Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Well it's 1986 OK / All across the USA: The Life of a Golf Course Tractor Operator Is Always Intense: Introductus Interruptus

1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 ...

Now that I've committed myself to this thing and gotten to the point in the narrative where I've been hired to operate big burly tractors on the Great Lakes Navy Base golf course, I know that it's time to get down to business, and tell some stories about the Carl Spacklers of the North Shore -- Ralph, Danny, and STDPM -- battling golfers, gophers, sailors, skunks, broken-down machinery, hangovers, and the elements ... not to mention an increasingly unhinged and screamy boss. And, of course, Chester, good old Chet, hand-feeding mice, serenading the trees with Charley Pride and Glen Campbell songs, and looking more and more every day like he was going to reach senility before retirement.

But ... you know how the trailers for those old goofy exploitation movies usually turn out to be more entertaining than the movies themselves? I have a feeling the situation here is analogous. And these bloggy trailers have not, I have to admit, been all that awesome. Not that I'm giving up. I have nothing to lose, after all.

So I can feel myself getting stuck here a little longer in introduction land. It's comfortable here.

Plus, I've been enjoying dredging up memories of the summer of 1986. I don't know how you felt about the 1980s in general, but for me, 1986 was the year that the '80s stopped sucking.

Sure, a lot of bad things happened in 1986. The fucking Cold War was happening, and Reagan was scaring all of us potential draft-age cowards conscientious-objector-types to hell. It was a pretty bad year if, for instance, you were Colonel Khadafy, and even worse if you were one of the about 100 Libyans killed by the U.S. air strikes there that Spring. And it was a really bad year if you lived near a crummy little power plant in the Ukrainian city of Chernobyl. Of course, January 1986 was totally shitty for you if you were a space shuttle astronaut. It was a real good year if you were William Rehnquist, because you became Chief Justice (I wasn't too happy about that, myself). And it was a year that Bill Buckner would probably like to forget.

But then it was also a bad year if you were a certain Haitian dictator, or a certain Philippine dictator. And it wasn't really a banner year for the Reagan Administration, either, with the Iran-Contra scandal breaking. So 1986 had its up sides.

Looking back now, 20 years later, most of the time I remember 1986 -- especially the summer of 1986 -- as the year that music got really interesting ... for me, anyway. The summer I finally broke out of my '60s fixation and began paying real attention to what was happening in the present day.* And that was, ultimately, why I finally broke down and got myself employed, after all -- so I could buy records. Here's a short list of some of the 1986 releases I bought with Golf Course money that year, and I still own all of them:

Butthole Surfers - Rembrandt Pussyhorse
Meat Puppets - Out My Way
Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper - Frenzy
The Beat Farmers - Van Go
Soul Asylum - While You Were Out
Husker Du - Candy Apple Grey
Naked Raygun - All Rise

Plus ... I would be omitting something if I didn't mention that that was the summer I started shacking up with The Stickler. Due to the way things turned out, I don't feel much like waxing rhapsodic about it now, but it was a fairly significant thing at the time. One thing I can say in favor of shacking up at age 18 -- it's ... athletic. Physically active. If you can grok my meaning. I'm talking about a lot of teenage sex, people. At an age when you have plenty of stamina for it, and time. One thing against shacking up at an early age is that, in general, when you find yourself some years later beginning an inverted sort of reverse adolescence on your own for the first time, in your 30s, it's a little hard to get your bearings as far as how to behave or, well, conduct your life like a proper grownup.** Or, in my case, apparently impossible. But enough about that.

And enough about the present. The next introduction will probably be some background on the Great Lakes facility, because it's a topic that deserves a little bloggery in its own right. I doubt that a lot of people know much about it.

OK, enough for now. I'm on a strict beer diet this week (three per day) so I need to limit the literary frenzy.

Go Sox.


*It was also the summer I went to see Chuck Berry play at Blues Fest in Grant Park with Keith Richards, although Bo Diddley blew both of those geezers off the stage. Bo's set still ranks as one of the best performances I've ever seen.

**This provides, perhaps, a little gloss as to my enthusiasm a few years ago for the Mary Tyler Moore statue in Minneapolis (detailed here). "How will you make it on your own" ... etc. Or not. On second thought, that's just ... not quite right. But there it is. I just don't know, and that's why it's a footnote.


Feral Mom said...

The albums you bought in 1986 are WAAY cooler than the ones I bought in '86. Then again, I was in the thrall of a controlling prog rock drummer boyfriend, and thus listening to so much Rush that my foray in non-stop Jethro Tull land represents a form of resistance. Ahem.
Stay as long in intro land as you like, tale teller. It's sort of the inverse of my birth story--actual birth? 2 posts. Post-birth NICU? 8 posts. You gotta pace it like you see it. Like beers...only three per day? Are you trying to take Tylenol without internal bleeding or something?

Stronger Than Dirt Pete Moss said...

I only listed the records I wasn't ashamed of. I'm pretty sure Joe Walsh came out with some medicore crap that I also bought, along with various other lousy junk. Steve Winwood? No, I deny that. I deny it! And then I change the subject ...

Hey, I still like Jethro Tull. "Bourree" rocks, dude.