on The First Blog of 2019
- Michael Archer
on Tickle Model
on Tickle Model
on Why You Should Buy Nick Griffin’s Comedy Special Right Now
@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
Pulling a splinter from the bottom of my foot, I realize that I don’t quite get splinters like I used to when I was a kid. This is not because I’ve grown into wearing footwear… no, no, if it were up to me I’d be barefoot and mostly naked most of the time. Probably deck quality has improved.
This was certainly the case in our house growing up. We had two decks. The one regular deck and the one attached to our out-ground pool. Both my dad built with some help from my Uncle some years before I came into existence. A lot of ice cream pops, BBQ’s, clam/crab cook outs and laughs made that small deck the stage for memories of summertime rapture.
But that deck put numerous splinters in the soles of our feet all the time. We had this wooden deck furniture with what I would in my later years describe as hideous pink cushions that I thought were the most comfortable things ever which is a testament to both my lack of experience of being on real comfortable furniture and my pure love for being home.
There were times the splinters were easy to pull out with our fingers, but others that required novice surgery from mom or dad. There are images in my mind of all three of us, myself, my sister, my brother, sitting on those ugly ass cushions with a foot on our moms’ lap who has a tweezer in hand and we had tears in our eyes. Some splinters were so tiny and embedded, dad had to hold the foot while mom extracted the tiny slice of wood that was the source of so much pain. Mom provided a warm salt water bowl for post surgery soaking and an ice cream cone. We always did eat a lot of ice cream.
With the wood deck came a fair amount of earwigs and carpenter bees. To this day I despise earwigs as I have had many bad experiences with them. But you know what? I haven’t seen an earwig in a couple years. Good riddance.
Our actions were borderline early serial killer warning signs. Because in the spaces of deck, we could look through and see where the earwigs were hiding/nesting. We’d go in the garage and get a can of dad’s WB40 and then we’d spray in the crevice. The earwigs would squirm out, writhing in what is literally poison and I’d be lying to you if I told you it wasn’t satisfying to us. We got in trouble for stealing WB40, but even our parents hated the earwigs so much they thought our shenanigans were rather helpful in ridding our deck of those hideous creatures.
Worse still is what we did to the bees. Sometimes we would go clamming in the Great South Bay. In case you’re not a shore kid, clamming is when you go to a shallow and murky part of the bay and you do a little twist, digging your feet into the ever soft sand to gather clams. The sand was often squishy and so black, your toenails would be stained for a week. Still, we loved clamming almost as much as loved eating them. This was a skill I was so good at, I was given the nickname, “monkey toe.”
Back on the deck, we’d have a large tray with just a little bit of water on the grill and we’d bake those clams until their shells popped open and we’d dip them in butter and savior their weird little bodies. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.
The smell of the clams, however, did attract a lot of bees. With the empty clam shells, we’d catch the bees and them shake them around and laugh like psychopaths, threatening one another that we’d throw the clam shell at them, releasing a very pissed off bee. If you’ve ever had a live bee trapped in a clam, you are in a predicament— what do I do with this? If you open the clam shell, there’s a likelyhood you’ll get stung. You could chuck it as far as you can, but I always had scrawny arms and could never throw anything that far. You could fast it shut and wait for the bee to die. Or, you can put it in the freezer.
Yes. We captured bees in clam shells and then put them in the freezer. And that’s not even the weird part. See, you can freeze bees for like 20 minutes and then they’ll thaw and come back to life as fine as ever. But in their frozen time, we’d tie strings around them so when they became “woke,” we now had a bee on a string like a pet and we thought it was hilarious. In our defense, it was hilarious. It’s a bit of a red flag on our personalities, but we get points for creativity.
I digress. The splinter I pulled out of my foot on the Jersey Shore didn’t hurt much, since my feet are more calloused than my heart. That may not seem possible but I’m not exaggerating when I say that you could take a peeler to my heel and take off a layer of skin and I wouldn’t even feel it.
You’d have a hard time convincing me I’m not a loser, on a path to nowhere, but that’s not how I feel in the ocean. Any day I’m in the ocean, especially on a surfboard, I’m so happy I’m singing and whistling— there’s no place I’d rather be. It doesn’t matter how much money I have in my bank account, how little of a chance I have as a screenwriter, my depression, crippling loneliness and guilt for both things that are my fault and aren’t— it’s like none of that even exists. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re at the beach you have it better than everyone else who isn’t at the beach at that exact moment.
Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write: Thank God for the Jersey Shore. One of my surfer buddies and I were lamenting that this was one of the flattest summers we’ve had in years. Surfing two days in a row is a wondrous rehab and it turns me back into someone full of spirit. Furthermore, spending my evening performing in a 1000 seat theater? Yes please. More of this. By the end of week, 7-10 foot swells predicted. Okay, okay, maybe take it down a notch. But sure enough such a great forecast will be an invitation my brother cannot refuse and he’ll be doing snaps all day long. I’m just hoping my shoulder holds out.
After pulling the splinter from my foot, walking back to my car with my board under my arm, it’s like I’m visited by my former self.
“That was fun! Can we go back later!”
“I don’t think so. We have to write.”
“That’s cool. I like writing.”
“And then we have a show.”
“Stand-up. When you sort of grow up and do comedy.”
“I’m a comedian!?!!?? We surf and do stand-up. Are you the coolest person ever??!!!”
“Not even close. No one thinks you’re cool. All you friends think you’re a nerd and you are. But nerds are kinda cool now.”
“Really!!?? Wow. A surfer and a comedian.”
“Don’t get all excited. You’re a strong feature at best and you’re not even very good at surfing. You get your ass kicked in big waves.”
“Most people never get to surf or do comedy to any level. And you do both! I love you!”
“Yah, you’re going to have real trouble loving yourself in the future too.”
“Do we have a boyfriend?”
“No. But it’s complicated. Your love life is a disaster. But I can’t go into it right now.”
“Not only are you going to see so many dolphins when you’re surfing, there are going to be days where they jump out of the water right next to you.”
“It’s going to be even more amazing than you’ve always dreamed. But promise me something. Always go to the ocean whenever you have the opportunity.”
“Promise. Cross my heart and hope to die.”
“Don’t hope to die yet. There will be plenty of time for that later, trust me.”
“Can you promise me something?”