Sunday, February 26, 2012

Wherever I May Roam (Take that Lars!)

At Zonga falls.  I wander the earth, like Cain without the back story.

So here we are, dear readers, spending a Sunday afternoon listening to obscure Norwegian folk rock, drinking beer, and grading 6th grade notebooks.  I feel both greasy and intellectual, like Epicurius driving through a topless carwash.  

And, in that vein, this post will be self indulgent, pretentious, and dead sexy, all at the same time.

This is now my 7th month in the DRC (how time flies!) and I don’t know if it’s the heat, the beer, or the strange arm rash, but it has put me in a reflective mood.  Who would have thought, 20 years ago, that I’d be here today, teaching the future generation?  On the other side of the world?  While still owning a Morbid Angel T shirt? 

Just goes to show, one never knows (sounds like a rejected Dylan song).  20 years ago, I was a snively little kid with a terrible Cliff Burton mustache, the first male earring at my middle school, and that kind of half way long hair that developing rockers have to suffer through, and which makes their head look like a penis which had been circumcised by an autistic mohel.  I was getting Cs and Ds in school, failing math, and learning how to rock.  Now, I am a 34 year old man with a nascent Jim “The Anvil” Niedhart goatee, a complete lack of any sort of jewelry, my sexy locks have been shorn, and I teach Math.

Still learning to rock though.

And I’ve been all over the world- well, except for those craggily European bits, with the fjords and such.  I’ve seen the sun rise on beaches belonging to countries I didn’t even know existed 15 years ago.  I have met awesome people, and had wonderful times, on four different continents. This summer I will be spending four weeks in Mallorca, Spain, followed by kickass good times in Wacken, before coming back to the DRC.  Next year, who knows?  It’s like Bon Jovi says: “I’ve seen a million faces, and I’ve rocked them all.”  Although I don’t know how many faces I’ve actually rocked, nor what a face rocking would look like.  Probably something that my school web browser would block. 

On the other hand, while I’ve made some kick ass friends over the years, many are friends I haven’t seen in a long time (I need to set up a Matt Lippart reunion tour).  Most of my Stateside peeps have houses (or at least boxes that could be made into houses) whereas when I go home, I first have to decide where that home is, and who’s couch it’ll be on, and what kind of beer they have.

All in all, although I no longer have any tear away pants, I am blessed, dear reader, even if I haven’t been able to rock your face as of yet.  Considering the grand total plan for my future, thought up at 13, was to “not live at home”, I think I’ve done pretty well for myself.  And, when the need arises, I can still pull off the Dirty Dancing move, even without the leather pants.
Now if I could just get back the abs I had senior year at St. John’s. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

These Boots Are Made For Wacken . . .

I'll be the 8th guy from the right.

It always fascinates me, dear reader, when I think of the winding, sexy twists and turns that life can take sometimes.  Just a few months ago I was waxing poetic about my thoughts of Poland and the image of hordes of women blackening the plains  wearing Inebriation T shirts and high heels- especially those fiddly ones with the tying bits around the calves.  

That was then.   

And now, as the sun rises on my seventh month in Congo (injury free, minus the neck wound and leach attacks), I will be able to live my dream.

Okay, the dream might not be as cool as the one mentioned above, but it isn’t far off.

It’s my OTHER dream.

I’m going to Wacken Open Air!

For those who don’t know or don’t care, it’s the biggest heavy metal concert in the world and is held every year in Wacken, Germany.  Three days, one hundred bands, 75,000+ people, and more leather pants than you can shake a spiked heavy metal fist of justice at.  There are bands playing this year that I've been listening to for 20 years.  Groups that helped to shape the delicious thing that became Matthew Lippart.  That taught me how to live, love, and powerslide.

I have dreamed of hitting this thing since I was 13 and now, with 5 months to go, I am so pumped that I have to stop myself from humming “Hammer Smashed Face” under my breath whilst teaching 6th grade math.

I have started back on a regime of Berzerker sit ups, Motorhead knee bends, and Manowar style bicep curls- all so that my body will be able to take the thunder.

As near as I can figure the concert will end on Sunday, at which point I will fly back to Congo to report to work Monday morning, hopefully still covered in whatever bodily fluid GWAR chooses to shoot at me (although, sad to say, I no longer have the t shirt I wore when Slymestra spit on me and then blew fire at my face.  Man, that was a great show.)

For my rabid European fans (are there any other kind?)  If any of you guys are gonna be there for WOA, let’s get together.  I’ve always wanted to say “I’ll be waiting by the flaming pentagram”.

For those who won’t be able to make it, I will have a beer in my hand and a bullet belt around at least my waist, thinking of you.

Man, it’s gonna be kick ass.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Why I am the greatest babysitter in the world.

If this isn't healthy eating, I'll give up beer for 10 minutes.

As my loyal audience is well aware, I am a man of many talents.  I can sing off key to any song known to man - even the off key ones. I can powerslide across the floor, Johnny 5 style.  I can write stories that touch the lives of almost three or four people.  What some might not know, however, is that I am the world's greatest babysitter.

Not in terms of actual childcare, of course (God, no), or in any sort of educational sense.  Mostly just because I tend to have really weird conversations with kids, which usually give the parents a chance to laugh at their own children.

And that is a gift worth giving.

As an example, here is a brief story.   The characters in this sordid tale?  Myself and young Eli (immortalized here) had scheduled a movie date.  I mentioned to him one day, months ago, that I had all the Toy Story movies at my house.  This, of course, led to increasingly frothy demands to come down and watch them, mostly involving animal noises and vague physical threats with bits of grass or wads of paper.  Finally the timing was right and Eli braved the centipedes and mango attacks to come down to lower campus.  He brought with him an awesome backpack filled to bursting with snacky bits:  gummy sharks, popcorn, some weird Twix type thing and of course, gummy worms, those crawly bastards.

The journey down was an adventure in and itself, as the intrepid father was sick and I walked up to bring him to my place.  As we walked we had a good conversation over whether Batman could fly faster than Superman if he knew how to fly, and if Eli could throw a stick far enough to encircle the world and come back to him, Ouroboros style.  I was unsure but he convinced me that he just needed a good running start.  We elected to try the experiment another day.

We arrived at my house and I started up the movie whilst Eli arranged the snacks on the table.  We were hitting it pretty hard for Toy Story 1 but his momentum in regards to gummy animal devourment slowed considerably during the closing credits.  We began the second movie.  

He turned to me and sighed.  

The kid, incidentally, is a great sigher.  Like an amalgamation of Woody Allan and that dude from Mallrats.

"Matt, we can't eat junk food all day.  Do you have anything healthy?"

"I don't know, Eli.  Maybe.  Lets check 'er out."

We walked to the fridge and he pulled open the door.  After a quiet moment he turned to me, his face brimming with either disgust or that particular world wearied ennui only known to kindergarten students.

"How come you have a big fridge that's only filled with beer and water?"

"I don't know- I mean, what else could anyone need?"

"I need more than that.  I'm a boy!"

"But, Eli-  I'm a man!"  I would have thumped my chest but wasn't sure it would have been appropriate.

We were at an impasse.  We stood, eye to much lower eye.  Never had the generation gap been more apparent.

Or greasy.

Luckily, he spotted a box of cereal I had forgotten and was soon munching away.  The existential crisis passed, washed down with a box of milk and super cheap corn flakes. 

I think we both learned something that day.