Saturday, 5 November 2011

“Oh my Gahd! Space aliens!! Don’t eat me! I have a wife & kids; eat THEM!”

Aah yes, of course, the effortlessly quotable Homer Simpson, the funniest of all yellow characters in Springfield. Whenever the kids (mine, not the ones at school) ask me to impersonate Homer, the title of this post is the line I throw at them.

By merely pulling a slightly funny face, I can pretty much nail Mr Simpson first time. Pulling faces is a pre-requisite to nailing any impersonation, come to mention it.

What, you didn’t know?

Well, there you have it, there’s a tip for you; scrunched up face equals success.

Check out any decent impersonator on TV and you’ll see they contort their faces in varying degrees, in order to get the pitch and voice just right of whoever it is they’re taking off.

And although the jokes are way above Annabel’s head and, for the most part, still above Joseph’s, he is starting to ‘get’ some of the humour of the comments, rather than just the slapstick of Homer dropping a hammer on his foot, or his skateboard jump not quite making the other side of the canyon.

(It’s still funny).

Only earlier this week did I realise that the Simpsons currently airing on our (UK) Channel 4 is a brand new series. I joined mes enfants in the TV room to catch Marge reminiscing when she was younger, and how she’d spurned Homer for the advances of a smooth, equal rights and feminist-supporting activist. As the two of them embrace, he comments in disgust on the lighthouse on the beach where they’re standing, explaining to Marge “how it’s phallic shape is penetrating the sky”, and that anything “penis shaped” is designed by men to hold power over women throughout history.

Now, I know there’s nothing wrong with the word penis, but I thought I’d take a look at Joseph and Annabel anyway.

Well, Annabel just returned my look, smiled slightly and then turned back to the TV. At roughly the same time, Joseph burst out laughing, hitting the sofa for added effect and sat back up to watch the television.

I looked back at the screen, wondering if he was laughing at what I thought he was laughing at, when he piped up, “oh, it’s so funny isn’t it Dad? “Peanut shaped”. It doesn’t even look like a peanut!”

Cue my laughter, louder than his was!!

You can pretty much rely on the Simpsons to make you laugh. However, you can guarantee that your children can make you laugh, of that there’s no doubt.

On the Simpsons though, this is their 23rd season, having first aired on our screens way back in 1989, just before Christmas. I never really got into it straight away, until an old friend explained it’s magic.

In fact, this post coincides with something else I wanted to say.

My wife, M, is sure I’m going through some sort of a mid-life crisis. She is of course completely wrong, but I shall humour her here, for your reading pleasure. The thing is, I’m not ageing all that well, that’s the upshot of it.

I’ve discussed hair loss on several occasions and we’ve (well, I’ve) decided, that it’s boring to mention it – I’ve even chastised Chris Evans for banging on about it on his breakfast show). But, for the sake of this post, I must make another quick mention.

So, hair loss?

Well, ok, I s’pose I don’t have much choice, so go on then – hair loss it is, it’s a go-er.

A-hah, but what about wrinkles and crow’s feet – or the nice way of saying it – laughter lines?

You know, I really don’t mind those. When I see them on other people’s faces, I think it gives them character, helps tell a story about that person. Yeah, wrinkles and ‘laughter lines’ are in, good.

Wait for it, wait for it …… bags under your eyes! What about those?

Wha’? Bags?? You’re kidding? Oh, bloody hell, is there nothing I can do about those, other than sleeping with cold sliced salad pieces on my closed eyes at night? The thing is, if I go to sleep on my back, there’s a teensy chance I might snore, thus waking up M, not to mention waking myself up with bloomin’ apnoea or whatever it’s called. Fine, begrudgingly, the bags can stay.

Ok? Is that it? Can I now please slow down the ageing process, please? Thank y …..

Not so fast laddie, not so fast, we’re not done with you yet. Ready?

*deep breath*

Rosacea, heh heh heh ……. checkmate!

Lemme hear y’say it. That’s right ….. ro-zay-sha!

WHAT? Not the …..?

Not when your face flushes and ……?

Not the occasional red nose and cheeks and all that ……?

Ha-HAAAAAH, YES, that’s the one!!! How d’you like THEM apples???!!

Hah, WE WIN, the ageing process wins.

Ageing – 1

Dad – nil.

Get IN, result!

Yeah, they’ve all got me. I’m going down, and going down fast. Not without a fight though, no sir-ee Bob!

So, taking all this into account, I can kinda see why M feels I’m having that crisis she mentioned.

For me though, what I want to write about for the next few months has nothing whatsoever to do with a crisis, mid-life or not.

It was the Simpsons start date that got me thinking. I said I didn’t really get into those genius yellow inhabitants of Springfield until I actually went to America, way back at the end of 1990.

November 6th to be more precise.

And then I was thinking, oh my goodness; that was 21 years ago, I’m forty-two now; my US trip was half my lifetime ago.

Holy cow!

I went up into our attic and had a rummage through our considerable boxes of “stuff” until I found two things.

One – my album of photographs I took in the United States (they were still called photographs then, not digital pics).

Two – the diary I kept during my three-month road trip there, which I called The Cannonball Run (explanations all in good time).

Boy oh boy, reading that diary sure brought back some memories for me. Some good, some a bit cringe making, but it was interesting to see how a twenty-year gap in noting down “stuff” didn’t really change my style of writing; I still write very similar to how I did as a ‘lad’.

(Make of that what you will!!)


Now I’ve brought it all down, what shall I do with it?

Well, M has been on at me for months – nay, years – to sort through the attic, so I thought I would make a start with this item, my USA trip diary. I know, I know, it’s a small start but a start nonetheless.

Now I know it’s a big ask, but if you could humour me for the next 12 or so weeks, I’m going to just copy out what I wrote all that time ago, when I was wrinkle, laughter lines and eye bag free. When my long, thick hair blew all around my face while I stood by a snow covered Grand Canyon to have my photograph taken.

And good grief, didn’t I look young?

(If you’re really unlucky, I may include some photos with me actually in them!)

Flicking through it, there were days that I missed; there’s even a couple of missing weeks – it’s possible I may have been on some kind of bender – so hopefully it’ll be over before it gets too tiresome.

I’ll write truthfully, even if what I’ve written makes me want to curl up and die.

However, if I want to mention something more up to date, more current, more in the here-and-now, I’ll probably just tag it on either at the start of the post or at the end.

In other words, I haven't a clue if it will work or not, but what’s the worst that can happen, eh?

If I’m honest, I seem to be sailing through one of my “busy doing I don’t quite know what” periods right now, but I’m painfully aware that I’m not keeping these pages as updated as I like to.

Am I being lazy?

Possibly, but I’m looking forward to it anyway.

As they say in New Yoik – have a nice day!

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