FRESH YARN: The Online Salon for Personal Essays//Current Essays FRESH YARN: The Online Salon for Personal Essays//Contributors FRESH YARN: The Online Salon for Personal Essays//About FRESH YARNFRESH YARN: The Online Salon for Personal Essays//Past EssaysFRESH YARN: The Online Salon for Personal Essays//SubmitFRESH YARN: The Online Salon for Personal Essays//LinksFRESH YARN: The Online Salon for Personal Essays//Email ListFRESH YARN: The Online Salon for Personal Essays//Contact


Life Since the Bicentennial
By Katie Ford

I heard that Fresh Yarn has filled its quota of dead father essays for their Father's Day installment. So I will not say my father has died. I will say he was born…. into heaven October 3, 1976. I was 12.

Recently I saw a rerun of American Bandstand from July 1976. There were platform shoes, rabbit coats, sausage curls and blue eye shadow—and the women weren't a pretty sight either.

These images—our fashion lapse—our big smiling trance-like coke-induced twirling, twirling through narcissism, were the last images my father was left with. 'Twas a cruel world filled with embarrassing, mostly posed, moments. The candid moments are rarely as hard to look at later on. Take a look—look at yourself seriously posing with your '80s perm or half perm. See yourself staring at the camera with a little pout in your harem pants or your one giant dangling earring with your hair two different lengths. Then look at a candid photo when you were embarrassed to have your picture taken—tell me who's the fool now? It is you, permy. And you, Harem pouter, and you too, Dangly.

Anyway, since the "dead father quota" has been reached, I have decided to venture to a more positive theme. What if my father magically came back? If John Peter Ford, of Scarsdale, New York, came back today in 2004, here's what he would ask:

1. What are these words 'Oprah Winfrey'?
2. What are those people doing? (Fear Factor)
3. What are those jackasses doing? (Promise Keepers)
4. Martha Stewart is a brand? Like Q Tips? Do you at least still have Q Tips?
5. Who is that guy? (George W. Bush)
6. What about that guy? (His mother, Barbara)
7. Has anyone heard from the streaker at the Academy Awards?
8. How have the Yankees done?
9. Has Jazz survived?
10. What are those people doing? (Maury Povitch Show - episode about Teen Boot Camp)
11. Turn that off. (Fear Factor)
12. Whoa. What has happened?
13. What will happen?
14. Do women still wear tube tops?
14a) No?
14b) Might they again?—I'll see you then. This place is a lot easier to deal with when there's something to look at.
15. What are those? (The Judds)
16. What about those? (The Olsen Twins)
17. What the hell are those? (Leg Warmers)
18. Is the little kid I kept calling a 40-year-old midget actually a 40-year-old midget now? (Mason Reese)
19. How is New York?
20. Well, is the skyline the same?
21. …Really? I wouldn't have seen that coming. (The Times Square cleanup)
22. "…Heavenly Days." (World Trade Center) "God Almighty." Silence for a couple of minutes. Then "Jesus." (Too many questions implied to list just one).
23. Do you still have Ella Fitzgerald? Because I swore I saw her recently.
24. Has there been another Lenny Bruce?
25. Have you heard from my friend Dana Seymour?
26. What does that word mean "Reaganomics"… Wait a minute… Are you kidding me?
27. Do children still wear leisure suits?
28. What do you mean 'No Smoking Sections?'
29. Do you know how sweet it is there? Bittersweet, eh?
30. How's Women's Lib doing?
31. What are the beautiful women like?
32. So, it's not a record, it's a CD?
33. Do men still wear hats? That's a hat?
34. Would I like it there?
35. Do you all know how to save yourselves?
36. Do you still like the Bay City Rollers?
37. What have you become?
38. Did I have any part in that whatsoever?

And poof—he's gone again. To the one mystery we haven't tried to ruin. Back to the place with all the answers. And Ella Fitzgerald too.

-friendly version for easy reading
©All material is copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission

home///current essays///contributors///about fresh yarn///archives///
submit///links///email list///site map///contact
© 2004-2005