The wild flowers. The fresh-cut lawns. The jasmine. Is this what heaven smells like?
Two guesses on heaven’s scent:
- Fresh-cut lawns
- Drew Barrymore
I don’t know. She just seems like she’d smell of talc and cheeseburgers. Maybe I’m wrong. Been wrong – and wronged – so many times before.
But listen, this could be the best summer ever, or the worst – it could go either way at this point.
I mean, these poor screenwriters. As with baseball players, TV writers strike every 10 years or so. And America weeps.
Meanwhile, my son Smartacus will be working at Bittner’s joint, so he’ll come home smelling like a cheesy Barrymore, of burgers and fries. And before he goes to work each day, he’ll throw me his work shirt to see if it passes the sniff test.
Seriously, this is how two men live together. Not pretty. Not defensible on any level. But we live deeply and well.
Because summer approaches and our heartbeats have begun to slow. Don’t flipflops feel good again? And the morning sun? In February, I was wearing four sweaters to walk the dog. Now, I’m virtually naked again. Daddy Godiva.
Last Wednesday, I was at the vet clinic, a little jumpy at the rising cost of everything, yet hopeful, you know, foolishly foolish in that way dads often are. Yet worried about the screenwriters, of course.
At the vet, I wanted to ask the doctor some of the symptoms for puppy love, which is an illness I’ve suffered since I was maybe 4.
Annette Funicello. Laura Petrie. Mickey Mantle. To me, all love begins as puppy love…a quivery adoration…an innocent crush, before fishtailing into real love, which can really tear your skin off, let’s be honest.
“Your feet might be your best feature,” I told a pretty woman the other day. “I also like your scabs though.”
Is that puppy love?
That woman was Suzanne, aka “Soup,” aka the latest victim of my canine heart.
Really, Suzanne could probably have just about anyone. Yet she chooses me, a hopeless romantic, a breadwinner without much bread, a deist, an iconoclast, a poet, a Henry Mancini fan. Makes you question her judgment, right?
I mean, I’m a man fascinated by Ella Fitzgerald and waa-waa mutes. Sometimes I tell her the same exact joke three times the same day.
FYI, I’ve taken to listening to a lot of Ella, Etta James, Aretha. Try it while you butter your toast some summer morning. They have a timeless quality. Frayed velvet in their voices, the tick-tick-purr of a hummingbird.
In fact, Sarah Vaughan said something interesting the other day:
The way you hold your knife
The way we danced ’til three
The way you’ve changed my life
No, no, they can’t take that away from me…
That’s what Sarah Vaughan says, anyway. Hearing her sing reminds me that each day pop culture becomes a little less literate, a little less charming…each day we seem to lower the bar a little more.
As it is, I’m day to day after losing Gordon Lightfoot, whose voice was like whisky on a winter’s night. Like Nat King Cole, his voice seemed to swirl and echo before it even left his lips. Lightfoot was like a wandering minstrel from the 14th century. He might’ve invented goosebumps.
Speaking of bumps…
The other morning, Smartacus awakens from his restless boy dreams to see White Fang lying at the end of the bed.
“Why’s this dog staring at me?” he calls out.
“Puppy love,” I explain.
“Creepy,” he says.
Yeah, sure is.
Here’s my current puppy love list:
-The meatballs at Trader Joe’s
-Pre-made frosting straight from the can
-Burgers grilled a little blushy
That’s it. That’s the extent of my puppy loves. Stay tuned though. Tomorrow, I may add more.
Meanwhile, what a summer this is shaping up to be. I was telling my buddy Hardin the other, “Hey Hardin, I’ve been to hundreds of baseball games, and I still get a slight buzz when I first glimpse a field as I first walk in…”
Similarly, I still get a slight ballgame buzz from summer. Need a ballgame buzz? Try the burgers and dipped cones at Heavy Handed on Main in Santa Monica.
Huge. Almost Brobdingnagian (monstrous). You might never be the same after that.
And word from the beach is that there’s a rare baby white Orca doing laps in Santa Monica Bay. I don’t see that as puppy love. I see that as a ’Gram from God.
Honestly, I see this rare baby whale as evidence that, as some things get way worse, other things get way better.
Frosty is the baby orca’s name.
Sober up the captain!
Summon my sloop!
I’m off to write a children’s book.
Thanks to all who joined the Happy Hour Hiking Club adventure Saturday. Great times, great group. Anybody missing a gray Hydro Flask? Too bad, because I’m not running a lost & found here. Still, I might know a guy who knows a guy. The flask is safe and warm. Just let me know at Letters@ChrisErskineLA.com. You can also order caps there. Cheers.
Coming Saturday: Someone turns 2