December 2, 2008

Whiteney Houston

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Most people’s parents don’t allow their grade school kids to choose a path of habitual insomnia via excess consumption of Nick at Nite. But mine did, and thank God, because I found my soul mate in the fogotton Brady Bunch middle child, Bobby. He and I are kindred spirits. His voice begins to crack just as he and his siblings get a recording contract, just like my siblings and I, whose single “Yeeeeee” — where we do three-part harmonies of the word “Yeeeeee” — never got released.
Sure, Bobby and I differ in certain ways. I’m not a pubescent, acne-ridden television star of the ’70s. My skin has always been perfect, though back in the day I bought a lot of those “Clean and Clear” wipes that looked so fun — you get the grease off your face and the pads turn clear from the nasty oil on your T-zone. (Mine never changed opaqueness, for shame.) What’s more, I am ostensibly a female, and though I may not belong in this era (to which era I belong is unclear, but probably not this one), my pubescent years were some two-and-a-half decades later than Bobby Brady’s.
But then again, Christopher Knight grew out of his awkward teenage years, into his fatass middle-aged years, and married the original America’s Next Top Model. So what do I get?
A so-called “unhealthy obsession with Whitney Houston.”
My editor, Peter Finocchiaro ’10, told me I needed a better segue from Bobby to Whitney, so: Bobby Brady → Wayne Brady → Wayne’s World → Boy Meets World → Where in the World is Carmen San Diego → San Antonio, Texas → Houston, Texas → Whitney Houston. There.
I remember the first time Whitney touched me. She went to jail. JK LOLz. My dad was rounding one of the many turns in our nonsensical neighborhood grid. I was sitting in the back seat of his shiny red Saturn after a hearty family dinner at Su Hong, the Chinese place that tolerated the Weiss rapscallions on a weekly basis. After one too many Shirley Temples, my eyes were drooping and my mouth was drooling on the window, but my sister, Cow (Jessica, or Jessicow; Cow for short) had just bought a tape of the single — I didn’t think people actually ever did that, but apparently they did — of “I Will Always Love You”, and the crescendo startled me out of my grenadine-induced stupor. That’s probably the first time I heard a crescendo that I remembered, and crescendos are the most important thing in my life. If I ever wanted to make anyone explode, I’d play the crescendos from “America” by Simon & Garfunkel, “Shiver” by Coldplay, “Sleeping Lessons” by the Shins, “Do Me a Favour” by the Arctic Monkeys, “Lazy Eye” by the Silversun Pickups, “Headlong” by the Frames, and “Brother” by Annuals all at once. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not a bio-physicist, but I’m fairly sure that my science is irrefutable.
Anyway, back to Whitney. Bio-Physics → “Let’s Get Physical” → “Let’s Get It On” → Marvin Gaye → Starvin’ Marvin → Starving → Cocaine → Whitney Houston.
I don’t really like female vocalists that much because, to be honest, their piercy shrieks or breathy moans just make me jab my ears with shank-like instruments. But when the industry actually promotes a chanteuse that has some talent and range, I will buy the CD, put it in my 1995-era boom box, smear lipstick all over my face and lipsynch for hours in front of my bedroom mirrors. Sometimes I even make up corresponding dances that no one else will ever see, barring any leftover nanny surveillance I’m unaware of.
Despite being certified a genius at the age of four, there’s a laundry list of things I’ve never been able to count as my talents, things that actually matter to real life. I’m about as graceful and coordinated as Tobias from Arrested Development, especially owing to my unfailing ability to publicly reach my mouth out for a straw that’s on the other side of my cup and, thus, bite air. I’m also really bad at coherence, and not looking stunningly beautiful. (I’m great at modesty, though.) Singing, conversely, is what I am worst at, so I’ve done what they call “projection.” In the past few months, I’ve projected all my hopes and dreams onto Whitney Houston, and tried to really envelop myself into all that she is, until we become one and the same. I’ve watched every single one of her music videos on YouTube. I rented The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale on Netflix. I started watching Real Housewives of Atlanta, (where Whitney resided) and started saying “aksed,” instead of “asked.” I even married Bobby Brown.
But I’m still Bobby Brady.
Whitney once said to me, “It’s not right, but its okay.” I still can’t sing, so I’m sticking to writing.