The Invisible Touch, Yeah (The 3rd Installment)

As a kid I always looked forward to when my sister and I would spend a Friday night with my Italian grandfather, who lived just a few miles down the road from our house. I knew that dinner meant a freezer-burnt TV dinner and some freezer-burnt ice cream for dessert, along with some semi-flat Ginger Ale. As quirky as it was, on Saturday afternoon we braced ourselves inside of a big plastic barrel as he would push my sister and I down a hill in his yard, then let us push him down the hill afterwards.

I will never forget the “I’ve gone cuckoo” look he always made as he would dizzily crawl out of the barrel each time. Then, he would let us do it a few more times before stumbling back to the house with us.

My sister and I still refer to the many funny things he would do. Like the fact he taped WWF Wrestling, then made us watch it with him. I never got a good explanation why a 65 year-old Italian man from Wisconsin loved the Southern-fried “sport” of pro-wrestling so much that he not only taped it, but watched each episode multiple times. That was the sole reason he owned a VCR- to tape Ric Flair and the boys reek havoc.

I never remember having to sincerely ask him if it was fake, but we just always knew. And watched it anyway.

And just last week as I flipped through the channels to find a rerun of Friends like my wife asked me to do, I stumbled across pro-wrestling. The intro music. The backstage drama. I was in a trance until my wife helped me realize what was going on.

There’s just some invisible touch involved with pro-wrestling that causes people like me to stop and watch, and causes millions of others to go out and spend big money to see it live. Even though we all know it’s fake. It’s captivating.

I’ve caught myself in the same situation with infomercials late at night and on Saturday afternoons. So much joy can be found in sarcastically mocking the fact that the host of the infomercial is always so smitten by the product and surprised as the chef conjures up all kinds of new delicious treats in the kitchen studio in front of a live audience.

And while I can’t relate, daytime soap operas have to go in this category as well. Entertainment at its worst, yet still drawing in an audience.

So fake. So lame. So unbelievable. Somewhat enticing.

The Invisible Touch, Yeah


The 1st Installment
The 2nd Installment
The 3rd Installment

Tony Little

Being that this is the 3rd installment of this series and I have yet to explain the title, I am finally choosing to do so. I am a huge Phil Collins/Genesis fan. The title refers to the first and only #1 hit by the group, entitled “The Invisible Touch”, released in 1986. The first line of the chorus is “she seems to have an invisible touch, yeah… she reaches in and grabs right hold of your heart”.

It’s really funny to me that as Phil Collins wrote the song, he couldn’t think of a word to put after the phrase “invisible touch” to fill that line, so he just says “yeah”. That’s hilarious to me. And that’s what gives me the off-beat title for my series: The Invisible Touch, Yeah.

Pickles Make for Good Reading Material- Episode 2

 

There’s nothing like that childhood feeling of hearing the campy music of an ice cream truck coming near.  So much excitement, so much anticipation.  Everyone loves delicious ice cream.  But just because ice cream is universally the best thing a kid can get from a travelling salesman, it doesn’t mean that other good things can’t be sold in these trucks as well.  Obviously.  There are also Book-Mobiles.

But what else?  One of the best questions in the world that often goes unanswered is this:  Why not Pickle-Mobiles?  What a perfect idea when people are grilling out in the neighborhood.  The Pickle Truck pulls up just in time!  The perfect accessory for the perfect burger.

BBQ pickles.  Mustard pickles.  Cheese-filled pickles.  Candied pickles.  Super Sour pickles.  Frozen pickles.  Beef jerky flavored pickles.  Vanilla pickles.  Tossed salad pickles (comes with Ranch tipping sauce).  Caffeinated pickles.

In neighborhoods where the Pickle Truck really proves to be the most successful, a pickle buffet would also be incorporated into the event.  This would play up to the international, regional, and dietary preferences regarding the love of pickles.  The options would include, but not be limited to the following…

Aspartickle:  Pickle sweetened with Aspartame, causing it to have fewer carbohydrates but still leaves the person feeling like they should have just got the pickle they really wanted because artificial sweeteners will never really be the same thing as sugar.

Fiberickle:  Pickle coated in flax seed to ensure regularity.

Mexickle:  Pickle wrapped in a burrito with refried beans.

Chinickle:  Pickle fried in a doughy batter that causes the person to still be hungry after eating it.

Heart of Dixickle:  Pickle deep fried in sausage bits, dipped in A-1, then wrapped in a buttermilk pancake.

Wickle:  Pickle with a chicken wing bone surgically planted inside, to give the feel of eating a chicken wing.

pickle_detail

How to Hang Out with Friends and Have Fun

 

An instinct we had as kids is that we always knew how to hang out, without a plan or agenda. In the way that Adam and Eve were not at first aware of their nakedness, we used to have the blessing of being unaware of social awkwardness and social cues. It’s an ability that began to escape us sometime around junior high. When I was a kid, it didn’t matter which friend I was hanging out with after school or spending the night with, we never got bored or recognized that we were about to run out of activities or subjects to talk about.

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that as kids we knew “how to play”. Though I may not be a girl, I remember my sister and her friends always seemed to be playing “House”. Females socialize. Males, on the other hand, compete.

As boys we would go outside, often to the woods, to play out some sort of good guys/bad guys scenario. Our version of “Cops and Robbers” was more like Ninja Turtles Vs. Shredder. Bikes and water balloons were often part of the plan. When we got tired, we’d go inside and play Nintendo until we had regained enough energy to initiate a wrestling match on the carpet. And there was the trampoline too. Hours of fun.

But as adults, we don’t use “playing” anymore as the main way to interact with our friends.

It’s not as simple as an adult just to tell a friend, “Let’s hang out at my house after work today”. In many cases, the hanging out is done outside of the home. Instead of playing like we did as kids, adults talk and “catch up”. But there is always a staple to bring the people together. It may be sharing a meal, going to watch a game or movie, or a showing up at a party associated with a holiday or sports event.

But the most simple and common thing I see is people going out for coffee, beer, or wine. The drink serves as a campfire. In the same way people gather around a campfire and find comfort in it with those around them, a drink of choice magically sets the fertile environment for good conversation no matter the location. If by chance the friends find themselves in a noticeably quiet moment, it’s easy to fall back on the easy conversation piece: “Starbucks is wonderful”, “Good beer”, or “I love this wine.” Obviously it’s good. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be the modern day campfire.

The one exception and yet another reason to love Paul Rudd in a bromantic situation…