family

#939: The Frog in the Pool

Cousin Geoff’s grandparents on his dad’s side owned a huge piece of property in the country with a swimming pool, and the most amazing landscape to explore.  Grassy fields gave way to trees, and I don’t think we ever hit the end of the property when we went walking.  It simply went on forever.  Any time we went there, it was a treat.  We spent a few days at the property that summer, swimming and running pretending we were Jedi or superheroes.  The house had an amazing “back yard”.  There was a steep downwards incline, which you traversed via a series of stairs and landings.  To us it was huge!   It seemed like you were climbing down a mountain.  At the bottom: the swimming pool and all the land you could run through for hours. – Record Store Tales #909

RECORD STORE TALES #939:  The Frog in the Pool

The most precious of childhood memories took place around that swimming pool.   I remember my grandpa picking me up like I was a rag doll and tossing me into the water.  Then I’d swim back and ask him to do it again.

There’s a funny old picture of my grandpa at poolside.  I remember that he liked to roll his own cigarettes.  I remember the tobacco tins and my mom having to explain to me what he was doing.  Well apparently he really loved to do it.  In this photo, he obviously packed up all his tobacco and rolling gear, and just sat there at poolside rolling cigarettes!  He looks so happy with a huge pile of tobacco in front of him.  It strikes me as hilarious that he brought all that stuff with him to spend a day at the pool.

Sergeant Winter reporting for duty.

There’s one notable event that happened at that pool that we don’t have pictures of.

I was really young.  Just a few years old.  And I must have had to go bad, so I pooped in the pool.  I remember the little teeny brown nugget at the bottom of the pool.  “Nobody will notice,” I told myself.

Well they noticed a lot sooner than I thought, so I resorted to my “plan B”.  I thought the little poop looked like a frog at the bottom of the pool, so that’s what I claimed it was.  “Just a frog”.  Nobody bought it and somebody got a pool scooper and picked up my poop.  I probably denied that it was mine right to the very end.  This might actually be my first admission that I pooped in the pool!

No it was not a frog.  It was me.  I confess.

Part 275: Catharis (Second Anniversary special)

MIKELADANOMikeladano.com celebrates its second anniversary today!  It started with Record Store Tales Part 1, and here we are at Part 275!  (That’s one tale every 2.65 days for the numbers-oriented out there.)  A huge THANK-YOU to everyone who’ve read my stuff; as David Lee Roth says, “It ain’t no fuckin’ good without an audience.”  I also need to thank those friends that read this stuff years ago and told me to keep writing — they know who they are.   And my family, but especially the lovely Mrs. LeBrain who lets me rock and roll all nite and part of every day.  I love you sweety.

Enjoy this Record Store Tale!

RECORD STORE TALES Part 275:  Catharsis

Sometimes when I hit these milestones, I like to reflect on where I’ve been and where I’m headed.  Two years ago when I began publishing the Record Store Tales I didn’t know if anyone would read it.  I was pleased to find that enough people enjoyed reading these stories that it was worth continuing.

I knew when I started posting these that eventually, inevitably, somebody from the old record store would find them.  I made the decision to write under my real name, not a pseudonym.  I anticipated that while some of my old friends would be entertained by these stories, some would not.  I took efforts to protect the identities of the characters in the story that are not portrayed in a positive light.

I did a “soft” launch of the site.  That is, I began publishing the stories one chapter at a time, but I kept it to myself and a close circle of friends.  The response was very positive and constructive.  While some friends urged me to “keep it short”, one of the most popular earlier stories was one of the longest.  Part 16: Traveling Man was the story of a long misadventure in Oakville Ontario, climaxed by an encounter with an unpleasant lawyer customer.  One friend told me the story was “fucking hilarious” and that he anticipated from the start that the guy in the story was a lawyer.   This feedback encouraged me to keep going for it.  I was fired up.

Then once I had enough content up to give people something substantial to read, I did my “official” launch via Facebook, Twitter and email.  It didn’t take long for the rain to hit my parade.  As I anticipated some people from the store didn’t like my stories, but Spoogecakes was the only one to publicly voice her disgust, way back in Part 35.5.  The funny thing about this was that I hadn’t planned on even mentioning Spoogecakes in my story, but then she went and wrote herself in.  Oh well.

I never could have done a white-washed version of the Record Store Tales.  I tried.  Seven or eight years ago I tried something called “Record Store-ies” (lame title, I know).  Some of the “Record Store-ies” got recycled into the old Klassic Kwotes, but it wasn’t the satisfying, cathartic experience that my soul had been craving.  After the Spoogecakes shit-storm, I approached a mentor of mine about the situation.  I asked him if I had been too negative in the past, if I should have toned it down.  His response to me was something I have taken to heart ever since.

“If you compromise your art in order to please a small minority of people no matter how vocal, you will ultimately end up with a piece of art that you don’t like.”

That was great advice.  My bottom line is always, “Do I like it?”  I’ve tried to maintain a balance.  There are stories about people with whom I conflicted, but there are also stories about things like me shitting my pants in the store.   And I didn’t give myself an alias for these stories!

This isn’t just storytelling to me.  This is catharsis.  While I was experiencing everything I experienced in the record store, good or bad, I held tight to one thought.  That thought was, “When this is all over, at least I will have a bunch of great stories to share.  If I can entertain just a few people with these stories then it’s all been worth it.”   Spoogecakes commented that there are “two sides to every story”.

That’s right.  And this is mine.