Well, after three days in San Francisco we failed to ride a streetcar, visit Alcatraz, engage in a high speed chase with Steve McQueen or eat any Rice-A-Roni whatsoever. We did manage to visit the Full House house though, so props there, at least we did something right, and see an old man buck naked walking up Guerrero Street.
There’s no picture, I apologize, he was really trucking with his sweet, white wrinkly ass cheeks waving at us with each step and his old man manhood bouncing from thigh to thigh, and by the time the shock wore off and my camera was out, he’d turned to head uphill away from us.
Another thing we did right? Eased into baseball trip. This is the sixth official year we’ve taken a baseball road trip, a week-long marathon of touristy sightseeing, dangerous levels of alcohol consumption, even more dangerous levels of flatulence and even a few baseball games. You know, when we’re bored. This year we’re doing a West Coast North trip, hitting the Oakland As, San Francisco Giants and Seattle Mariners, which will put our ballpark total at 24 by the end of the trip.
What’s different about this trip is the start; not only did we not see a ballgame the very first day but we spent the first three days in one city. While we still try to pack as much into our limited time in each city and along the drive to each stop, over the course of six years, we’ve learned to slow down a little. We’ve learned some pacing, we’ve learned to slow it down where we can, we’ve learned to drink and enjoy our beer rather then inject the alcohol directly into our veins. We’ve grown up a little. Also, I think New Orleans may have broke us. Twice.
Sorry, baseball trip joke. Maybe I’ll share that story with you one day when you’re older.
See, there’s a a big difference when it comes to Baseball Trip Day One, between driving from Buffalo to Pittsburgh and catching a Pirates game at the comparatively small but immensely beautiful PNC Park, and flying from Buffalo to Kansas City for a Royals game. PNC Park blew me away. It’s on the water, it’s open, it’s a smaller place but not closed in at all. Kansas City? It was hot. I remember that. It was a nice enough park but I don’t remember much of the experience other then there were fountains (not as many as some Royals fans led us to believe, those packs of cheaters), there was enough swamp ass to go around, and at one point Tony announced to most of the outfield section that the fans there were a bunch of hicks.
Its important to ease into baseball trip, which is why this year, after flying from Buffalo to (Las Vegas and then) San Francisco, we settled into the house we rented at Page & Octavia and took our time getting our bearings and picking out someplace to go for dinner. That’s right, not hotel, a house. We rented a classic San Fran house for three days. We fancy. Well, we’re at least coming to terms with the fact that we’re adults. Most of the time.
The house was in a great location for what we needed; near the highway to get us out to Oakland for the first game, walking distance to a ton of great shops and restaurants along Valencia and its myriad of cross-streets, not to mention Haight & Ashbury, 1709 Broderick Street for the Full House house, Ashbury Park with the hundreds of different things we never had a chance to do, and near enough to the subway to get us out to AT&T Park for the Giants game our last night in town.
We’re all from Buffalo, where you’re always twenty minutes from wherever you’re going and two blocks from the ghetto, that is a fact. So we were in a great location in the city as it turned out we were always withing about a half hour walk from wherever we were going.
Haight & Ashbury was half an hour from the house, and the Full House house was half an hour from there. The Full House house was supposed to be half an hour from home, but then we got cocky and tried to find the house from Mrs. Doubtfire. It was a valiant but failed attempt, although we did get to ride the bus with a wonderful woman who told us the difference between Upper and Lower Haight, recommended a restaurant with “Porky the Piggy on sign” and said we should get out to Marin County if we could. At least she thought it was Marin County.
Then the bus dropped us off at our doorstep. Literally. There was a bus stop right outside our very tall front door that led into our crazy-high ceiling two story house in the classic San Fran style, with the super-hipster backyard in the heart of downtown San Francisco that cost us less then two hotel rooms for three days would have.
I told you it was a great location for us. I think easing into this trip was the right choice.
Now bring on the Redwoods, Portlandia and those sparkly vampire bastards in Washington…
A while back a guy came up to the desk, his trendy man-purse (really—man-purse; it was a third the size of your average messenger bag, so it was a man-purse) bouncing against his love-handle clad hips. As he’s still a step or two from the desk he tosses a book the distance between us where it hits the desk and slides towards me. It’s a biography of Che, one of several we regularly carry.
“Why do you sell this?” he demanded as the book came to stop before me.
I glanced at the cover for a second, and momentarily considered not being a smartass.
“Because it’s a book,” I told him.
He accused me of promoting an anti-government baby-killer who burned villages and blahblahblah. I don’t know much about Che, and I don’t really care. I’m sure at three in the morning some time in the near future I’ll spend an hour or two on Wikipedia reading up on him, but at any given moment, I really just don’t care. But more important than my not caring about Che, I don’t care about your opinion of him. If you’re offended by this man and are opposed to books or movies or t-shirts touting him as a hero, then don’t buy them.
But why do you have to waste my time with this? Don’t you have friends? Fuck, start a blog if no one can stand you. Maybe no one will read it but at least you can feel like someone’s listening. I think about three people read this but at least it makes me feel better to write it. But leave me alone. I don’t care.
People working retail, we’re doing just that. Working. We’re not selling books on Che so we can encourage overthrowing a government, we’re not selling Go the Fuck to Sleep to promote verbally abusing children. We’re selling these books because people are buying them. If you don’t like them, don’t buy them, but how is it fair that you’re giving me shit because other people are buying them?
Retail workers, they’re like Joaquin Phoenix in 8mm.
Defending his job at a porn store, Phoenix’s character, Max California says, “I don’t buy it. I don’t endorse it. I just point the way.”
So stop giving me shit for pointing the way. You don’t like it, write a letter to Akashic Books who published it, or to Adam Mansbach for writing it. While you’re at it, why don’t you call up his daughter who’s constant requests for a glass of water or trip to the bathroom or another story is what prompted the writing of this book in the first place.
The problem with doing that is that the publisher has pointed out that the first two lines on each page are what the parent is saying out loud, the horrible things that come after are internalized. The kid never hears that.
“The book is an outlet for that frustration, but it completely reinforces parents sucking it up and dealing with it. There’s never a moment where the kid suffers because of the parent. It’s actually pretty idealistic,” Johnny Temple of Akashic Books said.
Oh, and he’s also read a censored version of the story to his own young children—a censored version which is now in the works to be published as well. His kids loved it, recognizing the shit they pull to avoid going to bed.
In her article claiming that the book encourages verbally abusing children and is representative of household bullying and parental neglect, Karen Spears Zacharias claims that “the violent language of “Go the F*** to Sleep” is not the least bit funny, when one considers how many neglected children fall asleep each night praying for a parent who’d care enough to hold them, nurture them and read to them.”
But those parents who don’t care enough to hold their kids or read to them aren’t the subject of this story. They’re not the audience either. This wasn’t written for them or about them, or meant to represent them. This book was intended for those parents who do read to their children, it was meant to remind parents who do take part in this time-honored tradition that they are not alone in trying to combat the cunning little bastards that are their children.
Let’s be honest though, if a kid who is never read to by their parents picks up Go the Fuck to Sleep, they’re not going to suddenly cry, “This is why my parents never read to me! They knew I’d ask for water! Why did I have to be so thirsty as a child!?”
Anna Smackers (remember the customer whose annoying, multiple visits to the store to complain about the book prompted this) threatened to stop shopping at the store and move all her business to Amazon. They sell the book too, so I’m not sure if that’s really making a point on her part. Not only do they sell it as well, but its listed on the right-hand sidebar when you click into the book section. And has a preview of a few pages. I feel like for an online-only retailer, that’s pretty comparable to having it sit right on the customer service desk.
She also claimed to be writing an editorial to the Buffalo News, and I have no doubt all seven people who still read that paper will be outraged. She intended to contact the local TV news stations and involve the organization 1000 Mothers to Prevent Violence. Aside from saying it seems to be outside that group’s mission statement to get involved in where I place a stack of books, I’m really not going to touch the last one. 1000MPV seems like a great group based out of San Francisco, created in the wake of real violence, as opposed to this imagined abuse, and even I can’t mock this group. Yet.
Anna’s second visit to the store was enjoyable for two reasons. After she finished her tirade about amassing her mom-army against my merchandising choices, a customer in line behind her informed us their children go to school together and this woman is a big pain in the ass all around.
Another customer who’d witnessed the exchange suggested we allow Anna to organize a book burning in the store.
Perhaps that would satisfy her.