March 01, 2005

How Michael Stipe Scares Me

A few weeks ago, Shaggy Hair Boy did a project at school that involved a life-size cut-out of Michael Stipe's head on a popsicle stick. (Yes, I am aware that this probably says something about the quality of education my kids are getting.) I have no idea what the school project was about, but it left my kids with a cool leftover prop. Skater Boy, this kid who is so quiet that you wouldn't even know he was here except that of course he is always here, decided it would be appropriate to make Michael Stipe part of the family. Make him another extra, if you will. Skater Boy is an extra himself, of course, so he's got this understandable soft spot for musicians who have been cut up and pasted onto cardboard.

So this is the scene that happens about twelve times a day. I am running around doing three things at once, folding laundry, making sandwiches, and in my head writing a stern lecture about plagiarism, and then suddenly, I turn, and there is Michael Stipe staring at me. I'm not sure where Shaggy Hair Boy got this photo of him, but the look on his face is a bit creepy. His head is tilted in the way that indicates he might be a villain of sorts.

So I jump and scream. And the boys all laugh.

"What is Michael Stipe doing in the cupboard? Get him out of there!" I yell. Boy-in-Black rolls his eyes.

"How is it that you get scared every single time?" he asks. "Do you really think that Michael Stipe would be in our cupboard or in the refrigerator or inside the washing machine? That's not even logical."

Boy-in-Black is right, of course. There is no logical reason why I should scream when I see Michael Stipe's face staring at me from the bathroom mirror or the edge of the bookcase or from inside the fireplace. The boys are convinced that my continually screaming - and this has been happening multiple times every day - is a sign that their Mom has seriously lost touch with reality.

My point to this post was going to be something about education. About how, when it comes right down to it, playing with cut-outs of Michael Stipe's head is far more valuable than learning how to take standardized tests. Because playing with Michael Stipe's head teaches important lessons about reality, which clearly cannot be learned by filling in little bubbles with a number two pencil. And about how doing well on standardized tests is a useless skill that becomes obsolete as soon as you leave school; I mean, it's not even a fun party skill. Fun party skills involve such things as knowing how to light a match from a match book with only one hand, and I'm pretty sure that's not on the new standardized test. But I lost the thread of argument before it even started, when I turned and saw Michael Stipe's head taped to my office window.

I don't care what anyone thinks; those eyes are creepy.

So I will end this post with gratitude for the educational value of parenting. Thank goodness, I have children to teach me things. As Boy-in-Black has so patiently explained to me, over and over again, Michael Stipe would not fit into my refrigerator. This is information worth knowing.

27 comments:

Phantom Scribbler said...

I would comment, but I spontaneously combusted while trying not to laugh so loud as to wake the baby.

"Michael Stipe would not fit into my refrigerator." There I go again, combusting.

Shiny happy people indeed.

Scrivener said...

What is with Michael Stipe in our corner of the blogosphere these days? First he was popping up on everyone's blogs during the 10 things memes and elsewhere (I know he was on mine, musey's, and at least a few others'). Now he's popping up all over your house. Someone needs to find that man a job, or get him to go on tour.

Musey_Me said...

I shared with my friend who knows Stipe. My friend assures me that Stipe would either be HIGHLY amused or very offended by this. We'll go with amused. I also checked on the size. My friend assures me that the cupboard and washing machine out of the question. MS is too big for those. However, the refrigerator - if it's big, he could get in it, but he would have to squish in.

I agree with Scrivener, Stipe is all too present these days. Maybe a good tour *would* do him good.

jo(e) said...

musey_me: My boys are all big R.E.M. fans so I'm hoping Stipe would be flattered by their attempts to make him part of the household.

PPB said...

Oh my gosh, once again you have me laughing in my office--on a poopy day, as well. I will not be able to think of Michael Stipe in the same way for a long time.

Musey_Me said...

jo(e): friend-of-stipe thinks he'd be amused. Though, fos isn't willing to share, so we'll never know! (and yes, this is the same fos who woulnd't loan my book to him keeping stipe from borrowing the book that I referred to in my 10 things list... Bummer!)

Musey_Me said...

oh - I should point out fos was very amused once I explained the context and who these people were (I showed fos a printout of hte story so he was at first quite confused.) fos figures that everyone should have life-sized pictures of lots of people on popsicle sticks - we can only imagine the fun that could cause!

jo(e) said...

Well, I suppose the story makes more sense in the context of my household. Well, as much as anything in my household makes sense.

Here's what's puzzling, though: Shaggy Hair picked Michael Stipe when he had to do this art project because he thinks Stipe is Way Cool. But Stipe is my age! A year older than me in fact. And I have been led to believe that anyone my age is Definitely Uncool. So it seems like I'm getting some mixed messages from my teenagers.

Scrivener said...

Mixed messaged from a teenager? Imagine that.

Though I'm not sure whether you're dealing with truly mixed messages, or the simple Rock Star Exception to the Adults are Uncool rule.

I've gotta say you last comment is a little discouraging to me, though, as the father of little ones. If even you are unable to convince your kids as to your coolness, then what hope do I have? Sigh. Relegated to the Uncool Bin again...

zipzap said...

I love the way you write. What a fabulous family you have! This is the most I've laughed all week. Thank you.

jo(e) said...

Scrivener: You might as well accept it now. Your girls will think you are Uncool as soon as they hit puberty. It's a rule. But their friends will love you and think you are Mad Cool, which of course will drive your own kids crazy.

I am lucky because I have so many nieces and nephews and extras so I get to be Cool to someone. My own kids think Urban Sophisticate Sister is the coolest aunt in the universe and they are always quick to point out how she is nothing like me.

Musey_Me said...

jo(e) - I suspect your kids will ocme around soon enough. From reading about your family and how you interact with them, it's clear that you are WAY cool (probably cooler than Mr. Stipe, I would venture to guess!)

Friday Mom said...

Is there ever a quiet moment in your house? What a great family! I love reading about them.

Pilgrim/Heretic said...

I wish I had life-size head pictures of you guys (gravatars maybe?) on popsicle sticks. That'd be fun.

What Now? said...

Very funny story! I'm just so curious about what the school project was that involved Michael Stipe's head on a popsicle stick. Make up a skit in which your favorite rock star visits ancient Rome? Explain the Pythagorean Theory to your favorite rock star? Maybe a mock debate between a popsicle-head Michael Stipe and a popsicle-head Bono about the role of popular music in the development of teenagers' social consciousnesses? This may be a pedagogical breakthrough!

Cheeky Prof said...

I don't have a lot to add here except that this post made me laugh out loud. It's the kind of thing that would happen in my life. I must say, however, that the photo heads on popsicle sticks does have a certain odd appeal.

~profgrrrrl~ said...

Oddly, this story is tempting me to cut out heads and put them on popsicles sticks. I'm not sure why.

Very very funny.

LisaV said...

Michael Stipe is completely scary, have you seen the video for "Losing My Religion"?
This is a great post.
The sad thing is that standardized tests used to be fun, I could make W's or outlines of dogs, or lots of things on those little bubble sheets (I wonder why I never got into AP classes?), but now my kids take them on a computer. Where is the creativity in that?
We had a Barbie styling head living on our patio table for awhile. She would stare into the dining room and illicit shreiks from anyone alarmed by the presence of the blonde bombshell with green magic marker lips. Think Britney Spears gone awry. Eek!
Daughter #1 loves Jimmy Hendrix and Nirvana, however she openly turns up her nose at the Beatles or Rolling Stones.

Dr. H said...

*sending my lifesize photo of my head for to put on stick*

I prefer hanging out in the fridge or pantry. Wherever there is food. Thanks.

Psycho Kitty said...

My god, Jo(e), how I love you.

Pilgrim/Heretic said...

No, Dr. H, you can't choose where you hang out, because the whole idea is that your appearance has to be startling and unexpected. Otherwise it'd be "Oh, man, there's Dr. H in the fridge again. Where'd all the cookie dough go?"

But this is great - can you imagine the whole gang of us popping up in the fireplace, the fridge, the laundry room? This is an even better idea than the trading cards.

dr. m(mmm) aka The Notorious P.H.D. said...

All I will do is support the position that Stipe could fit in an average fridge. Given the amount of people who live at your house, I'm assuming your fridge is above average size. I saw Stipe hanging ouot with River Phoenix in (ironically) Phoenix, and he is a tiny, skinny man.

Dr. H said...

"No, Dr. H..." LOL! I do what I want, OK, P/H?! Hee hee...

jo(e) said...

I spend enough time talking to y'all as it is. (When I closed my eyes the other night to go to sleep, Scrivener's icon kept scrolling past.) If I ever came home to find all your cut-out heads on popsicle sticks propped all over my house ... oh, my god, I know now why I've chosen to be psedonymous. I'm not telling any of you where I live!

Pilgrim/Heretic said...

Dr. H, I didn't mean you exactly, I meant your head on a stick. You can do whatever you like (unless, apparently, it involves flying back from Arizona). But your head on a stick should be thrillingly unpredictable.

bitchphd said...

I love your kids. Can I have them?

BlackenedBoy said...

I officially love you.