Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What to Say? Or What NOT to Say.

I find myself blurting out revelations to people I hardly know, thinking, somehow, that they're on the same wave length or thought path that I'm on. Generally, I'm correct in my assumptions. Sometimes I'm not. When those 'times' occur, I usually just shut up and sit down -- an action many in natural botanical should take more often.

So it's time to reveal (que the burlesque-style stripper music) ~

Some people have asked for the story behind the Le Parfumeur Rebelle logo. Y'know, the cool, tattooed dude and the pretty young lady who is drinking with exaggerated gusto a quart of what appears to be Southern Comfort. Some have called the logo 'crass', 'base', 'low', 'shocking', even 'trashy'. Yeah. Maybe. But you don't forget it once you've seen it, do you?

Just so you know, the man in the photo is my father. All of 22-years-old, inducted into one of California's largest motorcycle gangs, and eight months post motorcycle accident which left him permanently disfigured. And he's holding a doobie. The girl is just some biker groupie who posed for the picture. Dad's been gone nine years now. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in April 1998. It took him a month to get up the courage to tell me, so I didn't find out until May. At the time, he was living in Montana and I was in California. I remember that phone call like it was yesterday. It started out like all our conversations with him laughing and joking with me, asking about the kids, when I was coming up to see him, then it changed. He got quieter and kept saying, "I have something to tell you. I have something to say." He never did tell me himself. My step-mother took the phone from him and told me because he'd broken down and started crying. I was wrecked. Completely and utterly wrecked. And to add to the misery, just that day I was to be awarded a certificate of I don't know what, and have a story I'd written published in a local college rag on the subject of ~ yeah, death. And I was supposed to read it in front of a committee and all the other award winners later that afternoon. Let's just say that didn't happen.

The doctor gave him three months, and he'd already wasted one before he told me he was sick, so he was down to two months when I went up to stay with him a while. Dad chose no treatment for his cancer except those used for pain management. He was loopy, to say the least, but happy. Happy. He wasn't upset about dying for himself but for those he left behind. I remember he took me for a drive in his old battered pick-up, right up into the hills near a fish hatchery. He parked on the top of a hill and we looked down at the town below and he started telling me about dinosaur bones and fossilized dinosaur poop and all these things from the pioneer days that had washed down the hills into the 'coolies', and how he and his friends used to gather them up and sell some to collectors and keep others, and that he had a whole collection of dino poo and bones in his living room window. He thought that was pretty funny. But he was telling me something else, really. He was telling me that nothing ever really dies and disappears, that sometimes people find those long-dead, long-forgotten things and display them in windows in their homes, and they think about them, how they lived, what they looked like. Remembering them.

Then he asked me if there was anything I wanted to know, any secret he might be holding that I needed. I said nothing. I sat there in the cab of that truck with the words, I don't care, I just love you, please don't die, running over and over in my mind. Then I said, "No, Dad. I already know what I need to know."

He died the following February. He'd lasted eight months with no drastic medical measures being taken, just morphine tabs and a little pot when he could get it. The day he died, he'd been laughing and kidding around with my step-mother, telling her he could see his grandmother standing in the road in the front of their house. He apparently thought it was pretty damned funny that my step-mother couldn't see Grandma, who'd been dead at least 45 years, standing in the street waving to the house. But that's how he was. He literally died with a smile on his face.

So, I don't care how crass or base or low or trashy the LPR logo appears to people. It's a story. And an attitude. It's beautiful. To those folks who get their panties in a bunch over it, just chill. Smile. Laugh.

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