Many moons ago when Motley Crue's Theatre of Pain tour came to St. Paul my Aunt Cookie and I were eagerly waiting in the box office line the day of the show for tickets. Regrettably the show sold out a few dozen people ahead of us. Pee Wee's Big Adventure was fresh out in theaters at the time and neither of us had seen it yet, so in an effort to alleviate our sorrows we headed back to the car in the parking ramp and off to the movie thee-ay-ter to take in what would instantly become one of my favorite movies of all time. I found a Footloose soundtrack cassette on the parking ramp floor as we walked back to the car which was pretty sweet. It had been run over a few times but much to my surprise when I got home and popped it in the ol' boom box it still worked.
One of the hardest laughs I got was when Pee Wee yelled at his friend Amazing Larry. Larry happens to be my dad's name, so as a result since day one he has always been my first point of reference whenever I hear that name. When you're 12 or 13 and don't see it coming, Pee Wee Herman Yelling "IS THIS SOMETHING YOU CAN SHARE WITH THE REST OF US AMAZING LARRY?" followed by the scene at the left is some funny shit. Especially when your dad is named Larry.
I think we need to start calling my dad Amazing Larry. Why? Well let me crack into a Top 11 list like I did for my mom and explain why. The idea behind a Top 11 List is 11 has one more 1 than 10 which makes it one more awesome than 10. And it consists of all #1's. That's how #1 my parents are!
Amazing Larry's Top 11 List
1. He busted his ass and took care of his family. That's golden rule #1 of being an awesome dad. He didn't go off having a bastard son with the family maid like that Terminator guy did. We never had a maid but that's beside the point.
1. When mom called upon him waking him up (easy thing to do, he worked nights) getting final approval to spend his hard earned money on my first real guitar amp, he said yes. There was never a moment with either of my parents where they weren't supportive with my obsession with the guitar.
1. On that note, my bedroom was right next to his and he worked nights. I liked to play my guitar. A LOT. Do the math on that one. While he was next door attempting to drown the noise out with a fan and saw logs for his next 12+ hour night shift at 3M, I was cranking the likes of KISS, Overkill, Van Halen, Motley Crue, Megadeth, Nuclear Assault, Slayer, Exodus, and Death Angel to name a few. Imagine trying to sleep while a wall-muffled version of this shit was blaring next to you. Add my trying to learn those guitar riffs into the mix, listening to these songs over and over... it's a wonder why he didn't come in and Bluto my guitar. I still listen to That Shit on a regular basis and love it. Sorry for the years of torture, dad. If it's "a phase" as people sometimes like to say, I'm still stuck in it!
1. The many times I was brought to the Bad Report Card Altar of Sacrifice (usually prior to his pre-work nap) he never sacrificed me. I got a good talking to, believe you me. I suppose it was more of an altar of verbal sacrifice. I certainly deserved it. Like the aforementioned loud music I often think he must have had to sit on his hands to keep from strangling me sometimes.
1. This kind of applies to the last 2 #1's, but after the Report Card tongue lashings I'd usually end up grounded and sitting in my room. And like I said, they were always supportive with my craving to play music so never took my guitar away. Being imprisoned to my room for bad grades meant more time with my guitars and KISS records. Thank you for grounding me!
1. I can't tell you the number of times he's come to rescue all of his wonderful delightful children (and wifey-poo) with cars that were either stalled or had keys locked in them. He drove all the way out to Minneapolis and crawled under my dead station wagon that was on a busy street a time or two. Amazing Larry was and is the go-to dude for all of our emergency car repair needs and questions. I don't have a car anymore so he's kind of off the hook with this one... but I can't thank him enough for saving my arse so many times.
1. He makes a boooooooooya that is fit for a king. That word is funny, "booya". The recipe is a secret which I don't know if anyone but Amazing Larry will ever know, and when he makes it there's enough to feed a large army. If it weren't for freezer containers he'd need two bathtubs to contain all of that succulent booya. That stuff is some of the most delicious, savory liquid food with chunks ever. I wish it could be mailed to me.
1. He is the grill master. I got a few lessons from him back in day of how to season grass-fed cow meat, shape it into exquisite patties, and grill those little pucks of deliciousness up. I've tried my hand at grilling over the years but it's just not the same as when Amazing Larry does it. A few years back everyone came to our apartment in Minneapolis where I did the grilling and felt like I was writing a song that Paul McCartney was going to listen to.
1. He can sing like a mo-fo. The Three Tenors should have been the Four Tenors, Amazing Larry being the fourth one. Now that Pavarotti isn't in the mix anymore perhaps he should fill out an application to take his spot.
1. He took guitar lessons way back when I was a wee lad and kept his nylon string Sigma guitar in a black case under his bed. I used to sneak in there and crack open the case to pluck the strings long before I knew what all of those frets and tuning pegs were for. Some dads keep loaded guns hidden in their bedrooms... mine kept a loaded guitar. AW YEAH.
1. He had (and probably still has) a "guy drawer" in his dresser that I used to snoop around in after I was done with the guitar. It consisted of coins, combs, credit cards, and a vast assortment of other belongings that didn't really have a proper home.. so they went in the guy drawer. I always thought that was really cool.
1. He led by example with the DO IT YOURSELF super power. That's the one where you can either a) do a kickass job of fixing something on your own or b) pay someone else a lot of money to do it for you and almost always opt for number A. Fixing cars, remodeling basements, bargain hunting, electrical wiring, duct work, you name it... he is to that stuff like my mom is to sewing, cooking, and pianoing.
This list was just off the top of my head and I could keep going to 111. It's too easy to think of stuff. I think this list actually has twelve #1's... oops. But that's the beauty of the top 11 list. It can have 1 more #1 in it that it's supposed to. I'll hang it up for now but pick up right where I left off next year.
Happy Father's Day, Amazing Larry - Wish we were about 1,170 miles closer so we could cruise over and party with you today!
|Amazing Larry Photo by Amazing Chad Richardson Photography 07.07.07|