RL81 - It Tastes Like the Forest

This week, Merlin and John talk about:

The Problem: Cruising now is part of John’s lifestyle, referring to going on the JoCo Cruise and the Maximum Fun cruise and thinking about uses for his white dinner jacket.

The show title refers to grass-fed beef having a loamy taste like forest soil.

The audio starts with a movie quote from The Bad News Bears of a little girl Amanda Whurlitzer saying: ”I know an 11 year old girl who is already on the pill!” - ”Don’t ever say that word again!” (Coach Morris Buttermaker).

Raw notes
The segments below are raw notes that have not been edited for language, structure, references, or readability. Please do not quote these texts directly without applying your own editing first! These notes were not planned to be released in this form, but time constraints have caused a shift in priorities and have delayed editing draft-quality versions to a later point.

John being on a low-carb diet, Atkins diet, grass-fed beef (RL81)

John’s breath is bad today because of the Atkins diet, and it is reflecting back to him off of his microphone. It is not the typical bad breath of someone who doesn’t brush his teeth, but it is an otherworldly bad breath that tastes like the soil of a forest floor, a little loamy, like if John had been eating raccoons, but John wouldn’t eat raccoon unless he absolutely had to. John is now going onto the Portlandia diet, transitioning over to only eating animals whose name he knows, and what people don’t realize about grass-fed beef that eat natural foods instead of corn and other animals ground into corn is that they taste very gamey, like moose.

Merlin had grass-fed beef one time and it tasted like salmon, so he was wondering if he got a bad load. It tasted wrong or off, but it isn’t off because it is the taste of cow that has been eating dandelions. John has to recalibrate his whole taste-scenario as he is going to eat healthy beef that tastes like a Moroccan leather factory smells. It will put you off your food for a long time. It smells like cow that has been stripped with a bone tool and hung covered in flies outside of a Moroccan butcher shop in the hot sun, that is what they aspire this meat to taste like.

One of Merlin’s metric for success is reducing complexity in your life as you get older. When you are young you are having a bunch of jobs you don’t like, making almost no money, and one nice bit of getting a little older is having one job that lets you pay your bills. Obviously getting off meth is good because when you are traveling it can be hard to find good meth. Some people as they get older, it is no longer enough to have the ABC Well brand Scotch, but now they have the Glenlivet, which is great, but pretty soon you can’t have a Well brand anything again and you become beer guy.

Merlin doesn’t eat as much junk food as he used to because it makes him feel bad, but he worries that if he is getting on the grass-fed thing he is going to pay $40 a pound for something that tastes like Morocco and eventually he will get used to that. Merlin suspects it is the same that John can’t listen to bad-sounding music like a low-quality MP3, while Merlin doesn’t mind that, but instead he has to go to Whole Foods to get a burger.

John has never gone on a diet before, at least not any traditional diet, but Merlin thinks that John has been on some very interesting diets. He has always preferred to feel: ”I am as God made me. Throw what you have at me and I will consume it! I will make poo out of anything!” Now he is on the Atkins diet, but he has not weighed himself because the point of this exercise is to go through a door and make a transition into a new way of thinking. It is not really a diet, which is what crazy people do for bikini season, but it is rather a pursuit of mindfulness that he is constantly on and now he is extending that Truman Show bubble to also the things he eats.

John actually feels that he has stepped off a rollercoaster. He does not enjoy eating in this way, there is no fun in it. The second time he went into a restaurant and ordered a double cheeseburger with no bun and ate it out of a styrofoam container with a plastic knife and fork he felt like somebody had taken his shoe laces because they were worried he was going to hang himself in his prison cell. ”What has become of me?”

But this fog that had been on him for years, this up and down crazy energy fluctuation is gone in only two weeks, but he now has a steady amount of energy all day long, he has not taken a nap in the last 10 days. It is the whole reason John goes up in the morning: Looking forward to the nap in the afternoon. John’s sugar has stabilized, he is not peaking and he is not drowning anymore under exhaustion, he is just puttering long. He is not even really taking care of himself otherwise.

John is not getting all crazy on himself, he didn’t go into his freezer and started throwing all the popsicles on a bonfire in the back yard under a giant golden eagle. He is also not evangelizing it more than having talked about it on the podcast a couple of times, and even then he feels awkward, but they are past the point of even trying not to bore the shit out of people, but they are devoted to the cause of talking about their poo, their food, a little bit of Hitler, Belgium comes up now and again.

Merlin fell off the wagon with eating better in the last few weeks because of vacation stuff and his daughter started Kindergarten today, which is a pretty big deal, but he is going to get back into it because he remembers that feeling. Once you lose 30 pounds, potato chips don’t look as good, and Merlin can say that with authority because he went from 36 to 33 (probably jeans size) and he really felt the difference. When he walked up the hill and would have to carry his daughter when she was younger, this was him every day, he used to have to carry small person when he walked up a 20 degree hill.

Ripping on the youth after having been at a Macklemore video shoot (RL81)

”Blurred Lines!” (song by Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams) If Merlin has to hear that God-damn Macklemore song one more time! He says in that song (Aame Love) that his mom reminds him that he was into girls since before pre-K. Merlin was into girls already before before-pre-K. John feels bad about Macklemore because he likes him personally, he is a very nice and super-cool guy from Seattle and like always when they become successful everybody is rooting for the local guy, but as soon as they are really popular the hipsters start to hate them.

John was at his video shoot the other day and he was doing his thing, which is standing in a crowd of young people, commenting on their appearance and their behavior, their sartorial decisions. Those young people are almost human beings, not quite, but they are edging toward it and John is reporting some of the things that they are saying in the crowd, having his usual lighthearted fun at other people’s expense. John was saying on the Internet that these anonymous young people are dumb.

Then a booking agent from a local club who is a friend, a guy in his mid-30s who has always identified himself as a young person and is now going through a bit of an identity crisis as he is realizing he is no longer a young person and he is not an old person yet either, out of nowhere sent John a shitty tweet like: ”At least you went to a thing that you hate to talk about it on the Internet!” that was trying to call John out for being at this event and ”hating”, so why did he go there if he was just there to hate?

First of all, all any of us have ever done is go to shows and snark and if you are trying to take that from John you are depriving him of 85% of his culture and life. To stand in the back of a room, listening to a band you adore, where you are friends with everybody in the band and in the show, what else is there to do except to snark what people are wearing and what dummies they are. This is fundamental to John’s culture. But the guy kept at it and wouldn’t get off of this idea, which felt very foreign, like: ”What the fuck is behind this?” They even took it offline and texted about it and he still wouldn’t get off this righteous dance.

It turned into a small but public feud between John and this guy where other people in town got involved because Seattle is small and everybody got a fucking opinion. The other day John went to Macklemore’s Twitter page and noticed that Macklemore isn’t following him anymore. He used to follow him and John can only guess that he unfollowed him because John was being accused of being a hater at his video shoot and now there are some quadrants of Seattle in which John is a Macklemore-hater, which he is absolutely not.

Simplifying your life, living with no keys, having too many tuxedos (RL81)

There was a time when John did not have any keys. He was living in a Ford Aerostar in a carport and it was plugged in via en extension cord to a battery charger to the house so that John could open the trunk lid, which would cause the light to go on and he could read Stephen King novels while he was trying to sleep in this Aerostar. At a certain point the owner of the house said: ”As your friend: You have been living in my non-running minivan for too long and I would have to ask you for my keys to my minivan!” and with that John entered the realm of having no keys.

When John rejoined the world, he quit doing drugs, he got a job, they gave him his first set of keys, he got his own apartment again after a long period of not having a place to live, which meant John now had keys on a ring and it was the point where he was adding stuff to his life and every key he got made him feel more apart. Merlin also feels that every new key is a new obligation and a new debt, a new thing to take care of. John was the assistant manager at a bar (The Off-Ramp), he did the books, and eventually was one of those mid-1990s guys with a big chain with 35 keys on it. A few years ago he had zero keys, then he had four keys and felt great, but now he had 40 keys and he felt like shit.

John went through his closets today and he noticed he has too many tuxedos, which is also why he was the only one who didn’t complain when everyone else had to rent a brown tuxedo. He has a midnight-blue one, a standard black one, a comedy-midnight-blue one, which is one that Charles Nelson Reilly would wear on celebrity match game, a lough-tuxedo with big wide lapels, but in its day in 1972 it was a beautiful tuxedo and it is still nice, but it is just unfashionably cut.

John also has a couple of white dinner jackets with some matching black tuxedo pants, which is a very handsome look. There is some contention among the male fashion people about the appropriateness of a white dinner jackets. some people say it is only for the tropics, if you are at a casino in Bimini (Bahamas) or in Curaçao. Seattle is not in the tropics, so people do argue that there is no appropriate time for wearing a white dinner jacket in Seattle, not even if you are in the Navy.

As part of his job John is often on cruise ships now, which go into the tropics. The JoCo Cruise was the first of these cruises and John will go on another cruise this fall, the MaximumFun cruise, which means that cruising is now part of John’s lifestyle and he already had a white dinner jacket, but now he has a second white dinner jacket. John has gone from living in a minivan to having too many tuxedo and he is afraid that if he doesn’t arrest this trajectory he is going to drown in tuxedos and the last thing you will see of him is his hand sticking out of an ever-growing pile of tuxedos and he will be gone. There will be a small notice in the local paper: ”Local musician found dead under pile of ironic tuxedos” As he goes down he will be holding a bottle of 12-year old single-malt Scotch that he can’t even drink: ”Leave it!

If Merlin were a wealthy man he would probably think different about this, but he only has two keys on his key ring: The key to his house and the key to his office. If he needs the car key he will grab the car key, but he doesn’t want to carry that around because the keys of modern cars are big as a box of fireplace matches. Increasingly you just have to put the key in the proximity of the car and the car just knows it is you. Elon Musk invented this and he put biometrics in it.

When Merlin sees somebody who has a lot of keys that they want everybody to see, he just sees a security guard. How many of those key do actually go to anything and do you really need all of them all the time? They are trying to be Pat Schneider from One Day at a Time, which was a good look. John should cosplay Schneider, but he was a slim guy. Merlin saw a zaftig black Batgirl today and it was a great effect. John likes a zaftig girl!

Merlin was listening to Alec Baldwin interviewing a guy from PETA (Dan Mathews, Here’s The Thing from August 19th 2013), mentioning that you have to get your wheat bread and your avocado when you travel, which didn’t sound that hard to Dan, but he doesn’t travel as much as Alec does. It is hard enough not to get something that didn’t fall out of a machine.

If you are addicted to cigarettes, you can buy them a lot of places, you can buy alcohol a lot of places, but if you got to score heroin you have to trust some people and it might take a few minutes. John counters that it seems easy to us because we are living in a culture where $8 for a pack of cigarettes is not too much and we are welcome in stores, but there are a surprising number of people for whom getting a pack of cigarettes is a challenge. If you living in the heroin-buying subculture you would be surprised that you could travel from town to town and you still have to put in some legwork, but if you planned ahead you could make some calls.

Everybody can ask themselves what they are worried that they wouldn’t be able to do or get once the wheels hit the ground. It could be a drink, weed, a hand-job. John has started to worry about that he thinks in terms of ”other people” too much, not that he is thinking about other people, but in terms of other people. He feels typically that other people more or less cannot live without their crutches, and a lot of their crutches are ridiculous.

We have all been through it. John has been traveling with people who brought their pillow on the trip and it got lost and it is game over. Let alone if that were menthol cigarettes or food and drink. John is trying to stop thinking in terms of other people as a prism to try to break out all the different colors of his own thought, and he is trying to start to stay more focused what he is thinking. What does he want 10x more of?

Merlin’s daughter starting Kindergarten, co-op schools (RL81)

Merlin’s daughter started Kindergarten today, which is a pretty big deal. He loves her school, but don’t get him started on institutions! John’s family is investigating now as well and they have joined a co-op. Merlin did a co-op for three years and his daughter did a post-doc at her pre-school, she did an extra year. They sent an email to John, saying that they need sunshine helpers…

Merlin warns John to brace himself because he will have to let go of so much of his personality when he is around a lot of people in these places. He will have to sit through so many discussions that are very poorly organized, there are going to be a lot of forms that could have been laid out a lot better, there are going to be a lot of signs with bad punctuation and typography. Merlin suffered under that and there is a lot of hazing from people who are very comfortable being a suburban mom or dad and they take it out on people like Merlin and John big time. They are not totally hipster tattooed doofuses with barbells in their nose, but they are also not wearing tasseled loafers, but they are the forgotten men.

John wants to be on the board of directors because that is where he belongs, and very shortly after that he will either eliminate the board of directors or put it up to a vote that all board of directors are equal except some are more equal than others. He will be the co-op Ceaușescu. Maybe he should stage arson of the art room, his own personal Reichstag, or he should ice-pick the assistant teacher.

John is 100% afraid of having to subjugate himself to the board. Merlin found it so difficult, and he has no-one to talk to about this. It made him realize how much of a man-child he is in some ways. It took him fucking 40-some years to get to where he doesn’t hate his personality and he is almost out of the Merlin closet where he is very reluctant into someone else’s good-night. He doesn’t have to be a cock and he doesn’t always have to be the center of attention, but he has worked on his own for a lot of years and there are times…

Merlin can’t imagine that his daughter is every going to go to another co-op school as great as her co-op school. His wife mostly works there, he works there, it is a great gig, it is so much less expensive than a regular penitentiary style pre-school because you are there and it isa great way to watch your kid get better at being a kid. The people there who aren’t dicks have a stake in it. There are still those who just want to drop their kids off and drive away, but a lot of people there believe in the school and believe in what is going on.

You can take that too far, like some of schools make you read a book before you can go there and they have a persuasive theory and each place has a different philosophy. John doesn’t want his commitment to Sparkle Motion doubted (reference to the movie Donnie Darko). Of course Merlin always feels like the worst father in the world, no matter where he goes, and within two minutes he felt like he was at a student council meeting because the people who were on the board of directors cared so intensely about governing, whether you had to wear shoes in the bike area, and on the second meeting he went to they talked about the problem of chicken poop for 25 minutes because there are four chickens running around and apparently one of the moms was pretty upset because some of the chicken matter had gotten onto her child’s shoe and that came into the house.

Kissinger said that ”Competition in academia is so vicious because the stakes are so small.” For Merlin it is one thing to sit around and poison his daughter’s mind with comics, but then he has to be around other people and the coolest people in the world are always pushing him forward because now all of his failures are exposed to all these people. He would not trade that experience for the world. It is like hiring a doula, finding a psychiatrist, or finding a mate. ”Don’t start with the role, but start with somebody you like!” You have to find a school that you like before you find a school. John’s problem with that is that he rejected the idea of a doula and of a psychiatrist and he really has not fully embraced the idea of finding a mate. He also doesn’t have chickens.

Finding projects with your partner, John building his bachelor’s nest (RL81)

Everybody who comes over to John’s house will remark that everybody in the city is buying chickens, and John is the only guy who actually has a barn, so why doesn’t he have chickens? Why do you need fucking chickens? Eggs are cheap! John is encouraged to embark upon chickens and organic farming by everybody who visits him, like a little suggestion box for John’s house, ”Things I can’t believe John is not doing with his house”, but those are mating rituals once you and your partner have exhausted all of the episodic television, you are staring across the breakfast table at one another, contemplating being together for decades, and you don’t want to be like your parents or your grandparents, and are wondering ”what are we going to do?”

The solution is to embark on a mutual projects like starting a garden, you are going to eat out of this garden and it is a merry old time, but it is really a way of stitching your relationship together by laying out your values in bright red tape, walking your talk and living your life together, but for John as a bachelor, the idea of going out and tilling a little organic garden for himself feels like a prison activity. They take your shoe laces away, they give you two hamburger patties with cheese in a styrofoam bucket, and you get your 6x8 plot and you are out there, trying to keep the rabbits out of your lettuce and that is what keeps you busy.

In college Merlin would meet a a lady, they would leave the party, go to an abandoned classroom and they could talk for 18 hours about whatever, even The Flintstones. But then when you get older you need projects, and the biggest project is a kid. When you run out of things to talk to somebody, and this is probably a Mort Sahl joke, that is when the words ”Will you marry me?” come out of your mouth. At IKEA on a Saturday afternoon you will see all the people who are either right before that or right in the heart of it. She is pushing the cart and he is walking along beside, and they are picking out storage solutions.

John did not escape that, but as solo he built a nest for himself, unconscious that this was what he was doing, and he did it all by himself so that his house looks like a hunting lodge where someone set off a grandma bomb. By the time anyone could have said: ”Seven different mismatched paisley patterns is not a style, it is a mind riot!” it was too late and all they could do was stand there with their hands on their hips and go: ”Wow! Amazing!” - ”I know, right? Kind of tripping you out, isn’t it? Go ahead, sit on the couch, if you can find it!”

There was nobody to keep John from buying 10 copies of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn because he was afraid it was going to get banned and he was going to have the last stash of them to hand out to people on the street. There was no-one to stop him from decorating his house with amplifiers. John has built a nest, he now has a child, he is very close with his daughter’s mother, and they live in a communal atmosphere. If you had asked him 10 years ago how he imagined it, it has happened, while he at the same time has kept up his castle and now he is in this castle and he feels a little ridiculous. The castle grounds are all being gardened by other people.

John’s Yacht Club Commodore Retired jacket, composing a uniform for the co-op board of directors (RL81)

Their good friend Capt. Mariam of the show, their official statistician and chief archivist. John posted a picture of his jacket that he thought was a vintage Navy officer’s coat, clearly a captain’s jacket, maybe French coast guard auxiliary or something, and he was trying to crowdsource where this jacket was from and got the usual snarky answers from everybody, some legit tries of people taking some stabs at it, and then she came with a link to this exact jacket and it is a Yacht Club Commodore Retired dress blue jacket (Merlin loses it when John says that). Wherever John got this, it must have crawled out of a trunk and situated itself on top of a rafter and as he was walking by it must have leapt onto him.

John had no idea that members of Yacht Clubs had ranks and that there was an entire ranking system as elaborate and bizarre than the Congolese Navy. All of a sudden John saw these flags. He has a flag with a giant acorn on it and a flag with crossed feathers on it, he has had them for a long time and they are part of his collection of flags and he learned that the acorn is the flag that you fly from your Yacht if you are the treasurer of the Yacht Club, and the crossed feathers is the secretary of the Yacht Club. This is codified in a book somewhere, this is international!

John is flying all these weird Yacht Club flags around at the good ship Roderick Pop and he had no idea what they meant. It is like with the hanky code (see OM3xx), he was flying a green hanky out of his back left pocket and he didn’t know that meant he was into buggers, and Capt. Mariam solves all these problems in one fell swoop and also somehow completely by happenstance he already owns a retired Commodore’s jacket. He might already have a retired director of the CIA jacket and he just doesn’t realize it. He just needs to send her photos of everything! She is very scientific!

John asks people to salute him when they come into the house and at a certain point he changed into an open-handed salute rather than your closed-handed salute, you are still touching the tip of your glasses with your hand, but with your palm out, like you are the Governor General in the Raj, because he was feeling like a Commodore.

John is probably in the top 5% of people in Seattle who know about military and fake-military clothing. If he would go to the second co-op meeting dressed like the former Commodore of the Yacht Club, people will think it is pretty fucking weird, but if he is consistent and always shows up in some military garb, no-one is going to fuck with him. One day he is going to be a colonel in the Air Force, one day he is going to be wearing desert fatigues. A lot of people with honorary degrees call themselves doctor and there is no fucking reason John can’t be an honorary Commodore. If he wants a certain will to power he needs to come in there dressed for the job he wants.

John has already begun compiling the uniform of a member of the board of directors of your child’s pre-school co-op. You would think it is a Patagonia fleece and an aluminum water bottle, and John has not been to this meeting yet and he is guessing that that is what you are going to find among the enlisted men. Obviously there will be a Tweed Jacket, patches on the elbows, knit squared-bottom tie, like Michael Keaton in 1983, plaid button-down Norse Board shirt, but then a Crew-neck sweater on top of the shirt and the tie.

Merlin saw Ocean’s Eleven for the first time and he thinks John should bring back the giant turtleneck, almost cowl neck ridiculously large turtle neck sweater. Three different guys in the movie, especially Matt Damon, are wearing these cool fishermen sweaters with vertical ribbing, but with giant turtlenecks, like Captain Haddock from TinTin. The thing about Captain Haddock is that his sweater has a giant anchor on it. Merlin looked it up and didn’t know it was a cartoon character, outing himself as a non-TinTin reader. He got a pipe, a Thirstin Howl hat, he looks a bit like Pluto, and he is from Belgium!

Merlin thinks that John can either go with the obviously inadvisable ”This guy is obviously bananas!” approach, like the Gorton’s Fisherman or like the Seattle Mariner Moose. The had a big-head lion mascot at Merlin’s school today which made a bunch of kids cry. Was the person inside of it autistic? (see RL80) John’s sword cane is going to be the thing that is really going to get their attention, but that is not going to be until meeting 5. The whole premise that one day John would be jocking for power in a pre-K co-op is a little bit like he is sitting in a tiny school desk at a parent-teacher conference already and he doesn’t know how this happened.

The Breakfast Club, The Bad News Bears, misjudging the age of actors in teenage films (RL81)

Michael Anthony Hall and Molly Ringwald are the same age as John. He probably didn’t know that at the time. Merlin thinks about that a lot. He was watching Moneyball today and Billy Beane is 51, he played baseball when Merlin was a kid, but he is only a few years older. Michael Stipe (from R.E.M.) is not that much older than Merlin, although he seems like a generation older, but he is actually not, and that is disturbing.

With Michael Stipe John can handle it because when he was 15 Michael Stipe was already 22 and that did seem like a generational difference, but John didn’t know that Michael Anthony Hall and Molly Ringwald were only 6 months older. They were in the movies and John thought they were older people who were playing teenagers, the classic 90210 problem where a 27 year old is playing a 17 year old. John doesn’t know why to learn at 44 years old that those kids playing teenage kids were actually teenage kids is causing him to be agog today.

John has spent all afternoon thinking about Michael Anthony Hall. He was very beefy for a while because somebody was advising him as a young person not to be typecast as the nerd, so he got into the gym and got a serious actor and took some intense rolls, but it was not flattering. You would probably not recognize him now because he looks like a guy at your child’s pre-K, like somebody’s dad.

In the movie Watchmen Rorschach is played by Jackie Earle Haley from The Bad News Bears and Breaking Away, he has played Freddie Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street, he is in Shutter Island, and he is all fucked-up looking with all due respect, but Merlin sure treasures that. He doesn’t want to know how old he is (he was 52 by the time of the recording) Merlin often searches for how tall people are, which seems like an old-person thing to do.

The Bad News Bears had a big effect on John. There were things happening in that movie that were just a little bit out of his grasp and the move made him afraid and yearn for things where he didn’t know what he was yearning for. It is the hallmark of a late-1970s young person’s movie. For Merlin it was A Little Romance, the first movie he ever saw Diane Lane in with Mr. Laurence Olivier about kids who meet in Paris and fall in love when they are 12-13 and Merlin was 10-11 and he had the hugest crush. You watch Meatballs and think: ”Oh, man! I would love to meet a girl in shorts!” Dangerous, but so seductive! There was a remake of The Bad News Bears with some other people, but they are not talking about that. Walter Matthau is fucking drinking beer and smokes cigarettes in a movie with kids.

John not wanting to trade his relationship with his mom for being fast with girls (RL81)

Tatum O’Neal had a worldliness that John knew already in 1976 (Paper Moon was 1973, she smokes in that and she was 10) when he was 8 that she in this movie was not a virgin or maybe was still one, but had been to 3rd base. He knew that she had crossed a line, maybe somebody had touched her boobs and she was okay with it or wanted it to happen, even. John had engaged in a little bit of ”You show me yours, I’ll show you mine!” out on the compost pile with some neighborhood girls and when he was in the process of doing it his mom came around the corner with a wheelbarrow full of compost, of all the places, and she was: ”What are you kids doing? Get out of there!” Everybody scattered, his mom wasn’t mean about it, but John was covered in shame.

The thing about Tatum O’Neal and the kid with the dirt bike Jackie Earle Haley is that they clearly had very little to no parental supervision, and John was worried that in order to learn about sex and to cross the Rubicon and be on the other side where people were touching each other he was going to have to sacrifice his relationship with his mom. In the movies all the fast kids, their mom was smoking cigarettes and was drunk in front of the TV, with the message that she was self-involved. If she was a working mom she was having an affair with her boss or she was a bad mom and that is how these kids, who had hearts of gold, were smoking cigarettes behind the school and were feeling each other up.

John’s mom already worked a lot and he didn’t want to have to lose their good relationship with the little time they had together in order to learn to be a fast kid who had put his hand up a girl’s shirt. In his mind he drew the line that he needed to be good and in order to do that he was never going to be the kid with the motorbike. If he could sit his 8-year old down and talk to him about this he would be arrested immediately for talking about sex with an 8-year old because apparently that is illegal now (Let’s not talk about time travel). Back then it wasn’t illegal, you could send an 8-year old to get a beer for you.

Merlin felt the same way. His mom was really protective of him. She had a lot of loss in her life and didn’t want him to be lost, too. It had him more reluctant until his mid-teen years to become hellion. Part of him thinks it is a good idea to burn it out of your system when you are Tatum or Jackie aged, but in a safe environment. There should be some mall petri dish way to feel people up, you shouldn’t have to sneak out of your house when you are 17 and go somewhere super-foreign. Like Italians having wine at dinner, it takes away the stigma.

What we know now from Tatum O’Neal’s autobiography about her relationship with her father Ryan O’Neal, the terrible alcoholic person, whatever worldliness John was seeing in Tatum O’Neal’s eyes that was captured on film when she was 12 was in fact actual horror. The same is true for Mackenzie Phillips, another young lady Merlin was very attracted to for her apparent worldliness and who had some problems, and maybe John was right as a kid to see her allure and also recognize that it was a tragedy and forbidden knowledge and it is really the exploitative adults in 1976 who used that brokenness in her eyes to captivate a generation of young boys.

Jodie Foster was in a movie with David Niven (Candleshoe) where she was an American girl, and the very existence of this plot-line and the knowledge that this type of thing was possible ruined John as a child. She was an American street ruffian little girl who is the heiress to some British Duchess and she flew over to England and is living in a castle with David Niven, one of those culture clash things, like: ”What? You don’t know how to play Baseball?” John saw this movie at the exact wrong age and thought: ”Wait a minute! Are you telling me that all that needs to happen is that somebody is going to knock on my door and be: Hello! We’ve come for the boy! He is the last surviving son of the Duke of the Worcester Sauce!” If John had David Niven for a mentor he would be such an asshole!

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License