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…”
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!
(“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.
Tweety meme from: www.photobucket.com
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” 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!
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!
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
Cartoon by: David Horsey
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