Monday, March 16, 2009

A Day in the Life: John Cougar Mellencamp

John walked out of his bedroom and sat at the kitchen table, picking at a fruit salad. His children and wife all ate their breakfast silently, waiting for him to speak. Finally, his wife spoke up, “Well?” she asked expectantly.

Clearing his throat, John said, “Today, I am John Cougar. That’s it,” he said defiantly, and his family collectively sighed loudly. “What, what’s the problem?” John asked as his wife rolled her eyes.

“Every day it’s something new with you. Why can’t you just pick a name and stick with it? I was fine with John Mellencamp,” John’s wife pleaded with him as his children picked at their breakfast.

“Daddy, why can’t you just use your real name,” John’s daughter spoke up.

John’s face instantly flushed and he slammed the table with a closed fist. “Never! I will never use my real name!”

“It’s a fine name, John, I don’t see why you get so angry,” his wife began.

“Are you kidding? ‘Hello Cleveland! Are you ready to rock? Put your hands together for IRA HERSKOWITZ!’ I would be laughed off the stage before I even got on! No one named Ira Herskowitz has ever rocked Cleveland, or any other city in the world.”

“Well, who cares? I think it’s a fine name.”

“That’s it! THAT’S IT! I am now ‘Cougar’. That’s all, just Cougar,” John raged, fuming at the table while his family grew uncomfortable.

The silence stretched for minutes when his kids finally finished their breakfast and left the table without commenting. John lit a cigarette and puffed away while his wife got up and began doing the dishes. The silence continued; finally broken by his wife. “John, at least let the kids be spared your name changing. It isn’t good for them.”

“Isn’t good for them?” John asked. “Isn’t GOOD for them?” He stood up from the table, letting his chair hit the floor and stormed outside heading for the barn. His wife followed him out, straining to catch up with him. “John, wait, slow down.”

He turned and faced her, still visibly angry. “I’ll call myself whatever I please, and you and the kids had damn well better accept it!”

“OK, John, I mean Cougar, OK,” John’s wife said placating her husband with her tone. “But I do want to talk to you about something else. It’s the house.”

“What’s wrong with the house?”

“I can’t stand the color! It sticks out like a sore thumb!”

They both turned to look at their farmhouse. It was painted a neon pink color on every surface. Even the rocking chairs on the porch were painted the same shade and almost blended in with the siding behind them. The windows were also painted solid pink, making them impossible to see through.

“The windows are solid pink, you can’t even see outside! It looks like someone threw up Pepto Bismol all over it! The shade is just...just awful!” she broke down into tears as John stared straight ahead at the house, grinding his teeth; his jaw muscles clearly clenching and unclenching.

John spoke softly to his wife, “The color of that house paid for Jack’s braces. The color of that house bought us that car over there! The color of that house got Diane that operation she needed when she was six! The color of that house will put our kids through college one day! THAT HOUSE IS FOR YOU AND ME!” John grew progressively louder as he gestured towards their pink house. His wife continued sobbing, realizing she was in a losing battle. John stated simply, “The pink stays. And call me Cougar,” and continued into the barn to start the daily farm chores.

At the end of another long day, John and his wife stood side by side as the sun set on their little pink house. John chewed on a long stalk of hay, thoughtfully staring up into the sky. John’s wife waited patiently, fearing what his next words would be. Finally, he spoke:

“Wolfblood. John Wolfblood Wildcat Mellenballs. Write it down.”

John’s wife hung her head in defeat as he grabbed his pink paint brush and began painting the new porch swing that was installed that afternoon.



1 reaction(s)::

chrissy said...

Love it! That was great.

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