August 20, 2014
I lead a sheltered, solipsistic senior life. Perhaps it is God’s retribution for my former nihilistic, artistic, hedonistic life. As for those friends and acquaintances who led productive, if jingoistic, true-blue American lives of hard work, raising children and paying a mortgage . . . they seem to have gone crazy.
Thus the equation breaks even, a perfect example of “Seinfeld’s Theorem,” from the well-known academic’s television lecture series, aptly named “Seinfeld,” where the professor utilizes archetypes: Kramer, Elaine, George, and Newman to spin allegories.
The other day at Clifton Country Inn, Donna the waitress, a senior decidedly not plus size *(PS), said of me—she was patting my beautiful, tanned, liver-spotted, prayerful hands when she said it— “You know what I like about you, hon? You are kind and gentle; you are pure country.”
You heard it here. I am *PC, the artist formerly known as Gene.
This overcast morning, I haul my pure country ass to a local convenience store and I’m filling my travel mug with coffee (51 cents!), and I overhear two women, clerk to customer, talking. The subject is plus size gals and their struggle in a thin world.
The ladies, one forty-ish, one older than me, both plus size gals, are marveling about a store called Johnny Vegas Boutique, on East Broadway, and its wonderful plus size department. The younger woman’s kids had taken her to Vegas for her birthday.
I went on the Vegas website just now (for educational purposes) and I can report that JVB is a typical Alton storefront, trimmed in vivid purple paint, and its upstairs windows have pulled white shades on which are depictions of scantily clad women.
I heard some rumblings about this store, when I lived in Chicago and would visit here. A Godfrey woman I know once told me, re JVB, that Alton was going to be a porno palace for tourists and that the mayor of that time ought to be tarred and feathered.
But the scandal seems to have simmered down, and apparently– according to the ladies this morning–all you Alton seniors hang out there, the true senior center of our town.
“Sweetheart,” the clerk says to me—she doesn’t know my name is PC the artist formerly known as Gene—“you don’t know about Johnny Vegas Boutique? It’s an adult store, you know, sex toys and stuff.”
Here, the ladies laugh because I blush. When a pure country bald man blushes, it’s like Rudolph’s nose, like those garrulous light shows at rock concerts of mediocre bands with names like Alabama Thunderpussy, Mastodon and Blood on the Dance Floor.
“When it first opened, the fuddy-duddies this town about blew a gasket. Like they don’t all go there after dark and fill their carts. I was like, embarrassed, because, you know, adult stores are for Victoria’s Secret models—but not Vegas!
“My kids were grabbing all these sexy bedroom thingies and holding them up to me. And I got me a see-through, naughty nightie and some toys for a present. Hey, us plus size girls deserve to feel beautiful, too.”
The older woman listens to this poetry and nods solemnly and knowledgeably, and I can only assume she has a lusty farmer husband.
I drive back to PC House with my coffee and ruminate about the Brave New World and think about 70’s icon Lina Wertmuller, the great Italian film director and her hysterically funny movie, “The Seduction of Mimi.” “Swept Away” is Wertmuller’s masterpiece (oh my god, what a stunning film; forget that piece of crap remake with Madonna), but “Mimi” is drop dead one of the funniest films you could ever see.
The wonderful everyman, Giancarlo Giannini, plays a working stiff who believes that a local Mafioso has screwed him. So, of course, with Italian machismo, he reasons that he must extract revenge and screw Mimi, the man’s wife. Mimi weighs in at a good two hundred pounds plus, and she wears Johnny Vegas-style undies.
The camera sees what our hero sees, sweet, elephantine Mimi stripping then starkers, lying on her bed with a come hither look. Giancarlo’s look of fright is one for the ages, as he tries to figure out how to mount her.
A friend was telling me the other day that his plus size wife had just had four thousand dollars of dental work done, cash money. He inquired as to my love life and I explained the aforementioned retribution for my former nihilistic, artistic, hedonistic life and my now-monastic lifestyle. He opined as how I was better off.
But: “You’ll be back in the game—there are all these fat, lonely country women, widows and the like, and you are a living man. They will eat you alive, if you last. One piece of advice, though. Don’t look at their boobs. Look at their teeth.”
Professor Seinfeld: “You lose a girlfriend, another one will come along. And you know why? Because it all evens out.”
I can’t wait.