Subject: MY open letter to Eb
Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998
From: lj lindhurst
Your extreme daily sarcasm has inspired me to tell you everything there is to know about me. I feel that I should approach you like the police approach a hostage-taker-- in other words, if you know a few personal details about the individuals that you are "taking hostage" day in and day out with your merciless rockcrit witicisms, then maybe you will take pity on our wretched souls...
As you all know, I was born on a turnip farm in southern Arkansas. My family was extremely poor, and since we could not afford hospitalization for my mother, my father delivered me using only a jar of Vicks Vap-o-Rub and a pair of ice tongs (however, I fared much better than my younger brother, "Dirt Devil," let me tell you!).
Life on the turnip farm was hard. And all we ever had to eat was turnips.Turnips, turnips, turnips-- turnip pudding, turnip stew, turnip mignon,open faced turnip sandwiches au jus, turnip pie with turnips ala mode,ecch, it was just too much. What I wouldn't have given for a nice fresh beet in those days. And besides that, after my dad died in a mysterious"accident" involving a plastic shopping bag and a rubber band, my mom went through a LOT of husbands. I mean, she was a virtual black widow, always tramping around with a new man and then "accidentally" killing him (huh, and she thought she could FOOL US by acting all surprised when they'd turn up at the dinner table with Safeway bags over their heads).
Since we were so poor, my sister "Wirehanger" and I were forced to go into the nearest town and work as child labor in a Sergio Valente designer jeans factory. In fact, it was while working there that I suggested to Sergio that he overdye the jeans so completely that they turn your skin blue when you sweat. And my suggestion paid off-- people were crazy about the new "blue crack" look, and Sergio was most pleased with his 9 year-old ingenue, who had by now succeeded in making him ten million dollars AND winning his heart (he was quite charmed by the indentations in my skull) . To reward me, he allowed both my sister and I to work in an AIR CONDITIONED wing of the plant. Of course, all of the other girls in the factory were crying foul because of our special treatment, but we didn't care what they thought and happily went on to a luxurious life of sewing cute little patterns on vivid blue back pockets for the next 8 years.
Well, things went afoul roundabout 1984. Designer jeans were totally out of fashion, and Sergio had taken to violent bouts of drinking during which he would force all of us in the Back Pocket division to sew in a perverse synchronicity while he blared Shaun Cassidy's "Hey There Lonely Girl" over the loudspeakers. At his worst moments, he threatened to turn the entire factory into a Shaun Cassidy iron-on decal plant, but I always managed to calm him down by allowing him to drink Southern Comfort straight out of the dents in my skull.
Tragic as this tale is, this is where I was first exposed to music, and I mean GOOD MUSIC, you know- rock and roll! I had never heard of this so-called "Shaun Cassidy" before, and the way he used all of those drums and guitars all together *at once* was mesmerizing to me. I had to find out more!
By this time, Sergio had also begun an involvement with a 12 year-old in the Zipper Division, so Wirehanger and I left the quickly declining designer jeans plant, and headed for the nearest Big City, which was Little Rock.
Oh the wonders of Little Rock! We were such rubes, my sister and I! We had no idea that there were such marvels awaiting us outside of the world of designer jeans. We walked around gape-mouthed, amazed at this new fangled world! Neon lights! Walk/Don't Walk signs! Shoes! We approached every stranger we met, pointed to a bleary Xerox of the cover of Sergio's "Born Late" 8-track, and inquired "Where is Shaun Cassidy? Where is Shaun Cassidy?"
But alas, no one seemed to know.
I stayed in Little Rock for the next ten years, trying to figure out where oh where I had gone wrong. Wirehanger quickly picked up a scorching case of gonnorhea from a bus station toilet, and got shipped back to the turnip farm after only a couple of months. That was fine with me; her habit of incessantly asking ME where Shaun Cassidy was had started to get on my nerves. Of course *I* didn't know!! That's WHY I was in Little Rock!!
Duuhhhh....some people are so stupid!!!
So I stayed in Little Rock, sleeping in various residency hotels with odd men who wanted me to put my mouth in the FUNNIEST places in exchange for a shower and a place to sleep. I never understood this practice, but I happily complied since sometimes they would also give me cigarettes.
(And it was in this way that I met my one true love of all of my life: CIGARETTES! I can't get enough of 'em! Whoever invented these wondrous little cylinders of pleasure should be given a medal, I swear. I smoke and smoke and smoke. Sometimes I smoke over 400 cigarettes a day. It's wonderful.)
Meanwhile, things were starting to look up for me. I secured a job at a nearby "Musicland", thinking that if Shaun Cassidy were to be found anyplace, it would DEFINITELY be there. I was a fast learner-- they used this complex "alpabetical" filing system for all of the records, whichonly took me six months to master (they told me that was the fastest any Musicland employee had ever learned it!). After a year, I was on to more advanced record filing, splitting the alphabetized records into sub-categories such as "pop" and "classical". The management was amazed at how far I had come (and how willing I was to put my mouth in funny places), and I rapidly started climbing the rungs of the Musicland Ladder of Success; within four years, I had worked my way up to operating the CASH REGISTER, and after six years, I was finally given the title of "Crew Leader", which meant that I not only operated the cash register, but I also was allowed to clean the employee bathroom!
By now I had gotten my *own* room at the residency hotel, and I even had a little bit of money ($146) saved up in a Safari coffee can underneath my mattress. Life was good. I was eating beets every day, and I had all but given up on my dream of finding Shaun Cassidy. I had moved on to more challenging music, such as ska and reggae. I felt my mind expanding, my soul enriched. (Do you see, Eb? Do you see how hard it was for me to find this musical enlightenment that you so easily take for granted? This same hard-won enthusiasm that you seem to delight in stomping down every chance you get???) But I felt as though I had to move on. Sure, Little Rock had infused me with a tremendous amount of culture, but I needed to get MORE, I needed to "find myself". I needed to look beyond those racks and racks of prettily-packaged, well-lit compact discs, and see the TRUE ME. The REAL LJ Lindhurst.
So I headed east. I never realized how BIG this country was, until I tried to hitch a ride to New York. I mean, come on! It couldn't have been much further than Nashville, but you would be surprised at how many people are unwilling to go the distance for a young woman with nothing more than a dream and a willingness to put her mouth in funny places. But inch by inch, I got there. (By now it was 1996, and Shaun Cassidy had truly been out of the mainstream for a good three or four years.) Since I was a Musicland career girl, it wasn't difficult finding work-- I quickly secured my current job at the Penn Station Musicland mobile cart ("Discs on Wheels!"), and instantly began wowing my co-workers with my knowledge of the Musicland filing system.
And that is how you find me today. Yes, I have definitely come a long way from my days on the turnip farm, and I still have a glimmer of hope that one of these days Shaun Cassidy himself is going to step off that Long Island Railroad, but I have fought hard and truly *earned* my current appreciation of music which you find so FUNNY, Eb (and what's with only having ONE name??? How pretentious! What, are we supposed to think you are some kind of "Liza" or "Oprah" or something?). So just remember that next time you feel the need to show off your smarmy "college" education, Mr. I-Think-I'm-So-Big! Not all of us had it handed to us on a silver platter.
Think about it.
MY open letter to Gondoolishness
More than you want to know about sharkboy...
Thank you, one who stalks mice and she who shames us all with her wit for sharing the tremendous insights. I believe that confession is good for the soul, but it's not as good as sex or laughter. As my upbringing was so pathetically white bread, I may actually make few eentsy-beentsy embellishments here. Don't let the birdguy tell you I'm not real. I am very real. I make no sense at all, but I make snot and barf just like the rest of you, though much of mine is technically only metaphorically so, in prose and music. Except that which manifests itselfphysically to add substance and girth to my high art of humor in the booger and vomit parts of the spectrum.
I feel that I need to defend myself from the hurtful things that have been said about me. Yes, technically I was the one who said them, and I did the right thing to argue with myself off line, but how dreadful was the damage done to my reputation,my loved ones, my kidneys, and my poor little spleen? I have never made some of these confessions to anyone before. I hope that they are taken the right way.
I was born the third head of freak alien baby in a tabloid at the PX in Area 51, Nevada. My parents,who had compound eyes and noses were unable to spend long periods in the sun. We were very poor,but we made up for it by making music at home. Well, it wasn't really a home. It was more like an old used motion discomfort sack from under a seat in a C130. My father fancied himself as one of the great Zulu chiefs, though he was painfully whitish- greenish-trash from suburban Xerpluplu. I think sometimes after stringing me up he actually thought I was a balifone, and he would strike me repeatedly with his louisville slugger and forehead. My brothers, who were older than I used to drop medium to large household appliances on my head when "jamming" brainfriage with dad for that low woody, hollow bass sound. They also to play "Hide the Skittles" in my facial orifi. What a wacky bunch.
My mom used to drink Xevudgian coolaid and imagine that monster sex perverts were climbing the sides of the house with suction cups to get at her body. I remember deciding that the Xevudgian coolaid was a little scary at that point.
As I wasn't a terribly quick child, I believed my upbringing to be normal and healthy. Since my siblings were exceptionally intelligent and obnoxious, they caused my parents and teachers to believe that I was retarded and quite relatively pleasant. I'm sure they were correct on that last matter. As I got older, I had run-ins with El Chupacabra, who taught at Swope Middle School. It seems that ol' El, as we called him, had read Ayn Rand waaaaaaaaaaaay too much and had caused his brain to warp and twist. I remember that I was put in special learning classes, as my WSAT (the "W" is for weird) scores were very high in areas that involved forgetting people's names and in writing just absolute drivel. I believe I had perfect scores in face-making, being hit on the head, and getting beat up in school. Math and I did not get along, which caused some suspicion on my part. If I'm from Xerplupluan lineage, where everybody loves math to the point of eating math books instead of smoking after sex, I should be better at math and should like it. This caused me to doubt that my parents were in anyway genetically associated with me.
A lot of other kids were experimenting with drugs at this time for an escape. I was experimenting with electricity. I could store 3000 volts in my fillings and could use them to broadcast a signal. The FCC called me in and I had to surrender my fillings. They gave me nerf ones that didn't work well for the traditional molar roles: broadcasting, receiving, chewing.
This eventually led me to a long search of my real parents. I knew that if I found them, I would instantly feel an incredible bond and a sense of completeness. For a time, while still in my teens, I thought that a girl who allowed me to see her underwear was my parents, as I felt an incredible bond and felt close to a sense of completeness. It turned out that she wasn't my parents at all. She was actually Satan. I was really embarrassed, but I'm told that most people go through this with Baelzebubs of any and all genders- it's completely natural.
Then I thought a car was my parents. Then it was a toaster. Prog rock. Wannabe Prog Rock. UNR.
The MGM Grand Hotel. Bowling. Sex. Alcohol.Space Invaders. Then it was snowskis. Then it
was a guitar. I spent too many years in Reno,
Nevada, looking for my REAL parents, while
lacking much personal identity which could help
me attract my real actual parents, or anyone
with money who would be willing to pose as my
parents so they could support me.
I felt like a round peg in a square hole in
Nevada, and packed up and moved to California,
where the hills are green and people are happy
to give you the scabs off their backs. Los
Angeles is a weird grouping of memory vignettes.
Moving down there to play in a progressive band,
which I wasn't qualified to do. The band decided
that they wanted to do QuarterFlash and LoverBoy
covers instead of music, anyway. Working at the
phone company. Having my brain sucked out through
a long tube every day. The concerts. KROQ. The
robbery. The sex. The kissing disease. One
migraine that lasted two years. I began to
cultivate a personna like a movie character.
Somebody that everybody had something to say
about. People call this crazy, if you are below
the poverty line. I managed, while never actually
having any money, to stay above the poverty line
and achieve a much nicer term: eccentric. I found
that people wanted to be around me, since I could
make them laugh, or think, or itch, or sick, or
something. See, I can't remember.
Finally, an incredible intergalactic babe with a
giant brain asked me to move up to Northern
California with her. This was the turning point
for your humble narrator. I was then able to
pursue music on a personal basis. Explore. Do
what I wanted to. Learn how to sing. Learn how
to play guitar. Threaten people with a
harmonica. I played piano and classical guitar
for a couple of years and reached such a high
technical proficiency on each that I can,
without boasting too much, clam to have "sucked
the foul wind of Bathsheeba-Butt."
Somehow, I have managed to stay alive with my
wits, what they are, and convince others of my
musical and songwriting talent, and convince
employers to give me money with which to make
music in exchange for my creative talents as a
printed circuit board designer.. I struggle with
the guitar, but love it almost obsessively. I
couldn't play in many bands for my playing, but
I've become a pretty good vocalist over time. I
am one of my own biggest fans for my songwriting.
These are some of the brief reviews:
"Horrible, irritating, grating shit." (Okay, I
think I wrote that one)
"Genius." (I didn't pay this person)
"Kinda like King Crimson after a lobotomy, Stan
Ridgway with a migraine, Frank Zappa on Prozac."
"Frank Zappa would've loved your songs."
"Have you ever heard of Robyn Hitchcock?"
"Are you really Shaun Cassidy?" (okay, I
probably made this one up too)
"You really have something here. I can't do
anything with it, but I think it's great."
"It's flat out depressing..." (taken out of
context for humorous impact)
"Don't you boys know any nice songs?" (sorry)
"He used to cut the grass." (sorry again)
The trail has gotten cold for my search for
my true parents. I suspect that I could find
some clues in New Zealand. I'm now fearing
some sort of horrible cloning experiment gone
wrong, in my case, perhaps Sir James mileage
is different. It seems that they may have
worked some of the bugs out of it by the time
James appeared. It's probably just some _Boys
from Brazil_ scenario, wherein we're supposed
to take over the world when somebody plays
"Dancin' Queen" by Abba on a dog whistle. I
keep watching the X-files in hopes that the
truth will be exposed.
So I have a checkered past, but I have a plaid
future. I can't run from my record, but I can
make a CD and sell it, or at least fill up my
house with the boxes. I'm a pretty dense guy
but some poor bastards call me a genius. I
don't eat schoolmarms for breakfast, but have
had midnight snacky cakes with them. I'm not
Abe Simpson, but my brain is like swiss cheese.
My brain may be like swiss cheese, but it goes
well with toast, and, I forget what I was
I'm just a guy with a shark in his pocket, but
glad to see you anyway.
Sorry you felt compelled to read this far,