Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Grass is Always Greener

Remember when you were little and it was always more fun to go play at somebody else's house? There was absolutely nothing wrong with our house; our house was a very very very fine house. There was always someone around, tv to be watched, a big backyard with a sandbox and swingsets, yet I usually preferred our next-door neighbors' house. The vibe was more relaxed over there, plus someplace else often seems more interesting just because it's someplace else.

The dad at that house was a Playboy fan, evidenced by framed photos of him and his dad (and accompanying bunnies) at a Playboy club hanging in his office, a super-cool Playboy pinball machine in the basement, plus a stack of Playboys in his bathroom. My parents are pretty conservative, and were even more so when my brothers and I were kids, so to know someone in our very own neighborhood that seemed to flaunt a hearty interest in pornography, soft though it was, was kind of a big deal (in my head).

The laid-back atmosphere at the neighbors' house was in such stark contrast to my house where we weren't even allowed to say words like poop or fart or boobs. My brother Rich made the mistake of saying "Ow, my nuts!" when he and my brother Mike were roughhousing one time when we were kids, and he got disciplined by my dad with a good belt-spanking for using "that kind of language" in front of me. Seriously, that happened.

But enough about the hilarity of corporal punishment, let's get back to the neighbors' house -- the fun basement housed two (count 'em, two) pinball machines, a jukebox stocked with Olivia Newton John hits, and mats on the floor that my best friend and I used to practice gymnastics and make up dance routines. We spent so many countless hours down there that I could probably still remember some of our dances, and I definitely get the song that the Playboy pinball machine played stuck in my head every once in a while.

Upstairs, they had a microwave in the kitchen, a couple of marlins on the walls of the family room, and a real life babysitter. We didn't get a microwave until I was in junior high, so theirs was a real novelty. On the days when the mom worked this lady named Mona watched the kids and, speaking as Kid# 4 out of six kids, the idea of a babysitter who wasn't a sibling was a novelty to me too. I remember her name after all these years because she is the only Mona I've ever known, not counting Mona from Who's the Boss. The marlins were just cool.

This is like the one the neighbor's dad had. You can hardly tell it from this image, but one of the four women in the hot tub to the left of Hef is an old granny with gray hair in a bun, glasses, a big nose and chin, and old lady boobs.

Unrelately, I haven't stopped listening to the Avett Brothers except to sleep for the past couple days straight.

1 comment:

  1. I believe the other machine was: Meteor

    i was an all neighborhood champ.