Barry Smith: Snippets from the Barry documentary
May 29, 2002
I’m very close to perfecting my hambone/scat singing routine. I just need a DJ. I’ll be performing public domain songs with updated lyrics. Dust storm references will be replaced with the hardship of slow Internet connections. The scourge of the boll weevil will be seamlessly transformed into the side effects from male pattern baldness medications. I’ll also have three backup singers – Filipino transvestites in blackface, because I believe in the power of tradition.
There’s a patch of grass in my back yard that I think I overfertilized. It grows really fast. It grows so fast that I find I need to leave the lawn mower parked over the top of it, running, in order to keep it under control. I have to refill the gas tank about every three hours, but I can’t imagine what would happen if that patch of grass got out of hand.
My reflective moments have a documentary quality to them. When I’m depressed I can hear the narrator say, “His artistic temperament was like a roller coaster ride, and often he found himself wading neck-deep in the morose.” When I’m wondering if I’m a control freak I hear, “Barry’s drive for perfection in his art often led to personality conflicts.” When I’m feeling lustful: “Like most geniuses, he had an insatiably taste for the bizarre.”
When I was a kid, I could not rent a video, change the channel on the TV without getting up or have a urinal flush without actually touching anything. Now I can do all of these things. And I do. I really do. My quality of life certainly has more quality now.
This morning I woke up thinking about the mystery of foam rubber. Foam rubber. Foam. Rubber. Can it really be both at once? I fell back asleep just as the mystery was about to be revealed. Otherwise, boy would you be in for a treat.
Every muscle in my body gives me a conflicting report. Some say time to rest, some say time to run, some say time to eat, time to play, time to do some deep knee bends. I’m not entirely convinced that my brain has the managerial skills that it claimed to have during our initial interview.
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Hey, ever want to know what others are thinking about you? Forget asking them straight out – they’re bound to lie, or at least leave out the real juicy stuff. No, try this: Move your head real close to theirs, thrust your chin forward and squint really hard. Now clear your mind. Clear it. No, you have to clear your mind. Seriously, this won’t work unless your mind is clear. You don’t even get to think “Must clear my mind.” There’s no point in telling you what to do next until you get this part down.
I am constantly struggling between my desire to do good and my desire to do well. The struggle revolves around the subtle grammatical difference between the two, and I never can remember how I am supposed to be doing in any given situation – good or well? Baby steps, I keep telling myself.
I have a receipt for everything I have ever purchased since the first time I bought a Slurpee at age five. Everything. Every time money went from my hand to someone else’s, I demanded a receipt. I have a receipt for every school lunch, for every quarter I flipped to a homeless dude, for every drug deal, for every toll booth, for every vending machine, for every single thing I have ever paid for, ever. But I can’t remember where I put them.
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