Can you Fart at Cotillion?

My two oldest are in the show, Bye-Bye Birdie and a rather uncomfortable situation presented itself on opening night. I took my dancer daughter and sat in the patron’s section, making sure to look down upon the common folk in general admission. I don’t get to be a snob in my town very often as most of the houses around here are twice the size of mine. But with two in the high school drama program, the dues required made it about the same as paying to be a patron, so we joined the club and now enjoy reserved seating.

Last night I learned it is not advisable to eat risky foods prior to a two hour show. I love spicy foods and had been able to savor two distinct ethnic cuisines on this particular day. I don’t know exactly which one was the aggressor, but one of them crossed the line, instigating a border war deep inside. It started midway through act 1 and I did everything possible to keep the war contained to one front. At some point during the second act, one of the combatants wanted more territory like Hitler invading Russia and tried to open an eastern theater. I shifted in my chair so many times the poor guy behind me probably thought I was dancing with the actors, even when there was no music. Somehow, I managed to keep the entire battle to myself.

After the final bows, Dancer and I congratulated her sisters and friends on a wonderful show, took pictures, and left. I explained the raging war of the past two hours to my thirteen year-old, who rolled her eyes and said, “Dad, you need to go to Cotillion.”


I have only approximate knowledge of Cotillion. I looked it up and found out that it is classes designed to educate children on social skills, proper etiquette, manners and dance. As an adult, I am all for manners, especially for the boys who someday might want to date my daughters. The boy inside of me can think of nothing I would hate worse, though. I wonder what happens if you have to pass gas there. Do they have Cotillion police to escort you out immediately?

On a note related to boyhood, I got a fantastic review from a children’s lit blogger this week. Since I had sent the book in December, it came by surprise, precisely at a time when my spirits needed it. LINK.  In her review, she ponders this question:

This book captures the essence of boyhood very well. I had to laugh numerous times at how well the author knows what it means to be a young boy. He either has a very good memory, or he never grew up, I’m not sure which one.

I would like to thank Mrs. McMahon for taking the time to read Virge and write such a glowing review. I can put her question to rest in two ways. First, my memory is terrible except for completely irrelevant movie and song trivia. Second, take a look at the title of this post.

Save the Speakers!

My first car was a 1969 Orange Volkswagen Karmann Ghia.  It was wonderful!  Well, to a 16 year-old boy it was wonderful.  Truth is, the floorboard had so many holes rusted in it that I could see the road I was travelling on.  The heat was non-existent, the windows often came off track (and sometimes fell out), and I could hear a mocking laugh from the windshield wipers when I turned them on.  But I loved it.  I first saw it as I pedaled past a used car lot in my hometown in Kentucky.  Every town has that cheesy lot – with all the ropes of ugly plastic flags hanging from pole to pole and a small building housing a used-car salesman who looked and dresses exactly like Herb Tarlek from WKRP in Cincinnati.  When it came time to buy, my father took me to the lot to confront Herb with the admonition to let him do the talking.  Yeah, sure Dad, I’ll be quiet.  That guy saw me coming.  Maybe he’d seen me ride my back past him, lusting after the orange beauty.  Anyway, he wouldn’t budge off the asking price of $900, so my father staged the fake walk-out – a negotiating tactic he should have warned his naive son about.  Of course, being an idiot, my immediate response was to yell, “But I want that car!”  I don’t think I grabbed onto his leg and rode him while he stormed away, but I might as well have.  Guess what we paid for the car…$900.

Karmann Ghia

It lasted 9 months.  $100 per month, which was a lot of money to a kid in the mid-80’s.  I had just picked up my friend Will on a Friday night when it breathed its last.  Like its inconspicuous color, it died in grand style.  The engine threw a rod and caught on fire.  My response to the flames was to yell, “Save the speakers!!!!”  I had just bought them for a considerable sum and installed them myself.  So with the back of the car on fire and a crowd gathering, two 16 year-old morons dove into the miniscule back seat to rescue the speakers.  I honestly don’t know if we saved them, but I do remember trading the piece of junk in on a white Oldsmobile that my classmates dubbed “The Egg.”  Quite a step down from my orange glory.

I tell that story for one reason – my laptop died a few weeks ago and I wanted to offer a piece of advice to would-be writers like myself.  My advice is to buy several external hard drives and flash drives and save everything often OUTSIDE of your laptop. If you are savvier than me, use a cloud.  Save often.  Daily.  You never know when something you love is going to die.

I got everything off of it except for a couple of my most recent edits and ideas.  Of course, the lost files were literary genius, I’m sure – the most witty and superb crafting of verbiage ever formed in the English language.  Whatever they were, they were destined to be my breakthrough pieces.  And now they are lost.

I’m very happy with my shiny, new, green laptop, named Shrek by my kids.  A far better name than my second automobile.

Save, Save, Save…  Don’t trust one drive, save and oversave.  Save early and often.

Oh, and don’t go back into a burning car for speakers.  That’s a bad plan.