What was I doing last night at 3 a.m. when I woke up in the hallway squeezing the cat hard against my chest? I’m pretty sure I meant to do him some kind of harm. Since reading an article in the NY Times about sleep disorders, I have been terribly worried that my REM sleep is being interrupted during the night by my cat.
See, I put him on a diet a few weeks ago, and he often wakes me during the night nearly screaming from hunger. Lately he has begun knocking things off tables, or making loud and disturbing noises, and I keep thinking, “My REM sleep! My REM sleep!” The late night scuffling between us has increased in intensity, and reached a crescendo last night apparently. What was I going to do with him? Drive him around in the back seat of my car? Let him go? Put him in the hallway as punishment?
Anyway, I make no apologies for watching the Michael Jackson special last Thursday night. I have been fascinated with the man since watching his in-depth interview with Oprah. That was over a decade ago and he has only gotten stranger. I love the argument that the eccentricities of artistic geniuses like MJ need to be tolerated. It is like a trade-off–“Billie Jean” in exchange for 3 little fucked-up children, or Thriller in exchange for a few stolen moments with a 13-year old boy. Sure, those with an artistic bent often veer quite a bit away from the straight and narrow that most of us have to trod day after day. And, true, you often have to have specialized antennae to pick up that groovy beat, or that lyric, or that flourish of the paintbrush. Often that antennae picks up darker things too.
But, although I think Billie Jean is a lasting work of art, that along with his kabillion other hits have made MJ stupidly, preposterously wealthy, it is this wealth, more than his artistic genius, that has made him the oddity he is. Watching the documentary was like seeing a Warhol remake of “Citizen Kane” –Michael holing up by himself in a Vegas hotel with a collection of strange mannequins, or riding around alone in his theme park at night, beloved by but fundamentally separated from the big wide world. I sure don’t envy him, though I think I am supposed to. Shouldn’t it be everyone’s goal to be rich enough to buy a gold covered reproduction of Tutankhamen’s sarcophagus? Well, if you have seen Citizen Kane (and you should), you know, the movie is a tragedy. And so is Michael’s life–one big pop disaster.
What disturbed me more than the documentary, though, was the commercial for Uncrustables that aired during the special. Uncrustables are, well, like jelly sandwiches with the crust removed, shaped into little pies with crimped edges. Yummy. Now, I don’t have an issue with the actual foodstuff, and have on many occasions enjoyed something very much like them–only with the offending crusts attached. My problem is with the grammatical monstrosity created to name them. If something is uncrustable, that means there are other things that are crustable, right? And can most anything be crusted (except for uncrustable things, of course)? How can a company mangle a perfectly innocent word like crust with such inappropriate prefixes and suffixes? If this were France, we would be able to fine them for a language violation. But this is the US, home of Lite beer and Troj-Enz, Lunchables and Snax. And Boyz II Men.
Even if you accept the word as loosely meaning “something that cannot be crusted,” it is simply untrue. Even with the crimped edges, you could still get a crust on there, by baking it for about 15 minutes or by attaching Precrustworthys, a pre-made crust product found in your grocery stores frozen foods section.