There and Back Again: The Vanilla Ice Experience

When I heard Vanilla Ice had booked a show in Shawnee, Okla. my heart jumped like a candle.

Apparently Everyone else’s did too, as the booking started gracing headlines on Oklahoma news sites and my Facebook feed within hours. Leave it to Oklahoma to give the funky white boy the welcome he deserved.
Like seriously why was Oklahoma the first stop on the tour? Whatever the reason, I was thrilled, but I really didn’t think id be going.

Two weeks later, my bearded companion sends a text, “Hey you want to go see Vanilla Ice in March?”
“Is that a real question?”

I thought surely he knew me better than THAT.

But he couldn’t possibly know my love for that patriotic parachute pants wearing punk was much deeper than ninja turtle macaroni n cheese commercials.

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I was pretty much willing to pay an inappropriate amount of money to see the Justin Bieber of the ’90s, so I nearly had a roni when I found out floor tickets were only $25.
“Order it now,” I said.

After the initial excitement, I started wondering, “What the hell is this show lineup going to look like?”
Honestly, I’d probably be okay with just Hearing “Ice, Ice Baby” on a loop with a few “Ninja Rap” intermissions… What else is there?

I went to the iTunes Store to download the 1990 masterpiece, To the Extreme, and another pleasant surprise– It was only $5.99.

From the moment I heard, “Yo Vanilla, kick it one time booooyeee!” I was transported back to elementary school days when I’d play the CD on the boom box in my room. The only thing more embarrassing than how many lyrics I remembered (lyrics, in retrospect, no child should be listening to) was how I inadvertently started examining the chiseled jawline and shaved brows in photos on the album cover just I had as a little girl. I even used to seek out the VHS copy of “Cool as Ice” during family trips to the video store just so I could see my man (and some irrelevant chick) on the box. Ya know, the dude was cute.

Pretty sure those little square images are what inspired me to line my son’s hair when I buzz it down to a Mohawk.

The nostalgia hit my brain like a poisonous mushroom. I was hooked.
I had a tiny heart attack when my man went to jail for burglary (he’s innocent BTW), not because of the scandal. I’d already bought a ticket and needed to see this show. I tweeted Mr. Ice and asked if he’d still be playing in light I his recent woes. He favorited the tweet, and the show was still on.

Now the day is here, and I’m ready for the chumps on the wall. I have no idea what to expect (please just none of the dumb, metal rap from the dreadful dread lock days) but anything less than the best will be a damn felony… Just not burglary. Like I said, he’s innocent.

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He’s Lovin’ It; I’m Lovin’ It

Whether it’s an ex, another helping of pasta salad or a third or fourth glass of wine, everyone knowingly indulges in self-destructive behavior.

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McDonald’s, once viewed as a harmless treat every now-and-again, has become one of the more reprehensible acts of self-destruction in the modern world we can’t seem to quit. We all know the “food” is really just calories wrapped in preservatives, coloring and mysterious fillers. We know it has little to no nutritional value and hell, it might even give us cancer, but they keep popping up in gas stations and mega Wal Marts across the country.

And we keep lining up to pay poverty prices for the most scrumptious, salty sin imaginable.

I often ask myself “How does McDonald’s stay in business, seriously?” Ever since Supersize Me, how could any self-respecting human being pay money to shove 650 calories known as a Quarter Pounder (or Royale with cheese, depending on your pop-culture health) down their gullet?

At least cigarette smokers can blame their destructive habits on addiction-inducing chemicals in the tobacco.

So, naturally, the parent in me vows to steer my youngster away from the tasty allure of probably the best french fries on the planet (or freedom fries, depending on how much you hate Democrats). That is, until my last visit this weekend.

I was driving to the grocery store for a quick item Sunday, and my almost-three-year-old was quietly riding in the backseat. We drove past McDonald’s, and he exclaimed, “I, I need somethin’ eat.”

It was 12:45 p.m., and he really didn’t eat much of anything for breakfast (just call me Mom of the Year), so I figured a quick snack was in order. I asked him what he wanted, and he just pointed out the window saying, “That!”

“You want to eat McDonald’s?”

“YEEEEAAAAH! ‘Donald’s!”

The joy, the elation seeped through those two words like special sauce between a sesame seed bun and a hamburger-ish patty. It was sweeter than anything I’d ever heard come from Cullen’s venom-spitting mouth.

He really wanted to go to McDonald’s.

As I moved into the right lane to head for our new destination, I started another journey down memory lane. I recalled afternoon lunches with my mother, sometimes accompanied by an aunt, cousin or my grandmother.

I remembered long road trips with my siblings, during which my father would stop and buy a bag of cheeseburgers to nosh with our ice-chest filled with sides and drinks. Birthday parties (why doesn’t anyone do THAT anymore?), outdated playground equipment, paper ketchup cups, Ronald freakin’ McDonald, chicken nuggets with sweet-and-sour sauce that have tasted the exact same for two decades now. One McDonald’s in the town where I lived in Canada had a massive ball pit and play area filled with tree tunnels and a carousel in the basement.

And now, I could thank McDonald’s for that sugary-sweet squeal I just heard from my own son in the backseat. I could thank McDonald’s for the smile to end all smiles when he realized a Mario Kart toy was in his immediate future. I could also thank McDonald’s for yet another dimple in my thigh, but whatever.

This is why people continue buying and consuming the crap they sell… it’s a collective experience of joy. The food is manufactured to taste good, better than anything real could ever taste, so it’s only natural for warm, fuzzy feelings to reverberate in our minds every time we see the golden arches. If you happened to spend quality time there with your mom, or aunt or grandma while eating salt-covered sin, those fuzzies are sure to be amplified.

Parents are supposed to watch out for their kids, to guide them into making better life choices than we once did, but it’s also our job to sacrifice personal comfort for their own. So, I’ll continue paying $6.41 for atomic sludge and say 15 hail Marys afterward if it means my son can have more squeals of elation and memories of his mother eating the exact same chicken nuggets she did 20 years ago.

 

Cell phone: wonderful tool or torture device?

I’m notoriously bad at not deleting my old text messages and photos from my phone. Then I get frustrated when I try to take a picture and am cock-blocked by a “Not enough memory” prompt. On top of that, I find old messages from him on there. Yesterday was the first time I felt something reminiscent of missing him, so this was just unnecessarily brutal:

I have not stopped loving you, you’re the most amazing woman I ever had the pleasure of spending my time with. The decision I made was a horrible one and I will never let my thinking process outweigh my heart ever again. We have shared so many good times together and I can’t wait to create even more together–Oct. 13

The problem isn’t that my phone doesn’t have enough memory. The problem is that I have too many memories to part with. Clean swipe? or hang on to a few?