Monday, February 25, 2013

Aargh!!! Waah!! Yeah!


I published Play, Sing, Dance in 2002. Elizabeth Gilbert followed with Eat, Pray, Love in 2006.  Anne Lamott picked up the thread with Help, Thanks, Wow in 2012. So now it’s my turn again and I plan to retire from the royalties of Aargh!!! Waaah!! Yeah!  No doubt in my mind it’s going to be a hit with my granddaughter’s under-2-pre-verbal crowd and my Mom’s over-92-post-verbal crowd. But there is a hitch. None of them can read or handle their own money. So it will have to appeal to the 2-year old and aiming-for-92-year old in all of us. Here’s a short preview so you can pre-order your copy now:

Aargh!!! When I calculated how often I exhaled sharply or shouted @#$%^&*!! when the wireless randomly switched off in the middle of e-mails (and switched on and switched off without any rhyme or reason, as it does almost daily), I figured out that I could solve the energy crisis. All I needed to do was harness the wind power of all the people shouting at machines and we wouldn’t need those unsightly windmills. While conferring with top scientists over e-mail, I had a flash of inspiration and had just written it down in the e-mail when… you guessed it: the wireless cut out. I lost the e-mail and when the shouting died down, I also lost the thought. Aaaargh!!!!!!

Waaah!! This is my preferred mode of telling friends that they owe me an e-mail and I still haven’t heard from them. It’s my backdoor way of telling them I care while simultaneously making them feel guilty enough to write already! We all used Waaah! as our primary communication device as toddlers and then graduated to the whiny Pleeeeeezze? From there to the eye roll and Whatever and if we lived in California and went to an ex-hippy school, learned to use I statements, assume good intentions, monitor our tone, accept diverse points of view and be transparent in our communication. All of which was an elaborate disguise for Waaah!!!

Yeah! This was Louis Armstrong’s word of choice (the people’s version of James Joyce’s) and the way he let you know that somethin’ swinging was happenin’ here and worthy of our attention. Today I was in my living room playing the hell out of Cole Porter’s All of You at my piano when during a pause, I heard a trumpet out on the street picking up on the melody. We exchanged a few phrases and then I stepped outside. There was a young man outside my window and he smiled and said: “Just happened to be walking by and heard you, so I thought I’d join in.” I invited him in, but when he politely declined, I went back in and opened the window and we had another few choruses. (This really happened!) Sometimes life throws you an unexpected “Yeah!” and you need to open the window and let it come in.

I’m sure we all have countless testimonies of our Aargh!!! Waaah!! Yeah! moments, from life’s little annoyances and surprises to its larger ones (just add a few exclamation points!) to the collective cultural (last night’s Oscars?) and political ones (a teacher friend overhearing a conversation about preferred handguns in the staff lounge).

And sometimes they come all jumbled together. Like when I passed an old friend who had been at my colleague Sue Walton’s Memorial Service. Since I had to leave early, I asked him how the rest of it was. He replied,

Pretty amazing! The band played, we all danced and then they ushered us all outside to witness the dispersion of the ashes. There on the ground was a little cannon. They put the container inside and BOOOM!!!, shot the ashes out into the Bay, complete with Roman candles and other fireworks! Just the way Sue would have liked it!”

Well, there you have it. Aargh!!!, Waah!! and Yeah! all in one piece.

With a Boom!!! thrown in.

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