Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

What I Did, and Did Not Do, Over Memorial Day Weekend

by Robison Wells

As I mentioned last year, my wife's family takes Memorial Day to all kinds of crazy extremes. For example, they actually honor those who have died, rather than go boating.

However, they stretch this traditional cemetary hopping into a three-day event. And, since my wife is aware of my general dislike of family parties (because that's what these festivities really are--they were actually planning on bringing pizza to the my father-in-law's grave!), and since my wife is very tolerant about my familial intolerance, I didn't have to go.

Saturday morning, I took Sammy (almost two years old) up to Heber City to ride on Thomas The Tank Engine. I've raised him to love trains, and one of the few words he can say is "choo-choo". One thing I've noticed about two year olds, though, is that the fun of the event is directly proportional to the amount of screaming involved--the more fun, the more angry shrieking.

On Saturday, there was a big tent where kids could play with Thomas toys, but when it came time to actually ride the train we had to leave the toys behind--and there was much screaming. And when we got on the train, it was just so dang cool that Sammy had to run around--but he couldn't because there were a jillion people and it was, you know, a moving train. So, I held him on the bench, and he screamed. And then we took him to see the petting zoo, and the little baby goats freaked him right the heck out. I mean, these were baby goats, little tiny things, and Sammy screamed like it was Beelzebub himself, in baby goat form. Fortunately, when we got back in the car I had a toy Thomas The Tank Engine for Sammy and a bag full of cookies. All was forgiven.

One thing I didn't do on Saturday was go to the grand opening of Ikea. For those of you who don't live in Salt Lake, we finally got our very first Ikea, which appears to be a furniture store of some kind. And, for some reason which no one can explain, the world exploded. Three hundred people camped out for the grand opening; the police blocked streets and handed out special passes to allow nearby residents to access their own driveways; dogs and cats were living together. But, holy crap, it's just furniture, people. You'd think it was the opening day of Pirates of The Carribbean III, which I also did not attend this weekend.

In my long-term quest to understand everything in the world, I googled Ikea to find out just what the big deal is. And the verdict: I still don't know. Supposedly, it's fancy furniture at cheap prices. But I saw the ads, and... blah. Big deal. However, I found the following comical controversies surrounding Ikea:
1) The founder of Ikea was a Swede who was formerly a Nazi. Which, I guess, is dangerous because he's hidden secret Nazi messages from Hitler in his household products. For example: Mein Comforter.
2) Norway's Prime Minister criticized Ikea's illustrated instruction booklets for depicting men only. "Women can assemble furniture just as well as men--better possibly, because their fingers are smaller," he's not quoted as saying. "And my wife is all day with the yak yak yak. I'm the freakin' Prime Minister of Norway--can't she put the credenza together her own dang self!?"

One thing that I did do this weekend was watch the Jazz game, and I felt something akin to what Kerry Blair felt a few weeks ago, when corrupt officials and a morally-deficient NBA predetermined that the Spurs would win. Now, I'm not one to buy into conspiracies (as evidence by my conspiracy-free novels), but someone is in someone else's pocket. My guess, based solely on size, is Jeff Van Gundy is in Tim Duncan's pocket. That fella has some mighty big pockets, I imagine.

Another thing that I did this weekend, while watching the Jazz game and eating brownies, was feel the tremblings of an earthquake. We all felt and heard a big bump, and my friend hopped up from the couch to see if his aging father had taken a spill down the stairs. But he hadn't. This morning the news reported a 2.9 magnitude quake in South Jordan. I think that Mother Nature herself was annoyed by the referees.

One thing I didn't do this weekend, though now I kinda wish that I had--especially if it had been on TV during that worthless ball game--was watch the Miss Universe pageant. Now, I'm not a big pageant fan, but some hilarious quotes emerged from this thing.
1) Miss USA tripped and fell during the evening gown competition, and later Miss Japan, after winning the $250,000 crown, proceeded to drop it.
2) The crazy Swedes--remember Ikea's founder?--dropped out of the competition because they said it didn't "represent the modern woman". What? This coming from the country that gave us the Swedish Bikini Team? I'm so disillusioned.
3) The competition took place in Mexico City, where the fans vascillated between really angry and really flattered. With Miss Japan, they were stony faced until she shouted out "Hola Mexico!", which, despite being really only one Spanish word and one name of a country--and about as nothingly blah as you can get--sent the crowd into patriotic conniptions. Later, they booed Miss USA, and heckled her and America generally, until she whipped out "Buenas noches, Mexico. Muchas gracias!" and they all whooped and hollered and fired their guns into the sky, Pancho Villa style. (Or something like that.)
4) Finally, there were protestors outside the theater, chanting the very catchy, grammatically-questionable slogan "Neither ugly nor beautiful, should a woman be considered an object!" Yeah, I don't get it either.

Anyway, the main thing that I did do this weekend was I wrote books. In fact, in the last three weeks I've written 27,000 words. I'm very pleased with the progress of this current book--it's something completely different from my others. You should see it soon in stores near you. Possibly Ikea.


At 5/29/2007 3:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had I but known how cool Ikea is, I would have felt smug about the fact that we had one before you had one. There my husband and I were, sitting in the Ikea cafeteria and downing our Swedish meatballs and lingonberry soda before setting off to look for bunk beds or bookshelves or whatever we were there for that time, and little did we know that we were the epitome of cool.


Congrats on the great progress on your book! Can't wait to read it.


At 5/29/2007 4:19 PM, Anonymous Jennie said...

Rob, you'll grow up someday and appreciate Memorial Day as a day for honoring and remembering your dead. I felt exactly the way you do at one time and I suppose one day I'll be like my Dad knowing more people at the cemetery than living. In a way, I still think it's sad that we have to have a special day to remind us that freedom isn't free and that we're the product of our ancestors, but in our hectic lives if we didn't set aside a specific day to remember our dead, most of us wouldn't get around to it. Only the very young are arrogant enough to think the past and those who lived before us aren't worth remembering.

I agree with you completely about that sad Jazz game. The years I spent on the Salt Palace board included an unhappy awakening to the realities of professional sports and market size. As much as I deplore the childish behavior of "fans" who throw garbage at refs and opposing players, I found myself longing to drop something on those innane announcers.

And hurray! You're writing again!

At 5/29/2007 4:27 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

Jennie, forgive my hyperbole. By no means do I wish to say that I don't honor the dead. I was raised to visit cemetaries, and I enjoy visiting cemetaries. I just don't like big family events, which is how Erin's family treats Memorial Day. They travel in a big caravan from place to place, and bring folding chairs. It takes forever and it drives me crazy.

But, like I said, they're very accomodating of my grumpiness.

At 5/29/2007 5:20 PM, Anonymous kerry blair said...

Ah, Memorial Day! My favorite day of the year almost! It's not every Monday you can spend walking around a cemetery without having "normal" people look at you funny. Not that the funny looks bother me much anymore. I, too, was raised to visit cemeteries, but my mother is quick to point out that I developed the fetish on my own.

Ikea is uber-cool? There's one in Mesa, but I've never been inside. Your blog explains a lot though, thank! Every time I enter my brother's house he points out something new and says, "It's from Ikea." Only now do I know he's been bragging. I thought he was just mispronouncing Korea and apologizing for cheap, assemble-yourself home furnishings.) I swear to be much, much more impressed in the future! In the meantime I'll just hope he doesn't read this blog. :-)

Still grumpy about the Sun's loss . . .


At 5/29/2007 6:36 PM, Blogger Julie Wright said...

Rob, I do not envy you the screaming, earthquake, or jazz game, but I do envy you the words you've written. Can't wait to read it!

At 5/29/2007 6:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And I had the opposite weekend. Went to cemeteries and IKEA (both were crowded!), and saw the new Pirates movie. Did NOT watch the Jazz or feel the piddly earthquake. No Thomas, either.

At 5/29/2007 8:15 PM, Blogger Marsha Ward said...

Kerry, the Ikea is in Tempe, which I only know because I got a 'look-at-us! We're here!' catalog mailed to me when I lived in Mesa. I've never been there.

Rob, the same world exploding happened in Arizona when a Nordstrom's opened in Scottsdale several years ago. I've never been there, either.

At 5/30/2007 10:30 AM, Blogger Marcia Mickelson said...

I agree with you about Ikea. I've never been there despite having lived near one. I don't see what the big deal is. I've never seen any of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. I've never been to day out with Thomas, although all of my three boys would like to. Yikes, it's so expensive. And, sorry despite having lived in Salt Lake and now I live in San Antonio, I don't like the Jazz or the Spurs, so I guess I'm rooting for the Eastern teams. I'm an Easterner at heart no matter where I live.

At 5/30/2007 6:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad about the familial party. When you die those ties, relationships, time spent together eating pizza at the cemetary are about the only things you take with you. The publishers and the books they publish stay here on earth.

At 5/30/2007 6:55 PM, Blogger Evil HR Lady said...

I heart Ikea. I never buy anything but dinner there, but we love to walk around.

It's like some big Swedish mother ship that calls us home. We just can't stay away.

At 5/30/2007 7:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, anon, are you assuming we won't read in heaven? I don't buy it.


At 5/31/2007 11:08 AM, Anonymous robwells said...

Jeff, there may be reading in heaven, but I'll be too busy eating at the all-you-can-eat pizza buffet to worry about books.

At 5/31/2007 11:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, you can do both. In fact, I'm willing to go to any family gathering that allows me to read books and eat pizza at the same time. Of course in the Telestial Kingdom you only get Litte Caesars.


At 6/01/2007 7:58 PM, Blogger Micah Bruner said...

What Rob fails to mention is that his family is largely made up of wackos which, in and of itself, is more than enough reason to attend every family party. It's the best bang for your buck as far as pure entertainment is concerned.

As for reading books at family parties, that's exactly what Rob's late father-in-law used to do. He'd come in and socialize a little bit but it wouldn't be long before he would have disappeared into a corner reading Louis L'Amour or a sci-fi book.

As for the Jazz game, Steve Kerr wrote an article about how the arena formerly known as the Delta Center was a tough place to play because of the great crowd. He also made mention that the intensity of the crowd would sway the refs to a certain extent. It was the refs' desire to disprove Kerr that caused them to make so many bad calls.

Rob's disdain for family parties comes from a disdain for people in general.


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