with the healing. Hope you enjoy my stories and stay tuned for my memoir if you enjoy the stories. All the best.

  2. Hudson Howl

    June 18, 2013 at 12:56 am

    Thank god, am not a moron by definition. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have their lids on tight, question. The words in Thrift shop are incredible; vision oozing with poetic potency. You definitely know talent ‘E’.

    To quote you ‘Do you know what I’ve discovered?”. That being close to dieing, is not all that scary. I faced it once in my mid thirties, Struck by lightning while camping in the north. In a tent, in the middle of the night, we were struck by the most intense lightning storm I have ever witnessed prior or since. The pain, much like a charlie horse that takes over the entire body, though a million times worst. I could see the dancing, pulsating, scintillating energy covering the floor of the tent -as beautiful as a well made supernatural slash extraterrestrial Spielberg-ish scene, So this is what the charge looks like before the arch of light between earth and the heavens occurs, I remember thinking. Now the gripping pain was so severe, I thought, ‘well this is it I cannot take the pain any longer. It was the point when one must face the fact that the end had come. But feeling wasn’t one or fear, more one of quiet acceptance with gracious undertones.

    Obviously I didn’t die. The tent was full of the smell of smoke, from the singed hair on my back, legs and arms. I still have a scar at the end of spine where the energy exited out of my body. There is more to this story that I have left out, I’ve rambled long already. But on that night, in same proximity 4 people died.

    This was not a life changing experience, as much it was a life affirming experience. That facing death is not necessarily scary. What makes pending death fearsome would the realization that one hadn’t lived long enough to know whom one really is. So be young if like or be old if you need be, but I think if am understanding you correctly, your telling us in this post to be our ‘ourselves’ first and foremost. Why worry about dieing, worry about living….I think Macklemore and Ryan Lewis would agree with you.

    Sorry I did not comment on your last couple of posts, but I would like to congratulate you and WW.


    • etomczyk

      June 20, 2013 at 8:59 pm

      Hudson, your comment made my jaw drop. WW read it too and we were stunned. Did you ever write a blog about this? Did I miss it? Oh, my God! Your telling of your brush with death is riveting.

      Don’t you just love Macklemore?! Their videos are awesome. It wasn’t until I saw Thrift Store that I realized how much they were ripping the excesses of Hip-Hop and some of the perversity (R. Kelly’s “pisssssss” sheets). My favorite line from “Can’t Hold Us” is “we need to live like there is no one watching” or something like that. They blow my mind! Thanks for stopping by, my friend, and thank you for the well-wishes.

      • Hudson Howl

        July 3, 2013 at 12:50 am

        Naw, I never have posted about the experience and seldom think of it . There is more to the story; just chalked it up to experience and what doesn’t kill ya only makes you stronger – it doesn’t make you stronger, really, crap happens all the time, don’t it? Though it could just be me.

        Time to log out, were in the midst of a thunder and lightning storm. Not that am scared or anything…puffs chest and scurrys off.


  3. The Savvy Senorita

    June 18, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Never too old Eleanor, never! You are just TOO cool!!

    • etomczyk

      June 20, 2013 at 9:14 pm

      Thanks, Bex. I try! 🙂

  4. imagesbytdashfield

    June 18, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Balloon rides are fun aren’t’ they!!! And our landing was a bit bumpy too. I haven’t heard that Macklemore song but will be sure to look into it. I’ve gotten DH to say “tag popping” from the first song and once again you have found some killer cartoons to go with your writing. But ball ironing? Should the iron be set to cotton, linen, or wool? ROFLMAO!

    • etomczyk

      June 20, 2013 at 9:34 pm

      TD: Oh, my word–you made me laugh! Ha! “Should the iron be set to cotton, linen, or wool?” I wish I had thought of that line when I wrote the story. That is funny! I wait for your comments because they usually make me ROFLMAO! Take care.

  5. Elyse

    June 18, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Love it!!!

  6. composerinthegarden

    June 18, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Ah, Eleanor, you just expanded my musical horizons. I love the Thrift Shop video – what a riot! Glad you survived your balloon ride safely. Many years ago, Bill and I played “Up, Up, and Away” while the bride and groom left their wedding reception in a hot air balloon – probably one of our cooler gigs. Sounds like you had a memorable anniversary! And I’m glad you’re back and telling us wonderful stories again 🙂

    • etomczyk

      June 22, 2013 at 10:11 pm

      Lynn: Don’t you love this group? Have you had a chance to catch their video of “Can’t Hold Me” and “Same Love”? The first will have you dancing on the ceiling and the second will break your heart. (Love those roses of yours, by the way!) Take care.

  7. eurobrat

    June 18, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    I’m so glad to hear you survived all that fun! My Mom is about your age and she gets along better with my friends than some of the people of her own generation…it’s sad when people get closed up, stop exploring and investigating.

    And I love Macklemore…love that “Same Love” song too.

    • etomczyk

      June 22, 2013 at 10:38 pm

      Eurobrat. I love “Same Love” as well. This group is simply awesome!

  8. talesfromthemotherland

    June 18, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    I’m a big fan of Macklemore, too. Love the song Same Love, with Mary Lambert… about same sex marriage and right wing religion. These guys have enormous talent and a big message, in every song. Beautiful, powerful!

    As for your balloon flight… I’m pretty sure I would have Munch in my head as well. 😉

    • etomczyk

      June 22, 2013 at 11:02 pm

      Hi Dawn. I love “Same Love” as well. The video is really touching.

      I’m so glad to be back on solid ground. I think I’ll stay there! 🙂

  9. Valentine Logar

    June 19, 2013 at 6:09 am

    Ball ironing? It is no wondering WW ran to his man cave. Why oh why would you scare the poor man this way? Cruel woman.

    You went up in a balloon, you are so awesome!

    So, I am over 50. Don’t meet any of the rest of the criteria, but had never heard of Macklemore had to go check it out. Not bad, not bad at all. Dearly Beloved stuck his head in when I got to the third song, “since when do you listen to Rap?” he said with a bemused look on his face. I blamed it on you.

    So glad you are enjoying yourself, despite your fall and near destruction of your fabulous outfit.

    • etomczyk

      June 22, 2013 at 11:29 pm

      Val. That is so cool that you checked out Macklemore. You should have told Dearly Beloved that he doesn’t know everything about you, and that Macklemore and Ryan Lewis is “how you roll!” Ha! Tell him that next week you’ll introduce him to “Fun”! Thanks for stopping by, my friend. All the best!

  10. aFrankAngle

    June 19, 2013 at 7:34 am

    Now that closing cartoon is perfect!

    Great pre-landing photo over the vineyards. Ahhh …. but glad you survived and had a wonderful time.

    One question – I want to know the wineries you visited.

    • etomczyk

      June 22, 2013 at 11:56 pm

      Hi Frank. Thanks so much for stopping by. I left the wineries in a comment on your blog. Take care.

  11. Lindy Lee

    July 21, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Admit not knowing of whom you write; however, big however, remain a fan of Billy Idol & AC DC. How’s that for accepting the white influence in our US culture? “In the Midnight Hour” & “Welcome to the Jungle” hit on the depths of this follower’s soul to the max. Allowed my child to blast it out the window of our house to the great disgust of hypocrite neighbors of an un-believable devotion. On the other hand, Bach’s Fugue in D Minor was another blast of beauty, hoping beyond hope for some modicum of intelligence to come forthwith from those same neighbors. This was a long time ago & here we are with Trayvon Martin…


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