Bold Fortune

fortune favors the bold

Month: June, 2015

Killer whales!

by mollykl

When we moved in to our house 4 years ago I told husband J “get whatever size tv you want.” (Proving that despite my bitchiness I am the best. wife. ever.) Son j doesn’t actually watch much tv, but we watch a lot of movies and he loves anything involving science, oceans and dinosaurs.

When he was 4 he and I were watching an oceans documentary and things are going along just, well, swimmingly. And then the story about the humpback whale and her calf starts, with the ominous narrator describing the pack of killer whales that are pursuing them. Yeah, at this point I should have just turned the tv off, but I couldn’t see how to do that without rousing suspicion. The story is getting more and more depressing as the whale and calf are being run down and it’s a documentary – you know they aren’t going to pull their punches.

The pod of orca finally overtook mother & child and because it’s being shot from a helicopter above you don’t see much gore, just splashing water and some blood.

I’m cringing waiting for j’s reaction, and it was not what I was expecting.

“Yay!” (Oh God, I think, I’ve given birth to a sociopath!)

“The killer whales saved the baby whale!!!”

Cue stunned expression on my face. He genuinely thinks the killer whales just saved the baby whale. I wrestle with telling him the brutal truth, but then think, fuck it, he’s 4, he can learn the brutal truth later in life, and instead I say, “Yay killer whales!”

I told this story to my friend H at work. Then one day we were chatting about the day and I was mentioning that it was the kind of day where I was just going to keep being positive to the point of being delusional. She interrupted with, “Killer whales!!”

It took me a minute to understand the reference, but when I did I couldn’t stop laughing. From then on that was our catchphrase and it had oh so many meanings. We said it when we were having tough days, when we just needed a laugh, it was a form of hello, it was a rallying cry, it even worked as snarky commentary. We got other people at work saying it, and they didn’t even know the source story.

I still don’t know whether to laugh or cry at son j’s complete lack of understanding of that scene. I’m just happy he’s not a sociopath.

Advertisements

Everclear

by mollykl

A friend and I were talking last week about our Everclear experiences. The alcohol, not the band. Then we argued about whose was better. I said his, he said mine. You be the judge:

In the 80’s I had this boyfriend, and I use the definition very loosely – he was basically this guy I made out with regularly and he was a complete dick.

BUT, he did give me this fabulous story, so there’s always a bright-side to every experience in life.

I don’t remember if you actually couldn’t buy Everclear in Washington in the 80’s (due to liquor control) or if it was just drastically cheaper in Montana. But nevertheless dickhead was making a run to Montana for Everclear, having gotten money from friends to buy for them as well. He was driving a ….wait for it…station wagon. Probably his moms. (Please note snicker right here..at this pont…).

Of course he had his fishing gear with him, and I can’t snicker at him for that because at that point in my life I kept my fishing gear in my car at all times also.

So he’s driving back from Montana and he’s got the back of station wagon FILLED with Everclear. He sees a stream in Idaho (and if you’re wondering why Idaho is suddenly in the story get a damn atlas) and decides to try his luck. Of course he falls in the stream, because the story would be meaningless if he didn’t.

So he does the only thing he can – he takes off his clothes. Well, except for his underwear and his cowboy hat.

He’s driving back to Washington, naked except for said underwear and said hat and of course he’s speeding because he wouldn’t be dickhead if he wasn’t. And he gets pulled over.

Cop, state trooper, highway patrol, I don’t know what they have in Idaho, but “guy in uniform of authority” approaches the car, looks through the window into the back to see it’s filled with boxes and bottles of Everclear, looks in front seat to see guy wearing only underwear and cowboy hat, pauses, and says, “Just get the hell out of my state.”

Now I will give dickhead props for telling this story, because he doesn’t exactly come off as a freakin’ Mensa candidate in it. And that story does always make me giggle.

++++++

So my friend had an older brother in college. And really, any good story involving Everclear should also involve “older brother in college.” I should probably mention that friend isn’t entirely sure it involved Everclear because he doesn’t actually remember what he drank. Also, he was only 17 at the time. Also, it was a university party. Also, there was a cheerleader involved. See? He already wins!

Older brother calls and says there’s a party that weekend and he HAS to come visit for it. There’s music on every floor and enough alcohol to keep a public university afloat for, well, for one night if we’re being realistic. My friend says he was really quiet and somewhat shy in high school, and I can kinda see that. He’s there, he’s wandering around listening to music, having a good time, and then he starts drinking.

As I mentioned before he’s not exactly sure what he was drinking (while telling me this story he kept saying, “No wait it was…, no it was…”). Since the subject of Everclear was what started him on the tale, let’s just assume it’s that.

He wakes up the next morning, in his brothers room, in his underwear. (And let me tell you a breathed a sigh of relief because there are soooo many ways that story could have gone wrong). He can’t remember a damn thing about the night before but his brother is grinning at him. He’s going to head home and with a huge knowing smile his brother reminds him that he has a date that night.

My friends I’m here to tell you that what you’ve heard is in fact true: alcohol makes you ten feet tall and bulletproof (a phrase I’m borrowing from him). He danced, he talked to people, HE GOT UP ON STAGE WITH THE BAND (and did not make a complete fool of himself – he can actually sing) and….this is the best part, he asked out a cheerleader. A college cheerleader. And she said yes. I would have liked to see the expression on her face when he told her he was only 17.

Geez, when I go to parties and drink I just have anxiety attacks. Clearly I have been doing EVERYTHING wrong! From now I’m just going to channel a 17 year old boy and go with not being myself for a while. If you see me getting on stage with the band however stop me – I’m completely tone-deaf.

But then, I mean, at least I’m not the dumbass getting pulled over in his underwear.

 

 

 

Tell me a story

by mollykl

I was an English major, so I have a deep appreciation for stories. I was lucky enough to have an amazing teacher for my Beowulf class who taught us the value of story. In fact, we held a final class party off campus, so we could have alcohol (Christian college doncha know), and we were all required to tell a story. I told the epic story about the time a cow tried to kill me.

I tell stories, which you know if you’ve had to spend any time at all with me. You might have actually wished me to shut up in the break room. Keep wishing. My friend Chris used to say he didn’t like to read this blog because it felt like he was reading a diary, and I never knew if I should take that as a compliment or not. J said of my writing that I seemed “softer” and “more vulnerable” which I thought was funny since all I ever feel is vulnerable (or to quote Bruce Banner from The Avengers, “exposed, like a nerve” ).

Chris loved stories, and is, in fact, both the source and subject of many of my best. At the reception for his funeral I had the great pleasure and honor of meeting the daughters of the subject of one of my favorite stories that he used to tell.

Johnny (or JK as Chris’s sister Mary says he was really called), sat in one of the front pews in the Catholic church in Hermiston. Now, if you’ve never been to eastern Oregon, you’ve missed out, and I’m not being facetious. It’s gorgeous country – rolling hills and sagebrush, shades of dusty green and brown and a light that rivals Paris’. Farms and ranches and fights over water rights (yeah, that’s another story)…and.. Johnny.

As I was saying, he sat in one of the front pews at the church. At his funeral, Chris used to recount, people told the story of how, if the priest was perhaps going a bit long on the sermon (sorry, I don’t know what it’s called in a Catholic service) then Johnny would raise his arm and pointedly tap his watch.

That was the universal signal for, “This has been nice but we’ve got work to get to.” And the priest would wrap it up. Being a non-Catholic I’ve always looked at both priests and nuns with awe, so this story raised my eyebrows.

Imagine my surprise when I met Johnny’s daughters. Oh, at the time I didn’t realize they were his daughters, but in hindsight I should have known. (It was like spending time with a favorite author but only afterward realizing that you were in the presence of an idol.)

First off, while the mass was going on, and that being my first Catholic funeral mass, I just assumed it was supposed to be that dark and depressing what with the mentioning of hell and all.Oh no. That was notion was corrected first off when I sat down at the reception with V and M.F.. They set me straight – that was NOT what a funeral mass was supposed to be like. All the time I spent talking with them I didn’t realize that they were in fact the daughters of this legendary figure I’d heard repeated stories of, but they were legendary in their own way. After spending the afternoon with them I had an insight into why Chris was so respectful of women – because of the amazing women he was raised around.

And that’s it – one story bleeds into another, and another and another. The same way one friend introduces you to another, because that’s what stories are. The throw away tales of your life matter, they reveal who you are and what is important to you. They may or may not matter to anyone else or they may be carried along from person to person until the original source and subject are lost but the story remains. And that’s ok too.

What matters is the story.

 

June 6th

by mollykl

Happy June 6th, or in the eyes of the History Channel, the day they make all of their money. Yes it’s the anniversary of Operation Overlord, which remains the largest amphibious assault like, ever. In the history of the world. But also this week is the anniversary of one of the most emotional-scar-producing failures of World War 2, or really, like ever for the British. And thank God for it, because without it, I argue, there would have been no Normandy landing, no triumphant D-Day.

You don’t learn from victory, you learn from defeat, and you learn a lot from utter failure. At least, if you’re paying attention you do. Dunkirk was, by all reckonings, an utter failure, you would at least think. The British army, surrounded by much larger German numbers at the French port of Dunkirk, did the one thing they really did not want to have to do – they retreated. And damn was that a retreat.

Quickly planned and executed it took a mere 8 days to move 338,226 men across the English Channel. (Keep in mind planning for Operation Overlord took nearly a year)

Winston Churchill said of Dunkirk, “We must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations.”  It wasn’t considered a victory – it was considered a miracle. A miracle that so many men could be evacuated so quickly. Yes it was a crushing defeat, but, eh, it actually could have been worse.

And ultimately I like to think that someone sat back and thought that if so many men could be moved so quickly with next to no planning…what if…you could move them in the other direction?

Think on that the next time you fail. Conversely, at your next victory look back at what failure made it possible, and be grateful.