The thickness of socks
Who cares if they match?
Someone tells Steven Wright he’s wearing two different socks and he says, To me they’re the same because I go by thickness (at 8:02). Once I laughed, but now that’s just how it is. Not so long ago, mismatched socks was quirky, and I knew two unrleated comedy guys who made it Their Thing. But dying your hair blue was cataclysmic in the middle school I went to, but barely registers a blip where I teach. Two different socks now is fine! But Steven was (w)right about the thickness, and my tics wouldn’t abide variety. I wonder what else he’s right about? Maybe the alphabet IS in that order because of that song. Maybe you CAN lose a button-hole.
I have some clever socks, like the taco dinosaur I call a Tacosaurus. Nobody notices! My appearance is nearly incidental. Whenever kids draw me, some remember the beard, some give me just a mustache, and some make me clean-shaven. My chin last saw unobstructed daylight before they were born, but they don’t even know! Haircuts rarely get noticed, even when drastic. Would I be sent home for not matching my socks?
As a student teacher, I did as I saw and wore ties, kept at it for years. When the vibe changed, I went business casual, but Covid comfied up the world. Today the dress code is Be dressed. Some teachers wear baseball hats, Kangols, Panamas, newsboy caps. Our hat game is strong, but nobody notices my ankles. I’m not even doing it that much, but I know not to be afraid if the sock fits.
The Urban Blah
Back in 2009-11 I collaborated with the brilliant Vee to make a webcomic that failed to become syndicated across the globe. I am pro-recycling.
The title of Vee’s substack this week was “I’ve got a song that’ll get on your nerves,” and it led off describing herself as “a Kermit in a world of Grovers.” I thought for sure she’d include this comic, but the post actually got a bit introspective and even heavy, so I see that the above doesn’t match the mood. But here, the onetime home of The Week in Dog Poo? Kermit the blerbet indeed.
It’s based on a true story. The true story is that I wrote this song when I was four years old, with the “and so on” meaning you keep rhyming words until you get bored or someone yells, SHUT THE HELL UP. The based on is that I didn’t tell my funky friend about it. I did tell the Awesome Wife, and she likes it but didn’t describe it as “fantastic.” Remind me to sing it for you sometime, and maybe you’ll be one of the first.
Jam of the Week
De La Soul’s 1989 debut, 3 Feet High and Rising, is a hip hop classic that sadly kicked off the era of getting sued for your samples. As such, it’s never been on streaming services, and Prince Paul’s epic production went all but dark. I had some digital files, but I was missing the game show stuff and my musical life is on Spotify. Finally, it’s streaming! But bittersweet after the recent death of Trugoy, whose name (Yogurt backwards) has captivated me since high school. I gave it a listen all the way through for the first time in years and MAN. Hit after hit after hit, I counted 11 songs I legitimately love. Give a it a well-deserved spin for Plug 2.
My Back Pages
From my old blog Surgical Strikes, Dec 7, 2005, “They call me Mr. Tobin!”
As I’ve detailed previously, I’ve had quite a lot of jobs. If you define a job as lasting two days or longer, I’ve had 35 lifetime, 28 in my seven years in LA. No job there lasted longer than 9 months, but frequently that comprised the entire run of a show. And when you bounce from job to job that much, you occasionally find the need to enter the temp pool. I’ve answered phones, transcribed videotapes, stocked a kitchen, worked a computer telephony convention, even folded and sorted fabric samples. I also just finished up temping at the temp agency, which meant I got a pretty good view of the available temp jobs. By this point, I pretty much know what’s out there.
And yet, as part of my new assignment, I spent most of today in a second grade classroom. (WHAT?) It was the first time someone who wasn’t a customer service representative called me Mr. Tobin.
I had just started a temp gig at the university that would later hire me, promote me, and give me a teaching degree. From temp agency to career in six years or less! Four years later, I remember being perplexed as a student teacher when a kid asked my name and I realized I’d become Mr. Tobin. That identity did not seem in the offing, I still had one foot in LA
TEACHER: This is Mr. Tobin. He just moved from LA where he wrote for television shows.
KID: What shows?
ME: Ah, you know, they’re not on the air any more.
KID: But what shows?
ME: Well, you know…
TEACHER: They’re grown-up shows.
Later on, the same kid approached me alone and asked again what shows, and when I told him, he shook his head and walked away with a expression that said, “I was silly to think I’d know them.” Not unlike the reaction I get all around Boston.
I had moved back to Boston 5 weeks earlier, so my time in Hollywood felt recent because it had been months earlier. I still wanted my Hollywood stories to KILL.
It’s all not so good, but still better than the time I tried to explain my career to a guy who grew up in a village in a Zimbabwe that had no electricity, running water, floor, etc.
ME: I mean, between reality TV, the resurgence of dramas, and sitcoms that almost universally suck, the schedule became this whole new animal. So of course, the first year I’m really positioned to make it, there’s fewer sitcoms on the air than there have been since 1980. I mean, is that BS or what?
EDDIE: The only movie I have ever seen is The Terminator. It is my favorite movie.
ME: James Cameron’s a hack!
Okay, maybe I’m combining a more awful version of my standard “Why I left LA” speech with a conversation our African tour guide had with my sister-in-law. And maybe I’m giving it a snappyish ending. Yes, maybe I am doing all of these things, but you get the point. In trying to decide whether my Hollywood adventures were incomprehensible or insignificant, ladies and gentlemen, we have a tie.
Eddie was our real safari tour guide, and he did extol the virtues of The Terminator to my sister-in-law. But I don’t think James Cameron is a hack. December 2005 was a strange time in my life.
Kermit the Sherbet pops into my head on a weekly basis. It was a wild miss on my part not to include it. Choosing socks based on the denier is the niche content I love!