finding footstone.

At this point, Ralph and Mark were living in a house in Livingston, NJ with a few other guys.  We hadn’t spoken with them in a while, and one day Ralph called and invited us to a party at their house.

Sandy and I talked about it for a while.  We still weren’t comfortable getting a babysitter and leaving our kid alone without us.

There’s something that happens when you’re a young parent, with your first kid.  You just don’t trust anybody with him.  As unlikely as it might be, you think of every conceivable thing that might happen while you’re gone – he chokes on a cookie, he bumps his head, a coyote takes him – and then magnify it by however far away you’ll be.  Then, you make a value judgement as to whether or not it’s worth it to go.

Well, I’ll just be up the street, having a drink at the corner bar.  If something happens, I can be home in three minutes. That one’s a go.

I’ll be at work, but if something happens, the neighbor can help out, and I can get home in fifteen minutes. Possibly.

I’ll be at Ralph and Mark’s house, guzzling beers.  If something happens, I’m half an hour away, probably drunk, in a town I don’t know, so I’ll probably get lost. Definitely not.

At the same time, the two of us were desperate to get out of the house.  We hadn’t been out together in months, and we had wicked cases of cabin fever.  We hadn’t seen friends forever, and hadn’t had a conversation about something other than baby since August.  We’d had a beer or two, but a beer always tastes better when you’re out with friends than it does when you’re home.

I called Ralph back.  “Can we bring the baby?”

“Yes!” he said.  “Of course!  What kind of beer does he like?”

So, we decided to go.

When the big day came, it was like we were going to the prom.  We were nervous.  We didn’t know what to wear.  You’d think we’d never gone out before.

We packed a bag with bottles, diapers, wipes, spare clothes, powder, diaper rash lotion, baby toys, pacifiers – it was almost as if we were going away for a week.  Then, we grabbed the directions Ralph had given us, hopped in the car, and off we went.

We found the place fine, and when we arrived it was just so great to see Ralph and Mark.  Sandy was lugging around the baby carrier, so I wandered into the living room and grabbed a beer.  There was some kind of sports event on television, and lots of guys sitting around, watching.  There was loud music, and smoke.  Every few minutes I’d look around to make sure that Sandy was okay.

After a while, you woke up and started crying.  Sandy came over, looking worried.  “Can you take him?”

I put on the Snugli and stuffed you inside, then wandered off into a quiet corner in hopes of calming you down.  I felt like it was too cold outside to bring you out there, and too smoky in the main part of the house.  I finally found a corner that was quiet enough, and I stood there, rocking, desperately hoping for sleep.

Eventually, Ralph found me.  He had brought me a beer.

“So, first time out?” he asked.

“Yeah.  Is it that obvious?” I asked him right back.

“Not at all.  Not that you’re cowering in the corner or anything.”

We laughed.

“So how’s the band?” I finally asked.

“Good.  Great, actually.  We’ve got some great new songs.  We’ve been getting ready to start recording at Water Music.  The new stuff sounds great.  How about you?  How’s Dromedary?”

“It’s good,” I said.  “The Mommyheads signed with Geffen.”

“Geffen?” he asked, “Really?”

“Yeah,” I said.  “They’re going into the studio with Don Was.”

“Don Was?” he asked, “The ‘Walk the Dinosaur’ guy?”

“Yep, that’s the guy.”

“What’s the name of the CD going to be?” he asked.

“No idea.”

“How about Mommyheads (Not Mommyheads)?”

I laughed.  “What about you?  What’s your CD going to be called?”

“Umm, Schmeckle City Rubdown,” he said.

I nearly lost it.  Ralph always made me laugh, and the way that came right out of his mouth like that almost made it sound like that really was going to be the title of the CD (I found out later that it actually was really going to be the title of the CD).

When I got done laughing, I said “I’m sure Bill will be thrilled about the title.”

“Bill who?” Ralph asked.

“Bill,” I said.  “Maggadee Bill.”

Ralph gave me a curious look.  “Why would Bill be thrilled about the title?”

“Well, it’s just such a great name,” I said, sarcastically.

Ralph sort of nodded his head, in a way that made it clear that he still had no idea what the hell I was talking about.  So I took a breath and asked the question.

“This record is coming out on Maggadee, right?”

Ralph’s eyes widened.  Then he burst into hysterical laughter.  “A Footstone CD?  On Bill’s label?  Never happen.”

I was trying to process what I was hearing.  “You mean you’re not signed to Maggadee?”

“Footstone?”

“Yeah, Footstone.  You told me you were recording for Bill.”

“I told you we were recording with Bill,” he said.  “Bill would never have us on his label.  We could never be on Bill’s label, even if he wanted us.  They’re our buddies, but we’re in two different places.  Jesus Christ, no.”

“So, umm, would you consider putting the next CD out on Dromedary?” I asked, sheepishly.

“Al,” he said, “I will put out my records on your label for as long as I’m making music and you have a label.  When nobody gave a shit about us, you wanted to put our stuff out.  We’ll get old and poor together.”

I took a deep breath.  We had never lost Footstone.

“Is it really going to be called Schmeckle City Rubdown?” I asked.

“Yeah.  Is that okay?”

“Fine,” I said.  “That’s just fine.”

~ by Al on September 24, 2009.

One Response to “finding footstone.”

  1. We have a diaper bag the size of Cleveland for when we take the baby out. I think that one day it will make an interesting focal point for a song. Sort of like a thrash version of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire,” but just running through the contents of the diaper bag instead of naming current events.

    Handi-wipes, A & D, changing pad, binky
    Extra outfit, onesie and a bag o’ Cheerios…
    Pampers, teether, Tylenol, Boppy, toothbrush, Anbesol
    Bottle warmer, formula and Evenfloooooows…

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