The Knights of the Auto Order Proudly Present: The Auto Body Estimate: Vol. II, #80, March 2008
Before Erik was born I was afraid that parenthood would end my adolescent male fantasy of being a rock star. Today I know that having a son actually meant the realization of another adolescent male fantasy – to have my own monkey. Man, he has some funny tricks.
After a holiday meal where we toasted at the table, Erik began to regularly toast, holding his plastic cup to our glasses and saying “clink!” Shortly thereafter he decided that “clink” was applicable anytime like items were brought together. One night, as I was assembling some IKEA furniture, he ran into his room, found his plastic screwdriver, ran back, and tapped it to my screwdriver shouting a joyous “clink!” He’s also “clinked” shoes with his Grammy (upon realizing they were both wearing sandals) and pajama pants with his Papa John. He also fearlessly employs every word he knows, like when I put a hat on him (or pull up his hood) and he says “roof!”
We dads can go on and on with our cute stories.
The other day I was looking at some reviews of the most recent Wilco record. Most were very positive, but one unflattering piece used the term dad rock as a pejorative. While that bothered me more now than it would have a few years ago, I thought it seemed like a pretty weak complaint, so I did a little research. John Lennon’s son Julian was born in April of 1963, shortly after the release of the first Beatles album. Apparently everything they did after Please Please Me was dad rock. Similarly Robert Plant’s daughter Carmen Jane was born October 1968. Led Zeppelin’s first album came out in 1969; therefore their whole catalog is dad rock. Apparently Wilco, and the Auto Body Experience for that matter, are in good company.
Maybe the reviewer just doesn’t like old guys. I guess I’d understand that better than an anti-parenting dig. Back when the Packers’ playoff loss was current news, one of my coworkers said that “Brett Favre is like 80 years old – in football years”. I like the idea that there’s some formula to calculate an athlete’s age (like the 7:1 ratio used with dogs). Clearly musicians need such a formula too. I wonder if the entertainment world could have an equivalent of carbon credits where really rich entertainers could shave a few years off their age by giving tons of money to really young people. Perhaps that’s what the Stones were doing with those Swiss blood transfusions in the 1970s. Or maybe they really are vampires.
But I digress. Some stuff does change when the baby comes. One of the biggest changes at our house was the status of Snickers the dog in Becca’s mind. Oh, she still loves him, and takes good care of him, but instead of being the favored son, he’s become the black sheep and a scapegoat. Some of it makes sense: when I’m crabby, Erik’s crying, and the dog’s barking, she’ll exile the dog to the backyard first. When a mitten or small teddy bear is missing, the dog is presumed guilty. Fair enough, although I wouldn’t personally think of the dog when certain dishes are in the wrong cupboard or the CDs aren’t strictly alphabetical.
It’s really the other end of the blame continuum I worry about. I really can’t follow the thought process that equivocates Snickers with rush hour gridlock, ice dams, nor changes in Wilco’s artistic direction, and I hope this unwarranted blame won’t depress Snickers. I recently read something about a depressed guy who threw himself in front of a subway train. That’s serious.
While everyone at this latitude gets depressed from time to time, I’ve personally never experienced anything stronger than an urge to throw myself in front of a golf cart. The course near our house doesn’t have many carts, however, so I tried to convince a guy to roll over me with his wheeled golf bag, but no go. I couldn’t even get him to step on me with his golf cleats, so I had to walk home with rejection added to my depression.
Becca fends off depression the same way she fends off stress – by forcing more and bigger items down the kitchen sink garbage disposal. Eventually it clogs, often just before holiday guests arrive, and the sink backs up producing an unholy stew of refuse, at which point she blames the dog. Perhaps I should be thankful he’s first-call on the blame list. Maybe there’s a lesson for me here.
The Auto Body Experience is back at the Eagles Club on Friday, March 14. We’ll start a little after 9:00 (or when ever the Front Porch Swinging Liquor Pigs finish) and play two new sets, including a new song about my neighbor Gerry, his Vanagon, and his Sawzall. As always, there’s no cover, free parking, cheap drinks and friendly people – but if you hear any sour notes in the vocal harmonies, rest assured that Snickers is the culprit.
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