1. Dear God in Heaven, That’s Dick Van Dyke!

    HERE’S something disturbing.

    As regular readers to this blog know, my beloved Nana Parsnips is something of a hoarder. It’s my secret shame. Well, it’s not really much of a secret now is it? Especially since I’ve told you.  And we all know how well you can keep a secret. Remember the time you bumped into me at Smart & Final and I couldn’t think fast on my feet so I just told you why I was buying all that cranberry juice? I guess I just didn’t expect you to post it on Facebook forty minutes later. But that’s all water under the bridge.

    Anyway, no, the fact that she’s a hoarder isn’t disturbing – on the contrary! We’ve all seen hoarders on TV and I know I speak for you all when I say, “Well, wouldn’t it be great if someone in my family was saddled with some chronic emotional problem or mental illness that outwardly manifested itself in classic hoarding behavior to the point that I could save $89 a month by getting rid of that stupid storage unit and just move all my excess crap into her living room, on account of, what the hell, it’s not like she’s going to notice the difference?”

    Indeed, I speak for all of you when I say that. But in my case, I’m living the dream.

    So I’m there last week, and was looking for a little something to read for later that morning when I had to sit in the car waiting for another never-ending appointment with her damn nephrologist, sure, and decided on an issue of “Good Housekeeping.” And yes, I made sure to point out the irony there, which of course made her cry. But what the hell, who among you could resist zinging her with that one? That’s right – none of you! Awright then.

    But I wanted a clean issue, so I had to dig down to the 1978 stratum to get one not covered with cat fæces or mummified cats, for that matter. Or mummified cat fæces, for that matter.

    Man, that æ dealie sure makes fæces look real elegant, huh? That’s some high-class fæces there. Dignified. In a word, yes!, dignified. Nothing makes plain, run-of-the-mill, garden variety feces look sophisticated like the ol’ æ!

    Where was I?

    Anyway, yes, so there I am digging through the mummified cat fæces and I uncover a nice clean thirty-three year old copy of “Good Housekeeping.” A delightful and fresh-faced Debbie Boone graced the cover.

    So I’m flipping through, and I see this:

    And it doesn’t register at first, but then, with mounting horror I realize,

    Dear God in Heaven, that’s Dick Van Dyke!

    I’m serious! No, that’s not a woman! Look closer, man! That’s Dick Van Dyke!

    Look!   Look!

    He looks like your aunt! He looks like my aunt! I mean, not any specific aunt of mine, God forbid; he just looks like someone’s aunt! He looks like someone’s aunt in the 1970s!

    This is the sophicated, urbane Rob Petrie we’re talking about here! What happened to the poor man in the twelve years since “The Dick Van Dyke Show” went off the air (not to mention the four years since “The New Dick Van Dyke Show” went off the air) that turned him into this? He’s got a lady’s hairdo! He’s wearing a blouse! That’s no Hawaiian shirt, it’s a g_dd_mn blouse, and you know it!   It’s a blouse!

    And that’s not the worst of it.

    This is:

    What the hell is that?

    Why is Dick Van Dyke in drag for Kodak instant cameras? I mean, he’s not merely camping it up in that photo, he’s become a woman! He’s wearing tangerine slacks! And the blouse! And  don’t forget the hairdo – the lady’s hairdo!

    Dick kind of redeems himself in the last picture in the ad; he looks more like himself in that one, the Dick Van Dyke we all know and love, but I’m not bothering with a closeup of that image here. (Scroll up if you must.) It might take away from the fact that in the other pictures, he looks just like a woman!

    And yet, here he is in a toy commercial which incidentally seems strangely aimed at parents rather than their children (“Chutes Away is so much fun your kids may never stop playing it.”), where he’s basically the same likably goofy Oh, Rob!-type with more gray in his hair. Oddly, both the commercial and the  print ad are from 1978. At least I think they are. You people don’t pay me enough to hire someone to actually research all this stuff. But according to some vintage game website, the toy’s from 1978, so it follows that the commercial’s from the same year. Probably.

    If you take anything away from all of this, let it be how to use the æ symbol and make your fæces shine. And I forget how I did it, which mystical combination of pressed keys makes it appear as though by magic; I’ve just been pasting it in there since the first one I used. You might want to make a few copies for yourself and take them with you.

    Fæces. Free from me to you.  Chutes away!

    Posted by on April 7, 2011, 1:00 AM.

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