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Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Mommy Pope is going to excommunicate me

I took a call from one of my mom friends today (aside: took a call? really? ought I to have had my assistant check to see if I was available?) and she told me that Barenaked Ladies were promoting their Snacktime CD at the Barnes & Noble at the Hillsdale shopping center.


Sweet because I'm so Canadian, and so Ontarian, that I had a copy of their demo in high school; not a demo tape, but a copy of a demo tape. My friend made it for me and we listened to it on a drive to Toronto to go watch the Victoria Cup game at Skydome. Those were the years during which geeky pop-folk groups like BNL and Moxy Fruvous and The Arrogant Worms were just about to break, and I had demo tapes (or copies of demo tapes) for all of them. They were like memes, passed from friend to friend, and you were definitely paying attention to the music scene if you knew who they were before they popped up on Much Music. (another aside: Mike from the Arrogant Worms used to tend bar at the Grad Club at Queens and the Worms were campus folk heroes on par in Kingston with The Tragically Hip, okay, that's an exaggeration, but they were big for a couple of years (an aside within an aside: The Hip went to my high school....a couple of years before I got there...dammit) and I had a couple of good nights underaged at the Grad Club watching them play because my dad's girlfriend was friends with him.)

So, fast forward, oh, fifteen or sixteen years (holy crap) and there I was, with Erin on my back, my Californian wife standing by my side as we bopped along to BNL as they played "If I had $1 000 000". Emily remarked that (a) they could have sold tickets and done an actual show instead of a 30 minute spot at a bookstore, and (b) it was kind of sad that they were doing a 30 minute spot at a bookstore instead of selling out a concert venue somewhere like the goddamned Wiggles. I chose to see them as completely in love with performing for small groups.

Erin was rocking out, dancing from side to side in the backpack, making faces at her baby friends who were there with us. It was a perfect little family moment, and I felt like a pretty good dad.

This was the closest we got, and the best picture I could take on my Blackberry with the freakin' window in the background saturating the screen:


We went downstairs. One of our mom friends left, the other jumped into the cashier line, holding her son while pushing the stroller, and we grabbed a CD from a box at Information and went to check out. There was a woman with a stroller and a walking kid behind our friend, so we lined up behind her (actually, kind of at a right angle to her). Mom-friend saw that I had a CD already and asked where I found it. I pointed back at Information; she looked torn. I asked her if she wanted to go grab one, and she said "sure" and walked over.

She left her stroller in line (I had kind of moved toward it when I asked if she wanted to grab a CD), so I pushed it through until we were up front. We were just at the register when she came back, sans CD, and I noticed that they had a box of them at the register, so she picked one up at the front. We paid for our purchases and walked toward the entrance.

Wow. Exciting right? This is, so far, the best story I've ever told, yes?No? Fine.

How about if I tell you that while I was pushing the stroller toward the register I looked back at the woman we had originally lined up behind, and noticed that she was not, in fact, pushing a stroller.

She was pushing a wheelchair, and in the wheelchair was her severely disabled nine or ten year-old daughter.

Yeah, I noticed. And I continued through the line, all the way up to the register, paid for my CD, and joined Emily at the exit.

"So, I totally line-jumped that woman we were standing behind."

"Yeah you did."

"I swear I didn't realize it until we were almost at the register."

"Well, the point at which you realized it would have been a great moment to let her go ahead of you."

"Yeah, but..."


There is no but. Except for me, and I'm more of an ass.

I turned around and caught the woman before she reached the exit.

"Ma'am? I'm so sorry; I completely stole your place in line. It was pretty rude and I'd like to apologize."

She played it off casually, pretending to be surprised that I had anything to apologize for: "Oh, that's ok. I didn't even notice. More time in the air-conditioned building anyway."

I walked back to Emily, feeling very proud of myself. I had manned up and apologized for being a total ass-hat. I had done it with nothing to gain except self-respect and the respect of my loving wife. A big grin started to break across my face as I saw Emily smiling at me.

I should have realized that it wasn't her loving smile; it was her "I'm on to you" smile.

"Well, now you're not going straight to hell."


Good concert. They could have sold tickets.


Whit said...

The CD is awesome by the way. I would pay to see them.

Badass Geek said...

I've been told on more than a few occaisions that I look like the lead singer from Barenaked Ladies.

I'm still not sure how I feel about that.

Anonymous said...

I love love love BNL and Moxy Fruvous. I've never heard of the Arrogant Worms, but you can bet I'm going to check them out now. I heart Canadian nerd rock.

for a different kind of girl said...

I believe there is a slide erected straight to hell to make my trip easier. And that it is greased with the tears of a thousand tortured souls I've encountered in life.

Also...geez, I freakin' WORK at a BN and we never get anything good!! Damn this midwest living.

And also again...The greatest thing we get is someone dressed in a Clifford costume. The last time we got that, I was in the Clifford costume.

And a kid humped my leg.

I am not kidding.

Should have sold tickets for THAT!

Danielle said...

Love that 789 song! I'll have to track down that CD! I had not heard about it. Thanks!

And, at least you did realized what happened and owned up by apologizing. What a nice lady for not letting it get to her and having a positive outlook.

KT said...

Saw them when they promoted snacktime in detroit. check out my blog for pics of my girls meeting them in mid-may. It was the best day ever. I've been a BNL fan since they were trying to break into the US. Detroit was the first US venue they sold out. And they used to play at a small theater in my town, Royal Oak..for $16. LAst time they came to MI I paid $60. I miss the days of small venues and cheap tix, so I REALLY enjoyed the show at Borders. My kids make me listen to this CD all the time. We know all the words. It rocks!

Anonymous said...

Awww, they're SO good live, aren't they? And you may have just inspired me to break out some Tragically Hip from the ol'CD drawer.

And I think that whatever "selfish" reason prompted your apology, it was good that you made it.

mamatulip said...

Moxy Fruvous. Now there's a band I haven't heard in a while. Didn't they have dots over a letter in their name?

Gemini Girl said...

First off- it so great to see dad bloggers!

the bare naked ladies really are awesome. wonder why they did a 30 min gig?

Backpacking Dad said...

whit: I'm loving the CD so far. Great ABC song.

badass geek: which one? Blond with glasses or brown-haired with goatee?

zeekster: The Worms are more comedians who sing than quirky musicians, but they were always on my shelf next to BNL and MF. "Last Saskatchewan Pirate" is probably their most sucessful song.

FADKOG: Oh wow. The Clifford costume image is killing me now.

danielle: yeah. I think she was nice; she could also have been the most evil person of all, able to lay a guilt spell on me that lasts for days.

kt: And your friend met McCarty! That was the best part of the story.

must be motherhood: The Hip throw me straight back to high school, listening to Road Apples.

mamatulip: yeah, over the first 'u' in Fruvous. I was too lazy to do the umlaut when I was typing though :}

gemini girl: It was their version of a book reading; they were promoting their CD and their kids' book, "Snacktime".

Badass Geek said...

Probably the one with brown hair and goatee. I have glasses too, so maybe a combination of both?

Mandy said...

Ohmigod! Moxy Fruvous, and BNL, and the Hip. I so totally bet we were at some of the same concerts.

Remember Lava Hay, and Crash Vegas and the Grapes of Wrath?

Ahhhhh.... sinking into the memories. Thanks for the trip down that lane.

Backpacking Dad said...

Mandy: I do remember Crash Vegas. Ha.

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

You kick ass.

Seriously. I totally would not have apologized. I'd have just run out and tried to drink it from my mind.

Michelle W said...

I actually think it was, in fact, your best post ever. Only because I so love the Barenaked Ladies. Why, oh why, are they not playing at B&N in New Jersey?

Anonymous said...

I am proud of you for manning up, no matter how late in the game. Still good karma points.

But I am kind of shocked that BNL were at a Barnes and Noble... the indignity! I thought they could at least sell out a Circuit City...

Swanny said...

I've been on board with "Snacktime" since it came out. My daughter's favorite tracks are "789" and "Crazy ABC's". I'm quite jealous that you got to see them perform.

Backpacking Dad said...

Jenny, the Blogess: I used to try to drink the world interesting. And you kick ass, what with your cat's paw claw and all.

michelle: maybe they've already been and gone. They were in Detroit last month.

manager mom: seriously. Or a Cheesecake Factory or something.

Backpacking Dad said...

swanny: I like the "ABCs" song and the "bad day" song.

Anonymous said...

No! You got to see them at a bookstore?!

They don't get down here to me (Tennessee) often, so we usually have to go see them.

chicago pop said...

The question is, would you have done the same thing if the person you jumped was a rumpled, 28-year old male graduate student in engineering?

In any case, well done. Your post makes me think about how pushing someone around like that - whether it's grandma or baby - really kind of makes you take a lot more stuff in stride, like bad drivers or just random bad luck.

chicago pop said..., by "pushing around," I mean propelling in a wheeled device, as in a wheelchair, or stroller. Just for clarification.

Backpacking Dad said...

busy mom: I would definitely have paid to see them do a one-hour or two-hour gig. Even if all they played was their more kid-friendly stuff.

chicago pop: I never apologize to engineers. They haven't apologized to me for the "city" of Los Angeles or Chicago's O'Hare.

Anonymous said...

I'd have kicked your scrawny butt if you butted in front of me and my handicapped kid.

Just kidding. Good on you for making right on a wrong.

Now, how much would you hate me if I told you I happen to have supper with BNL and they even come to my house whenever their in town and put on a little impromptu show for me and my family???

They're even funnier when they're off stage.

Backpacking Dad said...

Redneck Mommy: I would have totally deserved it. And, to quote my cat: "I HAET U SO HRD"

Menchuvian Candidate said...

I think they're choosing not to tour and are concentrating on the cruise thing they have going...