Thursday, September 24, 2009


Before Greta, there was Wally. He was raised in a Southie brothel – I mean apartment – by the wife and “all the single ladies” with whom she lived at the time many moons ago. They weaned him on Fancy Feast, expressions of feelings, The Bachelor, and sangria – basically the perfect recipe for spawning a pimp.

When I met Walter back in 05’ at Pacific Street, I sighed and thought “Oh great, she’s one of those single girls with a cat.” In other words, pretend to like her pussy (pause) cat if I want to get her pussy (pause) willow … but little did I know, this cat was of the coolest variety.

Wally strutted around our home like he just owned the joint. Passersby might try to call him over, but he wouldn’t just stop for anybody. You needed to have some type of rapport or history with him. Basically, you had to be one of his peeps.

The Wall-man was a hulking, feline mass of black, white, grey, and light brown stripes. He had a small pie slice missing out of one of his ears, which was a souvenir from a back alley fight during his rookie season. He went undefeated from that time until a minor setback with raccoons (yes, plural) back in 07’ but he dragged himself back to the ring to re-assert his dominance of the East Third and G Street Southie sector a couple weeks later.

Despite Wally’s tough exterior, he had a keen sense when one of his loved ones was down. He had an uncanny knack for crawling up on a lap and maybe even licking an arm, at just the right time. He was especially close to his most loving and longest-serving parent, Shell. “He is my rock,” she would tell me all the time. Let's just say, he knew her moods better than I did most of the time.

Of course, the 20+ pound mass of loving, hairy warmth won me over probably after the first time he plopped himself on my chest as I laid in bed one night. His purring was like the perfect, wonderful lullaby. The ever growing affection I had for him was eroding my machismo. My preconception that "straight men don’t love cats,” couldn't have been more wrong.

Over time, I came to marvel at Wally’s unique qualities. For example, he growled when the door bell rang. He came running from out of nowhere when I whistled for him to come home. As he crossed the street, his belly would sway from side to side as he said “mow wow mow wow” which translates in cat to “where the hell have you been, I’ve been waiting forevah fo’ ya across the street” in a thick, Boston accent. But most impressively to me, Wally could get an erection from licking his own scrotum. (Seeing his lipstick always made me think of the meat beneath the shell of a lobster claw, for some reason.) Moving on.

After I knocked up the wife, we speculated about how Wally would react to his future sibling’s presence. He was, after all, an only child for over 9 years by the time February of 2009 rolled around. When we came home from the hospital with G, our worries about Wally’s feelings towards her evaporated when we caught him affectionately nuzzling the side of her face. We were a happy family.

Unfortunately, we lost our little man during the same week that my grandmother passed away, which was a few weeks after Greta was born. Wally went missing before we had left for my grandma’s services in New York. When we returned, we received the bad news about Wally from a neighbor. He was most likely hit by a car. It was a bad week, to say the least.

Walter Cooney Teravainen now sleeps peacefully beneath a beautiful, flower garden in Carver close to where Greta will be playing happily in the years to come. I imagine that he went running with his belly swaying into the Pearly Gates. I hope he gave a nice “mow wow” to those who greeted him.

I am grateful to Wally for introducing me to a sort of fatherhood. He was the first pet that I ever called my own. He is and will continue to be missed in our home. I needed some time before I could appropriately memorialize him. I hope I did justice to his mystique.

To all of you loving parents of furry children out there, give them a nice hug, kiss, and a special treat in memory of the Wall-man tonight. Maybe that early morning wake up tomorrow will not be so bad after all!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Rip Van Greta Snoozebug

(I’ve decided to temporarily discontinue updates on the Facebook about new blog postings because I’m worried that readers are on overload from me. I’m feeling a bit insecure and overexposed circa Britney Spears and her 2008 streak of photos exiting cars commando. I’ll wait until my publicist says the coast is clear.)

Watching Greta sleep at night is one of the happiest moments in my typically uneventful daily routine. The position is always unpredictable. She could be contorted like a yogi master on her side crammed into the corner. She could be on her back in the center of the crib, her chest moving ever so slightly as she breathes. Like any child’s face to his or her parent, G’s during sleep is precious, innocent, and angelic.

When Greta is sleeping peacefully, I imagine she is dreaming of limitless quantities of formula in a bottle that she can swipe away yet never leaves her mouth. Or possibly endless bath time with Mr. Crab, Timmy the Turtle, and Jenny Jellyfish. Maybe a crib piled high with cell phones and remote controls for unlimited gnawing and chewing.

It surprises me, though, that her restless sleeps aren’t more frequent considering her days are basically fodder for bad LSD trips. Think about it. Constant exaggerated facial expressions by mom, dad, or BFF Kate with over-the-top, wide eyed smiles. Songs with confusing topics like bags of wool, spiders walking up spouts, and bridges collapsing in London. Words for letters, numbers, and colors in Spanish. It’s amazing she can get any sleep at all.

The next best thing to watching her sleep, is greeting her when she wakes up. Kicking her legs, babbling, and rolling around, she looks up at me with a drooly smile and a pterodactyl screech. Maybe my daily routine isn’t so uneventful after all…

Monday, September 7, 2009

Spring Break Shark Attack!

Here’s the Comcast info description of this 2005 made-for-TV movie: “A sheltered college gal encounters studly predators on land and killer sharks in the water during spring break.” I think .7 seconds elapsed before selecting “record” on the DVR. Who could possibly pass up such a horribly awesome program? Certainly not someone watching the “Sy Fy” channel at 11 pm on a Sunday night. While I watched for gratuitous scenes of wet 20 year-olds in two-pieces, I actually received valuable lessons in parenting.

This is what we learn in the opening scenes: Danielle is a busty college student who commutes to college while protecting her virginity. Her parents refuse to let her go to Florida for spring break. Somehow, Danielle convincingly justifies her desire to wrestle in kiddie pools full of jello with other girls in bikinis because father once cheated on mother. Of course, in complete disregard of her parents' instructions, she leaves the next day on a plane to meet her two girlfriends who are staying in a beach house nice enough for Puff Daddy to host his annual white party.

(Don’t forget the equally clich├ęd Taken also involved a girl disobeying her father’s instructions about traveling and she almost became a concubine – let’s see where Danielle’s decision takes her.)

DAD LESSON 1: Anytime your daughter is planning to go away on a trip, lie to her about natural disasters striking the exact area where she intends to travel. If she persists, chain her to her bed until the spring break week is over. She’ll hate you but at least she will become less popular and less likely to be invited on future spring break trips. Back to the movie.

While the three girls are sunbathing on the beach, one of the girl’s boyfriends (Max) is astonished to learn that they crashed his vacation plans because he and his buddy (J.T.) planned on making a spring break-themed “Girls Gone Wild” video. That night, Max is dancing with his girlfriend but unabashedly hits on a different girl on the dance floor while his g.f. is looking the other way. We soon learn that evil people die horribly in this cinematic masterpiece when Max and his around-the-way girl are devoured during a naughty swim in the ocean.

Meanwhile J.T. is somehow fascinated with humping Danielle even though her friend Karen is ten times hotter and 100 times sluttier. Fortunately for the audience, local nice guy Shane (too poor to go to college so he works with mom at their boat rental shop) enters the scene and vies for Danielle’s affection. Naturally, J.T. is overmatched in this battle to feed Danielle’s horses so he resorts to slipping a roofie into Danielle’s drink like any typical creep on spring break. Don’t worry, Shane foiled J.T.’s plan but not before Danielle called home to confess about her disobedience to her father.

DAD LESSON 2: Anytime your daughter calls you intoxicated or otherwise inebriated from a place where she was not supposed to be, you travel immediately to that location with an unloaded gun and a shovel. Upon arrival, you tell any dudes near your daughter that you intend to use the shovel to hack up their body after you shoot them. In all likelihood, they’ll help carry your daughter to the car when you will subsequently transport her home. (See Lesson 1.)

The next day, J.T. inexplicably visits Shane to “thank” him for helping to take care of Danielle. As a token of appreciation, J.T. offers to hire Shane for a 24-hour boat ride with the three girls. (Meanwhile, Max has been missing for 2 or 3 days and no one seems to care.) Shane objects but his mom really needs the money so Shane relents. Just before disembarking, Danielle’s dad arrives and embarrassingly confronts her. Defiantly, Danielle jumps on the boat as J.T. laughs in dad’s face.

DAD LESSON 3: When attempting to kidnap your daughter in front of her friends, calmly convince her to speak with you privately first, then throw her over your shoulder to complete the abduction. Punch J.T. in the face later.

The boat ride ensues followed by a near death experience with two tiger sharks. Clearly, Danielle’s virginity spared her from tragedy as the sharks opted not to attack her – the only person in the entire movie spared from losing limbs. During the struggle to evade the sharks, the boat is slightly damaged and almost sinking. The crew is forced to stay the night on an island ½ a mile away so that Shane can repair the engine. As they get off the boat, Danielle discovers J.T.’s stash of roofies, which he brought with him on the boat for reasons that defy logic. Shane, Danielle, and her two friends ostracize J.T. but allow him back on the boat the next day when they return to shore.

In the interim, the audience discovers that a businessman from a rival town previously used Shane’s boat to chum the waters in an effort to lure sharks to the new beach front that has stolen his profits. He hoped the sharks’ presence would divert the spring breakers back to his bar where they used to go. The best part about this preposterous evil plan is that the businessman is Tom Cruise’s partner, Coughlin, from “Cocktail” who apparently resorted to these guerilla business warfare tactics because the bottle throwing show at his “Hopes and Dreams” bar just wasn’t drawing the spring break crowds he had in 1988.

Anyway, J.T. decides to drown his sorrows of failing to rape Danielle by getting drunk and hitting on a different set of girls. While he parties with hundreds of other college kids on a floating stage at a beach party, they somehow fail to notice approximately 57 tiger sharks infiltrate the waters around them. Mass bloodshed ensues and J.T. (don’t forget he is evil) meets an appropriate ending as a tiger shark tears him apart. Shane, Danielle, and Danielle’s brother (don’t ask) save the day by luring the sharks away using methods that are irrelevant for purposes of my summary. Shane’s mom appropriately chastises Coughlin before police take him away. Shane and Danielle finally french. The end.

DAD LESSON 4: Pray that for every trip that your Danielle takes without permission, a Shane will be out there to protect her long enough for a tiger shark to eliminate J.T. from the equation. If your daughter turns out to be Max’s secret hook up girl, go back to Lessons 1 through 3 before it’s too late!